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"The Price of Our Heritage"


In memory of the

Heroic Dead of the

168th Infantry


Occupation of The Rhine

Honor Roll




      Moving from the deserted village, where on November 11 we received the news of he armistice, we journeyed to the scene of former battles near Lamdres-et-St. Georges. On November 14 we marched to Dun-sur-muese where we passed, on November 16, the reserve division of the third corps. On November 20 with bands playing, flags flying and our boys marching proudly we began our triumphant march through northern France and at Virton we crossed into Belgium, where indescribable scenes of enthusiasm greeted our American troops.

       The gladness of these Belgium people at their deliverance and the thankfulness they felt toward the great American nation, which they showed to us by every possible means, filled us with pride that we were citizens of United States.

       Thanksgiving day found us in the little village of Eischen in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, where we enjoyed a real Thanksgiving dinner and after resting here three days we passed through the duchy, a most beautiful little country, where the soil was well tilled and the people seemed quite content. They gave us quite as warm a welcome as did the French and out trip a side from the toil of the march was a very pleasant one indeed.

       On December 1 we reached the edge of this duchy and were ready the following morning to cross the Sauer river into the land of our defeated enemy. The Luxemburgers, before we left, gave us a warm reception and the last night in Luxemburg will long be remembered by many of the officers and men of our regiment. On the next day we ,arched across the river and into Germany and were billeted that night in three dirty, little villages, where ample evidence of the German's ability to multiply was manifested by the great number of poorly-dressed children gathered about and staring curiously at the American troops.

      From there we moved to Bitburg to the west of Trier and thence by long, steady marches to the banks of the Rhine river. We established our regimental headquarters at Niederbreisig while the divisional quarters were located at Ahrweiler.

      We were received by the Germans with little manifestation of the hostile feeling that we knew the Germans felt for us. We were in a rich, fertile section of the country about forty kilometers below Coblenz and about an equal distance above the great university city of Bonn. We were on the extreme left of the American Army of Occupation and on our left were the Canadians with whom we felt very friendly.

       We soon made ourselves comfortable in the homes of our enemy, who seemed glad to do the things we asked and who were glad that the war was over, even though it was over by the German defeat. After a few days of rest we took up a heavy training schedule in an attempt to pass away the long, lonesome hours, which we had to spend in a country among a people with whom we had no desire to make friends. And this was perhaps the hardest part of our battle. Nothing grates on a soldier as much as to have nothing important to do and yet to he held away from the place where he wants to go, in a place in which he has no pleasure in staying. Such was the condition in which we found ourselves. Sighing and dreaming of homes from which we had been absent now eighteen months the long winter slowly dragged away.

    Everything that could be done was done to take care of the health and the morals of the men. Athletics, Y. M. C. A. entertainments, regimental and divisional shows, moving pictures and stag dances were introduced to amuse and entertain and to help shorten the hours for our impatient soldiers. A number sickened and died while we were here and their deaths seemed doubly tragic to us in that they had passed through the long summer of battle only to fall a prey to disease.





       On March 16, 1919 the Division was reviewed by General Pershing, our commander-in-chief,  a certain number of our officers and men were given well merited honors of war.  April 2, 1919 the following review of the One Hundred Sixty-eighth's service with the Rainbow Division headquarters.

American Expeditionary Forces

General Order  No. 21-D

Germany, 2 April, 1919

     As the Rainbow Division has reached the closing days of its military service, the Commanding General desires to recite in orders the salient features of the service of the One Hundred Sixty-eighth Infantry.
     After an intensive training period, during which, due to severe climatic conditions, many hardships had to be endured, the One Hundred Sixty-eighth Infantry, as part of the Forty-second Division, was moved into the Luneville Sector, and in conjunction with French units took over a portion of the line.  After a short period there, spent in putting finishing touches on its training, it was moved with the other elements of the Division, into the Baccarat Sector.  Here it held the right half of the Neuf Maison Sub-sector during a period of approximately 100 days and helped the Forty-second Division hold the
Baccarat Sector for a longer continuous period than any other American division held a sector.  In this service it experienced two extremely severe enemy gas projector attacks.  Many of its members were fatally gassed, but there was no time that its line was not held firmly against the futile attacks of the enemy to penetrate it.  It also repulsed a strong enemy raid, inflicting heavy casualties and without itself suffering any losses.
     The One Hundred Sixty-eighth Infantry was withdrawn from this sector and as part of the Division was moved to the vicinity of Suippes and thrown in as part of General Gourand's now famous army to stem the tide of the German offensive of July 15th.  Here the regiment was placed with certain of its elements in the first line and others on the second position, and not a single individual of the enemy succeeded in penetrating the lines it held.  On these positions the men underwent, without sufficient cover, what many veteran French officers described as the most intensive enemy artillery fire of the war.  They withstood this ordeal with a calmness and a spirit that called forth the admiration of
the French with whom they were serving.  The French Division Commander in command of the Sector of Suippes remarked with amazement on the steadiness and coolness displayed by the regiment under its first heavy shell fire.
     After the German offensive had been completely stopped the regiment was withdrawn and immediately thrown into the French and American offensive towards the Ourcq and the Vesle.  Here, by its aggressiveness it forged forward 15 kilometers, overcoming and beating down the formidable strong point, Hill 212.  The Regiment forced a crossing of the Ourcq, and with the One Hundred Sixty-seventh Infantry, the other regiment of its brigade, after the most severe kind of fighting, in which the village of Sergy changed hands eight times, it finally retained possession of that village, forcing the enemy to withdraw. The fight for Sergy is now one of the prominent points in the history of the
American Expeditionary Forces.  In the position along the Ourcq the One Hundred Sixty-eighth Infantry underwent, day and night, intense shell and machine un fire, some of which came from the flanks and enfiladed its position.  It however held its position and was always ready and eager to push forward when called upon.
     Upon reaching the heights overlooking the Vesle the regiment was relieved by elements of a fresh division and withdrawn to the Bourmont area for a well-earned rest. Hardly however had it become settled in this area before orders came directing that it proceed to take up its position for attack against the St. Mihiel salient.  This was done by hard night marches.  In the St. Mihiel operation the One Hundred Sixty-eighth Infantry forged ahead, reaching its objective many hours before the time limit prescribed and overcoming many German machine gun nests in the thick woods through which it
progressed in the early stages of this attack.
     Upon reaching the final objective prescribed by the Army the One Hundred Sixty-eighth organized its sector and held it.  During its period of occupation of this position it executed a most successful raid against Marimbois Farm, killing many of the enemy, destroying machine gun nests and returning with prisoners without itself suffering any casualties. This regiment continually harassed the enemy and kept him constantly uncertain and nervous.
      The next scene of operation was in the Argonne.  Here, in conjunction with the other regiment of its brigade, in savage fighting through thick woods, it took the Cote de Chatilion, which was the key of the famous Kriemhilde Stellung, and held it, thus permitting part of the attack of November 1 to be launched from this favorable point of departure.  In overcoming resistance on the Cote de Chatillon the One Hundred Sixty-eighth conquered the strong point of Tuilerie Farm by extremely severe and aggressive fighting.
     On November 1, as part of the division, this regiment moved to push the attack towards Sedan.  Here it forged ahead, and on November 9, when the division was relieved in the front line, the One Hundred Sixty-eighth Infantry had reached the heights overlooking the Meuse in the vicinity of Sedan.
     When the armistice was signed the One Hundred Sixty-eighth Infantry, with the other
elements of the Forty-second Division, marched into Germany, where it remained as part
of the American Army of Occupation on the Rhine until its departure for the United
     It is with soldierly pride that the Division Commander thus briefly reviews the
magnificent record of the One Hundred Sixty-eighth U. S. Infantry, the old Third Iowa
     Iowa may well be proud of her representation in the Rainbow Division.

     By command of Major General Flagler:

  Wm. N. Hughes, Jr.

Colonel, General Staff


                        Chief of Staff


     On April 8 orders finally came for the homeward journey to begin and more eager or happy men could not have been found in the world. We were going home.



~reference: Report of the Adjutant General of Iowa for the Biennial Period Ended June 30, 1918, Published by the State of Iowa, Des Moines. Page 401-404.

~ contributed by Cay Merriman for Iowa in the Great War Special Project an IAGenWeb Special Project

~ transcribed by Constance Diamond for Iowa in the Great War, a IAGenWeb Special Project