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Joseph Aleas

Submitted by: Alan Leventhal, Tribal Ethnohistorian, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe

5a383a6085980 Joseph Aleas

Joseph Aleas born on May 11, 1893. Joseph Aleas served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1916 and the service was completed in 1920.

Story of Service


Sergeant Joseph Aleas

U.S. Army, Company D, 21st Machine Gun Battaion, 7th Division, American Expeditionary.

Joseph Aleas was born on the Alisal (Pleasanton) Rancheria on May 11, 1893 and was the son of Margaret Armija. He enlisted in the US Army on June 30, 1916.

According to Armija-Thompson family recollections, he was a good horseman and wanted to fight against Pancho Villa had led approximately 1,500 Mexican raiders in a cross-border attack against Columbus, New Mexico, in response to the U.S. government's official recognition of the Carranza regime. Villa's troops attacked a detachment of the 13th U.S. Cavalry, seized 100 horses and mules, burned the town, killed 10 soldiers and eight of its residents, and made off with ammunition and weapons. President Woodrow Wilson responded by sending 6,000 troops under General John J. Pershing to Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa and his troops. This military mobilization was called the Punitive or Pancho Villa Expedition.

Later, Joseph Aleas served in France in the 21st Machine Gun Battalion, 7th Division (its Hourglass insignia dates back to 1918). Organized originally to serve in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during World War I, the U.S. Army's 7th Infantry Division was created at Camp Wheeler, Georgia on December 6, 1917 and it fought in Alsace-Lorraine, France during the war. The division also served as an occupation force in the post-war period.

On October 10-11, 1918 the 7th was shelled for the first time and later it encountered gas attacks in the Saint-Mihiel woods. Defensive occupation of this sector continued from October 10th to November 9th during which the infantry regiments of the 7th Division probed up toward Prény near the Moselle River, captured Hills 323 and 310, and drove the Germans out of the Bois-du Trou-de-la-Haie salient. After 33 days in the line of fire the 7th Division had suffered 1,988 casualties, of which three were prisoners of war. Thirty Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded members of the 7th Division.

Joseph Aleas was honorably discharged at Camp Funston, Riley, Kansas on July 9, 1920 and was awarded the World War I Victory Medal and the Bronze Victory Button. Joseph Aleas enrolled with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in October 1931 (BIA Application # 10299). On May 24, 1955 Joseph enrolled during the second enrollment period with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Joseph Francis Aleas passed away July 13, 1964 and was buried at the Gold Gate National Cemetery Plot Z, grave 2597.

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