Men of Co. K at Camp Faber in LeMars—temporary encampment after Federal call-up
On July 1, 1917, 135 enlisted men and three officers of Co. K answered the call to federal service. It seemed as though they had an excellent chance of serving together in the same unit.
The company was assigned to a temporary encampment within the city limits of LeMars on Alta Vista St. between Court and Madison (an area which currently constitutes the southern half of the area later known as Westmar college campus.)
The camp was called Camp Faber, in honor of Matt Faber of Remsen who had donated $500 to the company’s mess fund.
By July 6, the camp had two buildings erected and eight large pyramidal tents which the company had brought back from Texas. Unfortunately, the tents could sleep only eighty men; and cots, uniforms, and rifles were needed for over fifty men.
About two-fifths of the men slept in the armory on cots borrowed from the residents of the county.
By July 6, the men had received their typhoid inoculation and thorough physical examination and Western Union’s Prof. Parkinson had begun instructing 15 men how to play a bugle and a trumpet.
The men were kept occupied from 5:30 in the morning until 11 each night. And their salary stood at $1.25 a day for privates, $1.50 for corporals and $1.75 for sergeants.
A hint of their Texas encampment reached the men July 8 when a storm blew down three of their tents.
On July 12, 1917, the Iowa National Guard units had 8,217 men. But on July 13, Camp Faber started to lose some of the men attached to it. Charles Tucker and George Hart were dropped from Co. K’s roster because they were too short; Robert Green, because he was too tall and Harry Swisher, because he was an asthma victim.
On July 15, the men were alerted to report to Camp Cody at Deming, N.M., a community just 35 miles north of Columbus, the town Pancho Villa had raided 16 months earlier.
As a result, visitors at Camp Faber were numerous each evening. Charlie K, a deer which the men captured at Camp Brown on the Mexican border, had been living on a farm near Akron. It had been the company’s mascot and the most popular resident of the camp.
The Sentinel reported that a farmer from Union township stopped by with a 5-pound crock of butter for the Company just to show his appreciation to the men.
Preparations for movement to Camp Cody proved premature. On Friday, July 20, Pvt. Gerald Sullivan contacted smallpox and as a result the camp was quarantined.
Immediately he was taken to the hospital and Pvt. Bernard Hughes, who had already had the disease, was dispatched to serve an aide to his nurse and doctor.
A medical team from Sioux City came to LeMars and vaccinated all the rest of the men in the company.
The two main drills the men encountered during this prolonged stay at Camp Faber were trips to the rifle range for practice firing and visits to other areas for signal practice. On July 20, they were formally mustered into federal service.
On Aug. 3, 150 housewives prepared a culinary treat for the men. The company’s $1,800 mess fund more than paid for all the food and its preparation.
A week later, Capt. Koenig had to issue another appeal for enlistments. Sullivan was released from the hospital and given a week’s furlough to re-coup. Hughes was discharged from service because of physical disability. Therefore, Co. K was again below war-time strength.
Monday, August 14, the men had their first pay day. The smallest stipend was $30 and the highest, $51.
But the day stood out in other ways, the men had completed a 12-mile hike south of town, and the residents of LeMars treated the men to a watermelon feed.
The next night the second infantry of Iowa’s band performed a concert.
Word finally came Aug. 16, that mess kits, rifles, uniforms and the rest of their gear would arrive within a week for the almost 50 men needing those items.
But the arrival of the government issue was accompanied by the sobering news that Co. K would not be retained in tact for the duration of the war. Sixty-eight men from Co. K were chosen to become a part of the third regiment, 168th infantry, 84th brigade, later to be known as a part of the famous Rainbow Divison.
Those assigned were: Sergeants Charles Ewin, Warren Lodge, Claude Hodapp.
Corporals Albert Ewin, Harry Weagel, Theodore Strouse, Herbert Brown, Vinton Bradshaw.
Private first class, Milton Fulghum, Lee Hoag, Henry Marx, William Pieper, Peter Shive.
John Calhoun, Cecil Clarke, Walter Wickson, Frank Edwards, Lloyd Evans, Sylvester Fiedler, Edwin Gainor, George Hahn, Addis Hamman, Charles Hammer.
Will Hardie, John Harker, Floyd Harvey, Ray Harvey, Vivian Harvey, Laurence Heiden, Frank Holland, Albert Hoschler, Fay Houlton, Wayne Huxtable, George Kalles.
Melvin Kanago, Albert Killian, William King, Charles Klohs, Glenn Livermore, Phillip Maxon, Harold McDale, William Miller, Frank Murray, Edward Nash, Estill Powers.
Clark Thatcher, William Trewartha, Linford Tweedy, Vincent Walsh, John Wasmer, Chrles Wood, Robert Wallard, David Youngbluth.
~Written by Virgil Dorweiler, for the LeMars Sentinel, April 9, 1974