The company was organized in September 1917 at Camp Meade, Md., where its early days were spent there.
The early days of the company were marked by very intensive training and many other incidents which served to make history.
In November 1917 it went under quarantine for measles which lasted for five weeks and kept us from enjoying our Thanksgiving holiday at home but fortunately it was lifted before the Christmas and New Year Holidays and for the first time since entering camp many of the men were able to visit their homes. Ill luck soon caught us again for on January 9, 1918 we were again quarantined for measles, this time for four weeks.
In March the company went on the rifle range for the first time and made a very creditable showing, Corporal John Anderson proving himself to be the most consistent shot in the Regiment. The second trip to the range was mabe in early June after receiving new recruits from West Virginia and Pennsylvania and was also very successful. This time Private Joseph Yost carried off the honors as th best shot in the Rgiment.
The most noteworthy event connected with the was the early training was the memorable hike to Baltimore and parade in that city on April 6, 1918, the anniversary of our declaration of war upon Germany. Here it again distinguished itself showing that the hard training had not been in vain and that the men were developing into real American soldiers.
From a Company of 232 men the ranks had been depleted time after time by transfer sometimes in dribbles of one or two men and at other times by larger groups, the largest occurring in February when 59 men were transferred to Camp Greene, D. C., Until at one time the roster contained about 80 names. Rumors spread that the Division would never go oversea as a fighting unit but would be used as a replacement division. New recruits started to arrive however, including West Virginians in April, Pennsylvanians in May and in June when the Company was filled to war strength by the arrival of the required number of New Englanders from Camp Upton, N. Y., it became apparent that we would soon be our way to join the .Sammies. in France.
The officers at this time were:-
The last days at Camp Meade were spent in fitting out the men with oversea equipment. This was taken care of by our very efficent Supply Sergeant James P. O.Connor ably assisted by the officers and non-commissioned officers.
At 5:00 P.M. Saturday, July 6, We fell in for the last time in front of our old barracks, which had came to be looked upon as a second home, and under our heavy packs were soon marching to Disney where we entrained and 6:40 P.M. pulled out from the place in which we had spent many tiresome but often times pleasant days on the first leg of our long Journey. One hour later we stopped at Baltimore and at Philadelphia at 10:10 where we stayed for about 30 minutes. Many of the Philadelphians were looking for relatives and friends while others were carrying on flirtations. 5:00 A.M. July 7 we arrived in the yards outside Jersey City from where we could see the Statue of Liberty. Breakfast was serverd to us on the train. We detrained about 8:00 o'clock and boarded the ferryboat Wilkes Barre which left for Hoboken, during which time we were served some coffee and buns by the Red Cross and presented with a pack of cigarettes and our oversea cards, we embarked on the U.S.S. Leviathian, formerly the German liner Vaterland, at 1:45 P.M., Pier #9. The Company was assigned to .E. Deck but owing to insufficient space 14 men were quartered on "F" Deek with Company with Company .L..
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About 6:00 P.M., July 8th, we had our Sirct abandon ship drill ant we roaohe& the Deck we Sousa that we hat left the pier and were started down the river. The men opposed the lifeboats, riggings and every available foothold on board in order to catch a last glimpse of the shores of the U. S. The people lined the pleasure boats and piers to wave and cheer as we passed as did the crews of other boats in the river. Our Regimental Band rendered several selections and at 6:30 P.M. we passed the Statue of Liberty Just as the band played .Goodbye Broadway, Hello France.. We were soon ordered below and went rather reluctantly as everyone realized that this was their last look at Amerioa.s soil for sometime and probably forovor.
The voyage across was very smooth, the weather being nice all the way. It was the first time on the broad Atlantic for most of us and the calm water was very welcome.
The Leviathan itself was a floating city, being the largest ship afloat. She had eight six inch guns mounted on her deck for submarines and the best gunners in the service to man them. Her speed was 24 knots an hour but she averaged 21.
Lifebelts were issued the first day and these had to be worn continually, also our canteen full of water. The greatest precautions were taken that nothing should occur that would give our location away to submarines. We were allowed on deck at least once a day for fresh air and a little exercise, also once a day during abandon ship drill.
Many amusing incidents occurred during the period of acquiring our sea legs. The men being unfamiliar with the ship often became lost when trying to reach their deck and wandered around for an hour or more dodging the guards and officers before they found their bunkroom. The routes were being changed continously and what proved a good route one day was closed to passage the next thus making it more complicated than ever. One of the main topics of discussion was the .subs. and some of the nervous ones were on pins and needles. The third night out everything was fairly Quiet when there was a rattle of pans and cans in the kithen below and a gloom spreader private on guard wwho was always having us sunk by a .sub., thinking the real thing had happened, poked his nose out of the latrine and in a screeching voice howled .Dind I tell Yuh. which caused an uproar of laughter and much witticism on the part of the others.
The evening of the 10th the lookout discovered a tiny speck in the sea away off on the horizon. The guns were immediately trained upon it as it had the appearance of a submarine but it was soon announced that it was a channel buoy that had broken loose and was floating around.
Nothing happened out of the ordinary life on a transport at sea. A few sailboats and transports were sighted at different times. Before daybreak on the 14th we ·were met by a convoy of five American destroyers which accompanied us on the rest of the voyage searching the sea for submarines but we bad no trouble from this source.
At 10:00 A.M., July 15th, we sighted the shores of France, large dismal looking cliffs, but it looked good to all. We soon pulled into the harbor of Breet where there were many transports from different Allied nations anchored.
We disembarked at 4:00 P.M., leaving twelve men and a lieutenant as a baggage detail, and started on a hike to our rest camp. It was dark as a dungeon and we were lost several times, having to link arms to keep in contact. We arrived at our so called rest camp around midnight in a drenching rain. We found to our disgust that pup teats were the nearest things to shelter that could be obtained but it was too wet and muddy to pitch them. The orders were to rest until daylight when we would get a good warm meal and then pitch tents and sleep but the meal was not forthcoming until we went back about four kilometers and carried it to camp. We ate at 9:00 A.M. and then went out after wood and water, pitching tents in the afternoon. We had our first taste of Frenoh mud here and also of Frenoh wine.
The next few days were spent in policing up and detail. We got our first look at German and Turkish prisoners. On the morning of the 18th just as the .Sammies. were starting the Germans back towards Germany we started our schedule of drills and inspections in Franc add in the afternoon paraded through the streets of Brest for the
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benefit of the civilians we were told and a grand total of about 32 including the Town Major turned out to witness it but the French Guard was turned out in our honor as we passed the Guard House.
The curiosity of all was aroused by the dress of the French people, the wooden shoes taking everybodys eye. There were beaucoup old women but few pretty mademoiselles and this caused much disappointment as they were expected to be found running around wild according to reports in America.