From left to right, Joseph Felice stands beside Cpl. Sahler's third-cousin once removed Corson Stephens, who holds a framed certificate of service issued by the National Archives. They are joined by VFW Post 287 Commander Tiffany Robinson (middle) and VFW Post 287 Chaplain Claresa Whitfield during the Post's Centennial Celebration on Dec. 7 of last year.
Local citizen helps VFW post commemorate its WWI namesake
By IsmaeI Rodriguez, Jr.
via the Veterans of Foreign War magazine
When Joseph Felice drove through Main Street in Coatesville, Pa., last summer, he was drawn to one of the many pennant banners dangling above its sidewalks.
He had seen the banners several times since VFW Post 287 lobbied to have them hung for Memorial Day in his hometown of Coatesville, about 44 miles west of
But this time was different.
Felice, 35, who holds degrees in local and world history from West Chester University in Chester County, Pa., noticed that only one of the banners had been dedicated to a World War I veteran.
"It grabbed my attention because as far as I could determine, it displayed the only local WWI veteran," Felice said. "All of the other banners had been in honor of men and women who served in Vietnam, Korea and World War 11."
Inscribed on the banner was the name of Army Cpl. Wellington G. Sahler, who had been killed in action during the Battle of Meuse-Argonne in 1918.
The Journey Begins
When Felice returned home that day, he reached out to Post 287 via Facebook and discovered that Sahler was actually the Post's namesake. The other half of the Post's name, Sedan, represented the Eastern-most point that U.S. forces had reached in France before the Armistice was signed.
"I discussed my interest in Sahler with Post Chaplain Claresa Whitfield," Felice said. "We exchanged several emails, but she informed me that little was actually known about his personal history."
Whitfield, however, asked Felice to delve into research and invited him to present his findings in front of VFW members during the Post's 100th anniversary on Dec. 7, 2019.
Accepting the challenge, Felice soon plunged into a six-month journey that navigated the muddy waters of the past.
Read more: Local citizen helps VFW post commemorate its namesake
World War I Hero Featured in New AUSA Graphic Novel
via the Association of the United States Army web site
Sgt. Henry Johnson, a member of the famed “Harlem Hellfighters,” is the subject of the newest graphic novel in the Association of the U.S. Army’s series highlighting Medal of Honor recipients.
Medal of Honor: Henry Johnson features the story of Johnson, who served on the Western Front of World War I with the 369th Infantry Regiment, an African American unit that later became known as the “Harlem Hellfighters.”
While on sentry duty, Johnson fought off a German raiding party in hand-to-hand combat, despite being seriously wounded. He was the first American to receive a Croix de Guerre with a golden palm, France’s highest award for bravery, and became a national hero back home.
“Henry Johnson was a household name during World War I, but he has been largely forgotten since then,” said Joseph Craig, director of AUSA’s Book Program. “It took almost a century to recognize his remarkable deeds with the Medal of Honor, and we are excited to share them with a new audience.”
AUSA launched its Medal of Honor graphic novel series in October 2018, producing four issues and a paperback collection. Four new issues are planned for this year; the first, on World War II hero 2nd Lt. Daniel Inouye, was released May 28.
On May 15, 1918, Johnson, then a private with Company C, 369th Infantry Regiment, was on night sentry duty with fellow soldier Pvt. Neadom Roberts when they were attacked by a German raiding party of at least 12 soldiers, according to his Medal of Honor citation.
Under intense enemy fire and despite “significant wounds,” Johnson fought back and caused several enemy casualties. He also prevented a badly wounded Roberts from being taken prisoner by German troops.
Johnson then exposed himself to “grave danger” by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat.
“Wielding only a knife and gravely wounded himself, Private Johnson continued fighting and took his Bolo knife and stabbed it through an enemy soldier’s head,” according to the citation. “Displaying great courage, Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated.”
After returning home from the war, Johnson was unable to return to his pre-war job as a redcap porter at Union Station in Albany, New York, because of the severity of his 21 combat wounds. He died in July 1929 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Johnson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1996 and the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002. The award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2015.
Read more: WWI Hero Featured in New AUSA Graphic Novel