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Stories of Service

You can search for the name or unit and you will get a list of the stories that contain them.

Theodore E. Fournier

Submitted by: Brian A. Huseland {great-nephew}

Theodore E Fournier

Theodore E Fournier was born around 1899. Theodore Fournier served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


My great-uncle Theodore Everett Fournier served in the 103rd Infantry, Company C. After his parents told Teddy in his teen years that he was adopted, he left home and enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard, 2nd Infantry, finding comfort in serving his country.

In 1916, they patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border because of Pancho Villa’s raids. In 1917, the boys were drafted into the American Expeditionary Forces, and trained at Camp Cody, NM, as part of the 34th “Sandstorm” Division. However, as some American regiments had encountered heavy losses in Europe, the 34th became a replacement division, and was broken up.

Teddy was shipped out from New York City on June 29th, 1918 on the ship Demosthenes. He carried with him standard issue uniform and equipment, and a precious item: an enlisted men’s prayer book. He arrived in mid-July and was assigned to the 103rd about the time of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. After resting and training the new recruits, the regiment boarded trains for Verdun, France. Teddy’s regiment prepared for the St. Mihiel Offensive as part of the 26th Division, encountering occasional gas and gunfire.

Read more: Theodore E Fournier

Fred H. Becker

Submitted by: Michael Jon Chapman {No relation...but I have kept his story alive through my writings.}

Fred Becker image

Fred H. Becker born around 1895. Fred Becker served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The enlistment was in 1916 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


On a warm spring day, May 14, 1921, over 5,000 people attended a funeral in Waterloo, Iowa. The mourners filled the church to the bursting point, with the overflow covering the parking lot. Later that afternoon, they packed the local cemetery as well.

They had come from all over the state to honor Fred Becker, who had given his life fighting in France during World War I. It was said to be the largest crowd ever assembled in the city nestled in the heart of the Midwest. The story behind the turnout remains one of the most inspirational in Iowa sports and military history.

Fred H. Becker was born on November 6, 1895. The Becker family lived in a modest, one-story house on the east side of the river, just two blocks from where the five Sullivan brothers – who all perished on the same ship during World War II – were raised in the 1930s.

He first gained attention in sandlot football games on dusty, makeshift fields. It was in those rough-and-tumble games that he carved out a reputation that would serve him well in the years to come. He was known all over town for his “fighting spirit”!

Becker had a highly successful high school career. Handsome and popular, he was involved in a variety of activities, ranging from football, basketball and track to several after-school clubs. He was elected vice president of the junior class, and was also a member of the German Club. Little could he have imagined that he would one day lose his life fighting against Germany, the country where his mother had been born, and where his father’s side of the family had originated.

Read more: Fred H. Becker

A Tradition of Service Logo 75George Koenig

Submitted by: George Carter {Grandson}

George Koenig

George Koenig born in 1893, George Koenig served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


My Grandfather, George Koenig, was very proud of his U.S. Army service in World War I as part of the American Expeditionary Force.

(Note: Most of this information is from the personal diary that he kept while in the Army. Some of his notes are difficult to read or decipher, so this summary is a best effort supplemented by his official U.S. Army Discharge and Enlistment records, as well as the history of the U.S. Army 3rd Division, troopship rosters, newspaper and other historical references.)

He joined the Army on June 24, 1918 at the age of 25 from his home state of Minnesota and, after completing basic training, was soon shipped overseas. He arrived in Le Harve, France on October 4, 1918 and was then sent to Camp Hunt in the Southwest of France. He was stationed at Camp Hunt until November 11, 1918 (Armistice Day).

Read more: George Koenig

Clayton Final Wheeler

Submitted by: Brian McCutcheon {Grandson}

Clayton Final Wheeler

Clayton Final Wheeler was born around 1890. Clayton Wheeler served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service


My grandfather was a member of the Michigan National Guard and served in B Company, 16th Engineers (Railroad). His unit was one of the first units to enter France and one of the last to depart. He left Michigan from the Michigan Central Terminal in Detroit. From there the unit went to New York awaiting transport to France. His unit entered France at Bordeaux.

During his time in France he served in multiple regions. At one time early in his deployment, his unit was attached to and under the command of the British, at a location near the English Channel. The Service Bars on his WW1 Victory Medal, which is in my possession show he served in the Lys Campaign, the Meuse Argonne and the Defensive Sector.

The majority of his time in France was spent in Camp Williams. Camp Williams which was located just outside of the village of Is Sur Tille, which is a short drive from Dijon. Camp Williams was the largest US Army Logistics Base in France during WW1. His uniform is now on display in the town museum.

Fortunately, my Grandfather returned home safely in 1919. However, when he returned, he learned that his Mother had died during the Influenza Pandemic of 1919. HIs Mother came from a French family and he had hoped to demonstrate to her that he had learned how to speak some French.

Read more: Clayton Final Wheeler

A Tradition of Service Logo 75Horace Clinton Burnette

Horace Clinton Burnette mug

Submitted by: Marshall Burnette {Grandson}


Horace Clinton Burnette born around 1887, Horace Burnette served in World War 1 with the United States Navy . The enlistment was in 1916 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


My grandfather, Horace Burnette, joined the Navy in 1916 after losing his wife due to childbirth. This left Horace with two young sons to care for.

While on leave from his ship (where he served as a rated Water Tender) in Brest, France his ship received orders to quickly leave port and he was left behind. He reported to the nearest Navy office & was assigned duty as a shore patrolman.

While in France he met and married the beautiful Renee Le Fur and, after the end of the war, they returned together to the USA aboard the USS Leviathan.

Horace marched, with his unit, in the WWI Victory Parade through Paris under the command of General John J. (Blackjack) Pershing.

Horace and Renee had five children together. Horace's primary occupation was farming in both north and south Georgia. Five of his sons also served in the military with four of them being WWII veterans.

Read more: Horace Clinton Burnette

Roy Hammes Gehris

Submitted by: Roy F Gehris {son}


roy gehris mugRoy Hammes Gehris was born around 1898. Roy Gehris served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1916 and the service was completed in 1921.

Story of Service


He enlisted 11 Oct 1916 and was sent to Camp Slocum, NY. He was a bugler in Company I, 18th Infantry (11 Oct 1916 to 4 Dec 1919) which included service in the Panama Canal Zone from 28 Nov 1916 to 6 Aug 1918; reenlisted at Headquarters Battery, 5th Artillery, Camp Jackson, SC (4 Dec 1919 to 27 Jul 1921).

Later served in the Pennsylvania National Guard as 1st Sgt of a Veterinary Company in Fleetwood, PA.

Read more: Roy Hammes Gehris

Paul & Stanley Wikarski

Submitted by: Kent Wikarski {nephew}

6082c4ed59592 Paul & Stanley copy

Paul Wikarski was born around 1887, Stanley Wikarski was born around1891. Paul & Stanley Wikarski served in World War 1 with the United States Navy and United States Army, respectively.

Story of Service


Brothers Paul & Stanley Wikarski children of Polish immigrants were born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Paul the older of the two lied about his age and entered the Navy when he was only sixteen and a half years old. Paul served as a Chief Gunners Mate aboard the U.S.S. Ohio as part of the Atlantic Fleet during WW!. Just four years earlier, in 1914, he took part in the invasion of Veracruz while serving on the U.S.S. New Hampshire. Paul died of accidental drowning during his 5th enlistment period in 1922 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Stanley enlisted in the Army and completed basic training at Fort Custer, Michigan as a member of 85th Infantry. Because of his contractor experience, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 310th Engineers, a divisional support regiment later assigned to the V Army Corps 1st Army under General Pershing. Records show that the 310th Engineers deployed in support of the Division at various battles. At some, point Stanley was exposed to a poison gas attack. Like many men, he died prematurely due to post war afflictions. He died at the National Home for Disabled & Solders in Milwaukee in 1932.

Read more: Paul & Stanley Wikarski

Harry Henry Zoleman

Submitted by: Patricia Smith {granddaughter}

Harry Zoleman image

Harry Henry Zoleman born around January 17,1895. Harry Zoleman served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


My grandfather was the first of many who listened, from his hometown of Doe Run Mo. Who went from Private First Class in 1918, came to sergeant.

His daughter was my mother, Leora Zoleman Simon. She got a lot of items from his picture when it hung in living room wall for many years, where his eyes were following every where you would go.

My grandfather had pictures of his company L 138 th infantrymen, where he served in the war with, where they all on a ship called Missanabie, going to Saint-Nazaire France, 1918.  I am very proud of my grandfather, wish I had got to know him.


Toney Stola

Submitted by: Ron Scarano {Great great nephew}

Toney Stola image

Toney Stola was born around 1899, Toney Stola served in World War 1 with the the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service








Harry George Franke

Submitted by: Chelsy Proper {2nd great granddaughter}

No Photo

Harry George Franke was born around 1891. Harry Franke served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


Before enlisting in the Army, Franke was a house painter for Bethel Brothers in Aurora, Indiana.

Franke joined the Army in June, 1917. He was a member of the 159th Depot Brigade, based out of Camp Zachary Taylor, until May, 1918. He was then transferred to Headquarters Company, 106th Engineers, until discharge in May, 1919. He was discharged as a private.

While stationed in France, Franke met Marguerite Lanser, a Luxembourger. They were married in March, 1919, just before his discharge, and they returned to Indiana together. After the war, Franke returned to painting houses. He died in Louisville, Kentucky on May 8, 1953. 


Montgomery Howe “Trey” Polk

Submitted by: Diana Quinn Cotton {grandniece-in-law}


IMG 3332Montgomery Howe “Trey” Polk was born around 1895. Joseph Maxim served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


Montgomery Howe “Trey” Polk, son of Walter H. Polk and Lillian (Montgomery) Polk, was born on April 4, 1895, in Natchez, Mississippi. Trey’s maternal great-grandfather was General Charles Clark, a Confederate Civil War Governor of Mississippi. He was related on his father’s side to Lt. Thomas Polk, who buried the Liberty Bell to save it from the British.

Trey played on the Mississippi A & M College football team and served during World War I as a 1st Lieutenant in Co. “A” 125th Infantry AEF France.

The following is a letter that Trey wrote to his future brother-in-law, Henry Eugene Quinn, during the war:

Read more: Montgomery Howe “Trey” Polk


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