Frederick Gustaf E. Carlson was born in Bornholm, Denmark, on November 18, 1891, son of Frederick and Johanna Frederica (Stone) Carlson. He attended high school in North Easton, Massachusetts, and Brockton (Massachusetts) Business College and after graduation was employed as an accountant. On June 2, 1914, he enlisted in the US Navy, and was assigned to the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island. In March 1915 he reported aboard USS Salem and in May 1915 transferred to USS Chester.
While aboard the Chester he participated in the evacuation of American refugees in the Near East; the suppression of the Kroo tribe revolt in Liberia, and was author of the “Cruise of the Chester” later reprinted by the Navy Department for recruiting purposes. He continued duty in the Chester after the outbreak of World War I (April 6, 1917), assigned convoy duty in the war zone and took part in the attack on the German submarine U-53, on September 5, 1918. The submarine was damaged but made port according to the German Admiralty.
On November 8, 1918 he was commissioned Ensign in the Pay Corps of the Fleet Naval Reserve. He subsequently transferred to the US Naval Reserve (Supply Corps) and attained the rank of Captain, to date from March 10, 1945. He was transferred to the Retired List on August 1, 1952.
Upon receiving his appointment in 1918, he was assigned to the First Naval District, Boston, Massachusetts, as Athletic Officer, and remained there until March 1919 when he joined USS Vulcan as Supply Officer. He continued duty in that vessel until 1920 when he was released to inactive duty.
He went into business for himself as owner of an auto truck agency, and later became Assistant Superintendent of the Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company. Prior to being ordered into active service, he was Vice President and Director of Mount Ida Junior College, Newton Centre, Massachusetts. During this period, between active duty assignments, he served as Assistant Supply Officer, First Battalion, Boston, Massachusetts (1920-26); Supply Officer, SEVENTH Fleet Division, New Bedford, Massachusetts (1926-35); and commanded various Civilian Conservation Corps companies (1935-40).
Called to active duty on November 4, 1940, he reported as Assistant Supply Officer at the Naval Shipyard, Boston, Massachusetts, where he remained until 1941. He then became Officer in Charge of the Fleet Supply Base, Commonwealth Pier, also at Boston. Following the United States entry into World War II, December 8, 1941, he served between early 1942 and June 1944 as Supply Officer aboard USS Rochambeau, which transported troops to the Southwest Pacific combat area. Detached from that transport, he had six weeks’ duty as Assistant Supply Officer of the Naval Supply Center, Oakland, California, and while there reorganized the Ship’s Service Unit.
Again ordered to sea, he reported in November 1944 as Supply Officer aboard USS California, flagship of a bombardment group attached to the Seventh Fleet. While aboard that battleship he took part in the invasion of Lingayen Gulf (Luzon), where on January 6, 1945, he was wounded as a result of an explosion of an enemy plane on California, causing gasoline fires and also a simultaneous five inch shell hit on a gun mount. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for injuries received during this action.
Detached from the California in May 1945, he reported the next month as Senior Assistant to the District Supply Officer, Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes, Illinois. He remained there until August 1946 when he was assigned as Chief of Naval Reserve Legislation and Appropriations in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, D. C. From April 1948 to October 1949 he served as Supply and Logistics Officer on the staff of the Commander Naval Forces, Philippine Islands.
Ordered to return to the United States, he became Officer in Charge of the Navy Regional Accounts Office, Great Lakes, Illinois, and in June 1952 was assigned to the Office of the Comptroller of the Navy, Navy Department, Washington, DC, for temporary duty. He was so serving when transferred to the Retired List on August 1, 1952.
In addition to the Purple Heart Medal, Captain Carlson has the World War I Victory Medal; the Naval Reserve Medal with one star; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one engagement star; the World War II Victory Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one star.
He is a member of the American Society of International Law, the United States Naval Institute, and the Reserve Officers of the Naval Service.