David grows up on a farm in Viking Townshipicon-map-marker, Minnesota, and as a young boy he helps his parents run the farm with his 16 brothers and sisters. In 1917 he gives his occupation as farmer.
Any plans for his own future are shattered, however, because that year he is conscripted as a private in the American infantry and sent to a forest in Lorraine in France, where he takes part in the largest military offensive in US history and the second deadliest battle, the Meuse-Argonne campaign. His own eldest brother Carl Gustaf Gustafson is the one registering him for the army. He describes him as tall and stout, with blue eyes and light hair.
David dies in battle on 2nd October 1918 and is buried at the large Meuse-Argonne American Military Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon. He only reached the age of 24.
When he is drafted for the army, his birthday is given as 18 July 1895. However, his true birth year is 1894.