General Pershing said in his message of commendation to the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces immediately following the armistice:
"Our armies, hurriedly raised and hastily trained, met a veteran enemy, and by courage, discipline and skill always defeated him. Without complaint you have endured incessant toil, privation and danger. You have seen many of your comrades make the supreme sacrifice that freedom may live.
There remains now a harder task which will test your soldierly qualities to the utmost . Every natural tendency may urge towards relaxation in discipline, in conduct, in appearance, in everything that marks the soldier. Yet you will remember that each officer and each soldier is the representative in Europe of his people and that his brilliant deeds of yesterday permit no action of today to pass unnoticed by friend or by foe. You will meet this test as gallantly as you have met the tests of the battlefield. Sustained by your high ideals and inspired by the heroic part you have played you will carry back to our people the proud consciousness of a new Americanism born of sacrifice."
This message was filled with prophetic significance to the men in the Army of Occupation.
Since entering the service months before, officers and enlisted men of the 353rd Infantry had "carried on" under the feverishness of war-time activity. Peaceful pursuit of civilian life had suddenly given way to double time and vicious thrusts at imaginary enemy in training. The long journey overseas with its ever changing scenes was full of excitement. All of this experience culminated in the most strenuous climax of campaign days.
At the signing of the armistice, the war machine was suddenly thrown in to the reverse. The men found it impossible to exercise the same control over their nervous system. Moreover, victory had taken motive out of all military activity. The full effect of the change appeared when the men attempted to settle down to duty in the area of occupation. Neither the intensity of effort and training, the weariness of travel, nor the hardship and danger of campaigns proved so trying as the service in the early days of German occupation. Morale took a slump, exposure to weather had put the equipment in bad condition and shortage of transportation limited new supplies. Officers and enlisted men felt the situation keenly but seemed helpless for the time to find the remedy.
Authorities proceeded upon the theory that in order for soldiers to be happy it was necessary for them to be busy, so in the early day of occupation, drill, inspection, practice marches, and maneu-
Service in the Army of Occupation 173
vers took up the main part of the time. As interest failed in these activities, entertainments, leaves and schools were introduced to bring variety into the life and enable the officers and men to readjust to the new conditions
Training bulletin No. 1, January 1, 1919, Headquarters, 89th Division announced the Division Plan for a period of four weeks beginning January 6. Paragraph 4 specified, "Minimum of five hours a day for five days each week. Saturday mornings will be used for regular field inspection of all equipment and quarters." Under paragraph 24 provision was made for the establishment of schools for officers and non-commissioned officers also post schools for men who had not had the opportunity of schooling at home.
Programs and schedules were required just as in the periods of intensive training. The day began at 7:50 a. m,, with assembly of officers and non-commissioned officers for instruction as to the day's work and continued with the school of the soldier through the Infantry Drill Regulations.
Training dragged; the men had been over this instruction and through the drill so many times that the whole performance was now mechanical. It was not unusual for a soldier to execute the wrong movement in the manual of arms without being aware of his action until it was called to his attention. Practice marches had little more interest than a tread mill. The attitude toward other forms of duty was quite different; for example, men preferred long hours of walking post on railroad guard or watching about the huge muni-
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tions plant or even patroling the border to shorter hours on the drill ground. The national army soldier had been working along direct lines of achievement in civilian life; he could not endure busy-work or even simulation of real work.
This condition was very apparent to inspectors who appeared on the drill ground for a few moments to pass judgment and then go on their way to new scenes. Correction was demanded. The Regimental Schedule for the last week in January contained this instruction: "Every effort must be made to correct listlessness and apathy. It is of decisive importance that all instructon improve their forcefulness in giving commands. Enthusiasm of the highest degree is a prime requisite. Precision and snap must be insisted upon and the minutest errors must be corrected." But the combined forcefullness and enthusiasm of instructors failed to produce the required "precision and snap" in performance.
Careful rating was originated to develop competition between the battalions and among the companies. One thousand points made up the list with ten topics considered. The rewards for first, second and third place was an inlay in the Divisional insignia. This plan brought increased interest at the end of each month; while the inspections were being made, the men rolled packs to within a fraction of the required seventy centimeters length. They no longer put "dubbin" on their shoes but gave them the gloss of German polish. Tin hats shone with new coats of oil. Competition was real, and Colonel Reeves and his staff found it difficult to name the win-
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ning organizations. But when the winners had been announced interest again dropped below normal.
In March, Training Bulletin No. 46, 89th Division came out in answer to this question: "Why should we drill?" The final paragraph summarized the answer in these words:
"The "89th" drills, then, because it is the "89th," and because the "89th" sees things through. The additional effort required to finish the task will soon be forgotten but the pride of each man in the thought that he "carried on" to the end will remain with him a life-time."
Results continued unsatisfactory and new means were sought. All officers and non-commissioned officers below the grade of lieutenant-colonel were required to pass examination in Infantry Drill Regulations. Seventy per cent was the proficiency mark. Officers and non-commissioned officers set to work on their Infantry Drill Regulations as if they were cramming up for a school examination. But when the time came for examinations, as many as could make arrangement found excuses to be absent and only a small percentage of those who were present passed. A new date was set for the examinations a month later. When everybody was present and the majority passed the efficiency mark.
However, the problem had not yet been solved. There has always been a saying in the service, "As are the officers so are the men," and now the officers were to come up for special instruction. General Orders No.33 followed on April 6, 1919.
HEADQUARTERS 89TH DIVISION
6 April, 1919.
GENERAL ORDERS NO. 33.
(Destroy copies previously received)
1. In addition to existing requirements governing training and schools, all Infantry officers will receive practical instruction for one half hour, between 7:00 and 8:00 a. m., daily, except Sunday, in the Infantry Drill Regulations. The special instruction will be given by, or under the immediate supervision of regimental and battalion commanders. The officers will be formed in detachments and required to drill, going through the various close and extended order evolutions, each in turn giving the commands and explaining the movements, and all in ranks taking the positions that they would take were the troops present. Particular attention will be given to the correct explanation of movements and to the proper method of giving commands.
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2. No leave or other special favor will be granted officers until they are proficient in the Infantry Drill Regulations as demonstrated by written examination and practical application at drill. The Regimental commander will state by indorsement over his own signature, on the retained copy of each leave order, that--"This officer ............... (Rank), .................(Name), ..............(Organization), is proficient in the Infantry Drill Regulations." ...................(Name), ...............(Rank), ..................(Organization).
By Command of MAJOR-GENERAL WINN.
JOHN C. H. LEE,
Colonel, General Staff, Chief of Staff.
Official: BURTON A. SMEAD, Major of Infantry, Adjutant.
Distribution: Down to include companies.
But the same reaction was common to all alike. Officers as well as enlisted men were stale and no amount of pressure could revive the interest and enthusiasm of preparatory days.
Difficulty, however, was largely with drill-ground activities. On the range officers and enlisted men went in for marksmanship with the enthusiasm of sportsmen. 1495 of the 2500 men qualified in the course; fifty were expert riflemen. "B" Company led with seven expert riflemen, nineteen sharp-shooters and one hundred two marksmen. The work on the range had been hastily constructed and the ground was muddy, but the men thought nothing of taking a prone position and painfully trying for high records. But this range work was sport rather than military drill.
Again, when the Regiment was to appear in the Divisional review before General Pershing, work immediately took on new life. The competition of inspection disappeared; each battalion did its best for itself and other battalions to make a good showing for the Regiment. The men pressed their clothing and there was considerable argument about different shades of paint on the helmets even to the blue in the Divisional insignia. Officers studied the copious instructions with the greatest care and arrived at common understanding of the terms in frequent conferences. The following unusual message from the Divisional Commander shows the result:
From: C. G. 89th Division.
To: C. O.353rd Infantry.
No.47 C. G. The Division Commander wishes to convey to all officers and men his deep appreciation of the hard work and fine spirit which were strikingly in evidence to-day.
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The splendid appearance of the men and excellent conditions of equipment and transportation fully measured up to the standard desired. The Commander-in-Chief had told you that the Division, while in the line, was unexcelled by any. It must be a source of pride and satisfaction to all as it is to me to give him a final review worthy of the occasion.
Hq. 353rd Infantry, American E. F., April 24th, 1919, To Bn. & Separate Organization Commanders.
1. For your information.
By Order of Colonel Reeves:"
Meanwhile an intensive recreation policy was put into operation. Fortunately, Prum had a good theater; and buildings were adapted for entertainment purposes in other towns. An investigation brought to light quite a bit of theatrical equipment which the Germans had been holding out and a regular costume dealer was glad for a chance to put his wares on the market once more. Room and equipment were now both available and entertainments multiplied with time. Each separate organization formed a regular troupe. Lieutenant Downing was in charge of the regimental troupe. He had had experience in entertainment work in civilian life. And, as in every other case, the right men were found within the regiment to take over the important work of the entertainment. Regimental and divisional entertainment officers co-operated in booking programs. In addition to soldier troops, the Y. M. A. C. entertainers helped to bring cheer in to the garrison. Many of these people were thus doing their "bit" in the war. They had left their positions at home and come with an appreciation of the soldier's need. These entertainments included valuable lecturers. Men like Dr. Stevenson of Princeton Theological Seminary brought a message of the importance of the work in the Army of Occupation and helpful suggestions along the lines of future progress. Others acquainted the men with the new conditions which they would have to meet in the homeland. A lecture course was organized to familiarize the men with the history of the 89th Division.
Effort was made, also, to provide opportunity for self-improvement. Each town had a reading room and a small canteen. Whatever the form of entertainment an enthusiastic crowd of doughboys packed the house to capacity, and almost before they were aware new stories had rested their minds from infantry drill regulations and the morale had begun to improve.
Announcement of the army educational policy met with enthusiastic response on the part of both officers and enlisted men. Many applications for the scholarships in the French and British Universities were received. The purpose in the minds of most of those who applied was in line with the intention of the arrangement; men were anxious to get a thorough understanding of the allied countries. However, high standards of qualification shut out many from the ad-
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vantages of the foreign universities. Two representatives from the Regiment were sent to British Universities and nine to French Universities. Captain Bond who was at Cambridge submitted his opinion in the following terms:
"I have profound respect for Cambridge, and increasingly greater respect for our own American institutions. Life is perhaps a little more calm and rational here than in America but it is also proportionately. However, expenses are high, I pay two pounds a week for breakfast and a place to sleep. Englishmen seem to be very anxious to cultivate what they call friendly relations. Our welcome has been splendid. I am glad to have had the opportunity of study here."
Sergeant Herbert R. Laslett who was at Montepelier, France summed up the benefits of the course in a letter.
"There are several hundred men from various branches of the A. E. F. here in the University. Every state in the Union except Arizona, Vermont, and New Hampshire is represented. Officers and enlisted men attend the same classes. Though some of them pronounce "army," "ahmy" and "idea," "idear" they are all Americans and becoming more so by reason of this contact with one another in this foreign environment. The courses are rather superficial but we are gaining ideas of the French and their intensely interesting history."
Enthusiasm was equally as strong for the A. E. F. University as it was for the foreign universities and the courses were much greater in variety. Fifty-one men from the regiment were permitted to attend. Lieutenant Harrison gives his experience in the following extract:
"We arrived at Beaune on March 8th. The next morning they marched us out to Allery, a little town about twenty four kilometers from Beaune. At this place I was assigned to the command of a company or students. I am still on duty with no sign of relief. After about a month of unloading coal, wood, and quartermasters supplies, they brought us back to Beaune. The men all felt pretty sore but are gradually getting over it. The school is organized in regular military form. There are one hundred fifteen men to a company and five officers. These officers and enlisted men function in regular capacity. This system throws the bulk of the company work on a few, but all do fatigue work around the Regimental area and one hour a day is devoted to such work as building roads and making athletic fields.
The University offers a great variety of courses. A good many of the instructors are officers and enlisted men but some
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are Y. M. C. A. men just over from the States. Many of the latter gave up profitable positions for this work. The classes are held in barrack buildings of the usual type.
I am taking a course in Commercial Law, Economics, and American Government and Politics. The classes are at 8 :20, 9:20 and 10:20 each morning; in the afternoon I spend my time on company administration; at night I study and prepare the work for the coming day; the rest of the time is all my own!
The men are all in good spirits and consider the A. E. F. University a success. Little by little the material and equipment is coming in and the next term should find the school in good shape."
Three Divisions Schools were organized in agriculture, technical training and liberal arts. The Liberal Arts College was established in the Convent building in Prum. This building had been used for a preparatory school and was easily adapted for the purpose of a Divisional School. Nearly two hundred enlisted men of the 353rd Infantry were given the advantage of the Divisional Schools. Sergeant McKenzie gave this account of the school of Liberal Arts in Prum:
"During the week of March 8, the students began to arrive in groups with all their equipment strapped on their husky backs, for the school is to be their home until they sail for the United States.
The school day is divided into six periods of fifty minutes each--three periods in the morning and three in the afternoon. Students are required to carry at least three studies; the remaining three periods are for study in addition to the evening hours from 6:30 to 8 o'clock. From 4 to 5 p. m. is drill. The students keep physically fit by strenuous setting up exercise each morning. Classes are conducted five days only; following physical drill and inspection Saturday morning the men are free until the following Monday morning.
The men in the Liberal Arts College receive many benefits in addition to those derived from study. Each student sleeps in a bed--a real bed with white sheets and feather pillows--and these beds are in large airy rooms with white tile floors. Down in the basement are hot showers and porcelain bath tubs. Then there is a mess hall, the men have never eaten in such a place as this since they were issued O. D.; moreover, they eat at real tables and the food is served on china dishes by regular waiters. Recreation is not overlooked; the men have a smoking room where the German billiard table works overtime. Lectures and moving pictures find a place on the entertainment program. A real American woman makes the "Y" room, with its pretty curtains, phonograph, and plenty of magazines and papers, seem like home.
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Never have the doughboys been treated so kindly. And every man of us is making the most of his opportunity."
Two hundred forty seven men of the 353rd Infantry attended these schools on foreign Soil. The plans were not fully developed but the men co-operated enthusiastically in the effort toward their improvement.
Generous leave policies did more perhaps than anything else to help the men of the 353rd Infantry back to themselves again. The special leave trains always carried the full Regimental quota to Coblenz and to various other leave areas in the allied countries. While the leave policy was generous the qualifications of candidates were usually high. Orders ran:
"Before leaving each soldier will be inspected to see:
1. That he has leave paper in duplicate (one sheet, to be separated in Coblenz or Trier).
2. That he is clean and properly dressed.
3. That he carries no arms or ammunition.
4. That he is instructed in the rules prohibiting fraternization with Germans and those prohibiting the purchase of food from Germans.
5. That his freedom from venereal disease is established by examination and that he had full knowledge of the prophylactic regulations.
6. That he is not lousy and that his clothes are free from vermin.
7. That he has no communicable cold or similar ailment."
Transportation accomodations, however, scarcely measured up to the standard required of passengers. Cars were crowded; meals uncertain and there was no end of trouble with the transportation guards; but the doughboy brushed aside all these minor inconveniences and difficulties on leave and forgot that he was a soldier. When he arrived at his destination he was a guest, interested in everything about him; when he returned he passed his story on to his pals and they were more than ready to join the next party. Leaves, always at a premium, increased in demand throughout the entire period of the Army of Occupation.
The full significance of these leaves may be read in the comments of the soldiers themselves. Sergeant Scott, of Headquarters Company, expresses the value of the Coblenz trip in the following extract:
"Every doughboy in the A. E. F. felt that his foreign service was incomplete until he had seen the Rhine. He wanted to tell the folks back home that he had actually crossed the sacred river of the Germans. Moreover, he had read about the castles along its banks and the vineyards on its hills. Quite a few remembered Caesar's bridge and the Lorelei. And, like the fisher of old, he didn't know just what it all meant but he must see the Rhine.
Service in the Army of Occupation 181
One day in April a hundred of us from the regiment were fortunate enough to receive a three-day pass to Coblenz. For a half day our train followed along the Moselle River. "Moselle" had a new significance for us now, never before had we seen such intensive cultivation. Even the steepest hillsides were covered with well-kept rows of grape vines. While we wondered how the keepers made it up to their plats and tried to figure out how many bottles of wine could be produced from the millions of vines, the train brought us to Coblenz.
The Coblenz Leave Club directed us to our billets and furnished us with meal tickets. All we had to do was to see the sights--no reveille and no retreat, the time was all our own!
The first afternoon we spent wandering about the town and along the Rhine, seeing places of historical interest. While I looked down into the clear blue water of the Rhine I remembered that just a year had passed since I had joined the army. It was almost impossible to believe that so many things had happened in the meantime; seemed to me I had been away at least ten years.
The next morning at 9 a. m. we took the forty-five kilometer trip on the Rhine. Our boat was a fine excursion schooner flying the Stars and Stripes. A "Y" man lectured at intervals and pointed out places of interest. The weather was fine, we had abundant opportunity to take pictures. Here it was--all that we had read about and dreamed about and more. Little villages with their backgrounds of vineyards clustered along the water's edge so close together that it was almost impossible to tell where one left off and the next began. The castles were built high up on steep cliffs; each had a history of its own and held itself, even in its ruins, aloft from the present commercial life below. The Lorelei rocks and riffles were natural, but we had to hand it to the German poet on his imagination; we couldn't hear the thing that sounded like "Die Lorelei."
The next morning we climbed up 300 feet to the fort on Ehrenbreitstein. It is said this fort can house 20,000 troops with suppfles for eight months. An American artillery outfit was in possession at this time and the American flag was flying from the mast. In the afternoon we visited the Ex-Kaiser's castle, "Stolzenfels." Everywhere American soldiers were in charge. After all, this trip made us feel that it was pretty good to he in the Army of Occupation."
From the account of Private Moss the men seemed to have had equally as interesting time in Annecy, France.
"March 8, 1919, I received a pass to the Annecy Leave Area and was told to report to the regimental infirmary for physical examination. The following morning 100 of us enlisted men lined up in front of the regimental headquarters for inspection
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and roll call. Every man was present; we executed "Right Turn" and headed for the depot. In a few minutes the express arrived; we piled into the "match boxes," each man made sure of his own place. In Trier we were checked in by the A. P. M. at the depot and marched through the town to West Trier where we were assigned to barracks for the night. Each man had a cot and six clean blankets; the barracks were well ventilated and we slept until 5 a. m. the next day.
We were told the Red Cross would be at West Trier station to give us coffee and sandwiches. The troop train pulled in but the Red Cross forgot us and we were assigned to sections in the cars, six men to one compartment--second and third class only. The train consisted of twenty-eight German coaches. The route paralleled the Moselle River until we arrived at Metz, where we halted for thirty minutes. We had heard of this city at the time of the St. Mihiel offensive and were eager to see the much talked of forts which were located on large hills around the city. There were plenty of shell holes and camouflage roads and bridges, and villages a few kilometers south of Metz. At 4:30 we came into Neaufchateau where the Red Cross put over a barrage of sandwiches and coffee, the first we had to eat since the preceding day. Sleeping in cramped positions all night long made us anxious to stretch our legs, and at every stop all would get out and take a run.
Our train pulled into Aix-Les-Bains at 11:45 and at 3:15 we arrived at Annecy. Annecy is situated thirty kilometers south of Switzerland and thirty kilometers west of Italy. It is a summer resort with a very large lake at the foot of the Alps. One could see the snow-capped peaks with the clouds hanging below them. This was my first view of the mountains and I was anxious to go on a sight-seeing trip.
We were marched in formation to the infirmary and were given the "once over" again, checked into the town, given a card with a name of a hotel on it and told to report at the boat. It took forty-five minutes to cross the lake.
In Annecy each man got a room to himself with a brass bed and clean linen. At 6 p. m. we had a very good meal; everything in the hotel was first class. We did not care to go to town because we were tired from our long journey of 500 kilometers. The mountain air was good; we slept with the windows open and were surprised to wake up the next morning at 9 a. m. Orders were to shave every morning, but we had developed this custom long ago. There was plenty of hot water and every man looked his best. The manager announced the meal times--breakfast at 10 a. m., dinner at 12 noon, and supper at 6 p. m.
Every one took the boat at 1:15 for the city. Most of the men went straight to the commissary to lay in a supply of chocolate, cigarettes and cigars. In the Y. M. C. A. hotel were three
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reading rooms with magazines of every description, a bureau of information and a large hall where we could get all the hot chocolate we could drink. I counted fifteen Y. M. C. A, girls who were there to help the doughboys enjoy themselves. There was, also, a large hut that had a writing room, games of all kinds and canteens in the wing; in another wing was a large theater where a vaudeville show was on every afternoon from 4 until 6 and 8 to 10 p. m. Each day the bill changed. Many took an eleven-hour trip to Mt. Blanc. The program here was one of intensive enjoyment.
Our stay in Annecy lasted seven days. These seven days passed almost before we realized they were gone, but we could scarcely remember anything about the World War any more. This was called a "Class A Leave," better known to us as an "H--l Leave." Everyone agreed that this was the best seven days he had seen in Europe; or probably ever would see again."
These accounts were collected at the time with a view toward helping later contingents to get the most out of their leave. There were many areas including Brussels, Rome, Paris, London and other cities in the allied countries. But it became increasingly difficult to secure statements from those who enjoyed the leaves. As Captain Delaney remarked to Colonel Reeves, "It spoils a man's leave to write all he did while he was gone, especially if he tells the truth." So the real record of the leaves was registered in the improved morale of the men.
While leaves, schools, and entertainments tended to bring variety into activity and increased interest in life, there was a corresponding increase in army paper work. Lights burned brightly at Regimental and Battalion Headquarters and the company orderly rooms until late every night. Each school announcement called for "a survey of troops to determine number of applicants for each course." This information must be in the hands of the division adjutant by a certain hour of a certain day. So, too, with leaves, companies must be notified of time and place of examination. Schedules and instructions for entertainments covered pages. The climax in paper work came with fully fifty pages of instructions for the review in Trier. Wide dissemination of the regiment increased the problem for the 353rd Infantry, but in spite of all difficulties company clerks and adjutants got the information across and "carried on."
Schools and leaves helped men back to normal thinking and vision, at the same time every means was applied toward physical restoration. As soon as the 353rd Infantry arrived in the area of occupation, a delouser was put into operation and kept busy until the day of departure as an initial effort toward the extermination of the invincible cooties. Companies were brought up in formation; each man carried his blanket and extra clothing, and while the clothing was being disinfected in the delouser the men put in their time in the bath room. It was a motley bunch of men that returned
184 Regimental History 353rd Infantry
to their billets after this experience. Some of the clothing faded; some had shrunk, and some increased in size. Overseas caps were scarcely recognizable in their shapelessness. Surely one experience was enough for the men, but the cooties survived. The medical detachment continued their warfare by the well-known policy of attrition. Whenever later inspection revealed a cootie, both soldier and cootie were returned to the delouser.
As time went by inspections increased in variety and number. Company officers made the rounds each night to see that the rooms were properly ventilated and to check up whether the men were sleeping head to foot. An officer was present at meal time to check up the quality of food and make sure that mess kits were properly washed.
In addition to these preventive measures, positive action continued along many lines. Dental surgeons worked longer hours now than ever before. Enforced neglect during campaign days had caused marked deterioration in the men's teeth. Inspection was made and record kept in the case of each man. Captain Crawford alone treated approximately 2400 patients, involving attention to 4200 teeth. When the dental surgeons closed their field equipment, the men of the 353rd Infantry had the unusual high rating of 80 per cent efficiency in mastication. (Mess sergeants insisted, however, efficiency in appetite was never below 100 per cent.)
Service in the Army of Occupation 185
Every effort was made to protect the men against venereal diseases. Literature in great variety came from many sources. Moral stories, moral suasion and instruction in the use of phophylaxis mingled with threats of court martial under the 96th article of war, involving transferral to labor battalions were used. It must be said to the credit of the men of the 353rd Infantry that they kept themselves free from this pernicious evil.
For a time these recurring inspections and persistent regulations seemed to antagonize the men, but they soon recognized in them their own welfare. Co-operation followed. And the men who came out of the campaigns with the lines of hardship and exposure in their faces, glowed again with health. Only five deaths occurred in the 353rd Infantry during the entire five months of German occupation.
Physical restoration along with change in thinking had succeeded in making the men over again. On March 21st an investigation of the morale of the men brought the following reports from battalion and separate company commanders:
First Battalion--Captain Dahmke, Commanding.
1. a The morale of both officers and enlisted men is generally good.
b Any instances of low morale are usually due to homesickness.
c Most frequent comment is: "I wouldn't mind staying if I felt I was accomplishing anything."
2. Recommend extension of educational advantages to men in battalion. A great many men who are not qualified to enter divisional schools would welcome an opportunity for study. Three schools are in progress within the battalion, but the work is hampered by lack of text books.
Second Battation--Captain Adkins, Commanding.
The morale of the men of this battalion has never been higher.
The recent announcement from headquarters fixing the sailing date for the division has made everyone more contented on that score.
Third Baltalion--Captain Beaman, Commanding.
Would report that the morale of this battalion is very good. On a recent twenty-kilometer march the men sang and joked all the way. This improvement in morale is due to several causes. Rations have been better balanced of late. Some new clothing enables the men to make a better appearance. Recent announcement from headquarters fixing the sailing date for the division has made everyone more contented on that score.
186 Regimental History 353rd Infantry
Headquarters Company--Lieut. Vernon D. Hunter, Commanding.
Report that the morale of the men of this company is very high. The men are satisfied with the mess and billets. Prospect for an early return to the U. S. has cheered them up immensely.
Supply Company--Lieut. Carl H. Faris, Commanding.
The low morale of the troops of this company noticeable during December, January and February was due to the uncertainty of their stay in Europe. These men are not soldiers by profession; they have families and vocations to which they are anxious to return. The official announcement of a sailing date has brought a great deal of satisfaction to the men.
Machine Gun Company--Lieut. William J. Lee, Commanding.
1. The morale of the men in this organization is very high at present. The addition of a recreation room, athletic competition and frequent entertainments seem to account largely for the improvement. Most of the remarks of the men off duty appear to be about what they expect to do at home.
2. Recommend increase in athletic equipment and larger and more varied supply of books and magazines.
Service in the Army of Occupation 187
The time for return to the homeland was only a few weeks away. Every day the morale improved. It was evident now that the 353rd Infantry would finish strong. Announcement of the month of sailing brought satisfaction; the announcement of May 7, 1919, as the day of entrainment was an occasion for celebration.
The decoration of the 353rd Infantry by the French government came on Sunday, May 4th, as a fitting close to the service of the regiment on foreign soil. Practically all of the men were back with their companies. Trucks brought the Second and Third Battalions from Waxweiler and Neuerberg and the Regiment was concentrated for the first time in many months in Prum. In the name of General Passaga, Commander of the 32nd French Army Corps, Commandant De Mange of the French general staff with Maj.-Gen. Frank L. Winn, the divisional commander presented the Croix de Guerre to the colors of the 353rd Infantry. This award was for service in the St. Mihiel sector but there was no less of pride in the fact that the regiment had come back and "carried on" throughout the period of German occupation.