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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.

Dalton Ranlet

Submitted by: Linda Gagen {niece}

Dalton Ranlet

Dalton Ranlet was born around 1900. Dalton Ranlet 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 uncle, Dalton Ranlet, lied about his age to enlist in the 11th Engineers (Railway), which was one of the first regiments to go to France. In November 1917 he died in the Battle of Gouzeaucourt, which was the first time an American unit fought as a unit in World War I. His body was lost in the rubble and not recovered until 1955. He was then buried in the Somme Cemetery, without notifying the family.

My mother was born three years after Dalton’s death and grew up hearing stories of her brother’s service and death. In 2012, I learned that he was buried in France while researching family history. That discovery began a long process of searching for records both in the United States and France to learn more about Dalton.

Over time I met the citizens and officials for Gouzeaucourt, who expressed an interest in creating a memorial to the 11th Engineers. With the help of my friend Leo, we located the 11th Engineer Battalion Association, who gladly funded the construction of a memorial.

Read more: Dalton Ranlet

Archie Henry Thomas

Submitted by: Gregory Neifeld {Great-Grandson}

Archie Henry ThomasArchie Henry Thomas born around 1885. Archie Thomas served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1909 and the service was completed in 1925.

Story of Service

 

Between April and September 1916, Archie was stationed on the Mexican border in California with the Oregon Third Infantry Regiment, Company I during the Mexican Border War. His regiment was activated into federal service after Pancho Villa’s raid in Columbus, New Mexico. While on the border, Archie was promoted to Corporal in July 1916 and he was promoted to Sergeant before his return to Oregon in September.

This was an era in which the U.S.-Mexico border was perceived as a potential location for a German-funded invasion by Mexico. Border service went into effect when this threat was exposed by the British interception of the Zimmerman Telegram. This message discussed Germany's alliance proposal for Mexico if the U.S. entered the European war against Germany.

Read more: Archie Henry Thomas

Franklin Theodore Rhodes

Submitted by: Debra Dudek {Grand Niece}

Franklin Theodore RhodesFranklin Theodore Rhodes born around 1902. Franklin Rhodes served in World War 1 with the United States Army Air Corps. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

 

Franklin T. Rhodes, known as Frank to his friends and family, enlisted in the Army Air Corps on November 17, 1917. Although he was only fifteen at the time, Frank and a group of friends joined the service together at the Army enlistment office in Fort Wayne.

Frank's parents, Elmer and Ida (nee Pope) Rhodes may have supported his bid to enlist in the Army at such an early age, however, no documentation or official release records exist. Frank recalled later how the the enlistment officer looked him, a strapping farm boy of 5'6 claiming to be 18, and how the officer did not hesitate to accept his enlistment papers.

It is possible he enlisted without his parent's permission, and they simply accepted the decision out of patriotism and Frank's ability to send money home for the family. Frank's older brother, George A. Rhodes had joined the 303 Motor Transport Corps in Detroit, MI around the same time. The Rhodes family had two sons in service, one in the air and one on the ground.

Read more: Franklin Theodore Rhodes

Robert Donald West

Submitted by: John West {Grandson}

Robert D WestRobert Donald West was born around 1895. Robert West 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

 

My grandfather, Robert D. West, served in Company B, 140th Infantry, 35th Division, during the World War. He trained at Camp Dodge, Iowa and sailed from New Jersey to Liverpool on the HMS Adriatic.

He trained with the British and French and fought in the Meuse-Argonne.

During 2018 and 2019, I am posting Robert's diary entries and the letters he sent home at mndoughboy1918.tumblr.com and on Twitter at @mndoughboy1918.

His story includes a broken engagement, a shotgun wedding, leaving his pregnant bride at home, and sailing to Europe to do his part "Over There." I am very proud to share his story with others.

Read more: Robert D West

John J. Lydon

Submitted by: Patricia Lydon {granddaughter}

John LydonJohn J. Lydon was born around 1887. John Lydon 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 grandfather, John J. Lydon, served as a private in the 33rd Division, 66th Infantry Brigade,132nd Infantry, 2nd Battalion, Company F.

He had emigrated from Galway, Ireland about 1914. He enlisted in 1917 after marrying my grandmother, Delia Geraghty.

He served in France, in the Second Battle of the Marne and then near Verdun.

We are fortunate to have his diary from the war. But one of the most telling stories from his service came from another soldier, Charles Dermody, from Lebanon, IL. He described to his children about an incident with my grandfather:

Read more: John J Lydon

Michael A. Valente, Sr.

Submitted by: Ralph J. Madalena {Grandson}

Private First Class Michael Valente

Michael A. Valente Sr. was born around 1895. Michael Valente served in World War 1 with the United States Arm . The enlistment was in 1916 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

 

Michael A. Valente
1895 -1976

Michael Anthony Valente, Medal of Honor recipient and long time resident of the City of Long Beach, New York, died on January 10, 1976 at the age of 80. In every aspect of his life, he exemplified the very finest: beloved husband, proud father, grandfather and great grandfather; exemplary American citizen, heroic soldier, good neighbor and brotherly friend to all of the residents of Long Beach, no matter what ethnic origin, faith or race. He was loved, honored and respected by all who knew him.

Born in St. Apollinare, Italy, the son of Anthony Valente and Mary Palompo, and at the age of 18 he emigrated to America in 1913, through Ellis Island, to strive for a better life and success.

Utica, New York was his first home, then he traveled to Ogdensburg, New York where he stayed with his uncle and other family members. Michael had only been in the country three years when he entered Company D of the New York National Guard. It was his start down the road that would lead him to the trenches of World War I France, and the immortality of having his name inscribed on the Medal of Honor Roll.

Read more: Michael A. Valente Sr.

Talmage Edward Dawson

Submitted by: Brian Paul Kaess {Grandson}

no photo 300

Talmage Edward Dawson was born around 1894. Talmage Dawson 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

 

PFC Talmage Edward Dawson, b. Oct 9, 1894 in Topeka, Kansas, d. May 1 1974, Northbrook, IL. Married many times. Talmage was a native of Kansas.

Registered for the Draft for WW1 in Crawford County, Kansas, on June 5 1917. Enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 28 1918. Served in the U.S.Army in WW1 on the West Front in France. Honorably discharged on Jun 8 1919.

Served in HQ's Co, 351st Inf Reg, 176th inf Brigade, 88th Infantry Division. Talmage name appears on a roster of the 88th Infantry Division.

Saw action in Haute Alsace Sector. His regiment was attacked at Schonholz Woods at night (during Fog). Entitled to wear a gold war service decoration.

Read more: Talmage Edward Dawson

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Charles (Chap) L. Spencer, III

Submitted by: Garry W. Spencer, IV {Son}

no photo 300

Charles (Chap) L Spencer, III was born around 1895. Charles (Chap) Spencer served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1916 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

 

Served as Battery Commander driver (Harloy Davidson side car motorcycle)
Battery D, 129th Field Artillery Battalion, Missouri National Guard, Captain Harry S. Truman commanding.

Dad seemed to be the only one in the outfit that could keep the motorcycle running so he and Capt. Harry became friends as they drove around northern France scouting artillery positions.

The pictures I had of Dad standing on his head on top of a bridge taken by Capt. Harry was lost when his house in Tampa was flooded during a hurricane. Dad was using the height of the superstructure to better see the German positions. He made a hasty retreat when the Germans started shooting at him.

Read more: Charles (Chap) L Spencer III

Benjamin Kent

Submitted by: Michael Kent {distant cousin}

no photo 300

Benjamin Kent born around 1893. Benjamin Kent 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

 

Benjamin Kent was the grandson Henry Ken,t who was a slave on Kingslanding farm in Huntingtown, Calvert County, Maryland. Henry and his children left the area after slavery. Henry's sister Susan remained on the farm and raised her children there.

Henry's son Daniel moved to Baltimore and that is where his son Benjamin was born and raised. Benjamin loved visiting his country cousins and would often come back to Huntingtown in Calvert County.

Eventually, Benjamin moved to Huntingtown to live and work the farm. Benjamin was inducted into the army in 1918 from Calvert County.

Benjamin served with company F of the 808th Pioneer Infantry. He died of pneumonia on October 29 , 1918 in Meuse - Argonne France.

 

Ralph I. Lindsey

Submitted by: Joseph F Reagan {Great Grandson}

no photo 300

Ralph I Lindsey born around 1896. Ralph Lindsey 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

 

Ralph was the only son of a prominent New England family who owned a boot company, the Lindsey Boot, which was very popular in the late 1800's and early 1900's. He served in Battery E 101st Field Artillery Regiment. He participated in the Aisne Marne Offensive, St Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse Argonne Offensive. He was wounded twice.

Ralph maintained a journal of his service, meticulously recording each day of his war in 1918. On being gassed he wrote:

"Well at last I've got it. Am in a field hospital with a dose of must. gas. The fun started last night when the Boshe opened up on us with big boys. The first landed 6ft from me and nearly knocked me out, they shelled and gassed us for three hours knocking the stuffing out of the position, ammunition and gassing us all. Left 33A at 9 this am and was evacuated to Saugy at 11:30 am not at Saugy (6:00) and expect to be sent to Meaux soon. 23 men in C battery gassed in 2 nights. ~Ralph Lindsey July 16th 1918."

Read more: Ralph I Lindsey

James Burl King

Submitted by: James Williamson {Grandson}

James Burl King mug

James Burl King was born around 1892. James King 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

 

He enlisted and got all the way to France before an officer figured out he had a glass eye. They assigned him to driving trucks and ambulances.

He had a lot of stories from the war. He met the poet Joyce Kilmer and somehow got an autographed copy of one of his books. Mr. Kilmer was killed in action a short time later. My mother's middle name is Joyce, in his honor.

One time a German aircraft was shot down near his location. He and other soldiers cut pieces from the plane. I have the piece he cut out. He was part of the occupation force that was stationed in Germany after the war.

Read more: James Burl King

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