The famous line at the end of “Saving Sargeant Private Ryan” should apply to all of us, not just private Ryan. If not for our military, we would not have freedom of speech, or freedom of religion, or freedom at all. “The Government” doesn’t give us our freedom, brave men and women did and still do. “Earn this” every day, and be thankful for those who died for our freedom, and for those who still serve today!
Risks giving birth a third time. 2′ 4″ tall. With pict.
That quote is burned in my memory from a book that my Great Aunt gave to me as a child. Her second husband, “Uncle Joe”, had been in the “American Expeditionary Forces” (the AEF) that were sent to France in WWI. Actually, it was a two volume set, blue in color, and each were approximately 18 inches tall and over a foot wide. They were chock full of old actual photos of the period. One of them, not the one below, had a picture of a machine gun nest that had just been hit by a direct hit from artillery, and all had perished. The smoke had not even cleared yet. And it had the quote above. Dying for your country is not glamorous. Dying for somebody else’s country must be a multitude worse.
“The AEF sustained about 320,000 casualties; 53,402 battle deaths, 63,114 non combat deaths and 204,000 wounded. The high casualty rate sustained at a time when Allied casualty rates were lighter can be attributed to Pershing not incorporating the latest tactics that were proving successful for other Allies Earlier in the war, Allied casualty rates had been horrific, but by the time American forces entered battle new technology and advanced tactics had reduced casualty rates dramatically. Although he was quick to adjust, his slightly outdated tactics, lack of equipment and poor logistics proved costly in American casualties. Also, as a result of grave medical and sanitary problems in training camps as well as in Europe, many troops of the AEF fell victim to disease, especially influenza.”
[Republished.] My father was in Korea sometime in 1952-1954. His highest rank was Sargent First Class.
He gave me his dress hat, his sargent stripes and his Third Infantry ID patch (blue and white diagonal stripes) when I was too young to appreciate them. I played with them when I was approximately 6-8 years old, but have long since lost them. I sure wish I had them now.
He was approximately 22 years old in the photos. My older sister was conceived before he shipped out and he never saw her until she was approximately 2 years old. My older brother was born 9 months after he returned home. I was an unwanted accident later. Thank God abortion wasn’t legal back then. 😉 My father died several years ago, but he would have been 77 if he was still alive. Attached are some photos that were taken approximately 55 years ago.
On the back of the top photo Dad wrote: “Vern Rystad & I. Vern is from Fosston Minnesota.” On the bottom he wrote “A “Willy Peter” shell 106# [White Phosphorus]