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Born in Branford, Connecticut, Carl Holmstrom received a full scholarship to Pratt Institute in New York City. After graduation, he joined the USAAF as a B-17 bombardier but was captured when his plane crashed in Tunisia on his first mission . After treatment for his injuries, he was imprisoned at Oflag 21-B in Schubin, Poland, before being transferred to Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany, where he spent the next two-and-a-half years.

In January 1945, he was marched fifty-two miles to Spremberg, Germany, to ride on a box car to Stalag VII-A in Moosburg, Germany, where he was liberated by Patton’s US Third Army. Post-war he became a free-lance commercial artist. He married and had four children. Carl died on 3 August 1979.