Edward Babb Cutter
Submitted by: Aaron Bahe, American Legion Post
Edward Babb Cutter born around 1887. Edward Cutter served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1906 and the service was completed in 1918.
Story of Service
On May 1, 1887 in Anoka, Minnesota, Edward Bab Cutter (Nicknamed 'Ned') was the youngest of three born to the family of Oscar and Mary Cutter. Completing his high school education and with his mother's permission, Ned joined Company B, 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Regiment on 22 June 1906. By 1909, his fellow comrades had elected Ned 2nd Lieutenant.
While majoring in Law at the University of Minnesota, Ned joined the Cadet Corps Program (forerunner to the ROTC) and was officially recognized as an officer in the U.S. Army National Guard. Upon completing his studied on 5 June 1911, he received promotion to 1st Lieutenant.
Following graduation, Ned briefly relocated to Thief River Falls where he worked on his elder brother's newspaper. Due to the distances involved, Ned considered resigning his commission but no record of it exists and it is believed his Commanding Officer, Major Arthur Caswell, found an alternative solution.
In response to the attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico, in 1911, General John 'Black Jack' Pershing led a 'Punitive Expedition' against the Mexican outlaws responsible for the incursion. National Guard units, including Minnesota's 3rd Infantry Regiment, served as support. While there, Ned was ordered back to Anoka to drum up more recruits and bolster the ranks of the Company B. Eventually, the border crisis passed and the Regiment returned to Anoka; however, their inactivation was temporary.
By April of 1917, America was the last major world power to join the alliance against the Central Powers of Germany, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire following a gradual deterioration of international relations between the United States and an increasingly belligerent German government. Once again, America's National Guard was activated and Minnesota's 3rd Infantry Regiment was sent to Camp Cody, New Mexico that fall to undergo further training. Upon arrival, the Regiment was reclassified as the 138th Field Artillery Regiment. While there, Ned served as judge advocate, attached to Headquarters Company. At some point, Ned decided to volunteer as an aerial observer and was sent to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for training. In September of 1918, he was ordered overseas and assigned as an Observer with the 90th Aero Squadron.
During the height of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, 1st Lt. Edward Cutter, along with his pilot 1st Lt. Hugh Broomfield, another Minnesotan from Parkers Prairie, volunteered for a low-level mission to locate the enemy's position near Hill 102. Despite poor weather conditions, the two took off on the morning of 21 October 1918. A short time after, their aircraft was spotted by observers from a balloon section that witnessed the plane suddenly stall and crash near the base of Hill 102. On 10 November 1918 an advance party of American soldiers located and recovered the remains of Cutter and Broomfield. For their actions, the two received the Distinguished Service Cross.
Following the Armistice on 11 November 1918, Graves Registration contacted the families of the fallen and inquired if they preferred the bodies remain overseas or be brought home for final burial. In an elegantly penned response, Mary Cutter, now the only family member remaining, replied "I think my son's wish would be to lie in France alongside his comrades. He was all that I had and I hope his grave will be plainly marked and receive perpetual care."
Advocating on her behalf, the local American Legion named in Edward Cutter's honor petitioned for Mary Cutter to join the "Gold Star Pilgrimage" and visit her son's grave at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France. She was among the first to make the trip in 1930. A memorial stone dedicated to the memory of 1st Lt. Edward Cutter was also placed in the family plot at Oak Park Cemetery which is a short distance from American Legion Post 102. The grave marker simply reads:
Edward B. Cutter
May 1, 1887
Oct. 21, 1918
At rest in France