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Vincent A. Luza

Submitted by: Lydia Luza Mousner {granddaughter}

Vincent A Luza

Vincent A. Luza was born in 1895. Vincent Luza served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1920.

Story of Service

 

Vincent Aloysius Luza was born on May 2, 1895 in Bryan, Brazos County, Texas. His parents, Vincent and Mary Luza, and grandparents, Baltazar and Francis Gibble Luza, immigrated through the Port of Galveston in 1873 from Praha, Moravia. He was also the grandson of Frank and Angelina (Honozak) Luza. V.A.

Luza attended Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. He was drafted into the army in 1918 and was assigned to the 344th Field Artillery in Battery F at Camp Travis, TX.

On March 4, 1918, the regiment with its two batteries of guns and six hundred-odd animals marched out to Camp Bullis (Leon Springs) for target practice. It was at Camp Bullis that reconnaissance gun squads were first able to put into practice their gun drill, which had in the beginning been executed on make-shift carriages of wood and later perfected by work on the eight three-inch pieces which had been assigned to the regiment.

On May 13th, the regiment started on a two day hike to Medina Dam. Full field train accompanied the regiment. Here they stayed two days, allowing the men to take a rest and enjoy bathing, boating, and fishing. They returned to Camp Travis where they received orders to proceed for overseas duty. On June 11th, the regiment departed from Camp Travis in two sections, the first commanded by Col. Faulkner, and the second by Lt. Col. Frankenberger.

All along the road the trains were met by YMCA and Red Cross canteen workers where the soldiers made many friends and increased their correspondence rosters. On June 29th, after a brief stay at Camp Mills, NY, the men marched up the gang-plank of “The Good Ship Runic”. On the night of June 30th, this ship headed out of Boston Harbor and arrived in Halifax on July 3rd. After 4th of July celebrations concluded, the convoy put to sea.

Early on July 14th the convoy steamed up the bay and anchored in the harbor of Liverpool. Soon the 344th Regiment bore south through Birmingham and Oxford, England. At ever stop of the train in the villages English children gathered rapidly with shouts of “The American, The Americans”. They begged for cigarettes and pennies which they received for the American soldier was generous. They arrived at Winchester station and then marched two miles to Windledown which was another English rest camp. The next day they began making preparations for crossing the English Channel. There was standing room only which made for an uncomfortable trip.

On the morning of July 18th the regiment landed in the harbor of Cherbourg, France and began to march to another English rest camp about five miles ahead. It was at this camp the men first saw officers and soldiers coming back from the front to go on leave, or having their well-earned leaves, on their way back to their units at the front, telling many stories of things they had seen. On a French train, the regiment bore south through LeMans, Tours, Orleans and on to Camp La Courneaux. The place looked quite familiar, very much like east Texas, with pine trees and sand. The men settled into their new surroundings. Meanwhile the Spanish influenza invaded the camp, and men were moved from the congested barracks into ‘pup’ tents. Four deaths occurred as a result of the flu but it could have been much worse.

On August 6th, the artillery school began with classes in orientation, telegraph, radio, machine gun and indoor firing. The class was completed on October 1st, and Pvt. Luza’s battery was sent to Andelot. It was not long before the men boarded the train again heading to Verdun.

The 344th marched to Marville, Longuyon and then to Mont St. Martin. From Mont St. Martin, the march led through Rondange into Luxembourg. Here the people received the Americans kindly. On the morning of December 20th, the column headed for Remich on the Moselle in Germany. The rain and snow turned to bitter cold and caused a delay and they only made it to Kirf where they stayed for three nights and two days. This was Germany - Occupied Territory. On December 23rd, the march resumed. That night they staged at Konz (just south of Trier). Trier, with its wide streets and modern houses, reminded the soldiers more of America than any other town they had seen in Europe.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent in the villages of Casel and Waldrach. The weather continued to be bad, however, the billets at this stop were the best they had had. Trucks had been sent to the 19th’s Division post office, and returned with heavy mails, including many Christmas packages. The Quartermaster in Trier and the locals produced the sort of treats that can make Christmas pleasant. These things together with chocolate, cigarettes and cakes received from the YMCA and the Red Cross made this holiday on the Moselle a memorable one.

From Grunhaus, Casel and Walrach they continued into the mountains. The roads were frozen and covered with ice and snow. Many animals fell several times but fortunately there were no serious accidents. It was the severest day of the march. The hill of Hermeskel was steep and covered with slick ice. It was necessary to throw ashes and dirt on the road before any animals could climb the road at all. Everyone worked late into the night getting the heavily loaded escort wagons up the hill. Here also, occurred the first clash between members of the regiment and the Germans. The Americans won this round.

On December 27th, the First Battalion and part of the Supply Company marched independently into Thalfang and on December 28th proceeded toward its permanent winter station. Luza and Battery F wound up at Kempfeld, Morbach, Germany. Luza was responsible for the care of the horses. During the first few weeks in the station, considerable firing was done between the Americans and the Germans.
The policy of establishing schools, providing amusement of all sorts, and granting of liberal leaves began, as part of the wise system conceived by higher authorities of maintaining morale among the troops. Leaves of all types were granted. It was decided that every man ordered on special details or leave should take his animal with him as it was soon realized that possibly there were too many horses in Europe.

The era of inspections began which included inspections of everything – horses, material, billets, kitchens, and paper work. The inspections culminated with the review and inspection by the Commander-in-Chief at Wittlich on April 24, 1919. All the efforts of the regiment were repaid when the Commander-in-Chief remarked that it was the best artillery brigade he had seen. Soon it was time to go home.

Private Vincent A. Luza was given an honorable discharge and he was ready to return to his wife, Cecilia, and daughter, Mary. Vincent and Cecilia Luza became parents of Cecilia, Charles, Vincent, Jerome, Teresa, Helen and Anton Luza. His sons, Charles and Vincent J. Luza, served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Vincent farmed on his land for many years. His wife died giving birth in December, 1935 and Luza was a single parent for many years raising his small children. He loved to play cards and talk about his time in the Army. In his later years, V.A. enjoyed visiting his children and their families.

After a full life, Vincent A. Luza died on October 29, 1977 in Bryan, Brazos County, Texas. His grandson, Charles Zemanek, had his name inscribed on the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial in College Station, Brazos County, Texas.

Rank: Private

Service in European Theatre: July 14, 1918 – May 1919

Honorable Discharge: 1920

Sources:
1. Regimental History and Roster, 344th Field Artillery, September 1917- May 1919, Internet
2. Personal notes from members of the Luza family.

5bd1c010ae797 Luza, VA WWI

5bd1c010ad4f2 Luza VA

 

 

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