The Purple Heart medal awarded from its creation in 1932 until the beginning of World War II was unique when compared to those of later years. For instance, the medal was awarded to Army personnel who were wounded in action or who had been awarded the "Meritorious Services Citation Certificate" for service in World War I. Only Army personnel were eligible for the Purple Heart before World War II with the exception of those serving in units attached to the U.S. Army, such as the two U.S. Marine regiments attached to the Army's 2nd Infantry Division in World War I. Any surviving veteran who meet the criteria could apply to the War Department for the Purple Heart and would receive a medal engraved with their name on the reverse. While the majority of the 75,000 Purple Heart medals issued before 1941 were awarded to World War I veterans, Purple Hearts were awarded to veterans of earlier U.S. wars, including about two-dozen surviving Union veterans of the Civil War. Below are the stories of several decorated American veterans who received the Purple Heart for wounds received in World War I and before.
Sgt. Bradford's Purple Heart medal.
Sgt. Henry T. Bradford, Company F, 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment. Wounded in Action on 1 July 1898 at the Battle of San Juan Hill, Cuba during the Santiago Campaign when he was shot in the chest with the bullet exiting his back. Born on 18 November 1872 in Pendleton County, Kentucky, he enlisted in the Army on 4 May 1897 and was discharged on 22 January 1899 because of his wounds.
Sgt. Bradford was wounded in one of the most famous battles in American history. The Battle of San Juan Hill has been immortalized by the actions of future President Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders." The 6th U.S. Infantry was part of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division when it landed in Cuba. The 1st Division began moving towards San Juan Hill at 4:45 AM on 1 July 1898 and by 10 AM the entire Division crossed the Aguadores River under heavy Spanish Mauser fire at "Bloody Ford." The Division lost almost 100 men at this point.
The 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment began an unsupported attack from the South-East of the Spanish positions on San Juan Hill. The Regiment took up a firing line about 400 yards from the Spanish positions and remained unsupported for over an hour before the 16th U.S. Infantry deployed on their left flank. Spanish fire was so heavy that the U.S. 3rd Brigade, which was attempting to move behind the 6th Infantry Regiment and deploy further to the left, lost 3 commander before they were finally able to get on line.
During this time, the 6th U.S. Infantry continued to fire steadily on the Spanish positions. Companies E and F, where Sgt. Bradford served, were sent forward as skirmishers, only to be driven back. With the U.S. attack plan in tatters, the Commanders decided to attack rather then withdraw. Lt. Jules Ord volunteered to lead the attack and Company A, of the 6th Infantry suddenly surged forward while the other Companies were attempting to reform. With the company commanders screaming for the men to move forward, the regulars of the 6th and 16th U.S. Infantry Regiments ran across the open field at the base of San Juan Hill. The men of the two regiments became intermingled and then mixed the men from the 13th Infantry Regiment attacking from farther to the left. The heat was so great that many men collapsed from heat stroke as they moved up the slope. At around 1:15 PM, the regulars tore at the Spanish barbed wire with their hands and fell into the Spanish trenches, fighting hand to hand. Most of the Spanish fell back in good order, but about 3 dozen stubbornly defended the Block House on the top of the hill. Men from the 6th, 13th and 16th Regiments, climbed onto the roof and broke through the roof tiles with their rifles before 15 of them jumped into the Block House and fought hand to hand with the remaining Spanish defenders. At the end of the battle, the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment had suffered 105 wounded and 17 killed of its original 464 officers and men.
Sgt. Bradford received his Purple Heart on 27 June 1939.
Pfc. Altizer's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
Pfc. Robert C. Altizer, 1558779, Company D, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 4 October 1918.
Born on 10 March 1895, Pfc. Altizer enlisted in the West Virginia National Guard on 27 June 1915 from Bluefield, WV. He was promoted to Pfc. on 5 January 1917 and served overseas from 12 June 1918 to 12 December 1918. He was assigned to Company D, 7th Infantry Regiment on 8 July 1918. He participated in the Marne and Meuse-Argonne Campaigns before being wounded on 4 October 1918.
During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Pfc. Altizer's 3rd Infantry Division was assigned to V Corps. Their initial assignment was to capture the Romagne Heights, which was the central strongpoint of the main line of German defenses , the Kriemhilde Stellung. The 3rd Infantry Division relieved the U.S. 37th and 79th Infantry Divisions on the front lines on 1 October 1918. They encountered constant German shelling with poison gas clouds floating and drifting everywhere along the front. German aircraft controlled the air, strafing and directing artillery onto the Doughboys.
Pfc. Altizer and his comrades endured this until 4 October, when they advanced on the Romagne Heights, over two miles away. the 7th Infantry Regiment was on the left side of the advance and had to cross several rolling hills, cross a ravine and then climb the slopes of Hill 253, capture the German trenches at the top, cross a mile of open ground to reach the Mamelle Trench - the main German defenses on the Romagne Heights. All of this had to be accomplished under constant German shelling and machinegun fire. the 7th Infantry jumped off late and was immediately pounded by German artillery. U.S. artillery had fired smoke rounds to try to cover the advance of the Doughboys, but the smoke hung in separate "clouds," which the German gunners used as range markers to increase the deadly effect of their shells. The infantry quickly lost formation and took horrendous losses. By late afternoon, they had only advanced to the ravine below Hill 253, less then 1 mile ahead. The Doughboys waited until 4 PM before attempting to capture the hill, but were forced back into the ravine after a few minutes. It was during this day's action that Pfc. Altizer was wounded. While his records are unclear, he may not have received medical care for two full days. This, sadly, was common during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive because of the massive numbers of US casualties which overwhelmed the medical system.
He received his Purple Heart on 7 August 1936. He died on 9 December 1945 of heart failure at the age of 50 years old. He is buried at the Monte Vista Cemetery, Bluefield, West Virginia. His grave site does not have a marker.
Corp. Bleger's Purple Heart.
|Corp. Floyd A. Bleger, 122608, 95th Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, U.S.M.C. Wounded in Action on 19 July 1918 in France. Born on 18 July 1896, he entered the service on 13 June 1917 from Kansas. |
Corporal Bleger joined the Marine Corps in June 1917 and completed Boot Camp at Paris Island. He served in the 6th Marine Regiment in France and was wounded on 19 July 1918. His wound must have been severe as he was sent to the SOS Hospital on 29 July. Upon returning to duty, Corp. Bleger was assigned to the regimental band.
Upon his discharge from the Marine Corps, Corp. Bleger attended Kansas State Agricultural University where he participated in the band as a baritone.
He received his Purple Heart on 26 January 1942. He died on 2 December 1969 and is buried at the Stafford Cemetery in Stafford, Kansas.
Floyd Bleger in 1923 while at Kansas State Agricultural University.
Corp. Bleger's headstone at the Stafford Cemetery, Stafford, Kansas.
(Photo courtesy of Joe Gibbens.)
Sgt. Brant's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Sgt. Pearl Brant, 2190446, Battery E, 342nd Field Artillery Battalion, 89th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action in his left hip by a gun shot wound on 8 October 1918. Born on 4 May 1888, he entered the service on 18 September 1917 from Forncelt, Missouri. |
Sgt. Brant was wounded at 0520 hours on 8 October by a gun shot wound to his left hip. Records indicate that he was operated on at 1435 hours of the same day at Field Hospital 118. Following his wounding on 8 October 1918, he spent the 6 months in various hospitals. He stated in his 1924 Service Bonus application that the hospitals were "too numerous to name."
Sgt. Brant served overseas from 28 June 1918 till 7 January 1919 when he returned to the US, arriving in Newport News, Virginia on board the S.S. Powhatan. He was discharged from the Army on 21 April 1919.
He died on 5 June 1957 at the age of 69 and is buried at Keokuk National Cemetery, Keokuk, Iowa. He received his Purple Heart on 6 December 1943.
Sgt. Pearl Brant
Sgt. Brant's headstone.
Sgt. Brosnan's Purple Heart, Cuban Pacification Medal and Victory Medal.
|1st Sgt. Jeremiah Brosnan, R-1100395, Company B, 20th Machine Gun Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 14/15 October 1918. Born on 1 December 1883, he apparently was Regular Army and served a full career. |
Research shows that 1st Sgt. Brosnan served in World War I and at least at the beginning of World War II. It appears that he also served in the U.S. Army for some time before World War I.
During World War I, he served in Company B, 20th Machine Gun Battalion. He was transferred to this unit on 1 January 1918 as a corps of officers and sergeants from the 55th Infantry Regiment. He was one of the three original 1st Sergeants in the Battalion. After several months of training at Camp MacArthur in Texas, the Battalion boarded the U.S.S. Leviathan at Hoboken, New Jersey for the trip across the Atlantic, where the men were packed aboard with only 18 inches between bunks. The ship set sail on the afternoon of 3 August 1918. They arrived at Brest, France on 11 August.
The 20th Machine Gun Battalion moved into the line in the Puvenelle Sector on 10 October 1918, relieving a brigade of the 90th Infantry Division. 1st Sgt. Brosnan and his Company B were assigned to support the 3rd Battalion, 55th Infantry Regiment. They were assigned to an area known as "Death Valley" near Villers-sous-Preny. On 12 October, the Germans noticed that a relief had taken place on the American lines and began a barrage of gas and artillery. This began a series of artillery duels, and patrol and raiding parties which lasted several day. On 14 October, Company B reported 15 casualties, mostly from gas attacks. According to the official history of the 20th Machine Gun Battalion, 1st. Sgt. Brosnan was wounded by mustard gas on this day. It is unclear if 1st Sgt. Brosnan remained on the line, or was evacuated to a hospital following his wound, but his Company was removed from the line on 18 October, and returned to the line at Bois du Four on 1 November. The rest of the war was marked by advances and light engagements.
1st Sgt. Brosnan apparently remained in the Army following World War I, despite the lean and difficult years for the military caused by isolationism. By 1938, when he was awarded his Purple Heart medal, he was listed as a PFC in Company M, 12th Infantry Regiment. The reduction in rank probably indicates that stayed in the Army during the major post-war reductions in strength. It was not uncommon for regular soldiers to be reduced in rank so that they could remain in the service.
He received his Purple Heart on 7 April 1938. He died on 28 September 1954 as a resident of the Old Soldier's Home and is buried in the Old Soldier's National Cemetery in Washington, DC. He was 71 years old.
Sgt. Brosnan's headstone at the Old Soldier's National Cemetery.
Cpl. Cassedy's Medals.
Cpl. Cassedy's Purple Heart Medal.
|Cpl. William E. Cassedy, 1785481, Company I, 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 29 September 1918 when he was hit in the chest and right hip by shrapnel. Born on 19 October 1886, he entered the service on 7 December 1917 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 31 years of age. Before entering the service, he worked as a Trolley Conductor. |
The men of 3rd battalion, 315th Infantry Regiment began preparing for war at "Camp Meade," Maryland (now Fort Meade) from April 1918 until they departed by train on 7 July 1918 to board a troop ship destined from France. A cheering crowd saw the soldiers off from the train station on 7 July 1918. They traveled by train to Hoboken, New Jersey where they boarded the former Hamburg-American liner "Amerika," renamed the "America" which was then the third largest U.S. transport ship. The America dropped anchor in Brest, France nine days later on 18 July, 1918.
The 315th Infantry Regiment spent the next six weeks training in the Tenth Training Area, before moving to the front on 8 September 1918 . the journey lasted several days with the regiment finally taking it place in the trenches on 13 September 1918. There section of the line was located 9 miles northwest of Verdun. The skulls and bones of those killed in the brutal fighting of 1916 through 1918 were still openly lying on the ground when Cpl. Cassedy's unit took up their positions.
Opposite the 315th Infantry Regiment were the German lines and the nearly obliterated villages of Haucourt and Malancourt. The Germans had spent almost four years creating a strong defense that was 11 miles deep. This sector of the line had become a fairly quite sector of the line, with French troops nicknaming it the "Tres-Bon" Sector. This was about to change as the Allies began preparing for an offensive in this sector on 18 September. On 26 September, the men of the 79th Infantry Division went "over the top" as part of the leading elements of the attack following a six hour artillery barrage.
The 315th Infantry Regiment replaced the shattered 313th and 314th Infantry Regiments on 27 September and continued to advance against heavy German opposition. They pasted wounded Doughboys who laid in the mud for over 80 hours before being gathered by the medics and sent to the rear. On 28 September, the 315th Infantry attacked the village of Nantillois, one mile ahead across an open valley. The Germans held their fire until the Americans reached the ridge just south of the village before unleashing, what one soldier called, "the most hellish machinegun and artillery fore of the entire Argonne fight." Forty percent of the soldiers in the 315th were hit by the time they captured Nantillois at 11 AM. The survivors continued to advance a further half-mile to Hill 274 which marked the first outpost of the main German defensive line - the Kriemhilde Stellung. German defense in this heavily wooded area, had been untouched by American artillery, and the advancing Doughboys would have no artillery cover during the attack. The attack started at 4:30 PM and was quickly repulsed with the Doughboys leaving 400 wounded and dead on the field. Reserves were brought up and the Doughboys attacked again at 6 PM. They were also repelled and spent the cold, rainy night listening to the cries of the wounded as Germans constantly shelled and gassed the American positions. The soldiers renamed Hill 274, "Suicide Hill."
On 29 September, the 315th Infantry was ordered to attack again even though they had had no food or water since the 27th. The 7 AM attack was smashed from the flanks as Germans fired into them from the woods and the Madeleine Farm. The Doughboys were pushed back to Hill 274. The 315th Infantry "practically imploded" during these attacks, according to historian Edward Lengel. U.S. artillerymen found so many 79th Infantry Division corpses on Hill 274, that "some had to be dragged away to make a path through which ammunition could be brought to the guns without driving over the bodies." Cpl. Cassedy was hit by shrapnel from an artillery shell in his chest and right hip on this day. He was evacuated and spent a long period of time in the hospital, with is discharge from the Army being granted on 15 October 1920 at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. It is not yet known if he had remained in the hospital for two years or was stationed there following his recovery.
William "Ed" Cassedy went on to a distinguished career in the Uniformed Secret Service working at the U.S. Mint from March 1930 until he retired in October 1949 as a Lieutenant. He eventually moved with his wife to Homestead, Florida where he died on 4 August 1963 at the age of 76.
He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on 8 August 1964. The condolence book from his funeral has over 15 pages of signatures from people who came to pay their last respects. He received his Purple Heart on 4 August 1932.
Cpl. Cassedy in uniform in the 1930s.
William Cassedy in 1949.
William Cassedy's headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
Pvt. Colteryahn's Purple Heart.
|Pvt. Edward T. Colteryahn, 2663811, Company M, 320th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 11 October 1918 by a gun shot wound to his left wrist. Born on 1 April 1894, he entered the service on 1 April 1918 from Oakmont, Pennsylvania. |
Pvt. Colteryahn served overseas from 10 June 1918 until 7 March 1919. He fought at Bethincourt and the Meuse River during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The 320th Infantry Regiment fought during the entire Meuse-Argonne Offensive, leading the assault on Bethincourt along with the 319th Infantry Regiment on 26 September 1918. The American infantry advanced toward the town, which had been flattened. The Germans melted away until the early morning fog lifted from the battlefield and then they opened fire on the Doughboys with machineguns, artillery and strafing airplanes. The 80th Infantry Division advanced 4 miles by dusk, and had already not sleep for over 60 hours. The 80th Infantry Division continued to advance on 27 and 28 September, advancing to the Bois de la Cote Lemont without major problems. Fighting picked up in the woods of La Cote Lemont and by 4 October, the 80th Infantry Division had suffered 1,824 casualties between 4 and 10 October. German gas was so heavy that the Americans had to wear gas masks almost the entire time, even while sleeping.
On 11 October, the 320th Infantry Regiment prepared for a 7 AM attack against the German defenses. At that moment, a German counter barrage hit the regiment and "butchered the Doughboys until the dead lay in heaps." The 319th Infantry shattered so badly that cooks, clerks and quartermasters had to pick up a rifle and hold the line. Pvt. Colteryahn was shot in his left wrist during this day. His records are unclear, but its possible that he did not receive medical care until 13 October.
He received his Purple Heart on 3 April 1944. He died in October 1975 in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.
Edward Colteryahn's headstone at Bethel Cemetery, Bethel Park, PA.
(Photo courtesy of Bettie Morrow.)
Pvt. Conway's Purple Heart, Victory Medal and French Verdun Medal.
|Pvt. Frederick J. Conway, 59668, Company A, 101st Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 26 October 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Born on 2 November 1897, he entered the service on 25 July 1917 from New York. |
He received his Purple Heart on 24 May 1932. He died on 19 March 1975 at age 77. He is buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Francisco, California.
Pvt. Conway's headstone at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Findagrave.com.)
Pfc. Curran's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pfc. Joseph Curran, 3107968, Company B, 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 29 September 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Born on 26 April 1890, he entered the service on 27 May 1918 from Shamokin, Pennsylvania.|
Pfc. Curran served with Company B, 314th Infantry Regiment during his entire time in service from 27 May 1918 until 31 May 1919. He arrived in France on 7 July 1918 and fought in the engagements at Sector 304, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and at Grand Montagne. On the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the 314th Infantry Regiment led the attack on Montfaucon with the 315th Infantry Regiment. They jumped off at 5:30 AM and bypassing the ruins of Malancourt at 7:30. The advanced had been covered by heavy fog, but by 9 Am the fog had lifted giving the Germans clear fields of fire on the U.S. infantry who had bunched together in the fog. The 314th Infantry was pinned down for 5 hours a half-mile north of Malancourt. They tried to move forward again at 2 PM but were quickly beat back with heavy casualties. The weakened American infantry attacked again the next morning at 4 AM and slowly advanced as the Germans were forced to withdrawal along the entire defensive line to avoid being outflanked by other American units. During the entire advance, the 314th was constantly shelled by German artillery. During the night of 27 September, the 315th Infantry Regiment passed through the 314th to lead the next attacks. The 314th continued to be shelled as the entire 79th Infantry Division was destroyed by the 29th. It was on this day that Pfc. Curran was wounded by shrapnel to this left hand.
He received his Purple Heart on 28 January 1942. He died in 1962 and is buried at the St. Edward's Cemetery, Shamokin, Pennsylvania.
Pfc. Joseph Curran
Pfc. Curran's grave marker at St. Edwards Cemetery, Shamokin, Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy of John Haile.)
1st Sgt. Curtis' Silver Star, Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|1st Sgt. Clyde O. Curtis, 43092, Company G, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Wounded in action on 21 July 1918 near Soissons, France. Born on 2 March 1881, he entered the service from Stella, Nebraska.|
During World War I, 1st Sgt. Curtis received the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery in action. His citation reads, "For extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company G, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, A.E.F., south of Soissons, France, July 18, 1918. Leading his platoon against an enemy battery in the face of direct fire, Sergeant Curtis personally killed the gunner, and, with the aid of his men, either killed or wounded the entire crew, thus preventing further casualties on his troops." (General Order 44, War Department, 1919)
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the War Department C.C. Number 44 of 1919. He was cited for the Silver Star in a citation for gallantry in General Order #5, 1st Infantry, 1919. He received the Silver Star Medal on 22 March 1939. He received the Purple Heart medal on 22 March 1939.
He died on 17 July 1958 and is buried at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
1st Sgt. Curtis' headstone at Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Cheryl Behrend.)
Wag. Danforth's Purple Heart.
|Wagoner Alfred V. Danforth, 205096, Wagoner, Company D, 101st Ammunition Train, 26th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 25 October 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Campaign near Verdun, France with a "slight gas" wound. Born on 19 October 1899, he entered the service with the Vermont National Guard on 31 July 1917 from Vergennes, Vermont. |
Wagoner Danforth recovered from a bought with the measles in September and sailed with his unit on 3 October 1917. They arrived in France on 17 October. He served in multiple campaigns including Aisne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne campaigns. He was wounded by a gas attack on 25 October 1918 and suffered from lung problems for years to come. He was discharged from the Army on 23 April 1919.
He received his Purple Heart on 24 August 1932. He died on 22 April 1964 in Greenhills, Ohio at the age of 64 and is buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery, Glendale, Ohio.
Wag. Danforth's headstone at Oak Hill Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Findagrave.com.)
Pvt. Donnelly's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pvt. John E. Donnelly, 2941092, Headquarters Company, 310th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 17 September 1918 during the St. Mihiel Campaign. Born on 17 January 1892, he entered the service on 27 April 1918 from Providence, Rhode Island. |
Pvt. Donnelly served in the 2nd Company of the 153rd Depot Brigade until he was assigned to his infantry unit in France, where he served until he was discharged. He fought in the battles of the Argonne, Toul, Flanders and Thiacourt. He is listed as having been severely wounded on 17 September 1918. He recovered from his wound in Europe and returned to the United States on 6 January 1919. He was discharged from the Army on 13 March 1919 and returned to Providence where he worked as a carpenter.
He was awarded his Purple Heart on 11 January 1933. He died on 20 May 1956 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Providence of lip cancer at the age of 64. He is buried at the St. Francis Cemetery, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Pvt. Donnelly's headstone at St. Francis Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of James Loffler.)
Pvt. Edinger's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pvt. John L. Edinger, 1244009, Company D, 111th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 12 August 1918 near Fismette, France during the St. Mihiel Offensive. |
He was awarded his Purple Heart on 18 July 1939.
Pvt. John Edinger
Capt. Hanley's Purple Heart.
|Capt. John F. Hanley, Advanced Ordinance Depot No. 1, Ordinance Department. Awarded the Purple Heart Medal for receiving the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate (MSCC). Born on 23 July 1890. |
Capt. Hanley received the MSCC on 7 May 1919 "for services in connection with the repair and maintenance of machine gun and automatic arms."
He received his Purple Heart on 5 December 1933.
He died on 27 November 1971 in Sarasota, Florida.
Capt. (later Major) Hanley's headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of John Evans.)
Cpl. Harkins' Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Cpl. Elmer A. Harkins, 125914, Battery C, 6th Field Artillery, 1st Infantry Division. Wounded in Action by gas on 1 April 1918. He was born on 21 February 1898 in Missouri. |
Corp. Harkins joined Battery C, 6th Field Artillery on 15 May 1917 at Douglas, Arizona. He sailed to St. Nazaire, France with his regiment on 31 July 1917, from Hoboken, New Jersey, aboard the transport ship Henry R. Mallory. All did not go well for then Pvt. Harkins as he was AWOL (Absent Without Leave) on 9 - 10 September 1917, which cost him 2/3 pay per month for three months.
In October 1917, the 1st Division entered the Sommerviller Sector of the line near Lorraine. Battery C was emplaced near Bathlemont-les-Bauzement, with one gun in action on the morning of 23 October 1917. At 6:05 A.M., Battery C was given permission to fire, and the first shot of World War I by American troops roared into the German positions. Pvt. Harkins was not in the section which fired the first shot of the war.
On 22 January 1918, Battery C went into positions a kilometer right of Mandres. On 23 January, the unit was subjected to its first gas attack. Pvt. Harkins was gassed on 1 April 1918. During the period between 5 - 10 March, 1918, all batteries were hit with vicious gas attacks, with all of Battery D being hospitalized. Pvt. Harkins was listed as being "Gassed in Action" with no exact date given in some records.
Pvt. Harkins was promoted to Corporal in September 1918 and was dropped from the Regimental roster on 4 May 1919.
Cpl. Harkins received his Purple Heart on 21 June 1933. He also received the Silver Star and French Fourragere for his service in France. He died in June 1970 in Chicago, Illinois. He was 72 years old.
Pvt. Hendee's Purple Heart.
|Pvt. George M. Hendee, 17 Company, 5th Marine Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, United States Marine Corps. Wounded in Action on 18 July 1918 and 4 October 1918. Born on 30 January 1889, he served in the Marine Corps from early 1918. |
Pvt. Hendee served with the 5th Marines throughout the war. He was wounded for the first time on 18 July 1918. The 5th Marines saw extensive combat during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive as part of the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division. The 5th Marines entered the line on 2 October 1918 near Sammepy. They were given the objective to take the Blanc Mont Ridge, which was the most important German position in the Champagne. Attacking the western edge of the ridge, some Marines called the attack on 3 October "the toughest day of the war." Supported by tanks and artillery, the 2nd Infantry Division took the crest of Blanc Mont in three hours of some of the most terrible fighting of the war. On 4 October, they captured the remainder of the ridge and pushed north to the village of St. Etienne and broke the back of the German defensive system in Champagne. Pvt. Hendee was wounded for the second time on that day. He was not alone. The 5th Marines sustained more casualties on 4 October then on any other day of the war, and by the time the 2nd Infantry Division was withdrawn form the line on 10 October, the division had suffered 4,754 casualties.
He received his Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster on 6 June 1938. He died on 14 August 1953 and is buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California. He was 64 years old.
Pvt. Hendee's headstone at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Sally K. Green.)
Pvt. Henderson's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pvt. Andrew J. Henderson, 3168389, Company F, 111th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 5 October 1918. Born on 26 April 1893, he entered the service from Mannington, West Virginia on 26 May 1918 and was discharged on 25 February 1919. |
Pvt. Henderson took part in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive only 4 months after being inducted into the Army. This was not uncommon, as many soldiers arrived at the front without the knowledge to fire their rifles. The 28th Infantry Division launched an attack on the first day of the Offensive on 26 September 1918. The 110th and 111th Infantry Regiments led the attack moving behind a rolling artillery barrage. The early morning attack soon bogged down near the village of Varennes because of heavy German machinegun fire, but regrouped and moved forward, like the veteran unit they were, to capture the village by noon, but soon ran into trouble at the defense of Montfaucon. On 27 September, the division's left, consisting of the 111th and 112th Regiments, entered the misty woodlands of the Argonne. German machineguns fired through the fog and cut down the American infantry, who could not locate the German positions. The Doughboys withdrew to their original positions by nightfall. Little progress was made by the 111th Regiment on 28 -29 September as German machineguns raked the field back and forth inflicting a huge number of casualties. They were able to capture the Le Chene Tondu Ridge after a rare night attack on 29 September. With the Doughboys not holding the crest of the ridge, the Germans attacked in division strength on 1 October, trying to push the Americans back down the ridge's steep slopes. The Doughboys waited until the Germans had closed to within 25 yards before opening fire onto the Germans. To make matters worse for the Germans, their own supporting artillery fire fell short and crashed in their own troops.
Following the German attack of the 1st and into 2 October, the 111th Infantry Regiment repeatedly tried to capture the crest of the Le Chene Tondu Ridge. Over and over they attacked over the ridge only to be pushed back to the same positions they had held since 28 September. German fire continued to rake the American lines, as bullets snapped all around the Americans forcing them to stay on the ground during daylight hours. The 28th Infantry Division took 2,916 casualties on 1 and 2 October. All four infantry regiments of the 28th Infantry Division tried to attack the ridge again on 4 October, but the soldiers of the 111th and 112th Regiments had suffered to much and didn't even get out of their foxholes. The 111th Regiment stayed in their position on 5 October, but Pvt. Henderson still suffered a wound on that day, testimony to the constant and dangerous fire that hit the Americans in their defensive positions.
He received his Purple Heart on 31 January 1936. He died on 15 July 1966 and is buried at the Glady Creek Cemetery in Marion County, West Virginia.
Pvt. Henderson's headstone at Glady Creek Cemetery, Marion County, West Virginia.
(Photo courtesy of G. Hays.)
Pvt. Hurley's Purple Heart, Victory Medal and Fitchburg, MA Victory Medal.
Pvt. Hurley's Columbia Accolade.
|Pvt. William F. Hurley, 71913, Company D, 104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 22 July 1918 in the Pas Finis Sector, France. Born in Hinsdale, Massachusetts in 1895/96, he enlisted in the Massachusetts National Guard on 1 May 1916 at Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He was 20 years old when he joined the Army, and had worked as a Beamer as a civilian. |
He fought in the following engagements: Chemens des Dames Sector, 8 February - 20 March 1918; Toul Sector, 1 April - 14 June 1918; Toul Sector (Bois Brule Offensive) 10 - 14 April 1918; Marne Salient (Pas Finis Sector), 4 July - 1 August 1918; Aisne Marne Offensive, 18 - 23 July 1918. He was discharged from the Army on 28 April 1919.
The photograph on the right shows Pvt. Hurley taking part in a parade in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. This parade takes place after 1935 as he is wearing his Purple Heart on his uniform. The photo on the bottom right is Pvt. Hurley's tunic. The photo on the bottom left is the Columbia Accolade issued to Pvt. Hurley for his wounds. This document was issued to soldiers who were wounded or killed in World War I.
He received his Purple Heart on 17 May 1935.
William Hurley on a parade float in Fitchburg, MA.
Pvt. Hurley's World War I uniform.
Irving's Purple Heart with large Oak Leaf Cluster, Victory Medal and State of New York Victory Medal.
|Pvt. Arthur H. Irving, 1711544, Company B, 306th Machine Gun Battalion, 77th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 16 April 1918 and on 14 September 1918. Born on 30 October 1888, he entered the service from Brooklyn, New York on 5 December 1917. He served in the Army until 9 May 1919.|
He received his Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster on 10 May 1933.
Pvt. Jones' Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pvt. Hugh F. Jones, 3109840, Company E, 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. Wounded in action at 10:30 AM on 11 November 1918 in France. Born on 12 December 1888 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he entered the service on 25 May 1918. He served in the Army until 1 April 1919. |
Pvt. Jones fought in the Meuse Argonne Offensive from 28 October to 11 November 1918 , where he was wounded by gun fire and shrapnel only 30 minutes before the end of World War I. He also served at the Second Battle of Verdun from 26 - 30 September 1918 and in the Defensive Sectors of Ovocourt and Troyon.
He received his Purple Heart on 18 February 1937.
He died on 31 December 1966 at the age of 78. He is buried at the Andersonville National Cemetery, Andersonville, Georgia.
Pvt. Jones' headstone at Andersonville National Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Kevin Frey.)
Capt. Joy's medals.
Engraving on Capt. Joy's Purple Heart and CT National Guard 20 Year Long Service Medals.
|Capt. Edward J. Joy, 595005, Company E, 4th Infantry, Connecticut National Guard, and Regimental Sergeant-Major, HQ Company, 57th Coastal Artillery Regiment during World War I. Wounded in Action on 26 September 1918 in France. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he served in the National Guard from 13 May 1891 and Regular Army during World War I. |
Capt. Joy began his military career in 1891 when he joined the Connecticut National Guard as a Private. In December 1893, he received his commission as a 2nd Lt., and rose to the rank of Capt. in February 1900. He lead Company E, 4th Infantry in the Connecticut National Guard until World War I, when he assumed the rank of Regimental Sergeant-Major in the 57th Coastal Artillery Regiment. Sgt.-Major Joy was the first member of the regiment to be wounded in World War I, seeing action in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. After the war, he resumed the rank of Capt. in the National Guard and was assigned as the commander of Company B, 4th Infantry.
Upon retirement from the National Guard, Capt. Joy served in the Bridgeport Draft Board in World War II and was a president of the Putnam Chapter of the Order of the Purple Heart.
He received his Purple Heart on 27 February 1933.
He died in October 1947 at the age of 72. He is buried at St. Michael's Cemetery, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Edward Joy in a 1949 newspaper photo.
Pfc. Kagan's Purple Heart.
|Pfc. Joseph Kagan, 1734732, Medical Detachment, 306th Field Artillery, 77th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 23 August 1918 at Chery-Chartreuve, France. He entered the service on 9 December 1917 from New York City, New York. |
Pfc. Kagan was wounded during the Vesle-Aisne Campaign. The 306th Field Artillery moved into the line at the middle of August 1918. Incoming artillery and gas hit the battalion every day. On the night of 20 August, 40 men form Battery F were badly gassed, with equally heavy artillery casualties suffered on the nights of 22, 23 and 24 August. It was probably during the barrage of 23 August that Pfc. Kagan was wounded. He was evacuated to the Base Hospital and did not return to duty.
He received his Purple Heart on 13 March 1936.
Pvt. Kragle's Purple Heart, Victory Medal, State of Missouri Victory Medal, French Croix de Guerre and French Military Medal.
|Pvt. Darwin P. Kragle, 645197, Company I, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 14 November 1917. Born on 1 December 1899, he entered the service on 9 April 1917 from Saint James, Missouri. |
Pvt. Kragle's unit served with the French 77th Infantry Division where he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre Medal with Bronze Star for Valor on 14 November 1917 under Order No. 228.
He received his Purple Heart on 13 February 1933.
He died on 11 October 1955 in Orange County, Florida. He is buried at Palm Cemetery, Winter Park, Florida.
Post-War portrait of Pvt. Kragle.
Pvt. Kragle's headstone at Palm Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Redditt.)
Mess Sgt. Ladd's Purple Heart.
|Mess Sgt. George D. Ladd, 1284505, Company D, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 27 October 1918. Born on 4 April 1878 in Boston, Massachusetts, he served in the Maryland National Guard before being called to Active Duty. |
Sgt. Ladd served as a 1st Sgt. and Mess Sgt. during his career. He served overseas from 15 June 1918 until 24 May 1919. He was honorably discharged on 6 June 1919.
He died on 15 March 1945 and is buried at the Lorraine Park Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland (Sec. 8; Lot 395). He was 62 years old.
Pfc. Lantz's Purple Heart.
|Pfc. Ray I. Lantz. Born on 26 September 1893, he entered the service on 29 April 1918 from Mason City, Iowa.|
Pfc. Lantz had previously served in the Iowa National Guard from 1916. He was discharged from the army on 11 February 1919.
He died on 23 October 1973. He is buried at the Elmwood Saint Joseph Cemetery in Mason City, Iowa.
Pfc. Ray Lantz in uniform with wound stripe.
(Photo courtesy of Ancestory.com.)
Post-war photo of Ray Lantz.
(Photo courtesy of Ancestory.com.)
Pvt. Lantz's grave at the Elmwood Saint Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.
(Photo courtesy of Joan Edmonson.)
Pvt. Ledbetter's Purple Heart.
|Pvt. Alva Ledbetter, 1447897, Company C, 137th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 28 September 1918. Born in 23 September 1897 in Indian Territory, Arkansas, he entered the service on 8 April 1917 from Great Bend, Kansas. |
Pvt. Ledbetter was wounded on 28 September 1918 by a high explosive shell wound to his right forearm. The wound was serious enough that it later became infected and he spent many months in the hospital. It is unknown if he ever returned to duty in France, but he was transferred back to the United States and he was immediately admitted into Hospital #3 in New York. From there he was sent to the Ft. Riley, Kansas Base Hospital on 14 March 1919, where he remained for four months before being transferred to US General Hospital #26 in Des Moines, Iowa, where he remained for an unknown length of time. His records from the Fort Riley indicate that he had an infection in his right arm which had become septic and developed arthritis. He was discharged from the Army on 11 October 1919 at General Hospital #26 in Iowa.
Following his discharge, Alva married in 1922 and moved to California before 1930.
He received his Purple heart on 25 October 1932. He died on 11 December 1942 in San Luis Obispo, California at the age of 45. He is buried at the International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery, San Luis Obispo, California.
Pvt. Ledbetter's headstone at the IOOF Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of the San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society.)
Pvt. Leeright's Purple Heart.
|Pvt. Worth R. Leeright, Company A, 127th Infantry Regiment, 64th Brigade, 32nd Infantry Division. He was wounded in 1918 with a gun shot wound to the upper right arm. Born on 10 February 1896, he entered the service on 3 October 1917 from Rupert, Idaho. |
He was discharged from the Army on 18 August 1919. Following the war, he moved to Kirkland, Washington where he worked as a Mail Carrier.
He died on 1 April 1984 at the age of 88 years old. He is buried at Sunset Hills Memorial Park Cemetery, Bellevue, Washington.
Pvt. Leeright's headstone at Sunset Hill Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Mary D.)
Sgt. Lipsett's Purple Heart.
|1st Sgt (later Colonel) Zelner M. Lipsett, Company M, 125th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action in 31 July 1918 in France. Born on 29 July 1895 in Michigan.|
Zilner Lipsett served in the Michigan National Guard from 2 May 1917 until 17 February 1963. He rose through the ranks, eventually retiring as a Colonel. During that time, he served on Active Duty from 2 May 1917 to 10 March 1919 during World War I, and again from 7 April 1941 to 31 August 1955.
He received his Purple Heart on 25 July 1932. He died on 25 February 1974 in California.
Colonel Zelner Lipsett (Ret). in 1961.
Pvt. Lyons' Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pvt. John W. Lyons, 2197266, Company B, 353rd Infantry, 89th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 22 October 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he enlisted in the Army on 26 April 1918 in Kansas City, Kansas. He was 29 years old when he joined the Army and had worked as a Steam Engineer as a civilian. |
He was wounded by Mustard Gas on 22 October 1918 and was admitted to the hospital on 28 October 1918. He had participated in the St. Mihiel Offensive from 12 September 1918 to 10 October 1918 and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive from 10 October 1918 until he was wounded.
The 89th Infantry moved into the line on 19 October to replace the U.S. 32nd Infantry Division during the third phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. They were given orders to "mop up" the woods of Bois de Bantheville, but found the woods held in force by the Germans. They attacked Hill 253 on 20 October and continued to find Germans throughout the woods. The Germans launched gas attacks all throughout the night of 21 - 22 October and infiltrated back into the woods each night to fire into the flanks and rear of the Americans. Pvt. Lyons was gassed during the 21 - 22 October attacks. The 89th Division suffered 1500 casualties in the woods of Bois de Bantheville.
He died in Kansas City, Kansas. He received his Purple Heart on 26 April 1934.
Pvt. McElhoe's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pvt. Howard McElhoe, 78039, Company B, 127th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 31 July 1918 by gas. Born on 28 May 1893, he entered the service on 3 October 1917 from Hinton, Washington. |
He was discharged on 28 May 1919 and received his Purple Heart on 10 May 1933. He died in December 1984 in Seattle, Washington.
Sgt. McLean's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Sgt. John D. McLean, 2101967, Company K, 58th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 4 August 1918 by a gun shot wound at the Vesle River. Born on 14 March 1893 in Adrian, Minnesota, he entered the federal service on 20 September 1917 at St. Paul, Minnesota. |
John McLean worked at a painter before joining the Army. His first unit was Co. K, 351st Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division. On 24 November 1917, he was transferred to Company K, 58th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division where he was promoted to Sergeant on 9 July 1918. He first went into action on 18 July 1918 at Chateau Thierry. Following this battle, he took part in the Battle of Vesle River, where he was wounded by a gun shot on 4 August 1918. He was evacuated from the front following his wounding, where he spent the next several months in various hospitals in Paris and Bordeaux. In October, he returned to his unit to participate in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He was discharged from the Army on 14 March 1919 at Camp Dodge, Iowa.
He received his Purple Heart on 10 March 1938. He died on 28 June 1956 at the age of 63 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is buried at St. Peter's Cemetery, Mendota, Minnesota.
Sgt. McLean's headstone at St. Peter's Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Jeff Crafton.)
Lt. Price's Purple Heart.
|2nd Lt. Chester F. Price, Company H, 11th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 21 August 1918 at Frapelle, France where he lost a portion of his right foot. He entered the service from Anniston, Alabama. |
He received his Purple Heart on 11 February 1936.
Lt. Price's Purple Heart and other medals from WWI and WWII.
|1st Lt (then Pvt) Levin M. Price, O-197011 and 1270326, Company A, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. Wounded on 26 October 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Campaign in World War I and on 28 October 1943 in Telese, Italy during World War II. Born on 4 May 1899, he entered the service on 27 March 1917 as a member of the Maryland National Guard. |
During World War I, Pvt. Price served in Company A, 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division as an infantryman. He served in active combat for 6 months before taking part in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive from 6 to 30 October 1918 where he was gassed on 26 October. He was hospitalized from 18 November 1918 to 17 May 1919 for "being gassed, shell-shock" and other ailments before being discharge from the Army on 19 May 1919.
On 15 August 1942, Price reentered the service as a 1st Lt. in the 525th Military Police unit. He was serving in Telese, Italy when he was severely wounded on when his jeep hit a land mine. He suffered 3 skull fractures, a fractured jaw, lost all of his teeth and was unconscious for 3 days. He was hospitalized for 6 months before being sent back to the U.S. in April 1944. He eventually returned to Germany for Occupation Duty in July 1947 and was finally discharged on 19 November 1948 because of his age.
He received his Purple Heart medal on 7 March 1939.
Lt. Price apparently never recovered fully from his combat experiences and wounds, probably suffering from what is now called PTSD for the rest of his life. He died of a heart attack on 22 December 1958 in Santa Clara, California. He is buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Francisco, California. He was 59 years old at the time of his death.
Lt. Price's headstone at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Gloria Kemp.)
Sgt. Raphael's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Supply Sgt. Harry E. Raphael, 1746172, Company F., 311th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 20 September 1918 in France. Born on 9 December 1892, he entered the service on 6 September 1917 from Flemington, New Jersey.|
Following his wounding, Sgt. Raphael was assigned to the Company 4, Convalescent Center at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. He was discharged from the Army on 10 March 1919 from this location.
Sgt. Raphael received his Purple Heart on 5 July 1932. He died on 27 August 1971 and is buried at the Salem Jewish Cemetery, Sheffield, Ohio.
Sgt. Raphael's headstone at the Salem Jewish Cemetery, Sheffield, Ohio.
(Photo courtesy of Lori Hynd Martin.)
Pfc. Ritter's Purple Heart.
|Pfc. Clinton P. Ritter, 90893, Company H, 165th Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 17 July 1918 when he was gassed. Born on 19 November 1895, he entered the service in 1917 from Brooklyn, New York. |
Pfc. Ritter was gassed on 17 July 1918 near St. Hillaire, France during the Second Battle of the Marne. He mustered out of the service on 7 May 1919 at Camp Upton, New York.
Clinton Ritter received his Purple Heart on 12 December 1944. He worked as an accountant in Brooklyn after the war. He married and raised children. He died in June 1966.
Cpl. Rose's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Cpl. Charles Edgar Rose, 2261125, Company D, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 10 November 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. World War I ended the next morning at 1100 hours. He was born on 1 February 1893. |
On 10 November 1918, on the last full day of the war, a battalion of the 128th Infantry regiment attacked across a fog draped field near Peuvillers, France, east of the Meuse. The fog was so heavy that the soldiers could only see a few feet ahead of them. They failed to notice that they were advancing into dense woods until the fog lifted and it was too late. German machinegun fire chopped down the Doughboys. Many of those that survived the hail of bullets laid wounded in the field until after the end of the war at 11 AM the next day.
He received his Purple Heart on 5 August 1939. He died on 21 July 1961 and is buried at the Eastwood IOOF Cemetery, Medford, Oregon.
Cpl. Rose's headstone at Eastwood IOOF Cemetery, Medford, Oregon.
(Photo courtesy of Larry Moore.)
Bugler Silva's Purple Heart, Victory Medal and Discharge pin.
|Bugler William O. Silva, 134182, Bugler, Battery F, 101st Field Artillery Battalion, 26th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 15 July 1918. Born on 7 April 1893 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he joined the Massachusetts National Guard on 27 June 1917. |
Bugler Silva served overseas from 9 September to 10 April 1919. He was "slightly" wounded on 15 July 1918 and served in the Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. He was discharged on 29 April 1919.
He received his Purple Heart on 16 May 1932. He died on 6 June 1952 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Pvt. Stocker's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pvt. Gerald F. Stocker, 1215623, Company K, 108th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 16 October 1918. |
Pvt. Stocker was from New York, New York. He served in the US Army two different times. The first tour was from 15 June 1917 until 2 January 1919, which included his overseas World War I duty. After the war, he served from 12 July 1920 to 30 September 1925. He retired as a Staff Sergeant.
Pvt. Stocker received his Purple Heart on 20 January 1933.
Pvt. Gerald Stocker.
Pfc. Stuart's Purple Heart Medal.
|Pfc. Kyle L. Stuart, 4606868, HQ Company, 5th Marine Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, USMC. Wounded in Action on 4 October 1918 by gas. Born on 13 September 1895, Pfc. Kyle joined the Marine Corps on 7 June 1918 from Laddonia, Missouri.|
Pfc. Stuart spent three months training at Parris Island, South Carolina and Quantico, Virginia before arriving in France on 27 August 1918. He joined Headquarters Company, 5th Marine Regiment on 11 September 1918 and was with them when the 5th Marines entered the line on 2 October 1918 near Sammepy, France. They were given the objective to take the Blanc Mont Ridge, which was the most important German position in the Champagne. Attacking the western edge of the ridge, some Marines called the attack on 3 October "the toughest day of the war." Supported by tanks and artillery, the 2nd Infantry Division took the crest of Blanc Mont in three hours of some of the most terrible fighting of the war. On 4 October, they captured the remainder of the ridge and pushed north to the village of St. Etienne and broke the back of the German defensive system in Champagne. Pfc. Stuart was wounded during a German gas attack on that day. He was not alone. The 5th Marines sustained more casualties on 4 October then on any other day of the war, and by the time the 2nd Infantry Division was withdrawn form the line on 10 October, the division had suffered 4,754 casualties.
Stuart spent nearly a month in hospital before rejoining his unit on 27 October 1918 where he remained until 5 January 1919 when he returned to the hospital with a chronic pulmonary tuberculosis. He recovered in the hospital for until 1 June1919, when he was shipped back to the United States and discharged from the Marine Corps on 24 January 1920.
Pfc. Kyle received his Purple Heart medal on 10 November 1939. He eventually moved to Tunjunga, California where he died on 7 April 1985 at age 89. He is buried at Glen Haven Memorial Park Cemetery, Sylmar, California.
Pfc. Stuart's headstone at Glen Haven Memorial Park Cemetery, Sylmar, California.
(Photo courtesy of Andres Reutman.)
Pfc. Tepe's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Pfc. Francis C. Tepe, 1848886, Company B, 111th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 1 July 1918 at Hill 204, France. |
Pfc. Tepe was born on 9 November 1895 in Jefferson Township, PA. He was drafted into the Army on 23 February 1918 and was assigned to Company B, 111th Infantry Regiment on 3 April 1918. He served overseas from 5 May 1918 until 28 April 1919 and was discharged on 4 May 1919.
While in France, he was promoted to Pfc. on 25 June 1918 and fought at Hill 204, Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Woods, 2nd Marne, and the Argonne. He was slightly wounded by a gun shot in the right hand on 1 July 1918 at Hill 204. This was the first battle of the 111th Infantry Regiment and members of Company B were one of two companies to take part.
He received his Purple Heart on 6 March 1934.
Sgt. Toppel's Purple Heart.
|Sgt. Ernest Toppel, 1113285, Company C, 9th Field Signal Battalion, 5th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action in on 13 and 14 October 1918 in France. Born on 18 February 1896, he entered the service from Cicero, Cook County, Illinois. |
Sgt. Toppel was wounded twice in back to back days in October 1918 while fighting in the Argonne Forest. On 13 October, he was wounded in the back by shrapnel. While making his way back to an aid station, he received another shrapnel wound to his right leg. The wounds caused Sgt. Toppel to spend almost six months in the hospital before he was discharged from the Army. He had surgery to remove additional shell fragments from his chest as late as 27 February 1919 and the wound to his right leg, although minor, did not heal quickly and caused him pain in his foot and ankle for some time afterwards.
Sgt. Toppel received the Silver Star Citation for displaying exceptional bravery as a member of a wire carrying party, who "advanced repeatedly under heavy shell and machine gun fire to open up communications."
Sgt. Toppel was discharged from the Army on 28 April 1919 from General Hospital 32 in Chicago, Illinois. He worked as an electrician before the war and was working as a as a typewriter by 1940.
He died in October 1965. He was awarded the Purple Heart on 28 May 1932.
1st Sgt. Tyler's medals.
The reverse of 1st Sgt. Tyler's Purple Heart and Mexican Border Medal.
|1st Sgt. Maurice W. Tyler, 297348, HQ Company, 119th Field Artillery Battalion, 32nd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 11 October 1918 by shrapnel to the left eye. He entered the service from Detroit, Michigan.|
Sgt. Taylor served in both the Michigan National Guard and in the US Army when his unit was nationalized. He served on the Mexican Border in 1916 as a Sgt. When his unit was nationalized, he served in France as a Corporal in Battery C, 119th Field Artillery, later rising to the rank of Sergeant. Sgt. Taylor claimed to have been wounded twice during World War I: once on 20 August 1918 by gas, and again on 13 October 1918 by shrapnel to his left eye. He was not hospitalized for the gas wound, so no record was ever discovered when he applied for the Purple heart in 1934. He was sent to Hospital #18 in Bazaille, France for the shrapnel wound.
He received the Purple Heart on 31 October 1934.
1st Sgt. Maurice Tyler.
Sgt. Tyler and his father.
Sgt. Tyler (on the left) in Mexico in 1916.
Pvt. Wagenbrenner's Purple Heart.
|Pvt. Henry Wagenbrenner, 74254, Company G, 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 1 November 1918. Born on 8 September 1890, he entered the service on 27 February 1918 from New York. |
He received his Purple Heart on 19 June 1943. He died on 3 June 1951 at the age of 60. He is buried at the Long Island National Cemetery, Framingdale, New York.
Pvt. Wagenbrenner's headstone at the Long Island National Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Glenn P.)
Sgt. Wenstrom's Purple Heart and Victory Medal.
|Sgt. Gustave E. Wenstrom, 1395199, Company E, 108th Ammunition Train, 33rd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 2 October 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Born on 22 December 1893, he entered the service from Chicago, Illinois. |
Sgt. Wenstrom served in the 33rd Infantry Division, a unit made up of members of the Illinois National Guard. During the Muese-Argonne Offensive, the division attacked on the first day of the offensive. They attacked into a corpse filled swamp, near Forge Creek and Bios de Forges, which the French had declared impassable. Fortunately for the Doughboys, the Germans did not think an attack was possible through the swamp either, and the 33rd Infantry Division was one of the few American units to meet their objectives at the beginning of the offensive. Massive traffic jams nearly halted the flow of fresh ammunition, food and the evacuation of the wounded, yet the division was ordered to continue to attack. The traffic jams were so bad that General Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, could not even get through to inspect the front. The endless columns of stopped trucks made easy targets for the Germans who constantly shelled the ammunition trains from the ground and strafed them from the air. Sgt. Wenstrom was wounded on 2 October during one of the endless attacks that made up the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
He received his Purple Heart on 4 May 1945. He died in March 1969 while living in Clearwater, Florida. He was 75 years old.
1st Sgt. Whitman's Purple Heart.
|1st Sgt. William H. Whitman, 61599, Company I, 101st Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 20 April 1918 at Seicheprey, France. Born on 4 September 1894, he entered the Massachusetts National Guard on 26 June 1916 from Cambridge, Massachusetts. |
1st Sgt. Whitman was wounded in one of the first engagements for American soldiers in World War I. Early in the morning of 20 April, 1918, German infantry conducting a raid against the newly arrived Americans. The brunt of the attack fell on the US 102nd Infantry Regiment, where fighting resulted in the regimental band and cooks taking part in hand-to-hand combat. Sgt. Whitman was wounded sometime during the attack.
In addition to this battle, Sgt. Whitman also severed in the Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. He served overseas from 7 September 1917 to 5 April 1919 and was discharged on 28 April 1919.
He received his Purple Heart on 7 November 1932. He died on 23 October 1973 in Haverhill, Massachusetts.