WWII Gold Star soldier: Emil Overland

By Hannah Haack
Intern, Story City Historical Society
World War II soldier Emil Overland died in Waco, Texas, on March 26, 1944.

​There were 403 people from Story City who served in the military during World War II. Of those 403, 15 men lost their lives while in service. The Story City Historical Society is paying tribute to these 15 soldiers in the Herald near the anniversary of their deaths. The Gold Star soldier we are honoring today is Emil Overland, who died in Waco, Texas, on March 26, 1944. 

Emil Overland was born in Rosendale, Iowa, on Sept. 5, 1901. His family moved to Story City a few years later, where Emil attended elementary and high school. In March 1918, when he was 16, Emil volunteered for enlistment into the U.S. Army to fight in the First World War. He served in various camps within the United States until the armistice was signed in November 1918. After being released from service, Emil completed high school and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the State Teachers College in Cedar Falls. He taught for a few years before turning to sales work.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Emil volunteered for the Canadian Army and was stationed in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland. In 1942 he transferred to the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, Camp Roberts, California, and Camp Hood in Waco, Texas. He died at the Army Air Field Hospital in Waco on March 26, 1944. Emil is buried in Story City Cemetery, Story City.

​Emil was the son of Edward Johannsen and Bertha Overland. Besides his parents, Emil left behind a son, Donald, a brother, Selid, and a sister, Mrs. Byron Holt, as well as numerous family and friends that mourned his death.

As we remember Emil Overland and all of our Gold Star soldiers throughout this year, let us not forget that they gave their all for liberty and peace. To learn more about all of the Story City WWII veterans, visit the historical society's website at storycityhistory.org.