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For God and Country





Gold star.


Gold star.


      During the first three weeks in service we spent most of our time in quarantine at Kelly Field. Being obliged to feed about 650 men at one field kitchen, some of the last ones in line did not get what they thought to be their share.

      As we were raw recruits we knew very little of military discipline. After "chow" one night about 25 of us, including about 10 Sioux City boys, decided to go to San Antonio to "feed up." About dusk we prepared ourselves, and knowing the pieces carried by the guards were not loaded, we made ready.

      We formed in a body and made one grand rush over the line. The guards, rather numerous guards, said "Halt." We said "Go to H---," and traveled on our way.

      In getting home we sneaked down around the old ravine and around the camp and made ready for a spurt of speed back in the camp. But seeing about five men approaching we waited, and when they had arrived within speaking distance one of the boys said, "Are you going back in?" The corporal of the guard said, "No, but you are." We thinking that they were some of the other boys were coming from town to go back to camp.   

      After sleeping all night in a temporary guard house, we were assigned three days heavy fatigue and excused.


~~ L. B.



       I had been slammed in with a bunch of others to fill the gaps during the defensive, and what we sometimes thought was a little offensive work along the Paris-Mets Road in the Chateau-Thierry sector. It was hot around those parts and I had never heard a shell before nor seen a live hand grenade thrown. One edge of Bellan Wood remained to be cleaned out. The company I belonged to got mixed up in it and that meant me. We shifted our position from one place in the section that was due for fireworks. It didn't look bad. We walked up a road, everything was quiet, with the exception of the drone of a Fritz overhead. Along one side of the road there were fox holes about every ten feet and a fellow or two sat on the edges there in the sin, but they didn't talk out load. I wondered a bit at that. The underbrush was dense -- you could not see fifty feet to one side of the road. We were lined up in waves. Trimmed packs. At a signal form some officer we stood up -- then started for the underbrush. I don't think a single new fellow there realized that was the front line until he started to go under it. Hell broke loose, and a lot of machine guns and rifle grenades. We advanced. Got mixed up in the underbrush. Took the fire hotter and hotter. Got to hot to move on. I was so flat on the ground - well you know. Then there came a little lull. I shifted my face in the dirt to take a squint. A greenhorn and scared stiff. Happened to feel some dirt kicked in my face and saw a "Heinie "Potato Masher" spinning in front of me.  Was fascinated. Couldn't move. Bullet kicked the dirt at my elbow. Broke the shell. I did a flip, rolled into a little ditch as the thing exploded. Looked up and there was a bunch -- behind some handy rocks not two yards away. They do say it takes a little dynamite or some such stuff to wake some people up. Six more exploded where I just had been. I was behind the rocks.


~~ H. D. L.



       What I most liked to hear was the old bugle blowing recall from "fatigue."


~~ J. T. B.



       Through my short experience during the service at Camp Dodge, there was one thing that always appealed to me; namely, the braveness and cheerfulness of our suffering boys. They were indeed brave soldiers in every sense of the word. They suffered, we knew as nurses, and yet perhaps not one out of fifty would complain of pain.

        During our epidemic of influenza those boys who were suffering and dying from pneumonia would never complain. The only answer as to how they were feeling was, "Just fine, nurse." It was a pitiful and yet a wonderful site.

        Those young men who had been in France, wounded and returned for medical care, would be there -- some of them perhaps with from eight to ten rubber tubes in one limb -- being in misery, of course, and yet being happy and singing with the rest of the boys in our ward.

        Another case: a young man of 19 who had both of his limbs shot off, his wounds all healed up nicely and the young man claimed he was happier now than ever before. The happiness and wonderful spirit of our boys were certainly to be admired.


~~ L. S. A. (Nurse)




    While stationed at Paris, I had occasion, after the armistice was signed, to visit the battlefields at Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Woods, and the Champagne front near Rheims. To walk over these battlefields so short a time after the was was over, had a big impression on me. It was then I realized that only a short time before, men were standing side by side in the trenches fighting -- some falling wounded and dying.

     When I stood looking at Rheims in ruin, the vision came to me of what a pretty and peaceful village this must have been before the war. And it was indeed a weird sight to pass by farm houses, nearly all of which were ruined or deserted.

      After having seen all this, I understood more than before, the feeling of the French people, and the meaning of the greatest war for Democracy.


~~ A. K.




       The experience which most impressed me during the war was the manner in which our company spent Christmas eve in 1918. I was at Camp Genicourt near Bordeaux, France. At 4 p. m. of December 24th, we were assembled at our barracks and were marched some two miles to a "delousing" mill preparatory to embarking for the U. S. A. We stood for four hours in the rain and mud before we were ordered to approch the door of the "institution," of which about three hours was after dark. We had nothing to eat or drink. At about 8:30 p. m. we were ushered into the mammouth "mill" and were summarily divested of all our garments and baggage. Then in our nude state our entire company was herded into a small room which was unheated. Through some mismanagement we were kept naked and shivering in this packed compartment for over two hours. Finally, shortly after midnight, they started us through the mill proper. This was a remarkable and varied chain of speedy successive experiences and required about three hours for its completion. At 4 o'clock in the morning of Christmas day, I merged from the gauntlet, at the back door, a quarter of a mile distance from where we entered, a "new man." Everyone trudged along to the barracks at their own pleasure after "escaping." The only "silver lining" we could see was that, by that time, the stars were shining. It was after daylight on Christmas morning before the last "deloused" warrior struggled in. In due time, "eats" were again available.


~~ H. W. H.



       It is rather hard to say what impressed one the most during the war as there were so many vivid scenes which now can be but dimly pictured in memory. There is one scene which I, however, will not soon forget. That is the American bombardment which opened the offensive at Saint Mihiel.

       Our little battery was perched upona reverse slope of a ridge near the ruined village of Les Epaiges. We were only about one-half mile from the German front line positions and from our point of vantage could look far back into the rear of the American positions. While coming up into position and while emplacing our  battery, we had sighted every size of artillery going in from 75s to marine mounts., all as carefully hidden and camouflaged as possible.

        The evening before the attack was bright and cool, and I well remember looking back and watching where the shells from the German artillery were falling amoung our guns. But not an answering shot was heard from our side, and for all the activity one would think there was no one there.

         Then the evening wore along with desultory firing on the German side and none on ours.  The night came off dark and cloudy, full of mystery.  Suddenly at 1 o'clock far off to the west we heard the mighty roar of one of the 12 inch marine guns. This was the signal. Every battery on our side immediately opened up. The earth trembeled and shook with the shock and reverberation and reverberation filled the air with an awful pandemonium of sound. Looking back, the air seemed filled with darting, belching fingers of flame, leaping and dancing in the night as though some demon were playing a composition of hate in tones of blood and fire and noise.


~~ S. F. W.



       It brought out a man's true color, and either changed it or made it more noticeable.


~~ W. W.


One hundred- eleven ~

       One hundred- thirteen


~ scanned and submitted by Paula Hinkel