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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.

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.”

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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.

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Lee Roy "LeRoy" Appleton

Submitted by: Ethel Lee Douglas Lawson (niece)

588bffdd042ae Lee Roy Appleton

Lee Roy "LeRoy" Appleton served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 15 May 1917 - 23 Nov 1917.


My Uncle LeRoy Appleton served in WWI as a private in Co. G of the 144th U.S. Infantry. He was 25 years old when he enlisted May 15, 1917.

Many years ago my mother, Ethel Mae Appleton Douglas, told me an interesting story about my Uncle LeRoy and my father, John Albert Douglas.

My mother and her brother had been very close all of their lives, since the death of their mother at an early age. When my mother had not heard from her brother for a very long time, she became extremely worried for fear he had been killed or wounded so badly he could not write letters. After unsuccessfully trying to console my mother, my father decided to get on the train from Texas to New York. That’s where the troops came in from the European war zone and where war records were kept.

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Harold R. Johns

Submitted by: Alice L. Luckhardt

588bc6e0e47bc 2017 Harold Johns in uniform

Harold R. Johns served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known August 1917 to September 30, 1918.


Harold R. Johns, the son of Morris and Augusta Johns, born in Stuart, Florida in September 1895. Soon after the US entered the war, Harold enlisted, June 1917, reporting to service by August with special engineering training at Camp Wheeler and Camp Hancock during the following nine months. Private Johns was sent overseas May 18, 1918 with the U.S. Army, Company E, 103rd engineers, 28th Division.

There was considerable military action across France during the next few months. Harold dodged many bullets until September 27, 1918, when he was wounded near the town of Varennes, during the battles at Meuse-Argonne or 'No Man's Land' as it was often described.

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David Gaines Gentry, Jr

Submitted by: Barbara J. Selletti

5881263cc91e4 David Gentry in Uniform

David Gaines Gentry, Jr served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 01 Apr 1918-03 Apr 1919.


David was a Private in Co. B/E, 105th Ammunition Train, 30th Division of the Army. He was a 22 year old cotton mill worker in Jonesville, SC at the outbreak of the war. He had only recently married with a young one on the way.

For a young man who hadn't traveled more than 100 miles from where he was born and lived, the prospect of not only serving in the military must have seemed exotic, but also traveling over the ocean to another county.


Read more: David Gaines Gentry, Jr

Herbert Lowe Parsons

Submitted by: Lori Parsons (granddaughter-in-law)

586bc6580a155 10336760 10203809551750103 7543957225038627844 n

Herbert Lowe Parsons served in World War One with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known 5-19-1918 to 4-27-1919.


Herbert Lowe Parsons, my husband's grandfather, served in World War 1 as an ambulance driver. Originally with the 2nd Missouri Ambulance Company with the Missouri National Guard, his company became part of the 35th Infantry Division when the United States declared with Germany.

Research shows that his ambulance company, the 138th Ambulance Company, was part of the 110th Sanitary Train within the 35th Infantry Division. His ambulance company set up dressing stations and evacuated wounded at Bussang, Vittel, Gerardmer, Fraize, Auzeville, Neuvilly, Vauquoise Hill, Cheppy, Charpentry,

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