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Stories of Service

You can search for the name or unit and you will get a list of the stories that contain them.

Herman Keoka

Submitted by: Chris Isleib {Great Nephew}

no photo 300Herman Keoka was born around 1887. Herman Keoka served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


When America entered WWI, my great uncle Herman Keopka was working as the Assistant to the Governor of the Sailors Snug Harbor in Staten Island, NY. This huge campus facility, which is now a National Historic Landmark, served as a rest home for retired navy and merchant seaman, from 1831 until the 1940s.

Since Herman was adept with administration, and already familiar with the nautical community, he enlisted in the Navy in December of 1917 as a Pay Clerk. His talents were not missed, and he was quickly promoted to Chief Petty Officer within a few days. Soon after this, the Navy would commission him as a Supply/Personnel Officer in February of 1918.

Herman worked in the embarkation & management of the troop ships that brought the 2 million American men & women to Europe for the war. In those duties, Herman made two convoy-trips to France, one aboard the troopship USS Kiowa, and one aboard the troopship USS Tjisondari.

Read more: Herman Keoka

Charles Emory Boykin

Submitted by: Johnette Brooks {GA WWI Troops of Color Historian}

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Charles Emory Boykin born around 1896. Charles Brooks served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


WWI Corporal Charles Emory Boykin KIA: Argonne Forest

Charles Emory Boykin, Serial No. 1.974.564, was born the eldest of ten (10) children in Pool Mill District of Troup County, LaGrange, Georgia on November 17, 1896. His mulatto parents were Albert Sydney Boykin and Eunice Hill living at 307 Hamilton Street. Two years later, his brother, WWI Pvt. John Thomas, Sr. was born.

He was a student at (SATC) Georgia State Industrial College (the future Savannah State College) when he was inducted on July 1st and trained at Camp Hancock. His son was WWII Pvt. John T. Boykin, Jr.

When Charles E. registered for the Selective Service Draft on May 29, 1917, he was already a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He had a medium build, brown eyes, dark hair and he was single. Nine months later, he was inducted at a Chicago, IL Induction Office. He likely was entrained at Camp Meade. They arrived in Brest, France on June 19, 1918.

Their battalion proceeded to the French city of Vitrey, a four-day hike. Cpl Boykin was assigned to the the only negro signal corp in the American Army; the 325th Field Signal Corp, Company C. They were all colored college and high school males with expertise in radio/electrical engineering.

Read more: Charles Emory Boykin

Clair Leo Shipler

Submitted by: Stephen Moore {great nephew)

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Clair Leo Shipler born around 1896. Clair Shipler served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


Sergeant, U.S. Army

59th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division

St. Mihiel Offensive

For the St. Mihiel Campaign, the division moved into an area south of Verdun as part of the 1st American Army. Gen. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), had gotten the French and British to agree that the AEF would fight under its own organizational elements.

One of the first missions assigned to the AEF was the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient. The 4th Division, assigned to V Corps, was on the western face of the salient. The plan was for V Corps to push generally southeast and to meet IV Corps who was pushing northwest, thereby trapping the Germans in the St. Mihiel area.

The 59th Infantry Regiment moved into an area previously occupied by the French, deploying along a 9 kilometer front. On 12 September, the first patrols were sent forward by the 59th. The 4th Division attack began on 14 September with the 8th Brigade capturing the town of Manheulles. All along the front, the American forces pressed forward and closed the St. Mihiel salient.

Read more: Clair Leo Shipler

A Tradition of Service Logo 75William Seach

Submitted by: William "Bill" Seach (grandson)

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William Seach served in World War 1 with the United States Navy.


William Seach was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his service in China during the Boxer Rebellion, prior to World War I. When he died in 1978, he was the oldest. and longest-living, recipient of the Medal of Honor, and the last surviving US veteran of the Boxer Rebellion to receive the medal. His story was shared with us by his namesake grandson, Bill Seach:

During WW I, William Seach was Gunnery Officer on board Troop Transport U.S. Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln was torpedoed/ sunk May 31, 1918 by the German submarine U-90. Lt Seach was wounded, but taken on board and briefly made a prisoner aboard the U-90. The German U-Boat crew had no idea they had captured a Medal of Honor recipient.

Read more: William Seach

Mary Darnaby Henton

Submitted by: Zack Austin

Mary Henton image

Mary Darnaby Henton born around 1894. Mary Henton served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


Darnaby (as she preferred to be called) was born the fifth child of farmers James Henton and Bettie Hampton in Versailles, Kentucky in 1894.

She was one of 7,600 women to volunteer for 100 positions advertised by the War Department in newspapers throughout the US calling for “patriotic women” to serve as “full-fledged soldier[s]” willing to face the dangers of submarine warfare and aerial bombardment. She followed her brother Sam, already serving as a Battalion Sergeant Major in the 326th Field Artillery Regiment, into the service, proud to be a member of America’s first unit of female soldiers outside of the Nurse Corps—the “Hello Girls”.

The first Hello Girls took the Army oath on January 15, 1918. By operating switchboards relaying orders and providing real-time translation from French to English, the women would “do as much to help win the war as the men in khaki who would go ‘over the top’” according to the War Department.

Darnaby is one of the 223 female telephone operators on wartime US Army Transport lists. She departed New York with the second group of women on March 29, 1918, aboard the armed ocean liner RMS Carmania. The Chief Operator overseeing her unit was Inez Crittenden from San Francisco.

Read more: Mary Darnaby Henton

Ward Everett Duffy

Submitted by: Virginia Ward Duffy McLoughlin {Daughter} and Martha M. Everett {Granddaughter}

Ward Everett DuffyWard Everett Duffy was born around 1891. Ward Duffy served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


The calligraphy ink on my father's journalism degree was barely dry when President Woodrow Wilson declared on April 6, 1917, that the United States would enter World War I. The military needed to enlist and train soldiers – fast. My father had just started his first journalism job with The Evening Herald in Manchester, Connecticut, and his employer didn't want to lose him.

April 30, 1917
To Whom It May Concern:
This is to certify that I have known the bearer, Ward E. Duffy, for the past year and can testify that he is a man of good character and exemplary habits. I hope whoever examines him physically will turn him down, as he is needed on his job.
Elwood S. Ela, The Evening Herald

But patriotism, idealism and a sense of duty stirred in my father. His employer's letter aside, he could have sought an exemption from service as the sole support for his wife, Louise Day Duffy, and their 3-month-old son, David. But my 25-year-old father enlisted to serve his country.

During two years of service, more than 400 letters passed between my father and mother. The act of letter-writing became a lifeline that sustained them, along with faith, love and little David.

Read more: Ward Everett Duffy

Henry Christian Klindt

Submitted by: Rebecca Nelson {Granddaughter}

Henry Christian Klindt

Henry Christian Klindt was born around 1894, Henry Klindt served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


Henry C. Klindt served as an “Automatic Man” in WWI, U.S. Army National Guard, Company E, 130th Infantry, 33rd Division from February 26, 1918 to March 21, 1919, arriving in Brest France on May 16, 1918.

Prompted by his cousins, he wrote about his war experiences in a letter which is attached. He fought in various places in France and his biggest battle was the Argonne Forest Offensive. He was injured when he fell on his knees on railroad tracks but his buddies picked him and he went on.

The last battle he was gassed, picked up unconscious and carried by his buddies and woke up in a hospital in Vichey France. By the time he got out, the war was over. Somehow he dodged all the shells and bullets sent his way, survived near starvation and the nonstop noise of shelling; being gassed and dealt with not taking his shoes off for 45 days.

Read more: Henry Christian Klindt

Philip Martin

Submitted by: Michael Rauh {Grand Nephew}

Philip Martin 

Philip Martin was born around 1892, Philip Martin served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


In 1958, I was a 5th grade student. While studying world history, my class learned about World War I, also known as the Great War. We read about the terrible battles where trench warfare, poison gas, and modern weaponry took many lives. I learned then that America had entered the war on April 6, 1917.

To help mark the 100th anniversary of these events, I want to tell my family the story I learned so many years ago. 

 At the end of the term where I learned about World War I, there was an old black & white movie on TV about the life of Sergeant Alvin York. He was one of the many American heroes who fought in the great war. For his actions, he received many awards and was the most decorated soldier of the war. I was very impressed with the movie and was surprised when my mother told me my great-uncle was a member of the same infantry unit as Sgt. York, and that he had fought in the same battles.

Read more: Philip Martin

Ward Burgess, Sr.

Submitted by: Kate {great grand daughter}

no photo 300

Ward Burgess, Sr. served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service


Ward served in world war one and 2. The rest is not known.






Vincent A. Luza

Submitted by: Lydia Luza Mousner {granddaughter}

Vincent A Luza

Vincent A. Luza was born in 1895. Vincent Luza served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1920.

Story of Service


Vincent Aloysius Luza was born on May 2, 1895 in Bryan, Brazos County, Texas. His parents, Vincent and Mary Luza, and grandparents, Baltazar and Francis Gibble Luza, immigrated through the Port of Galveston in 1873 from Praha, Moravia. He was also the grandson of Frank and Angelina (Honozak) Luza. V.A.

Luza attended Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. He was drafted into the army in 1918 and was assigned to the 344th Field Artillery in Battery F at Camp Travis, TX.

On March 4, 1918, the regiment with its two batteries of guns and six hundred-odd animals marched out to Camp Bullis (Leon Springs) for target practice. It was at Camp Bullis that reconnaissance gun squads were first able to put into practice their gun drill, which had in the beginning been executed on make-shift carriages of wood and later perfected by work on the eight three-inch pieces which had been assigned to the regiment.

Read more: Vincent A Luza

Donald Morris McCallum

Submitted by: Sandra Dunlap {Granddaughter}

 no photo 300

Donald Morris McCallum born around 1890. Donald McCallum served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The enlistment was in 1908 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service


My Grandfather's Service on the USS Tennesse (ACR-10)

The Tennessee was the receiving ship at the New York Navy Yard from 2 MAY 1914 until the outbreak of World War I in August of 1914.

At the outbreak the war, the Tennessee made a European deployment as part of the American Relief Expedition, leaving on 6 AUG 1914 on a rapid crossing to Falmouth, England. She arrived on 16 AUG.

When she left New York, the Tennessee was carrying US Treasury officials, banking officials, and $3 million in relief funds. Part of the gold went to London by train and then the Tennessee departed on 20 AUG for Holland to deliver the remainder to The Hague. She returned on 28 AUG to Falmouth.

Read more: Donald Morris McCallum


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