Company "L" - 351st Infantry, 88th Division, AEF
Pride and humor have been the two great assets of the American soldier in France. Pride in his manhood, the righteousness of his cause and in his personal courage, has made him invincible in battle. Humor has enabled him to undergo with fortitude the hardships to which the climate of sunny France and the quartermaster corps have subjected him.
"L” Company typifies the American soldier in the possession of these qualities. Pride of organization has made the 351st what it is and pride of company has made "L” Company what it has constantly believed itself to be from the days of Camp Dodge, when it lead the regiment in bayonet fighting, to the days of Houdelaincourt, when it won the platoon championship of the Division.
Pride held these men at their posts during their first bombardment, in spite of the temptation of the friendly dugout; and pride brought them through the famous man-killing marches under packs that are destined to become fabulous in the ears of generations to come.
But it is the quality of humor which unites with pride and produces the real American. Humor has softened the bite of the trench rat and soothed the itch of the playful "cootie.”
Only humor kept him going in "dark December” that period which has been entered in history under the various alliterative titles of "Maneuver Month,” "Machine-gun Month,” and "Mud Month” and during which the art of cussing, built upon a good solid Missouri foundation, attained such a degree of development as to dwarf and render endurable the very miseries which gave it birth.
And finally when one of our sergeants dove into the canal, containing fully five feet of water, to rescue a stone, which he had carelessly mistaken for a comrade, nothing but humor can explain his coming out again with both his overseas cap and his temper.
As its company commander I can only say that the memory of “L” Company will always remain my greatest source, both of amusement and of pride.
Abbott M. Washburn,
Captain, 351st Infantry.
Houdelaincourt, Meuse, France,
May 9, 1919.