History of Company "E" 346th Infantry AEF - 1919
Banner of Company "E" - 346th Infantry, 87th Division of the AEF. GGA Image ID # 13501b7489
It is a poor soldier who does not have the impression, under his bonnet, that his Company is the best in the Regiment, in fact, the best in the Division.
So think we, Co. E. bunch, and this is the « why ». Look up our record for combat fire. How about that Baseball team at Pike? What about those old « pass in review » lines at Pike and Dix? How about the dozen other things we could mention, and would mention, but hesitate, lest we bore you? In fact we’re such a clever bunch we’re not going to take the time to write half the history we’ve made. So here goes-only a few random shots.
When some of us were ushered into Company K, fresh from Camp Upton, Captain Flanagan was on hand to see the « pick and shovel » experts he drew as material to go over the top with. After one look he made a hurried departure. How often we have wondered what he murmured to himself as he wiped the perspiration from his fevered brow.
We thought the Captain went for a much-needed stimulant as he returned shortly and laid down the law to us. He was pale and his voice was shaky. We felt sorry for him and resolved, then and there, to make his path easier by going the limit. And from this moment the struggle began.
Our peaceful slumber was disturbed the first morning by « Tubby » Roith’s musical voice shouting: « Everybody up ». We referred to our brand new wrist watches and found out it was 4.15 A.M.
Micky Mills rubbed his lamps and shouted; « Shure and what ta hell’s the oideer o’this? Bodey imparted the knowledge that some of the men were shooting on the range and the cooks didn’t like the idea of serving breakfast twice, « so you guys will have to pile out and grab your eats ».
The Mess Hall, over which Sergeant Caneer reigned supreme, and roved around during meals like a troubled spirit, was waiting for some rook to spill the beans. And that Serg. would lick his chops and proceed to put the damper on the unfortunate one.
If nothing happened, we call to mind how he kept his weather eye peeled and growled softly to himself. And where in hell did all the green peas come from?
We often wanted to approach Sergeant Caneer on this subject, not that we wished to complain but merely wanted to satisfy our curiosity about wondering whether he had cornered the green pea market or not. The other article of food that made its appearance in our Mess Hall was macaroni, and above the din of rattling dishes and shouts' of K.P., to bring on more food, our old friends Rocco Zucco, Janowich Paresi and Kitch Baroni could be heard inhaling their macaroni and they harmonized wonderfully.
And ever has the curse of the Mess Hall been with us. It has been our undoing — or would have been — if certain other influences had not been at work.
Take our Lieutenants:
Will we ever forget the first glimpse at Lt. Dyer standing in front of the barracks, glancing at the rooks running toward him to « fall in ». The expression on his face read : « Ah !, here comes my meat ».
It was there he applied to us our first layer of salve . with his usual : « Now men, you are in a regular organization, you are not a mob. Yes we are going over in a month ». Never once has Lt. Dyer said : « Now men we are going home in a month », and come anywhere near making an accurate forecast.
How he ever got-this crowd on the drill grounds still remains a mystery. Our only recollection is hiking along the road to the tune of Ugh, Tugli Thri Fu. When we got to the drill grounds, do you recall how he scowled?
The mutton mush days on board the Zelandia will be remembered by Lt. Dyer’s every morning speech. We have never forgotten his « Now men, the boat we are going over on is the first one to take a chance in a week and if it gets across safely they are going to send ten more ».
Next comes the man of a thousand titles, Lt. Brown. As he waltzed on the drill grounds we were reminded of the entrance of Madame Butterfly in the beautiful opera. He never failed to have a goodly supply of talcum adorning his manly countenance and an ample supply of spearmint and his little tin whistle that he whirled round and round his little finger.
We sure did like to hear him give commands. He would bite them off, catch them again, swallow them, pile ’em up and push’em through his nose. It was marvelous.
And we like to dwell on the subject of Lt. Searles, the ever devoted and loving husband. He was a wonderful inspiration to the men in the Company who were seeking wives and convinced all of them that he had good taste. We often watched Mrs. Searles and Mrs. Hodsoll snap to attention when the National Anthem was played at retreat.
Neither could we let Lt. Kouns slip by us he being the cause of much discussion on account of that misplaced eyebrow that adorned his upper lip. How, Oh how, did he shave without slicing that little bit of hair off ?
Lt. Hodsoll, the essence of exactness, want so far, on one occasion, as to give us « Right Dress » with our rifles on our shoulders and cans of beans and tomatoes under our left arms ::
Take our Non-Coms :
Cartoon About the Non-Commissioned Officers of Company "E" - 346th Infantry. GGA Image ID # 13502de0e3
The old Non-Coms had a job at Dix taking a batch of Depot Brigadiers and making them forget the Cabarets, the girls they left behind and those rich, creamy lagers and make them remembers « Squads right and left » and the trigger squeeze exercise.
Oh, that trigger squeeze exercise; How often those rooks wished the wrath of God upon old Kaiser Bill on account of it. On those hot days of July, when the lager was oozing out of the pores and on to the red hot sand of the Drill Grounds, it was too damn bad that we could not say what we were thinking of.
« Non-Coms, front and center ».
And how these birds hopped out and snapped it off to his nibbs, Calling to mind the fellows who were going to help to make soldiers out of us, there was « Dutch » Verbic.
He loomed up as something ferocious and bunk warmer « Tony » Sies — what a bouncing baby he must have been. Little Duchene wobbled out like a duck spying a farmer with a can of feed. « Chink » Cliervinko held a few of us breathless.
How that boy ever got out was a miracle. We have seen « Chink » run several times since — Well-you know how a bow-legged, pigeon toed man looks running. Paul Zielinski —
Remember his explanation as how to do « Squads Right » : « Now der tird man in der rear takes tree steps forward and toins tug'll der right, etc. » Old Iodine Brink, the south paw letter writer was very much in evidence and Yaller Neiman, how proud he was of that first squad.
He worried forty pounds off the frame of Kraftchich making a soldier out of him. Then Matty Curran will long be remembered on account of his ability .to speak two languages fluently, namely English and Profane.
The rooks thought that he was the sole representative of the old boy with the horns and tail and that the two stripes on his arm indicated that he was the Company abuse dispenser.
The others to make an impression were dear « Hubby » Beecham, the ever polite Blankenship, cute little Sammy Loewe, Hylton, the tranquil old farmer Elliott, minus a few molars, Dutto the serious,
Churchill the rock of knowledge, Snoose Peterson, who always estimated his capacity for consuming liquid fluids, Baldy Ronning, who always looked forward to going over seas and finally a specialist who would grow hair on ivory, Midget Donnaldson, who shot craps for very small amounts of money, Oklahoma Telford, the Nine — toed automobile and gas (mostly gas) engine expert.
Rock of Ages Peterson, platoon Sergeant of E. Co. Foreign legion, Brick top Myers, who always bragged that he shot craps with other people’s money, Boldenhoffer and Schow, who made a very close study of negroes at Camp Pike and the ever colorful Pat Reagan, the sun-bleached anti-prohibitionist.
Cartoon About Buck Privates of Company "E" - 346th Infantry. GGA Image ID # 135096e393
One thing that aroused the curiosity of the rooks was « Kike Fagel » as he came back and forth garbed in overalls, jumper and baseball cap. We concluded that he was a neighbor’s boy from Pointsville, who was working for the Captain.
We were greatly surprised to see him step forth one day dressed like an honest to goodness soldier. But no matter how hard he tried to make the appearance of a soldier he could never get the shoe polish that he used on the Officer’s shoes and puttees from his fingernails, and the feathers out of his hair that lodged there while performing his duties of chambermaid in the Officer’s Quarters.
We like to recall the Gas School at Dix conducted by Sergeant-Hipp the man of advanced ideas ; of how he used to stand at the head of the class besprinkled with talcum and a mouthful of tobacco. He would spit a little tobacco juice on the hot sands of Dix and proceed to explain the parts of the American box Respirator.
We enjoyed sitting in the squad room nights, listening to the weird tales of Tengvall ; of how he chased bears and how his cousin chased and caught jack rabbits ; of the great Yoolery robbery that was engineered by two Youse and how detectives caught the Youse and put them in yail.
And then we remember the first time « Tubby » Roith spied a French Boxcar with the inscription « 40 hommes — 8 cheveaux ». « What does dot mean ?» inquired « Tubby » : The information was volunteered by someone who knew that a Tubby » wanted to know « How da hell are you gonna get 40 men and 8 horses in that car ? »
To close :
We were ordered into the front lines in November and it will go down in history that old Kaiser Bill got tipped off that Co. E. was on his trail, so he flew the coop to Holland. His army laid down and we just grinned and said, « I told you so ».
When E. Co’s task was finished and volunteers were sought for the army of occupation, our old friend and father, as the boys call him, Captain Flanagan, filed an application.
He left his old Co., much to our regret and we thought we would be Captain-less until good fortune sent Captain Sanders to us.
In memoriam we here record the death of Private Oscar Link, a company member who was held in highest esteem by all.
Images from Company "E"
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