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Company "H" - 351st Infantry, 88th Division, AEF

Group Photo: Company "H" - 351st Infantry, 88th Division, AEF

Company “H” was organized in September, 1917, by Captain F. C. Legg and Lieutenants Wall, Painter, Lynch and Benolken, with the assistance of Sergeant Staeger and Sergeant Graville.

Both of these sergeants were from the regular army and their experience proved to be invaluable in getting the company organized. Only those who took an active part in the actual organization can appreciate the difficulties that confronted those who attempted to make an army out of civilians.

A large share of the credit for the success is due to the untiring efforts of the officers and men who had had experience in the regular army. Of the above officers and men only Captain Legg and Sergeant Graville are now with the company.

The other officers with the company, Lieutenants Cerney, McClintock, Perry, Cook and Reinertson, were assigned later and missed the work and worry connected with the organization.

The first drafted men to come into the company arrived in a small increment that reached Camp Dodge on September 5th, a still larger group arrived later in the month.

These men were all trained tor duty overseas and just at the time all were prepared to go, they were transferred to other Divisions scheduled to go earlier.

A few of the men in the persons of Sergeants Mygind, Russell, Buzay, Bergeson, Angelí, Lamaster and Lundstrom, Corporal Mandell and Cooks Gilbertson and Tofte, remained.

These men formed the nucleus tor the present company and have been of great service in training the new men as they rame in and in the organization of the present company. They are veterans of the long training period that ended in August, 1918, when the company started overseas.

The long journey was a series of stops in which each stop was just long enough to unpack, repack and then move. There were a few days in Camp Mills, two weeks on the “Scotian,” a few days at Camp Stoney Castle, England, a few more days in a rest camp at Cherbourg and then the move to Pouillinay, Cote d’Or France, where training was resumed.

The move to Pouillinay will long be remembered as the first ride that many had enjoyed in a box car. All cars were marked 40 Hommes or 8 Cheveaux. It was a disappointment to learn that the men were the Hommes and not the Cheveaux.

The next move was to Champey where it rained for three weeks, without interruption.

After leaving Champey the company moved to Romagny, from there to bulleren and then up into the lines. It relieved Company “F” of this regiment in the Gluckerwald section of the bulleren sector of the Haute-Alsace line. This was held in conjunction with the loth Company of the 4th Zouaves. These were later withdrawn and that section was held by the company.

Company headquarters were established at P. C. Aquitaine. The kitchen was quite near it and the food was brought up to the men in the lines by carrying details. Privates Lehman and Ferrara, with the assistance of a small burro, kept the company supplied with excellent water from a natural spring. The activities were limited to the nightly patrols sent out. Company “H” was relieved by Company "A "of the 352nd Regiment.

The next move was back to Romagny, from there the longest “hike” in the history of the company was made to Chaux, where the company rested and drilled for two weeks.

A march was then made to Belfort where it entrained for one of the more active sectors of the line. The armistice went into effect while the company was on the train and the destination was changed to Francheville.

After drilling in the mud at the cross roads for three weeks a march of two days was made to Houdelaincourt. Here the company was rejoined by Captain Legg after a two months' absence. The balance of the year was spent in maneuvering.

On January 9th the company moved by truck to Liffol-le-Grand where three months of the most interesting time in the army were spent on convoy duty. All had at least one opportunity to go up to Germany in a box car.

On those trips riding in a box car was not so unpleasant as other trips. Ten men, one officer with a stove and plenty of rations made a two-day trip to Coblenz, where they were allowed time to rest and see the country. A trip up the Rhine was also provided.

April 21st “H” Company returned to Houdelaincourt. Officers and men were glad to renew their acquaintance throughout the regiment. The promise of an early return to the United States and "Home" put new spirit into all the necessary tasks in preparation for that event.

In after years, when the comforts of home have become daily routine, the friendships of a year or more of service will still endure and the experiences of that year will be the most treasured of memories.

1st Lieutenant 351st Infantry.

Houdelaincourt, Meuse, France.
May 7, 1919.

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