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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.

Oliver Alcide Charpie

Submitted by: Karen Fyock {Charpie was the husband of a distant relative}

oliver Charpie image

Oliver Alcide Charpie born around July 21, 1893. Oliver Charpie served in World War 1 with the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service (GRS). The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


These items and letters were found published in the local papers of Clay Center, Kansas when I was researching our family history.

"Thursday morning of last week 49 more Clay county boys went to Camp Funston, to join the draft army. The band assembled at the court house at 10 o'clock, marched down to the Union Pacific depot, playing patriotic pieces, and there played a number of pieces while waiting for the train. A big crowd was also present to see the boys off and bid the God-speed. It was the largest single contingent to ever leave Clay county. Among those who left was Oliver Charpie."

-- The Times - Clay Center, Kansas - July 4, 1918

Read more: Oliver Alcide Charpie

James Henry Johnson

Submitted by: Catherine Sarver {Granddaughter}

James Johnson image

James Henry Johnson born around 1893. James Johnson served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service


My grandfather drove an ambulance to the front lines in France to bring back the injured. He was injured twice. Once when he and his ambulance were hit by shrapnel. He got a back injury from that.  He got a back injury and was trained by the government to become a watch maker. Another time mustard gas got under his helmet causing him permanent hair loss.

Even though his name was James Henry Johnson everyone called him Tom! I have no idea if he was called Tom in the military. I also don’t know the enlistment or discharge dates.


Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind

Bhagat Singh Thind Submitted by: Tanveer Kalo

Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind was one of the first Asian Indian soldiers and first turbaned Sikh to serve in the United States Army during the First World War.

Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind was born on October 3, 1892 in Taragarh, Punjab, British India. Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind arrived to Seattle, Washington on July 14, 1913 on board the ship Minnesota from Manila, Philippines. His younger brother, Jagat Singh Thind died onboard  the ship Komagata Maru, which had been forced to turn back from Canada in 1914 because of country’s racial laws. When the ship returned to India, the British government thought the Indians on board the ship were attempting incite revolutionary activities, and a riot broke up out. Many were killed and jailed, including Jagat Singh Thind. Dr. Thind came to the United States for higher education to become a spiritual teacher and scholar. He made his way to Oregon and eventually settled in California later in life.

Dr. Thind came to the United States for higher education to become a spiritual teacher and scholar. When America entered the war, Dr. Thind was studying at the University of California, Berkeley for metaphysics, spirituality, and religion and it is safe to assume that he wanted to serve his new home and uphold the strong warrior tradition of the Sikh faith. He enlisted in the United States Army when the country entered the war in the 1917. He trained at Camp Lewis in Washington state but did not see overseas action. He also listed in October 1918 issue of the newspaper and journal Young India with other Asians serving in the U.S military during the war. Dr. Thind was one of the thousands of Indian Sikhs that bravely served in the war, but he was the first turbaned Sikh to serve in the U.S during the war. Dr. Thind received an Honorable Discharge with the of rank of acting sergeant in 1918 when the war ended.

Read more: Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind

Douglas Mellen Burckett

Submitted by: Jenifer Burckett-Picker {daughter}

Douglas Mellen BurckettDouglas Mellen Burckett born around 1895, Douglas Burckett 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


My father, Douglas Mellen Burckett, was born in Brooklyn in 1895 and grew up in Montclair and Somerville, New Jersey. After finishing high school, plus a couple of years of military academy, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the fall of 1915 to study electrical engineering.

After his sophomore year, in the fall of 1917, he enlisted in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). He was in Wagon Company #3 of the 23rd Engineers Regiment and spent his first almost five months at various training camps in Maryland (Camp Meade, Camp Glen Burnie, and Camp Laurel). At Camp Meade, he met his lifelong friend, George W. Duncan “Dunk”, from Missoula, Montana.

Dad and Dunk shipped over from Hoboken, NJ to Brest France in early April 1918 on the U.S.S. George Washington. They spent just over a week in Brest at Camp Pontanezen, before entraining to Nevers in central France, where they spent the next almost four months working on the most important American railroad project in France in WWI – unheard of and forgotten today, but of vital strategic importance to the war effort – the Nevers Cut-Off (or as the French called it “La ligne americaine”).

Read more: Douglas Mellen Burckett

Katherine Rose Kreutzer

Submitted by: Mary Rohrer Dexter

Katherine Rose Kreutzer

Katherine Rose Kreutzer served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 3/1918 - 4/1919.


April of 1918 was rainy in Southwestern Ohio, with temperatures which ranged in the upper forties to lower fifties, as 30-year-old Katherine Rose Kreutzer arrived at Wilbur Wright Field, Fairborn, Ohio. Pulling her cape around her more closely while shivering in the biting wind, she stepped into a new juncture of her life. She was beginning her period as an Army Corps Nurse.

Wilbur Wright Field was a new base. The land had only been acquired one year prior to her arrival. The hospital building construction had started in July of 1917, but an adequate amount of additions to the original structure were not in place until March of 1918. During the construction phase, civilian workers and their families camped in the area, as were the teams of animals used in the construction work. Conditions were very unsanitary. The stench of many pit privies combined with large amounts of animal manure caused the area to become infested with flies and the drinking water became contaminated.

Luckily, after Katherine had been at the base a month, all these issues were resolved. The hospital did not have telephone service during the time frame she was at Wilbur Wright Field. In spite of the primitive conditions, Katherine immediately rolled up her sleeves alongside ten other nurses to care for the 353 soldiers who were in the hospital that month. Twenty of the young men were inflicted with communicable diseases which put these young women at risk, and twenty-five others had contracted venereal disease. The work was demanding and the shifts were long.

Read more: Katherine Rose Kreutzer

Russell Banks, Sr.

Submitted by: Mike Esposito {great grandson}

Russell Banks image

Russell -Banks, Sr. was born around 1895. Russell Banks 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

Chapter I -- The First Nine Years of My Life

By Russell Banks1

I was born September 25, 1895, at Elkatawa, Kentucky, the year the railroad was finished into Jackson, Kentucky2. My father, Samuel Henry Banks, made a living by cutting hickory timber and loading it in box cars to be shipped to Louisville, Kentucky to make wagons. Each car was supposed to have two wooden malls made and put in the car to split the timber at the factory.

I don’t know how long we lived at Elkatawa; the first recollection I have is living on Tira Creek3, a tributary of Frozen Creek. I remember my father was walking to the O & K4 Junction, five miles away, to help build the O & K railroad. While we lived here, I had my first pair of shoes. They were brogans with brass on the toes. There was no right or left, they were exactly the same so as to be changed back and forth if they started to run over. They were made of coarse stiff leather and the soles were put on with wooden pegs. They had to be greased with beef or mutton tallow to soften them up and keep out the water.

When I was three, we moved farther up the creek to a two-room log cabin. Here my father bought my mother her first cook stove. It was a 4-cap cast step stove known as a “rail burner.” It cost $12.50. While we were living here, Mother had a hen setting near the house and the hen was found dead on the nest from snake bite. Mother put the eggs in with an old cat and kittens and hatched every one.

Read more: Russell Banks, Sr.

Lee Jensen

Submitted by: K.C.Picard-Krone {World War 1 historian}

Lee Jensen image

Lee Jensen was born around 1895. Lee Jensen served in World War 1 with the United States Army Air Corps. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


With all the best intentions of serving his country in the Great War, twenty-two year old Lee Jensen, of Montpelier, Idaho enlisted in February 1918 with the Aviation section of the Army Signal Corps. He was ordered to take the train to Vancouver Barracks in Washington State to report for training.

Jensen came from a large farming family, like the rest of the residents in Montpelier. He was born in Brigham City, Utah on the 5th of December 1895 as the fifth son in a family of 15 and he was in pretty good health. Yet four and a half weeks after he had settled in with his bunk mates in April 1918, Jensen was running a fever. Over the course of four days it progressed to a dry hacking cough together with a runny nose and red splotches all over his body... all the symptoms of measles.

Read more: Lee Jensen

Lewis Lawrence Lacey

Submitted by: Laura Lacey Caldwell {Daughter}

Lewis Lawrence Lacey mugLewis Lawrence Lacey born around 1895. Lewis Lacey 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



Military Biography

Corporal Lewis Lacey served in France during the Great War as a proud member of the 42nd Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. The eldest son of Dr. Lewis and Forney (Beaumont) Lacey, he was born in San Antonio, Texas, on March 27, 1895, and raised in Austin, Texas, where his father established his medical practice on Congress Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Texas state capitol building.

Lewis Lacey, like his three younger brothers, was educated in the Austin public schools and later attended the University of Texas in that city. During his youth, when the stifling heat of summer blanketed Austin, Lewis and his brothers would spend their school vacation camping, swimming, fishing and hunting at nearby Lake Austin. Those early camping experiences undoubtedly helped prepare him for the primitive living conditions in the hastily constructed military training camps both in the United States and in France, where sometimes his only shelter was the pup tent he carried in his backpack.

Read more: Lewis Lawrence Lacey

Stephen Jendraszak

Submitted by: Ches Wajda {Great Nephew}

Stephen Jendraszak image

Stephen Jendraszak was born around 1892. Stephen Jendraszak served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1914 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


Pvt. Stephen Jendraszak (Co. C, Regiment: Machine Gun Battalion, 3rd Brigade) was born on Dec. 14, 1892 in Trzemeszno, Poland. His family immigrated to US in 1901, when he was 9½ years old (the oldest of 4 children). The family eventually came to reside in Chicago, Ill. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1914, at age 21.

He was killed in action on day 2 of The Battle of Soissons in Ploisy, France – as result of an airplane bomb – on Friday, July 19, 1918. He was 25 years old.

The Battle of Soissons (July 18-22, 1918) was a battle fought on the Western Front during World War I. This battle marked the key turning point of the war, as the Germans would be on the defensive for the remainder of the conflict. The war ended 5 months later.

Stephen was a Polish immigrant who loved his adopted country of the United States. He made the ultimate sacrifice in a battle that turned the tide of World War I. I am proud to be his great nephew.


Thordur Thordarson

Submitted by: Stephen Thordarson {Grandson}

Thordur Thordarson image

Thordur Thordarson born was around 1897. Thordur Thordarson served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1920.

Story of Service


My grandfather was born in Raudkollsstadir, Iceland and moved to America in 1899. He grew up in Upham, North Dakota and when America became involved in World War I, he joined the Marine Corps, his brother Oskar joined the Army.

My grandfather trained in Texas, California and finally at Quantico. He was part of the 5th Brigade and was sent to France.

I believe my grandfather was one of only 5 Icelanders who served in the US military during World War I.

Read more: Thordur Thordarson

Joel Talbot Arthur

Submitted by: Wanda Arthur {Great-great-niece}

Joel Talbot Arthur snipJoel Talbot Arthur born around 1891. Joel Arthur 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

Joel Talbot Arthur was born June 17, 1891, in the Greshamville area of Greene County, Georgia. Named for both grandfathers, Joel Ruark (pronounced “Rooks” at the time) and Talbot Arthur, he was the fifth of seven children born to Seaborn Arthur and Mary Eugenia “Jennie” Ruark Arthur. Just three generations removed from a great-grandfather who had owned 900 acres in neighboring Oglethorpe County, Joel was born into the downtrodden, post- war South in which cotton was still king but little cash was in circulation. Sharecropping had evolved, whereby poor farmers, black and white, worked land owned by others in return for a place to live and a minor share of the harvested crop. Such was the plight of the Arthur family for several generations.

In 1900, the Arthurs lived on a rented farm in the Greshamville District. At that time, according to the census, nine-year-old Joel was not attending school and was unable to read or write. The cotton crop, a Georgia sharecropper’s sole means of survival, as well as other demands of the farm, rendered schooling an intermittent opportunity when there was nothing else to do. As with most sharecropping families, the Arthurs moved frequently, forever seeking to improve their lot in life. At some point during the time period 1901-1902, Seab Arthur moved his family north, crossing over into the adjacent county of Oconee and settling on a tenant farm near the town of Watkinsville. Seab died there, January 31, 1906, leaving Jennie with 19-year-old Lenora, 14-year-old Joel, 10-year-old Grady, and 5-year-old Gladys.

Read more: Joel Talbot Arthur


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