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Chapter 1 Camp Upton


HISTORY
of
THE 306th Infantry

By
Julius Ochs Adler
1935
CAMP UPTON


IN the summer of 1917, out of a tangle of scrub-oak and sturdy pine in the middle of Long Island, Camp Upton was created.

The camp was one of sixteen cantonments constructed by the War Department in different parts of the country to train the civilians, who were to become a part of the great National Army. Following our entry into the war on April 6, 1917, the entire strength of the nation was, mobilized to equip and prepare one of the largest armies in history. The cantonments sprang up like mushrooms; while in cities, towns and country, the youth of America was being mustered for service overseas.

Camp Upton was literally carved out of the wilderness. It was situated near a station on the Long Island Railroad known by the euphonious name of Yaphank, some sixty miles from New York and approximately midway between Patchogue on the South Shore and Port Jefferson on the Sound. Carpenters, woodsmen, laborers and contractors were its creators; surveyors and engineers laid out the rude camp streets; mules and tractors and trucks, rutted the sticky earth into a morass of mud and debris. Almost a whole forest was felled; gaunt stumps stuck up like sore fingers out of the scarred ground. Saw and adze and hammer, level and blueprint-and an army of workmen-transformed the forest into a city of wooden barracks, a "city" that was, to be the birthplace of the 306th Infantry.

While Camp Upton, with its, barracks and its ditches and its mud, was being hacked out of the landscape of Long Island, the Regiment itself was conceived. All over New York City the men who were to be the veterans of the Vesle and the Meuse-Argonne were receiving those fateful pink cards which meant that they had been picked in accordance with the provisions of the Selective Draft Act to shoulder arms for their country. East Side, West Side, "all around the town," the pink cards came to men in all walks of life. Not all of those who had registered with their local boards were chosen for immediate service; the cards were dispatched in batches and the men who were to be welded at Camp Upton into the division that was to take its place in the great National Army were ordered to report in drafts.

To weld these men into military units, to prepare them as fighting men and to lead them through the shell fire of France, officers had to be selected and themselves trained. Long before Camp Upton had begun to take shape out of the scrub-oak thickets, that training had commenced. In May, 1917, the young business men and college graduates who were to become the officers of the future 306th Infantry left New York City for the Officers' Training Camp at Plattsburg Barracks, New York. For three months, from dawn to dusk, from reveille to taps, the future officers put in the hardest kind of physical work. Close order drill, target practice, tactical problems (largely based on our experience in the Civil War), study of infantry drill regulations and army regulations, and hikes with full army packs, all served to turn out, on August 15, 1917, men who were not only hardened by their experience, but enthusiastic about taking up their duties with the National Army.

As the young men from the Third and Fourth Companies at Plattsburg, who were to become the nucleus of the officers of the 306th Infantry, were finishing their training, Colonel George Vidmer, who was to be the Regiment's beloved leader all through the war, was immersed in a thousand details of paper work at the half-finished Camp Upton. An officer who had transferred from the cavalry because he had seen no work for horsemen in France, Colonel Vidmer sparkled with energy and enthusiasm. He could see the humorous side of things. He was tolerant of mistakes until the same man made the same mistake twice. He neither asked nor cared for means or methods so long as problems were solved satisfactorily. He could sit in judgment and use common-sense justice without reference to the book of Military Law, Army Regulations, or the I. D. R. His sole demand was that those who served under him be above mediocrity in whatever task they attempted. His aim was to command the best regiment in the best brigade in the best division in France, and he kept this high point of perfection as his objective until the 306th Infantry had been organized and drilled, trained and transported to France, and through the days that saw the Regiment move across the valley of the Vesle, to the Aisne, and through the tangled trees of the Argonne Forest to, the Meuse. When the job was done at last, if he did not quite attain all that he desired, at least he was satisfied. And very proud. . . .

To Colonel Vidmer and the wilderness of the wooden barracks, uncleared forest, mud-holes, stumps and lumber -piles that was Camp Upton came the future officers of the 306th in early September, 1917. The young officers -majors, captains, first and second lieutenants-with the new bars of their ranks shining brightly on their shoulders, were herded together in Barrack J-I for a few days, until they were ordered to report to Colonel Vidmer at the "headquarters" of the 306th Infantry.
The Regiment was born !

But there was no time for self-congratulation. Within a few days the first draft was due at the still-unfinished camp; to mold this raw material into a regiment there were the young officers from Plattsburg, a few seasoned campaigners who knew the smell of smoke, a handful of old army sergeants, and one or two former "non-coms," elevated in the emergency. There were assignments to be made, jobs to be learned, thousands of details to be attended to. Colonel Vidmer took his new officers on long hikes through the surrounding country, hikes supposedly designed to keep every one fit, but actually an opportunity for the Colonel to size up his men.

"Keep your health and your sense of humor," he advised them. "The rest will take care of itself."
Uniforms, blankets, food, rifles, equipment, arrived in advance of the draft and were sorted and checked. Feverish preparations were made by new supply officers and quartermasters, who worked far into the night. Carpenters and laborers hammered and sawed night and day. Chefs were sent down from the best New York hotels to take charge of the cooking until the companies yet to be formed could develop their own cooks.

On September 10, 1917, the first men arrived and were detrained at the railroad crossing where the nearest road led to camp. There the officers who had been detailed to meet them formed the men in two ranks, and their lives as soldiers had begun.. The first draft was composed of men of every nationality and from every civilian occupation; somehow, in the days to come, these men were to be welded in the army's melting-pot into a great division which was to gain more ground in France than any other American division.

For the next week or two after the arrival of the men, Camp Upton was in chaos.

The new arrivals were promptly assigned to companies, and then the officers had their first taste of those pestilential qualification cards, which, in many cases, were worse than Greek puzzles. They did not completely appreciate until later the real utility of those cards and the value of this system, which Colonel Vidmer had evolved. Then, when regiments all about them were being inconvenienced by necessary transfers of specialists between companies (to "equalize" the number assigned to each company) the 306th comprehended the wisdom and foresight of Colonel Vidmer's plan.

It was essentially a simple plan, but in its details difficult to carry out. The Colonel and his Adjutant, Captain Thacher, scrutinized the qualification cards of each newly arrived batch of men, listed the men under those civilian occupations which had parallels in military life, and divided the men so qualified equally between all companies, with the exception of the Headquarters and Machine Gun Companies. Each company was assigned an equal number of policemen, firemen, superintendents, gang bosses, and all those who had had control of men, and who probably had some of the qualities from which to make non-commissioned officers. The cooks, stenographers, typists, mechanics, etc., were similarly assigned. Radio men, signalers, and line men were assigned to Headquarters Company. Teamsters and horsemen in general were divided between the Supply and Machine Gun Companies.

The captains were called together and -given an outline of the scheme. Draft boards must be broken up, Colonel Vidmer said. The four platoons in a company and even the squads in a platoon were to be utilized for this purpose. All civilian associations were to be severed and a new comradeship, based on the men's experiences in the Regiment in peace and war, fostered, so that there might be borne into civilian life after the war a greater understanding of democracy. The scheme was hard to carry out, in many instances, but the officers gave the idea their loyal support, and now after the war is over they have had ample time and opportunity to judge the wisdom of the experiment.

Thus the drills soon became a question of personal competition between men of different nationalities, different educations and of varying social positions. There, was the turmoil of fitting clothing and of finding it would not fit -of keeping those damnable records which at that time seemed so useless. Muster-rolls, morning reports, ration returns, were all more complex than calculus, and many a night was spent in trying to work out the intricacies of all those column headings and how to fill them in.

So much of the captains' time was occupied in innumerable reports, returns, etc., which had to be made every few days and which seemed to be every few minutes, that the Colonel later in the fall made a trip to Washington and laid before the War Department the need of an officer for this purpose. In accordance with Colonel Vidmer's recommendation such an assignment was approved, the officer to be called the personnel adjutant.

Army Regulations gave the greatest worry, until at Officers' Call one day the question of this "blue-bound book" was brought up and there was a feeling of relief when the Colonel announced:

"Gentlemen, there is no precedent for this mobilization in our history. We are all men of common sense and all I want you to do, is to use common sense in the organization and training of your companies. You may burn your Army Regulations, for I guarantee you will have no use for them during this war. Anyway, Army Regulations were written for those who have no common sense."

Sorting each succeeding draft into companies was task enough, and the prospect of drilling, arming and training them to fight and then leading them into actual warfare appeared to be an impossible undertaking.~ Everything was in disorder. And the fates seemed determined to keep the 306th Infantry in that state. Men who were thought to be present were discovered never to have reported. No sooner had a man been issued a blanket, messkit, bed sack and number than he lost the first three and forgot the last. Uniforms were ordered to fit odd shapes and before they arrived those odd shapes had been transferred elsewhere. Many men could not speak English.

Some of them wore their best clothes, probably having determined to make a good impression on their commanding officers. Others wore their worst, wisely, for pinch-back coats and patent-leather shoes did not receive any great consideration when there were stumps to be pulled, potatoes to be peeled or ditches to be dug, and it was several days before uniforms were issued. The men swarmed off the trains that rolled into the station at Yaphank in a steady stream. Curiosity, anger, zest, distress, bewilderment and arrogance were a few of the emotions displayed by their remarks.

In some miraculous manner each draft was herded into something vaguely resembling a column and marched to the barracks. There the leader of the group presented the receiving officer with a list alleged to contain the names of those present and an armful of identification papers. Neither ever was known to check. As an example, it was a week before Captain Marshall discovered that Gregory, who had faithfully reported present at every formation of Company I, never had appeared in Camp Upton at all, and that Gregowski, who had been marked absent and the fact reported to his draft board, was laboring under the impres-sion that they had Americanized his name.
But then roll-call always caused more confusion than comprehension.
"Tomaso."
"Here."
"Tortoni."
"Here," from the same individual.
"Who are you, Tomaso or Tortoni?"
"No spigh Ingleesh." Already he had learned a formula that would serve in any emergency.

When Captain Adler took command of H Company a few months later he found a well-drilled organization, but an irregular skyline which jarred on his sense of proportion. He rearranged the company according to size and at last had a line before him that sloped gracefully from the six -footers on the right flank to the smaller men on the left. But when he gave the command "Right by squads!" he found confusion. Some of the men did right face and some did left and some just stood still in consternation. The captain was mystified.. He had seen the same company going through the same movement only a few moments before. Investigation proved that the company had been arranged by nationalities and that when a command was given in English each corporal hastily translated it in the language of his particular squad. Captain Adler immediately discarded his idea of symmetry and rearranged the company as he had found it.

The language problem was one of the most perplexing at first. Over four hundred men in the Regiment could not speak English, and schools were hastily formed to teach them their adopted tongue. Their progress was swift and steady, but there were many exasperating moments before they got past the one phrase, "No spigh Ingleesh," which they discovered early in their military careers excused them from unpleasant duties that otherwise might have been thrust upon them.

One, of the captains, finding an especially muddy spot in his company street during one of those early days of organization, ordered Private P-, soldier by chance, guitar player by preference, to get some ashes and spread them over the slippery area. Private P- merely looked at the captain and chanted the formula, "No spigh Ingleesh."
"You-usted-savvy usted?" the captain started again, calling on his limited knowledge of Spanish in the emergency.
"Jh, si, sehor," the soldier said intelligently.
"Get ashes!" the captain added hurriedly as though he feared Private P- would lose the trend of the conversation. But already the blank expression had returned to Private P-'s face.
"No entiendo, sehor. No spigh Ingleesh.
",Ashes! ASHES I" the Captain exploded. "My Go,d, man, can't you understand a simple little word like ashes?"
Perhaps P- simply did not want to get any ashes, in the first place. There were many times that the foreign- born called on their old friend "No spigh Ingleesh" when they did not want to stretch their imaginations-or their legs. Captain Bull came as close to solving the problem as any one. He posted a sign on the bulletin board in G Company barracks that read, "If you can't speak English you can't eat!"
It was surprising how quickly the foreigners in G Com-pany learned the language.

The first days in camp were spent in a jumble of duties that seemed only dimly connected with warfare. Stumps of trees had to be cleared away before drills could start, because there wasn't any place smooth enough to drill on. D6bris left behind by carpenters in their haste to complete the village that had sprung up between dawn and dusk had to be carted off.

There were dust and mud and piles of lumber, charred stumps of trees and miniature lakes; and there were dirt roads-mockingly designated as "Fourth Avenue," "Fifth Avenue," "Eighth Street," "Ninth Street," and other such familiar thoroughfares to the city-bred. There were rows on rows of two-story wooden buildings; and in the distance, looking down in dignified command from the high vantage of "The Hill," Division Headquarters.

In dry weather clouds of dust swept from one end of camp to the, other, spreading a layer of tan powder over everything. In wet weather the streets became brown blotches of mud and muck-holes, and water dripped steadily on polished steel-that had to be repolishedl In hot weather a blistering sun beat down on tired backs. In cold weather the chill wind crept through the thin walls of the hastily constructed barracks and poked shivering soldiers with frosty fingers. Such was Camp Upton.

There was little sleep the first few nights in barracks. The novelty and perhaps the realization that they were really in the army kept men tossing on their bunks, wondering, wondering, . . . And there were new friends. Long after taps the barracks buzzed with low murmurs of conversation, interrupted by peals of laughter. Somehow things never seemed so funny as when the lights were out and others wanted to sleep. . . .

The problem of organization was as vast and intricate as a jig-saw puzzle with four thousand pieces. Just when it looked as though a piece fitted here it was discovered that it did not at all. When one section was completed, another, just as difficult to solve, appeared. There were troubles enough for every one in those days.

Uniforms alone caused sleepless nights and weird sights that looked more like men in masquerade than soldiers. There were long, lean men and short, stout men to be equipped. There were long, lean uniforms and short, stout uniforms to be issued. But never the right amount of both and seldom enough of either. Then, too, shoes, hats and leggins had to be fitted. It was not unusual to see patent-leather shoes doing double-time, or "soldiers" dressed in gayly checkered trousers, issue leggins, and gray felt hats.

The urge to get back to the city was another problem of those first difficult days. If passes were not granted and "Slim" or "Bull" or "Pedro" wanted to make a weekend visit to New York they simply went. When regulations became more strict they presented telegrams from friends saying that mother was very low or that sister was getting married. It was not long before the weight of an urgent telegram was practically negligible in securing a pass.

The simplest movements of close order drills were erratic, to say the, least. It was difficult enough to get a company headed in any given direction. It was next to impossible to change the course or bring them to a halt within hailing distance of each other. And as some individual always persisted in coming to halt a pace or two behind the rest of the company, the voice of some seasoned sergeant would come booming across the area: "Say, you! General Pershing halts in three counts. If you can do, it in two, go over and win the war I"

We had heard of the "fog of war" and we were now beginning to appreciate what this meant, at least in the early stages of preparation.
Uniforms, passes, conscientious objectors, the rudiments of infantry drill regulations these were only a few of the troubles that harassed those trying to organize four thousand men into a single unit. And yet in the gloom of discouragement there were some bright spots. There were men who encouraged the Regiment by their unexpected adaptability, enthusiasm, humor or talents and who helped to smooth the rough spots in the road. There were men like Eddie Seewald, whose esprit de corps caused him to turn down a commission because he did not want to leave his pals in F Company; and David Hochstein, who was on the threshold of fame as a violinist when he heard the bugles beckoning and whose magic music thrilled the hearts of many a homesick lad. There was Ben Gold, of D Company, later to become first sergeant, whose loyalty and sense of humor never failed. There was Corporal Carney, the proud possessor of a radiolite wrist-watch, who thought it the wittiest thing in the world to be awakened with inquiries as to the time at odd hours of the night. There was Jimmy Flaherty, who became a hero of F Company by riding twenty miles to Patchogue to have the chef's false teeth repaired when the outfit was threatened with starvation by the lord high ruler of the kitchen. And there were many others, whose names were legion, who did their parts manfully in creating the spirit of the Regiment.

The evenings were occupied by talks and lectures, which were interesting at first, but then became a bore. Later on, when it was found that attendance was compulsory, it is believed that most of these periods were used for periods of well-earned rest.

The Division Staff now began to inspect the Regiment. General J. Franklin Bell, the Division Commander, that old veteran of so many campaigns, began to walk about the regimental area and give words of praise and admonition. When he went to France on his tour of observation, his successor, General Evan M. Johnson, followed his example; and ever present was that grand old much-revered General Edmund C. Wittenmyer, our Brigade Commander, whose quiet smile, kind words and encouragement will ever be remembered and whose snow-white hair was often seen later in the front lines in France. Every one felt that with such a man in command of our brigade, we would not only be well taken care of, but well led.

Comrades of the 305th now began to be noticed; they were brigaded with the 306th and were later to fight side by side with our regiment. It was a pleasant and reassuring sight to see the warm friendship which existed between Colonel Vidmer and Colonel Smedberg. It was realized that the two regiments would have to depend on each other in vital moments on the battlefield, and it was very heartening to know that there existed between the two leaders a warm and lasting comradeship which had endured now for over thirty years.

All this time the 306th was rounding into shape; officers and men were studying and being studied and were gaining that confidence and mutual respect in each other which must exist between comrades in arms who are destined to succeed.

Then came the day when the Regiment was assembled in the large auditorium and the Colors were blessed. First they were blessed by the Protestant chaplain, then by the Jewish rabbi, and last by our own Father Dunne, that modest, retiring little Catholic priest who afterwards in France grew so close to the men of the Regiment and whom they loved and admired.

And then more work. Work? Yes, they worked-the men of the 306th. Company by company was detailed to pull stumps and fill in the ground so that there would be space enough to drill. A system of trenches was dug, which was the only complete system in the entire camp built to the satisfaction of the foreign instructors. Bayonet dummies were painted ~ la Kaiser; and a bombing circle was outlined with a little wall in the center, at which rocks were thrown under the supervision of the French instructors. Then there were the rifle galleries, built six feet apart in rear of the machine-gun barracks, galleries which were continually used throughout the winter, and in which stoves were placed to warm fingers so that the bull's-eye could be hit. The 306th was going to be a sharp-shooting outfit.

Because of the foresight of Colonel Vidmer, all this work and training made company bonds stronger than civilian ties, and company rivalry flared like a flame. The officers sought competitive drills. Weekly inspections became heated competitions. Pride of personnel became a matter of argument.
"Say, we got the best bunch in the whole regiment over in B Company."
"Whatta you mean, best bunchl"

But when it became a matter of the "Three-Oh-Six" against some other regiment, then company rivalries were forgotten and battalions banded together in the bigger bond of the regiment.

That spirit first awakened, perhaps, when the matter of War Risk Insurance was broached. The details were announced and the men were frankly uninterested. The advantages to be gained were pointed out and there was little response. It was emphasized that the cost would be little and the return might be great; the result was a feeble flutter. But when War Risk Insurance was made a matter of regimental achievement there was a different reaction. Other outfits were subscribing heavily. Would the "Three-Oh-Six" lag behind? The Regiment subscribed one hundred percent.

It was the same with the Liberty Loan Drive. Not only because they thought Liberty Bonds were good investments, but because they refused to be outdone in anything, did the 306th Infantry subscribe nearly a hundred thousand dollars more than any other regiment in the division.

Then there was the fight for the football championship. It was as typical of the Regiment's esprit de corps as anything that was accomplished in those days at Camp Upton. Lieutenant "Mike" Hayes had coached a team through an undefeated schedule, but the 302nd Engineers had just as distinguished a record and, besides, a bigger, heavier, stronger eleven. So when the two met in the final game for the championship, the odds were strongly against the "Three-Oh-Six."

For three quarters the Infantrymen fought off the assaults of the Engineers through sheer courage. And when the last period started the score was o-o. But the Engineers had the ball on the ten-yard line and it was first down. A touchdown seemed inevitable, and a touchdown meant defeat. Three times Engineers' giant backs crashed into the line of men of the 306th. Three times they were hurled back without gaining an inch. And on the fourth down they were stopped with such definite finality that the man with the ball fumbled and the charge had been halted.

Defeat no longer threatened, but the "Three-Oh-Six" wanted more than a tie. Victory lay ninety yards away and only eight minutes, remained in which to cover that distance. Yet the Regiment took up the task with determination that would not be checked by the apparent hopelessness of the situation. Ritter, the big fullback, had been forced from the game with a badly wrenched knee, but he begged for the chance to return for the final drive. O'Hara, the little left halfback, was battered and bruised, but he kept up the fight. Twice during the ninety-yard march down the field Sergeant Aden, the plucky quarterback, was knocked unconscious, but each time he staggered to his feet to, carry on.

One by one the white lines slipped behind. Nearer and nearer came the Engineers' goal as minutes ticked away the march that couldn't be stopped. And finally big Ritter, though in great pain, plunged over the last white chalk-mark to a touchdown, to victory, and championship.

But that was only a beginning. The 3o6th Infantry scampered off with the track and field championship in the meet sponsored by the New York Athletic Club. That was the only time they were ever known to run away from any rival. They showed they could fight by winning the divisional boxing championship. And when the sanitation inspectors made their final rounds they found no banana-peels in company streets, nor incinerators that would not work, and once more the 3o6th Infantry carried off the highest honors.

Too much credit cannot be given to the Regimental Surgeon, Lieutenant R. M. Vose. He was the watchdog of sanitation. His almost hourly visits to the kitchens and his constant advice and warnings were just what were needed at this time. His value was soon recognized by the Division Surgeon, and it was but three months after the organization of the Regiment that he received his promotion to the grade of Major, and much to the Regiment's gratification remained on duty as Regimental Surgeon.

The memory of these triumphs and the prophecy of greater triumphs to come were embodied in the regimental shield, designed by that outstanding American sculptor, Captain Robert Aitken, of the Machine Gun Company. It hung high over Regimental Headquarters for one and all to see. It depicted a corporal breaking his way through a barbed-wire entanglement in the flare of a bursting shell, His rifle was at the charge, his bayonet fixed. And as he plunged forward he shouted his command to his squad, "Follow me!" That command, translated into French. "Suivez-moi !" served as a motto to the Regiment, not only in those training days when championships and prizes were the rewards, but later in sterner contests when life and death hung in the balance.
"Follow me !"

The second increment of the draft was arriving. Veterans of three months hung out of barrack windows like tenement dwellers in the Bronx and watched them struggle through the deep snows of December. More material for the melting-pot. Shouts of recognition were flung to
for
mer friends. Shouts of derision greeted the grotesque and gawky. With sheepish grins the rookies answered back. The lieutenant who had flunked out of college found the professor who had graded his paper assigned to his company. The clerk who had gone to training camp returned his former boss's salute with satisfaction. "You're in the army now-" Somersaults.

But life in the army was beginning to have its attractions. Uniforms really fitted and were a badge of distinction, commanding respect on Broadway or Fifth Avenue. The lowest ranking buck private in O.D. was something superior to the niftiest man in civies. Aged bankers in limousines looked enviously at youngsters on the sidewalks. Uncle Sam's nephews were welcomed where before they had feared to tread.

And there were good times which all of us enjoyed.... Theater parties in the city, when whole companies at a time were entertained by the managers of the leading shows on Broadway. Visits of friends and families, who braved the slush and snow to, see the soldiers at Camp Upton. Dances in the barracks on Sunday afternoons for those who could not get passes to the city-an officers' dance at the Bilt-more-concerts by the regimental band-solos, impromptu, by mouth-organists, guitar players, banjoists-duets, quartets, choruses-regimental entertainments in the Y.M.C.A. -company blowouts in the barracks.

At Christmas there were passes for half the Regiment. At New Year's there were passes for the rest. Those who had come to camp a slack-shouldered, narrow-chested, somewhat apprehensive crowd of civilians, went back to the city again a swaggering, snappy, smartly clad, laughing regiment of soldiers. They laughed at their experiences, they minimized the hardships, they lauded their officers, their company and their regiment. "Wait'll the 306th goes over-" "We won't come back till it's over, over there I"

But it looked as if the time for departure was, getting closer each day. January found increased activity in camp and a more business-like atmosphere. No Man's Land, parapets, zero hour, became everyday expressions as the Regiment went through maneuvers. Enthusiasm and interest increased as the work became more like the real thing. Rifle practice on the newly constructed range, under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Garrison McCaskey, was held in spite of the cold and wintry days. The Regiment was developing its marksmanship which was to be so useful in the days to come.

No one will ever forget the winter Of '17 and '18. Coal was hard to get and had to be hauled by regimental transportation; the roads were sheathed with ice and many a load which got stuck half the way to its barracks was wheeled by hand by men of the company in order that there might be some semblance of heat. There would come a snow followed immediately by a thaw and a drop in temperature so great that the ground was a sheet of ice, and the only way to carry on with drills and exercises was to cover the regimental area with ashes from the stoves and heaters. The cold was so intense that on many a morning icicles hung from the showers. The real training value of these difficulties was not appreciated until later when there were other and more difficult obstacles to overcome. The Regiment went through a hard school in this training at Camp Upton and was prepared for the worst.

The story of the training of the Regiment would be in-complete without mention of the foreign instructors; they were such a hard-working lot, especially if one could judge by the time they gave the Regiment. . . . There was Captain Browne, of the British Army, with his able assistant, Sergeant Major Covington, who, it was understood, had been an auctioneer in London. His voice had had excel-lent training, and his constant commands, "In I" "Out I" 4'On Guardt" and "Carry On!" at least made the men move lively. Poire, with his Chauchat automatics, which later on in France were called "gas pipes," excited the greatest admiration. Many a time members of the 306th eyed his Croix de Guerre and wondered if such a decoration would ever fall to them.

Then there were boxing lessons and jiu-jutsu, which were felt to be fads for the moment, but all of which had their part in building one up physically and in teaching pugnacity and coordination.

Will one ever forget that subject of sanitation, which was not only preached but practiced daily and hourly? Those incineratorsl How those flies, which were such a nuisance when the messes were first started, soon began to disappear when the company commanders put their many ideas and inventions into practice.

Dish-towels, cooks' fingernails, uncovered food, were all subjects of not only daily lectures, but daily punishments.

And those fifteen hurdles that were built out in the rear area and which had to be jumped twice a day I They were supposed to keep the legs supple and perhaps they accomplished their purpose, but they also made every one most proficient in a rapidly growing vocabulary of "damns." Everything was new, but this newness held a fascination which at this late date is hard to describe. It was a new life and every day so, many new problems had to be solved. Every one felt that they had to be solved before the Regiment was declared proficient enough to embark for France, the great objective.

Music was not neglected and the band, which proved to be such a wonderful asset to the Regiment in France, rapidly took shape. To it was added all of the field music, so that soon stirring marches were heard, the music for which had been received from overseas through a friend of the Regiment. The Colonel had the foresight to add to the band that group of entertainers who were to bring to the men the necessary laughter in France.

The Regiment was taught to sing and one of the singing instructors made several attempts to have the men join him on their return from the drill field. "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag" met with a half-heated response with most of the platoons. When the recall sounded that was the end of drill, and singing was another duty.

In all of this work the soul of the Regiment was born the organization was completed and there was a very noticeable and very marked attention to drill, and to cleanliness and smartness of dress. Men were proud of themselves and of the Regiment. Company commanders began to visit other companies and find out how different things were being done. The weekly inspections were a matter of great moment and every one was willing to be criticized constructively and to profit by the criticism. Yes, a spirit of the Regiment was being fostered and was growing daily. There must have been something in the minds, of the higher-ups which made them believe that men were made by overcoming obstacles, for obstacles there were, not only of one kind, but of many. Scarcely had the Regiment been organized before it was called upon to transfer many hundreds of specialists to Camp Gordon, in Georgia. Shortly after this several hundreds of motor mechanics and drivers were transferred to France. In addition, there was a constant weeding out of those who proved unfit. Flat feet were something that had to be guarded against, for it was known that the flat-footed infantryman soon gave out on the march. There was a weeding out also of officers, and these were transferred to the depot battalion, where their particular bents could be utilized. The Colonel was constantly drumming into our ears that if we would but keep our health and sense of humor, we should pull through, and that no tension was so great that it could not be relieved by a hearty laugh.

In February and March, 1918, Camp Upton was a changed place and its inhabitants changed people. Regular hours, hard work, and proper food were having their effects. Uniforms fitted better. Shoulders were squarer, heads held higher and there was a visible distinction between chests and abdomens. Resentment had grown to, respect. Fear had been replaced with determination. Curiosity had mounted to enthusiasm. "Alla right, Boss," was now "Very good, sir." Fewer and fewer were the foreign words heard about the camp. More and more such terms as, "chow," "K.P.," "louies," "non-coms," and "hikes" crept into vocabularies. Claims for exemption were withdrawn voluntarily. Pleas for passes became more impassioned as the desire increased to show off new uniforms, now complete to the last detail. Ragged ranks of marching soldiers were now perfect lines that moved along with precise rhythm: click-click-click.

Besides the simple knowledge of proper cadence they had mastered the manual of arms, the intricacies of close order formations, the mysteries of patrols, scouting, advance, rear and flank guards and outpost work. Foreign instructors, with French and British decorations-the envy of all eyes- were teaching the men how to thrust a bayonet forward or hurl a hand grenade to assure the best results and no retaliation.

Some semblance of order had come out of seemingly hopeless chaos and confusion. The 3o6th Infantry had been transformed from an organization with an empty name to a body of human beings.

On Washington's Birthday the Regiment was, ordered to New York to parade as part of "New York's Own" -the Seventy-seventh Division. They had just been outfitted with the new winter caps. The entire organization, with General Evan M. Johnson, who had relieved General J. Franklin Bell in command, paraded up Fifth Avenue during a snowstorm, with flags flying and bands playing. It was a sight never to be forgotten. It brought the reality of war very close to the hundreds of thousands of mothers, sisters, wives and sweethearts who watched the officers and men parade. There was a grim something about the fact that the men whom they had seen go just a few short months before were now trained soldiers-ready to take their part in the conflict going on across the seas. Their heads covered by the winter caps were held high and their fixed bayonets glistened in a never-to-be-forgotten sight. The band played "Stars and Stripes Forever . The National Emblem March," and other stirring tunes. Snow began to fall in great fleecy flakes as the squads formed, and the men marched for miles under a canopy of white, while a white blanket muffled their tread and white flakes touched their shoulders lightly as though in benediction.

From sidewalk to skyline the Avenue was banked with faces as the repeating ranks passed in review. There were radiant faces, curious faces, admiring faces, tear-stained faces, and smiling faces that hid weeping hearts., Companies, battalions, regiments, swept by with silent tread in a seemingly endless stream of phantom figures. Heads up, eyes to the front, the snowflakes falling steadily-there is no sight in all the pageant of war like young men marching to battle. . . .

The crowd on Fifth Avenue dispersed slowly; but the
noise of cheering lasted a long time; and those who heard it did not forget. Their hearts were filled with pride -pride that their boys-their men-were part of the thing that mattered so much.

The Regiment was on its way to war. In March rumors swept the camp on the gusts of blustery winds. There was a new tone in the atmosphere. Equipment of all kinds began to arrive in great shipments, to be stamped and stenciled with the name and number of the organization to which it was allotted. Then the problem developed how to keep it in the proper barracks when some other company was two blankets short. Barracks were turned into warehouses and were piled high with boxes bearing the Division's in-signia-the Statue of Liberty-and the ominous letters "AEF." "We're sailing on the seventh-" Farewells
were said. "We're sailing on the tenth-" Farewells were repeated. "We're not sailing at all-"

Again all were put through a most strenuous physical examination and again the unfit were weeded out. The poor Artillery had to, suffer by remaining behind and transferring their men to fill up the 306th vacancies., There was no time to thank them or to extend sympathy, but later, when their side of the story was heard, it was realized how much they had done. They were good sports, and worthy comrades in France. How assuring was the rumble of their seventy-fives!

And then one morning at four o'clock the companies were formed and the command "Right by squads I" rang out in every company street. A march to the railroad station revealed long lines of waiting trains, half hidden in the dusk of winter dawn. Lines of men filing into, the cars. Hours of puffing, snorting, and shifting. Men pouring out of the trains and forming almost without command into companies. Another march to the Cunard Line docks. A ticket-the gangplank-the Statue of Liberty fading from sight in the mist-

"We're going over, we're going over,
And we won't come back till it's over over therel"

There were many who sang that morning who looked no more on the Lady with the Lamp.

In looking back over the period spent at Camp Upton, veterans of the Regiment will always keep in their hearts those men who helped to make the reputation of the 3o6th.

There was "Mike" Hayes, who trained the football and basketball teams and who afterward lost his life in the taking of St. Juvin. What a wonderful fellow he was-so keen, so loyal, so hard-working and so clean-minded. We all grew to admire him more and more and to honor him in the depths of the heart.

There was "Jimmie" O'Neil, one of Columbia's famous athletes, later to lose his life at Bazoches; Gordon Gregory, a lad fresh from Princeton, who died in the Argonne; gallant "Matt" Harkins; and a host of others.

There was Hochstein, that wonderful master of the violin who gave without stint that sweetest music from his wonderful Strad. He also lost his life in the Bois-de-Rappes after he had secured his commission as a second lieutenant in the 5th Division.

All honor to those men who had not yet completed their American citizenship and who still wanted to show their earnest loyalty by joining America's ranks and fighting for their new country. Later on, while at rest in the Argonne Forest, some two hundred of these were sworn in as full -fledged American citizens.

The Regiment was split into many parts on the voyage to England. Regimental Headquarters, the Supply Com-pany, Headquarters Company, the Machine Gun Company, and Company E, left camp on Friday, April 12th, and embarked at Boston on the 13th on the East India liner Karoa, which later joined a large convoy at New York., It was desperately cold; ice sheathed the deck of the ship and the only heat obtainable was in the boiler room, where one could always find as many men as the chief engineer would allow. Company A embarked on the Lapland, at New York on the 6th; Company B on the Victoria and Company C on the Cretic, at New York on the same date. These three ships arrived at Liverpool April 2oth. Companies D, F, G, H, I, K, L and M embarked on April 16th on the Kashmir at New York, and there joined the convoy of which the Karoa formed a part.

The convoy was guarded by the Cruiser Philadelphia until it arrived within three days of the Irish coast, when it was picked up by a squadron of British destroyers. Boat drill was held daily and lookouts were posted all over the ship to warn of submarines. Two threats of submarine attack occurred, and one was serious, for one of the escorts limped into an Irish port with one of her propellers gone and a small hole in her stern, while months later it was learned that the British destroyers had "gotten" an enemy "sub" in the midst of the troop ships.

There was a gesture of secrecy at the time of departure. But it was only a gesture. Every one knew the Seventy- Seventh Division was on its way, and though every one was ordered below decks, and portholes were closed and sealed from possibly prying eyes, the windows of skyscrapers that overlooked the harbor were black with crowded faces and white with waving handkerchiefs on that misty morning the 306th Infantry sailed away. Whistles, horns and bells from ships anchored in the harbor rose in a din of adieu, but there were no brave farewells, no cheering crowds, no weeping women, no bands playing martial airs. The business of going to war was done in a matter-of-fact way. Yet underneath coarse O.D. blouses there were many hearts that beat a loud tattoo of excitement; under the cocky little overseas caps many heads that wondered, vaguely, what the outcome would be.

That was the way with most of them. Wanting so much to prove their courage, hoping that they could face fire unflinching, but not knowing. Afraid of being afraid. Yet those who know no fear, know not courage. Those who go on in spite of the quakes and qualms that turn their stomachs upside-down and make their feet feel leaden are the real heroes.

The trip across was one of much discomfort, considerable tension and numerous alarums. "Everybody below decks I" "Always keep your life belts handy." "Better wear 'em." "No, not that way. You've got it on backwards." . . . Not allowed to carry matches. Everybody turn in their matches. Got 'em in the commissary, though. Lines waiting for mess. Couldn't eat it when they got it. Fish, more fish. Still more fish. Inspections. Abandon-ship drills. Wish we could abandon ship. No place to go, though.

Companies, platoons, squads even, scattered fore and aft. Hammocks to sleep in. No room to turn over. Deck harder, but more comfortable. British sailors. Fresh bus-boys. Seasickness. "Wish I was, back in ole Camp Upton. Never appreciated what a nice bed I had." And food. "Well, where the hell am I goin' to put my feet, then I" "Aw, move over yourself. ., . ."

Such were the scattered impressions of the cruise across the Atlantic on the S.S. Kashmir. It was crowded, to say the least. Major Bulger was in charge of an irritated, cursing, swearing, fighting, unhappy outfit during the thirteen days it took the fleet of thirteen ships to zigzag across the ocean while the superstitious-minded suffered tortures. Only his sense of humor kept him from jumping over the rail and joining the fishes that swam optimistically along-side and were better fed than the human cargo aboard. There were complaints. There were pleas. There were demands. But nothing could be done to relieve the cramped, crowded, cursed situation. The main trouble was that there were no diversions,. Colonel Vidmer had prescribed 'a series of games and calisthenics to relieve the monotony of the voyage, but there was scarcely room enough to take a deep breath, much less fling arms and legs about in the gyrations of setting-up exercises.

On the Karoa and the Cretic, where part of the Regiment was quartered for the voyage, conditions were a little less crowded but equally as uncomfortable. On the Karoa there was no heat worth mentioning. Regimental Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Supply Company, and a couple of other units, shivered in time with the throbbing of the engines, until the big boilers were discovered, and after that the boiler-room proved the most popular place on the ship. The Cretic had no, more attractions and no fewer discomforts to offer than the Kashmir or the Karoa, and the monotony was as intense one place as the other. Days dragged by with nothing to do but watch the destroyers diving through the indigo waves in search of trouble, sailors wigwagging signals back and forth from ship to ship, bored soldiers leaning over rails seven or eight waves away. And the squadron of destroyers steered on its crazy course. A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it isn't always the safest, and, sometimes, when the fleet veered from the northeast to due south in the process of dodging possible submarines, there seemed some doubt as to the ultimate destination.
"This is the first time the Kashmir has crossed the Atlantic."
"Yeah, I could tell she didn't know the way."

After one submarine scare, the result of which was variously reported as having been the disabling of a destroyer, the sinking of a submarine, and the complete escape of both, the coast of Ireland was sighted, and on the thirteenth day the 306th Infantry skidded down slippery gangplanks and landed sea-weary legs at Liverpool. England meant some-thing to look at besides one wave after another in an interminable expanse of water. . . . Strange clothes. Strange streets. Strange signs. Strange little trains that resembled toys at Coney Island more than means of transportation. Yet these same trains proved the means of transporting the Regiment to Folkestone, where baths-the first in two weeks-were available and where the headquarters lingered. It was there, in a hotel which once had been alive with gay visitors to a popular summer resort, that David Hochstein first played his magic music with the thunder of far-off cannon as an accompaniment.

Who can forget the 1st Battalion going through London that day in mid-April, and the welcome that was given them by hundreds and thousands of women and girls, all dressed in black, who looked on silently from their tenement windows as the trains rolled through. They knew in their hearts that the British Commander-in-Chief, Sir Douglas Haig, on April 11, 1918, had sent forward the following message to all ranks of the British Army in France and Flanders:

"There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment."

The women in black bore mute testimony to the suffering our gallant brothers across the sea had gone through and we could not help but feel uplifted that we were coming to aid them in the great adventure.

The rest of the Regiment went on to Dover, where for two days they watched the flares in the channel, heard the distant echo of big guns and explored the unlighted city. They learned the attitude of a people who had been at war for four years and although the pitiful expressions were at times depressing, the faith and hope those same people had in the coming of the Americans were inspiring.

" We have shown a brave face here at home," said a British major, "but they knew we couldn't have carried on much longer unless you Americans had come over. Now we can get back what we have lost-and more."

Three days after landing in England the Regiment was hurried across the channel to Calais, and at last landed in France. Those postcards, written so optimistically before leaving the United States, and saying definitely, "Have arrived safely overseas," were mailed, after all. Lieutenant Colonel Garrison McCaskey, a member of the advance party sent over by the Division, stood waiting to welcome the Regiment as it arrived at Calais.

There was no time at first to go sightseeing in Calais, for the Regiment was sent almost immediately to what had been humorously designated a rest camp. It was on the march that the gruesome realities of war were brought nearer when a train of ambulances rolled by, bearing wounded for England. Tired eyes peered from the drivers' seats, which were occupied by "Wacs," volunteers of the Women's Auxiliary Corps; tired eyes peered from the ambulances. Greetings were exchanged, awed greetings from the Americans, hearty greetings from the wounded allies. A cigarette passed hands. A salute-with the left hand from necessity. A British Tommy, with both arms gone and blanket sagging suggestively where one leg should have bulged, laughed at his own joke. They were going home. What did anything else matter . . . .
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