Minnesota group honors 'Vikings' who defeated Nazis in WWII

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It’s a story that may sound like it is from a movie screenplay—but it really happened: vikings defeating Nazis in World War II.

FOX 9 previously featured the special wartime battalion from our area, highlighting the efforts of the “Viking” battalion. To be a Viking, you had to have Norwegian heritage, speak the language and know how to ski for special combat missions in occupied Europe.

In a quiet corner of Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Carolann Carlson visited her late husband, Lester Carlson, while Marlys Cleveland spent time with her Olaf. 

The Norwegian-American men are a pair of the 76 members of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

“They were so solid at what they did, and they looked out for each other,” Cleveland said.

“He was proud of the '99ers,' everything they accomplished - and they went through a lot,” Carlson said of her husband.

The group’s main mission involved contacting German patrols, dismantling railroads, and sabotaging supply units.

Battalion historian Tegan Godfrey said dozens of Vikings’ friends and relatives reached out to him after learning he’s raising about $4,000 for a special Viking monument at Fort Snelling.

“It’s something they deserve,” he said.

“This is something we literally came to support, help get the word out… certainly make this happen,” added Eivind Heiberg, Royal Norwegian Consulate General.

“Our intent is to get the 99th saga out there as a permanent fixture for this cemetery,” Godfrey said.

“I think it’s nice they get the recognition. I just wish it started earlier when more of them were alive,” Cleveland said.

For more information about this weekend’s event at Fort Snelling and how to donate to the Viking memorial, click here. The group is also looking for volunteers to lay flags.

You can also donate to the GoFundMe here.