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Former U.S. Diplomat, Writer John C. Ausland Dies

May 15, 1996

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ John C. Ausland, a former U.S. diplomat and writer whose work included a stirring account of his experiences in the D-Day invasion, has died in Oslo of cancer. He was 75.

Ausland, who died at home on Monday, was a 23-year-old U.S. Army lieutenant when he waded through the surf at Normandy on June 6, 1944. His job, as a survey officer, was to place the artillery. Almost one-third of his group died when one of the three landing boats in his unit hit a mine.

In connection with last year’s 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, Ausland published ``Letters Home: A War Memoir″ based on his letters from Europe’s battlefields.

In one letter, Ausland called D-Day ``a nightmare I should prefer to forget.″

``Oh, never fear for me,″ he wrote. ``My danger is no more or less than any other soldier. But many about me, as is inevitable in war, have suffered.″

Born July 14, 1920, in La Crosse, Wis., Ausland attended Princeton University after the war, completing graduate work in 1949. His 25-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service took him to postings in Germany, Yugoslavia, Australia, Norway and Switzerland.

He served on the State Department’s Berlin Task Force when the Berlin Wall was raised in 1961, and was an adviser to the joint chiefs of staff during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, his wife, Else, said today.

Ausland, who was of Norwegian descent, retired from the diplomatic corps and settled in 1974 in Oslo, where he pursued a second career as a writer and journalist. His works included six books on military and foreign affairs.

His last book, ``Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Berlin-Cuba Crisis 1961-1964,″ was published days before his death and is based on firsthand knowledge.

``He was working on it while he was ill,″ his wife said by telephone. ``He thought it was his most important work, the one that would live on after him.″

He also wrote for newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune, and appeared as a U.S. military officer in the Norwegian Cold War thriller film ``Orion’s Belt.″

Ausland is survived by his wife, and three children from his first marriage. His funeral is scheduled for May 23 in Oslo.

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