I am First Sergeant Jo Frank Fox of the 167th Infantry Regiment, 42nd (Rainbow) Division, I'm the top sergeant of my company which means when I say ?JUMP!" all the men jump and ask "How high?" on the way up. I got a glare that can make a platoon of men faint dead away just by glancing at'em! The 167th is an Alabama National Guard unit that until 1917 was the old 4th Alabama Regiment, which traces its history back to the civil War. We are brigaded with Yankees of the 165th Regiment New York National Guard, formerly the 69th Regiment. Now the war has been going on since shortly after a Serbian citizen assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914. It involved all the world's great powers except the US which stayed out and sold supplies to the others On May 17, 1915, a German U-boat (submarine) sank the British liner Lusitania with 128 Americans among the dead. President Wilson declared that the US would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare but did not want to go to war. However, in January 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare and even invited Mexico to join the war against the United States. After this and the sinking of seven U.S. Merchant ships by U-boats, Congress declared war on April 6, 1917. The 42nd was sent to France in November 1917. We quickly learned that barbed wire, machine guns, and massed artillery practically stopped infantry advancement. That's why the lines were almost static and thoroughly entrenched with barracks, mess halls, and headquarters dug right below the trenches. The Germans started it, but all sides used poison gas. It affects caused slow and painful death, but it was never decisive in winning a battle. By 1918, however, new weapons such as tanks got us out of the trenches and on the move. In all, we took part in four major operations: the Champagne-Marne, the Aisne-Marne, the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The last victory was the toughest. The Alabama 167th and the Iowa 168th shared equal honors for their parts in the win. An armistice went into effect at 11:00AM November 11, 1918. We had seen 264 days of combat; the longest time of any US Division. The 42nd sailed for home on April 15, 1919 and arrived in New York on April 25. We were deactivated shortly afterward and went back to our families in Alabama having won the "War to End all Wars".
I am Private Luger Nussbaum. My friends call me Lug. I am an aviation mechanic in the Army Air Service. I volunteered because I wanted to see the world and whip the German Emperor, Kaiser Bill. I have been stationed in France since early 1918 with the 1st Aero Squadron. Our effort to create an effective air force over here has been stymied by lack of mechanics. A trained aircraft mechanic is harder to find that hen's teeth! The men assigned to Europe largely have no mechanical experience whatsoever. The US Army has only a few woefully obsolete aircraft and has had to get aircraft from the British and French. So even those of us who do have some experience, don't know about these European planes. Hundreds of us were assigned to school and factories in Paris, where we studied and helped build airplanes and engines. We had to completely overhaul over 100 engines and rebuild more than 20 airplanes a week from the ground up, out of spares and salvaged parts. When we got good at this, they sent us to our squadrons at forward airfields. I reckon we all did OK because official reports in 1918 have stated: During the past year, the work of the enlisted mechanics of the Air Service, in shops and squadrons, has been beyond praise. Mechanics drawn in many cases from highly remunerative trades, work in the American Expeditionary Forces, under the dullest and most difficult conditions and for the modest remuneration of the soldier, with an enthusiasm and success deserving the highest commendation. On frequent occasions, to offset lack of man power, work has been carried on in shops throughout the night so as to have the airplanes ready for use in the morning, and extra work outside of hours was more the rule than the exception." As the report says, it is exhausting work. However, it is absolutely necessary for the life of the pilot whose job is to scout, bomb, and machine gun enemy aircraft, troops, and facilities. I believe that my training and experience will pay off when this war is over since some day airplanes will be used to carry mail and even passengers. Yep, aviation is going up!