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For God and Country





Gold star.


Gold star.


       My story may seem somewhat different from the rest, but this incident impressed and embarrassed me the most.  Early in the war in my home town my near relatives criticized the administration, the draft and, in fact, the war in general. Fortunately, our home people knew I had two brothers who enlisted early and this was a consolation to us.

       Everyone had many reminders of this throughout the war, but due to my previous experience it always struck me keenly. We had considerable pro-German in the southern camp where I was located, but on my arrival overseas my first assignment was 23 German prisoners.

       With all the pro-German hatred in my heart, I immediately told the chief nurse I would not care for them. She replied, "Other nurses have," and knowing the army discipline, I knew just what I would have to do. I replied, "I will, but I feel sorry for the Germans." I went into the ward, my blood boiling, but in a short time I realized they were our prisoners. I shall never forget how I shuttered for one week ever time I spread one of our O. D. blankets over them and saw the big U. S. in the center -- wondered had our own brave boys all they needed. They were all very patient, looked so starved, others so sick and replied courteously and sympathetically that in few days I changed my mind. Most of these men had been in the war almost four years, fortunately had been in the artillery or would have been taken prisoners earlier in the war.

      Although they had been under Prussian rule, I soon felt they were easier to deal with and trust than some American people who were born on American soil, attend our colleges and had all the advantages that America could offer.

      Hence, I say we had the pro-German and the German to fight and have some yet today after all the loss of lives and bloodshed.

      Also let me say there never was or will be anyone that had the valor of the American soldier. They surely must have had the kindest hearts to treat the German prisoners with the respect they did after the terrible experiences in the front lines as they would holler "Kamerad" for protection, then almost immediately shoot our own men, "the Yanks who won the war."



~~ I. A. F. (Nurse)



       It is pretty hard to write on any one incident as there are so many that come into my mind at present, but I will try to hold myself down to two or three. The first I do believe was in Lorraine. Four of us were to go out on a reconnoitering patrol under command of Lieut. Chapman, of Cedar Rapids. We were out in front of our wire about 200 yards when we heard a muffled cough. We dropped to the ground ay once and prepared for the worst to come which was awful slow in coming. After we had remained in this prone position, about 20 minutes we first heard a slight whistle to our left and in a few seconds, one to our right. The next came from directly ahead of us. As there were only four of us and the Lord only knows how many Krauts, our lieutenant came to my side and said, "There is only one way out of this and that is the way we came, so we must make it lively or we will be S. O. L. for breakfast." We went.

      The next one I have in mind was the taking of Sergy by the second battalion scouts. We went into the town at 2 p.m. on July 28 (I believe), and had orders to hold it at all costs, which was the death of two of our scouts. The next day we decided to satisfy our appetite, so the lieutenant said he would start a fire in one of the buildings if we would go get some hard tack and bully beef from some of the packs that were left in a woods near by that had been nearly torn to pieces along with the men that were in them. We got our beef and hard tack, and when we returned the lieutenant had a nice fire and water boiling to scour out a kettle with, as we located some nice spuds in one of the Heinie's gardens near by. We got our spuds washed and on the stove, our hard tack out on a table, and the cans of bully beef opened, when over came a nice 88 and placed it self in the next room with an awful crash, knocking the wall in on our supposed-to-be meal and upsetting our stove. This was so close that we didn't stop to eat but left P. D. Q. for a somewhat safer zone. Walter Betsworth, of our post, was in on both of these parties, and if you get hold of him he can give you real dope for your book because he kept a diary.    


~~ E. B. E.



       What most impressed me during the war was the entire lack of fear on the part of practically everyone. Everyone knew just where they were going and what into, but apparently never a thought of danger seemed to enter their minds -- or I should say their heads.

       The old pep and spirit was there regardless of conditions, and no army in the world can beat a bunch with a spirit like that.

       Pf course there were exceptions like, for instance, one guy who had passed through "Winall Down" Camp, Winchester, England, ahead of us and had written on the barrack wall, "This is the place you stop to pray before going to France to be killed." Evidently he (whoever he was) was scared alright, but thank goodness his kind were scarce.


~~ W.  H. E.



       The 503rd was one of the first four service battalions to be organized and was composed mostly of men from the first draft, from Camp Grant. We sailed five weeks after receiving our first men and landed at St. Nazarie, December 10, 1917. Here we went to Rest Camp (?) No. 1, for a couple of days while the battalion was split to the four winds of France.

       With 180 men and no officers I was assigned to the 17th Engineers to work on the supply base at Montoir. Here is where I found out the kind of men I had and what would be expected of them, and the thing that impressed me most then and thereafter was the men's ability.

       They were building a railroad yard, and unloading material under the worst possible conditions, on a tide flat covered with six inches of water and one-half inch of ice, working from ten to sixteen hours a day, seven days in the week, and they did it cheerfully and without complaint.

       As trained soldiers I could not say much for them, as they had had very little training, most of them never having had an army rifle in their hands. But as good, honest, intelligent and dependable workers, I'll not take my hat off to any outfit in the army, for they were loyal, loyal, loyal.


~~ C. M. F.



      I, a buck private, belonged to Co. C, 341 M. G. Bn., 89th Div., found my greatest event during my ten month's in France in the hell hole of the Argonne Woods. On the night of September 23, 1918, when our company was ordered to relieve Company B, of 341 M. G. Bn., in a pocket of the Argonne, which was open for the Fritzies to have a nice shot at us from three sides which made it a very hard place for us to get into. Well, we had Company B's top kicker to led us to where Company B was at. After we stumbled and fell around under heavy shell fire for half the night and not being able to find Company B, which though was a very few of left to be found. The captain decided we would dig in for the rest of the night till day break. Then we would have better chances to find the place we were looking for. But as it happened the Fritzies found is first at day breal for we were out in the open in No Man's land. And he put over two shells and they sure were hits, for it killed three and wounded 19 of our company. And from then on, boys, we sure got ours. It took all that day to get the wounded to the first aid station and that was about three miles from where we were at. It would not have been so bad, but there was no path to go by and a few of the boys got theirs while trying to get others to shelter. I Could tell a good deal of my life over there, but I was not asked to write but a few lines and not a book.    


~~ J. D.



       What impressed me most during service was fighting mosquitoes in New Orleans, La. 


~~ C. D. H.



       One of the most thrilling times for me was during the night of July 15, between the hours of 12 a. m. and 6 a. m. I was on the Marne rive about a mile east of the town of Chateau Thierry. After midnight our platoon was just relieved from the railroad grade which formed our front line, being the German's outpost. We had just started back to the reserve when the Germans started throwing over a few G. I. cans which we did not mind much at first, but they began coming over so fast and thick that we were forced to stop and take cover any place we could find. It sure seemed like a living hell to me, and sure it seemed the same way to the rest of the boys.

      About dawn the Germans started to cross the river. A small group of our platoon advanced again to the front line, only to discover that both our flanks were left open, the platoons on our left and right had returned to the support where there was better protection from machine gun and shell fire.

      The Germans working to our flanks and we were forced to split our men into three groups. We fought there for some little time. Our lieutenant leaving the front went to the left flank which was in a small patch of brush and we never saw him again. That leaving only two corporals left, our two sergeants being wounded in the part of the barrage.

      Had it not been for a machine gun barrage put over on the river by the 7th Machine Gun Battalion, I am sure that none of us would have been able to reach the support line alive.


~~ W. F. C.



      The one thing that was brought home to me above all was, I didn't know what a great and glorious country we live in until we left it and went abroad. Thank God I am an American.


~~L. S. C.



     Sand, officers, army regulations, camp orders, division orders, regimental orders, battalion orders, company orders, the army --- and sand.


~~G. C.


One hundred- sixteen ~

One hundred - eighteen


~ scanned and submitted by Paula Hinkel