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Contributed byJim Reavis
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Back From Service on Western Front
Emerson Reavis and Alvin Clayton
Return After 11 months
Spent in France
After nearly two years of army service, of which 11 months were spent in France, Emerson Reavis and Alvin Clayton came home Sunday afternoon. Both are hearty and well and tired. They have been spending most of their time sleeping and soothed by the comforts of home.
These boys and Clyde Batty and Raymond Dunbar of Joseph enlisted in the 65th Coast Artillery in April 1917 and went overseas early last year. All four have returned safe to the United States, but Emerson and Alvin are the only two who have came home. They were together all the time they spent in the service, excepting for a few weeks when Alvin was in a hospital.
Emerson's discharge papers show he went thru five great engagements, St. Mihiel, Sept. 12 to 14; Argonne Forest, Sept. 25 to 26; Verdun, Oct. 8 to 20; Estrayes, Oct 23 to 24 and Forest d'Argonne, Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
In France they were trained for several months, and at last their regiment went into action in the first large engagement carried on exclusively by the American forces. This was the battle in which the Yankees, by a whirlwind attack, drove the Boehes out of the St. Mihiel salient, the beginning of the end of Marshal Foch's successful campaign on the eastern end of the long battle line.
From the St. Mihiel engagement the 65th was shifted with many thousands of other Americans to Verdun sector, where it fought in a series of bitter battles thru the Argonne forest which ended with the capture of Sedan, and the surrender of Germany. Emerson remained with his battery thru all its engagements, but Sept. 20 Alvin was sent to a hospital. The battery in which the boys were placed used guns of English make 9.2 inches in diameter, the mobile field pieces worked by the Yankees. They were stationed a mile or so behind the front line trenches and were engaged in indirect firing, their targets being ammunition dumps, concentration points, roads and other objectives well within the German lines. All firing was by mathematical calculations, and the gunner seldom saw what they were shooting at.
The boys came home from Brest where they staid 16 cays before sailing. The American camp is three miles from the city and constant rains made the grounds a sea of sloppy mud, ankle deep. The tents were half floored affording the only dry spots in camp. The soldiers' feet were wet all the time and there was considerable sickness as a result.
Both were just schoolboys when they enlisted and now have returned veterans of the world's greatest war, and neither is past 20 years old.
Leonard M. Duncan of Joseph also came home on Sunday with other boys of the 65th. He was transferred to the regiment while overseas and being in another battery, never met the two Enterprise boys until they got acquainted on the train form LaGrande into the home county. They had been in the same regiment in service, but had not known it.
Three more overseas soldiers returned to Enterprise yesterday, Walter S. Burleigh, Robert Colpitts and Chester H. Lehninger. The last two were in the 65th Art. C.A.C. and were in France about four months. They had just finished their training and had been marshaled with others as part of the great force which was to start the new drive toward Mentz when the armistice was signed. So they saw no actual service, altho they were close to it. They were part of the two million American fighters who, all trained and full of energy, were eager to drive the Huns back to Berlin.
Mr. Burleigh was in the heavy artillery and his friends believe he was responsible for the early end of the war. Two days after he landed in France, the armistice was signed and the Kaiser "beat it" for Holland--heard Walter had come. It was the greatest disappointment to Mr. Burleigh and his regiment they they did not get into service. They had been trained to perfection in American camps and were ready to go to the front and they wanted noting else.
After his discharge at Camp Taylor, Kentucky, Mr. Burleigh went to Walla Walla to see his mother. He came back to Wallowa county more in love with it then ever, and is hankering to go fishing. He will return to his law practice.
C. C. Clearwater dropped in unexpectedly last week and is still visiting around town. In the army he was advanced to the rank of master signal electrician, and then was kept at the training centers giving instructions to beginners. So he never got overseas altho he enlisted in April 1917. He was stationed at S. Paul for several months before the armistice was signed. In a few days "Muddy" expects to go back east, to Sioux City, Iowa where he will remain until fall, when he thinks he will come back to Enterprise to stay.
Brian Pollock, who enlisted when he lived in Joseph, cane thru form the east with his regiment this week, bound for Camp Lewis for discharge. His cousins Gladys and Gene Amey went to La Grande to see him.
Frank D. Dunn came home on Monday from Camp Lewis, after nearly a year of army service, most of which was spent at Camp Humphreys, near Washington. In an engineer regiment. He was ready to go overseas more than once but had to be content with getting no farther than the Atlantic Seaport.
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