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Charles James "Jim" Sepal

Submitted by: Michael Sepal {son}

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Charles James "Jim" Sepal served in World War I with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service

 

My father, Charles James "Jim" Sepal, was born and grew up in Sheridan, Wyoming. He had an uncle on his mother's side, Carl Wilson Adams, who in 1916, served with Company D, 3rd Wyoming Infantry of the Wyoming National Guard in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Following the outbreak of war with Germany, on April 6, 1917, Carl W. Adams' Wyoming National Guard unit in Sheridan joined with other military units to form Battery E 148 Field Artillery (Bat. E 148 F. A.) that fought in France, and later occupied Germany, during and after World War I.

The 148th was the most combat-engaged unit with Wyoming Guard troops in World War I. After multiple relocations stateside to train in artillery tactics, the regiment, with its battalion of Wyoming men, sailed for France in January 1918. Today soldiers are flown overseas, but in the early 20th century, it was seaborne transport that got the troops to France and it was dangerous. The convoy the 148th was in lost one transport ship to an enemy submarine during the crossing, but it had no Wyoming soldiers on it.

Arriving in France in February, the 148th moved to an artillery training base to sharpen their skills on the big barrel, 155 mm howitzers they would use on German front lines. Families back home only knew where their loved ones were in France from mail soldiers sent home, as newspaper coverage was very limited. It was unlikely that Wyoming residents knew that their fellow community members went to the front lines near Chateau Thierry by the Marne River in July.

During World War I, the most common strategy was for opposing sides to fire massive amounts of artillery shells at the enemy, sometimes over multiple days, before ordering soldiers to advance. The 148th quickly was put to use to employ that strategy during Germany’s last major offensive, the Second Battle of the Marne. Wyoming’s first artillery shells fired against a European foe was on July 14, and would continue for two months.

The 148th Field Artillery participated in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, Champagne-Marne Defensive, Aisne-Marne Offensive, St. Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive firing a total of 67,590 rounds of ammunition.

Field Marshall Erich Ludendorff, general in charge of the German army, gave up on the offensive, and the artillery fire from units like the 148th ensured victory for the Allied cause. Germany retreated, and the Wyoming Guardsmen followed closely, heading eastward. The unit’s final combat action was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which involved most of the Allied front and forced Germany to seek an armistice, which was signed on Nov. 11, 1918. The 148th spent 134 days on the front lines and had approximately 75 casualties.

After the armistice the 148th served in the Army of Occupation in Germany. Political requests for the guardsmen to return stateside were successfully answered in the summer of 1919, when the Wyoming soldiers boarded a transport ship and sailed for the U.S. to receive a summer of celebration for their duty to the state and nation.

On 3 June 1919, the 148th Field Artillery Regiment departed St. Nazaire, France on abroad the USS Peerless bound for New York. The 148th Field Artillery Regiment was disbanded on 19 June 1919 at Camp Mills, New York. Unit members from Oregon and Washington were demobilized at Camp Lewis, Washington, while those from Wyoming and Colorado were demobilized at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming (outside Cheyenne).

Link to a photo album of photos from my great uncle, Carl Wilson Adams, taken during WWI, which I posted on Facebook:
The 148th Field Artillery Regiment in WWI
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10224417822535589&type=3

Below is a link to 18 pages of photos on Facebook from the album that Carl Adams put together of his military service with Company D, 3rd Wyoming Infantry of the Wyoming National Guard based in Sheridan. These photos were glued to the pages, on both the front and back of the pages, and most of the photos were dated 1916. The written description of the photos was done by Carl Adams, some written on paper which was taped to the album pages and some written directly on the album pages. Just click on the left () on the side of each photo page to advance to the next page of photos.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10226412159312762&set=pcb.10226412208874001


 

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