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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.

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Sgt Willard Tompkins

Submitted by: Leland E Tompkins (son)

Willard TompkinsSgt Willard Tompkins served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 21 Dec 1910 - 3 Oct 1919.


Willard Tompkins was my father and born in 1890 in England. He grew up in the state of Maine, U.S. He enlisted at Fort Wright, New York 21 Dec 1910. He was in the Coast Artillery and spent most of his time working on small boats for Harbor Defense around New York. He made Corporal in Oct 1912 and Sgt on 1 Aug 1917.

In 1917 he was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division with the Ammunition Train. He and his unit moved as the Division did maintaining a flow of all types of munitions to the units. NCO's on motorcycles lead trucks into the units where they delivered the munitions. Also, NCO's where in charge of movements without officers at times.

Sgt Tompkins had worked on engines on boats and vehicles so he worked on the vehicles often along with unit mechanics.

After 11 Nov 1918 Sgt Tompkins was transferred to the 13th Infantry and performed occupation duties with that unit until it returned to the U.S. in Sept 1919 . My father separated from the Army at Camp Dix, NJ 3 Oct 1919.

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Martin Booterbaugh

Submitted by: Raymond Schaffranek

5899315750c8f Martin Booterbaugh in WWI uniform (2)

Martin Booterbaugh served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known May 19, 1917 to June 20, 1919.


Martin Samuel Booterbaugh was born on January 31, 1895, in Mark Hanna, near the town of Ashville in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. He was the fourth of eleven children born to John Booterbaugh and Louisa McDermott. The Booterbaugh (aka Butterbaugh) family has a long history of military service dating back to the Civil War. Martin’s Grandfather Samuel Butterbaugh served two enlistments during the Civil War as a Pennsylvania volunteer in the Army of the Potomac, first with the 125th Infantry Regiment at the Battles of Antietam and Chancellorsville and then with the 208th Infantry Regiment in the siege of Petersburg and in the Appomattox Campaign. So it comes as no surprise that Martin would step forward to serve his country during WWI.

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Lt. Edward Cedric Harris

Submitted by: N. Larry Rozier

589b3b2fa58eb Lt. Cedric Harris

Lt. Edward Cedric Harris served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known April, 1917 - Nov. 11, 1918.


He served with a Machine Gun Company, 81st Div., 321st Inf. When his unit came under fire, he carried a machine gun through the wire and came under fire from 3 enemy machine guns. He was fatally wounded on Nov. 11, 1918. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and The Croix de Guerre from France.




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A Tradition of Service Logo 75John Schaffranek

Submitted by: Raymond Schaffranek (son) and Jeffrey Popchock (grandson)

5898a969179ee Pvt Schaffranek   Camp Lee picture 4x6

John Schaffranek served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known April 1, 1918 to June 4, 1919.


My father, John Schaffranek, was born in Rotthausen, Germany, on February 19, 1896. When he was nine years old, his mother Marie and father John emigrated from Germany with their five children. The family arrived in the United States on May 23, 1905, on board the SS Kroonland sailing within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The SS Kroonland would later serve as a troop transport ship for the US Army and Navy after the United States entered WWI.

Upon completion of immigration processing at Ellis Island, the family traveled to the small coal mining town of Portage in the central Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania. John’s father found work in a local coal mine and, sometime thereafter, John was working in a coal mine as well, likely before the age of fourteen, as documented in the 1910 Federal Census.

On August 5, 1913, his father completed the naturalization process, renounced allegiance to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the family was granted full citizenship. With their income and future secured, the family was ultimately able to purchase a two-acre plot of land in the Portage Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. They built a small house and settled down in their new home and country.

At age 21, my father registered for the military draft on June 5, 1917, two months after the United States Congress voted to declare war on Germany. He was drafted into the US Army on April 1, 1918, and received basic training at Camp Lee, Virginia. During World War I, he served as a Private on French soil with the American Expeditionary Forces from May 31, 1918, to May 16, 1919. He departed for “Over There” on May 22, 1918, on board the USS Leviathan sailing within sight of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The USS Leviathan dropped anchor in the Harbor of Brest, France, on May 30, 1918. Pvt. Schaffranek was assigned to “I” Company in the 3rd Battalion, known as the “Flying Squirrels,” of the 318th Infantry Regiment in the 80th Division. The 80th Division was referred to as the “Blue Ridge Division” since most of the troops came from Virginia, West Virginia, and western counties of Pennsylvania.

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Ruben Ferdinand Martin

Submitted by: Douglas M. Frye

58bbefcd61b77 Ruben

Ruben Ferdinand Martin served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known Aug. 11, 1918 to Dec. 9, 1918.


First Lieutenant Dr. Ruben F. Martin
Medical Corps
Ft. Riley, Kansas

Dr. Ruben Ferdinand Martin (pictured in approximately 1893) served the United States during both World War I and World War II. He adjusted his birth date and first name to facilitate this service by mitigating any prejudice against age and German heritage. His grandparents had fled Prussia at a time when heightened conservative values were crushing individual freedoms. Ruben became a doctor to alleviate suffering, but found that his skill was used to send a family that included young children back to Germany during the final period of WWII when Germany was being destroyed.

King Frederick William IV of Prussia, (1795-1861) instituted conservative policies that helped spark the Revolution of 1848. In the aftermath of the failed revolution, Frederick William followed a reactionary course. Family legend has it that a clandestine political meeting was taking place in the Martin/Goettel household when soldiers entered the house. The group’s plans were stuffed into a baby’s diaper. Although the plans were not discovered, one family member was arrested and the rest of the family decided to emigrate to America in 1858.

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Shinichi Takenouchi

Submitted by: Michael Itamura (grandson)

5894208c7f071 Army47

Shinichi Takenouchi served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 24 May 1918 - 14 Jun 1920.


My grandfather was a cook during his almost two years of service in the Army. He was born on Maui, the first son born to Japanese Immigrants to Hawaii. He was living in Yuma, Arizona when the US entered WWI in 1917. He entered the Army at Fort McDowell on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay on May 24, 1918. He was sent to the Presidio on May 28th and attached Company D of the 63rd infantry regiment. On August 11, 1918, the 63rd Infantry Regiment left California and was sent to Camp Meade, MD to undergo final training in anticipation of being shipped to Europe in the Fall. The Spanish flu swept through Camp Meade in mid-September which delayed their training and deployment. The unit was finally cleared for deployment in early November but Armistice happened on November 11th so they were not sent to Europe.

With the end of the war, the companies in the 63rd Regiment were sent to DC, NY, or other locations in Maryland. My grandfather’s Battalion was sent to the Curtis Bay Ordnance Depot on Jan 17, 1919 to guard the powder magazines. He was sent to Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor, NY at the end of May 1919. He re-enlisted for another year on June 13, 1919. In June 1919, he saw the surrendered German U-Boat UC-97 when it toured the great lakes that summer.

On September 1, 1919, he was sent to Fort Ontario (Oswego, NY) and then returned to Madison Barracks on May 4, 1920. He was discharged from the Army on June 14, 1920.

Unit: 63rd Infantry Regiment Company D - Presidio (San Francisco, CA), 11th Division — Camp Meade (MD), 63rd Infantry Regiment Company D - Curtis Bay Ordnance Depot (Near Baltimore, MD), Madison Barracks (Sackets Harbor, NY), and finally Fort Ontario (Oswego, NY).

Read more: Shinichi Takenouchi 2

Private Roman Paterka C/131/33

Submitted by: Dennis Paterka (grandson)

Roman Paterka

Private Roman Paterka C/131/33 served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 7/1917 to 5/1919.


My grandfather, Roman Paterka (the first generation of Polish immigrants), was a private in the 131st Infantry Regiment, 33rd Division AEF during the Great War. While rated as a mechanic, once he arrived in France he was switched to infantryman. Roman died 20 years after the Great War at the age of 43 of heart failure. Having been gassed during the war, I have to wonder if the gassing contributed to his early demise.

Amazingly the full volume of his letters have survived. I've posted letters from my grandfather on this web site: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/80307-usa-131st-infantry-regiment-33rd-division-aef/&page=2 under the handle dpaterka. The letters are written to my grandmother at 919 Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, (now a bridge over an expressway).


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Frank C. Smith

Submitted by: Bob Ravener

58b5d61fa4cb7 Frank C. Smith Pvt NYNG 1916 Headshot 2

Frank C. Smith served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 1916-1959.


Maybe it was the thought that eventually the United States would enter the war in Europe or maybe Frank was outraged that his beloved country was invaded several times with American fatalities that motivated him to serve. It also could have been little more than a young man seeking adventure and adding some excitement to his seemingly routine life as a twenty year old.

The newly minted private was immediately assigned to Battery C of the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, part of the unit commanded by Colonel George A. Wingate, which would become the 105th Field Artillery Regiment and ultimately became part of the 52nd Field Artillery Brigade commanded by Wingate in WWI. He was promoted to private first class and his unit were federalized and sent to the Mexican border from July to December 1916.

Arriving home with the New York National Guard in early January, Frank was subsequently sent to officer training at Camp Wadsworth, SC. Promoted to sergeant on 01 June, 1917, and then an artillery gun chief, Frank was called up to the regular Army on 05 August 1917 and sent to Fort Niagara, NY in September to train others in artillery proficiency. He became engaged to Mathilde Putz of NY that month as well. Frank's regiment was converted to the 105th Field Artillery and he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 01 June 1918, after completing his officer training.

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James Irving Hillis

Submitted by: Walter L. Hillis

58b60840b5d44 J. Irving Hillis and sons

James Irving Hillis served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Unknown .


James Irving Hillis served in WW I and his six sons served in later wars. He and his sons were from Van Buren County, Tennessee.




Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair

Submitted by: Cynthia B. Lake (grand-niece)

58b9762ed6c78 IMG 1214

Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known Oct 24, 1916 - June 11, 1918.


My Great-Uncle Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair served in WWI, and died at the Battle of Belleau Woods in France on June 11, 1918. Kenneth, born a middle child of a large family, likely had no bright future ahead on the small, hard-scrabble family farm in Bane, Giles County, Virginia. As a young graduate of Pearisburg High School, he set off on a great adventure with the U.S. Marines when he enlisted at Port Royal, SC on October 24, 1916.

Kenneth completed basic training at Paris Island, SC with 4th Company E. He sailed from the U.S. February 21, 1917 on board the U.S.S. Maine, disembarked March 10 for temporary shore service in Cuba. He served in Cuba until May 25, 1917 on which date he sailed on board the U.S.S. St. Louis for Philadelphia. On June 14 he sailed for France on the U.S.S. Henderson, being appointed to the rank of Corporal on June 16 with the Fifty-fifth Company, Fifth Regiment, Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marines. He came ashore in France on July 3, 1917.

Kenneth’s service record states, “Occupied various trenches in the Verdun sector from March 17, 1918, having occupied the front line trenches at Camp Montgirmont from March 24th to March 28th, 1918, and the front line trenches in the vicinity of Chatillon from April 9th to April 22nd, 1918.” He was promoted to Sergeant on May 1, 1918. “Occupied the front line trenches and took part in various engagements from June 3rd when the German advance on Paris was stopped until the capture of Bois de Belleau on June 11th.”

Read more: Kenneth Lawrence St.Clair

Corporal Harry Edward Shenton

Submitted by: Rex Passion

Harry Edware Shenton Jr

Corporal Harry Edward Shenton served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known April 18, 1917 to May 16, 1919.


Harry Edward Shenton served in Company B, 103rd Engineers of the Pennsylvania National Guard from the beginning of the U. S. involvement until the war’s end. His unit was attached to the 28th Division and Corporal Shenton built defensive works on the Marne at Charly sur Marne, fought in support of the 109th infantry at St. Agnan in the breakout of July 15th, built bridges under fire at the Battle of Fismes, built roads in the Muse Argonne and fought in support of the 111th infantry at Chene Tondu. They were preparing to cut the German wire at St. Louis Farm in the Thiaucort Sector when the war came to an end.

Ed Shenton was an art student when war was declared and promptly joined the engineers. He was in the habit of drawing every day and continued this routine throughout his training and his service overseas. When he returned home, no one was interested in his stories or his drawings so he put his sketchbooks away and went back to art school. He had a fifty-year-long career and became one of the major book and magazine illustrators of his day.

Read more: Corporal Harry Edward Shenton


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