lasting impression I think I have is of the time during the Ainse-Marne
offensive, when I kissed myself good-bye and then shook hands with
myself when it was all over, for I didn't Go West. It happened on the
22nd of July, after the advance had just about stopped, and our 155's
were right up behind the dough boys, for a counter-attack, that we were
ordered out with a train of rollers to the most advanced battalion. We
moved out and up to where one could see the flashes of our own and the
enemies' rifles, and that is close for six-inch guns. Unloaded under
shell fire and returned to the ammunition dump to reload as the
Caissons were always kept loaded. On the way back, it was just getting
dusk and three and three Boche planes commenced firing machine guns on
our train, but were unable to do any more damage than to wound a couple
of horses. It was dark when we reached the dump, and had just finished
loading when a German Bomber could be heard coming from the front. He
dropped two about a half kilometer ahead of us, flew directly over the
dump so low that he could be seen, and dropped two more about the same
distance back of us, circled again and cut loose a light directly over
the dump. Turned and came back over his light again, and there is where
I thought it was all over with the must of us, but for some unknown
reason, he circled again and flew away, and I shook my own hand.
How easy it was for one man to blow a bugle and get 27,000 men up at
one time, and same to make 'em go to bed.
How nice they had things arranged going across the sea. Such a big
convoy and how we changed our course every few seconds without running
into each other.
And in Brest how easy it was for us to feed a thousand men in such
short notice, and so easy to cook the food and serve it.
I met an Italian coming home on board the boat, just as we were coming
around Sandy Hook. I said to him, "I suppose you are awfully glad to
get back home again." And then he told me all about his troubles in the
army, and say, I never was so amused in my life. He said it was two
weeks from the time Uncle took him from his wife he was on the wy to
the front line trench. "Some fresh guy said, 'Look out, here comes
Fritz with a G. I. Can.' I no no what is a Fritz and a G. I. Can.
Pretty soon I see some a thing fall a down from this a big a big bird.
And it a fall not so far from a me. And right away I know what is a
Fritz and a G. I. Can."
was on October 29, 1918, that our outfit pitched tents (Dressing
Station) on a stretch of road between Chaepentry and Eclisfoutaire,
with a chance of getting a decent sleep and possibly a washup after
trying to keep up with the dough boys ahead of us. We had a nice
layout, with our pup tents over the fox holes the dough boys had dug,
and apparently nothing to worry about. I was enjoying some letters I
hadn't had time to digest when I heard the "boom boom" of two guns. The
next instant two shells hit among our tents, killing two me and
wounding a third. Thinking our own artillery must have lost their range
we forgot the incident, when we heard the guns again, This time we
barely had time to fall flat before two more shells burst, this time
tearing holes in our tents. Thoroughly convinced this was no accident,
we dug in and we kept under cover until late that night. As the Germans
let up for a while several of us gathered up a few belongings and moved
to the shelter of a hill, where we made ourselves comfortable. As we
were dozing off, we heard "Recall" sounded and sent one of the party to
investigate. He returned with the information that the Germans had two
8-inch guns on the bend of the Meuse river about six kilos away and
were attempting to destroy the road we were on. We therefore packed up
again and had just reached our former location when a Boche plane
opened his tailgate and blew up the side of the hill where we had moved
What most impressed me during the war, we were lying on Hill 212, July
28, waiting for the Germans to counter-attack, when all of a sudden we
noticed a great ball of fire coming over the distant hill. It kept
creeping up the next hill coming toward my platoon and the worst of it
was that it was coming directly over the enemy lines and it kept
creeping closer and closer and all of our platoon and machine gunners
were getting their guns trained on this object and were waiting for the
sergeant's command to open fire, when all of a sudden it started to go
up and then we found that it was only the moon, and a full moon at
that, and the shadows from the moon looked just like they were legs,
and believe me, there was such a sigh and a relief when we found it was
After we came out of the drive north of Chateau-Thierry, my company had
lost 128 men out of 238, and it was necessary to recognize. It was the
reorganization more that impresses me and brought the war home to me
more vividly than ever the battle front where I had seen many of my
pals fall never to rise again, because when on the front it seemed
natural to see men fall and I did not miss them so much as when after
we came out. I had to mark after the names of each man in my platoon
whether he had been killed or wounded and there were 35 of them in my
platoon that had something happen to them.
above, I believe, impressed me more than anything else I can recall
Inasmuch as I was deprived of the opportunity of serving overseas, my
impressions of the service were not highly exciting. I do recall the
work, yards and miles of work, and the stupendous results accomplished
by the total efforts of men giving the best of their mental and
physical powers to the common cause, and seeking little for themselves.
By this spirit our cause was won and by the continuation of the same
spirit our country will be made a better place in which we line.
During practically all of my 28 months of service I was an instructor
in officers training camps. As such I came into intimate and personal
touch with the best and brightest young men in the country -- the same
type of men one would meet in the colleges and universities. What
impressed me most was the possibilities in the average man of college
age when working under high pressure. I have graduated from two
universities and taught in a third, but my army experience gave me am
entirely new insight into education.
I was also much impressed with the high moral standards of the army.
The active, healthful lives which the men live, together with sensible
instruction on hygiene and sanitation, do more, in my opinion, than all
the preaching they have ever heard.
Time alone will demonstrate what experiences have made their impression
the deepest. Not the least, however, has been the impression made by my
first sight of a column of refugees. In the first days of June of 1918,
when we were going forward through the valley of the Marne to meet the
enemy in the region of Chateau-Thierry, we met literally hundreds of
people. These were carrying all that remained of their worldly goods
with them. Some had wheelbarrows, some had carts, others were carrying
packs. Mothers were carrying babes and leading other children. Old
people were hobbling along with canes. Each and every one was being
driven from their homes and what they could carry was all they had.