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Stories of Service

Lau Sing Kee

Submitted by: Guy Takamatsu

Lau Sing Kee mug

Lau Sing Kee served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known April 18, 1918 to April 25, 1919.

World War I hero and highest decorated enlisted man from San Jose: Lau Sing Kee (1896 -1967)

By Guy Takamatsu

This writer learned of Lau Sing Kee on a visit to the Chinese Museum located at History Park, a subsection of Kelley Park in San Jose. His medals are on the display, courtesy on loan of his relatives. He won the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart from the United States and the Croix de Guerre from France. Lau Sing Kee was born in Saratoga, his family moved to San Jose. He died in New York City.

Sgt. Lau Sing Kee is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Here is a link to his grave marker in Arlington. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=48767981

He received his medals for staying 3 days straight at a message center. In spite of his position being shelled and gassed, he refused to leave his post. At one point he was by himself for 24 hours. One wonders how he managed to survive and live until 1967. Others who had been gassed died shortly thereafter in about two years. After the war he received a hero’s welcome in San Jose.

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George Allen Rhodes

Submitted by: Debra Dudek

58ceca8b9007e george allen rhodes

George Allen Rhodes served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 6 Dec 1917 to 27 Jun 1919.


George Allen Rhodes served as a private in Group A of the 303 Motor Transport Corps. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, George was the son of Elmer E. Rhodes and Ida L. Rhodes (nee Pope).

As a private in the MTC, George repaired military cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles. George enlisted in Detroit, Michigan in the MTC, inspired by the wartime recruiting poster of 'Earn While You Learn,' gaining trade skills while serving the country during the Great War.

George was recruited to drive ambulance trucks and other vehicles on the western front as needed. His younger brother, Franklin T. Rhodes, served in the 86th Areo Corps as a private. Both Rhodes boys were featured in several newspapers articles in Fort Wayne.

Read more: George Allen Rhodes

Willmar Albert Bathke

Submitted by: Walter F. Johnson

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Willmar Albert Bathke served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known July 5, 1918-November 9, 1918.


1918 109th co. Engineers 28th division. Gassed at Thincourt, France November 2, 1918. Died of bronchial pneumonia November 9, 1918.






Charles Hollopeter

Submitted by: Walter F. Johnson

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Charles Hollopeter served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known July 8, 1917-November 7, 1918.


Served in Co. L 128th Inf. Division. Rank of Corporal, KIA Meuse-Argonne, Nov 7, 1918. Buried at Ladysmith Riverside Cemetery, Ladysmith, WI. VFW Post 2490 Ladysmith,WI is named in his honor.




Clyde Carl Sumner

Submitted by: Dr. Gordon Sumner, Ph.D.

Clyde Carl Sumner mug

Clyde Carl Sumner served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 5 June 1917 - 14 Feb 1919.


Enlisted in the National Guard HQ'd in Jacksonville, FL, June 5th, 1917, age 23 and 9 months living in Vilas, (Liberty Cty), Florida.

Assigned to Company H, 1st Separate Battalion of Infantry, Florida National Guard.

Reassigned to Co B, 117th Machine Gun Battalion (still infantry) until 27 Oct 1918.

Reassigned to Co A, 324th Machine Gun Battalion until discharged.

Promoted to Corporal 6 Aug 1917; promoted to Sergeant 8 Jan 1918. Served overseas during WWI 16 Oct 1918 - 31 Jan 1919. Service #: 1,340,738.

Read more: Clyde Carl Sumner

Phillip Varco

Submitted by: Sarina (Varco) Renaldi {granddaughter}

Phillip Varco mugPhillip Varco served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known June 1917-Jjan. 1919.


My grandfather, Phillip Varco, along with his brother Jack, served in WWI as a member of the 132nd US Infantry, 66th Brigade, 33rd Division. He was born in Italy in Montemaggiore, Sicily in 1892, and immigrated to America in the early 1900s. He fought in the battle of the Somme in France and was shot in the stomach. While he was in the hospital, King George visited the wounded soldiers and presented my grandfather with a cane.

As a young child, I remember him holding me on his lap and showing me his stomach and telling me he had "two belly buttons."


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Raymond Howard Leonard

Submitted by: Helen V. Leonard Poirier {granddaughter}

Raymond Leonard mugRaymond Howard Leonard served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known June 1916- 1920.

Raymond Howard Leonard – National Guard Journal June 18, 1916-Oct 14, 1916
Transcribed by Helen Leonard Poirier – 2015, granddaughter to Raymond.

Raymond Howard Leonard was born February 26, 1899 to Adelbert and Josephine (Davis) Leonard in Worcester, Massachusetts. At the time of his entry into the military, Raymond was residing at 8 Clive St. in Worcester with his parents, and younger siblings, sister Viola, & brothers Joseph and Frank.

The following transcription were from pages found in a Navy journal of Raymond’s son, Robert O’Donnell Leonard, who served in WWII. They are transcribed as written by Raymond.

June 18: Call to colors by Massachusetts Officers 8 pm in Boston June 18, 1916 militia alarm called started midnight saw headlines in papers at 6:20 a.m.

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George Washington Ruth

Submitted by: Steve Smith {grandson}

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George Washington Ruth served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known June 6, 1917 - Oct. 1918.


My grandfather George Ruth left us a audio recording of his tour of duty in World War One. I put his voice and words to a video. This video is posted on youtube.. go to youtube and search "ww1 george ruth" or "ww1 steve smith".





Virginia Stoddert Moore

Submitted by: April Stoddert Martinez {granddaughter}

58bfbddf72300 ALL HANDS JULY 198 PAGE 46   Copy

Virginia Stoddert Moore served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The dates of service are: Known 6/12/1918 to 4/17/1919.


My grandmother, Virginia Stoddert Moore, of Chicago, Ill, b. April 24, 1896, d. March 8, 1982, Service No. 145-64-22, volunteered to join the U S Navy and enlisted on June 12, 1918, at Great Lakes, IL, as a Yeoman First Class.

She was called to active duty, to "volunteer for general service and agree to any assignment to duty on the high seas or to service in any foreign coutnry." Capt Moffett, then Commander of the base there, is recorded as saying she was the "first" there. (Please see attached article.)

Virginia stated she felt like she was the first because of her status as a volunteer, when the first and subsequent women had been 'taken in', or 'conscripted' as secretaries. History records otherwise, I'm afraid.

She was assigned to a ship the USS Triton at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., June 20, 1918, then to the Public Works Office January 29, 1919, and then transferred to the Navy Department in D.C. on January 29, 1918. She was assigned to Josephus Danials, SECNAV, and also the F.D.R, Assistant SECNAV at Naval Communication, R1210, South Bldg, according to her story, earning $44.00 per month salary, and worked as a Stenographer.

Read more: Virginia Stoddert Moore

Webster Earl Bachert

Submitted by: Glenn D Bachert

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Webster Earl Bachert served in World War 1 with the United States Army Air Corps. The dates of service are: Known Sept 10, 1917 to Dec. 13, 1918.


He was a Sgt 1st Class attached to the 188th Aero Squadron. They were formed at Kelly Field in San Antonio Tx. on Nov. 9th, 1917. They were assigned to work on the Curtiss, Wright-Martin and L.W.F. planes. They remained in Texas until orders arrived, they shipped off to New York before departure overseas.

They departed the United States on March 5th, 1918 and arrived in Liverpool England on March 18th 1918. Their journey was aboard the S.S. Celtic with the U.S.S. Baltimore and H.M.S. Leviathan as escorts. After arriving in Liverpool they were responsible for the manitenance and upkeep of the De Haviland's and the Armstrong-Whitworths.

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John William Augustine

Submitted by: Patricia S. Carden

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John William Augustine served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The dates of service are: Known 1914-1951.


Major John William Augustine, USMC
Born July 26, 1894 Camden, New Jersey died July 03, 1979 Washington D.C..
John's military records show he was born in 1891 because he lied about his age in order to join the Navy. In truth, he was born in 1894. He joined the United States Navy at the age of 15.

John was in the Campaign at Vera Cruz, Mexico aboard the USS Utah in 1914.

During World War I, specifically from January 10, 1918 - March 9, 1919, John W. Augustine was aboard the USS Haterias, and USS Mars, Hq. San Francisco California as Boatswain.

By World War II he was serving in the USMC, and later the Korean War. He was finally added to the Honorary Retired List, September 30, 1951.

Read more: John William Augustine

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