A Patchwork of Memories
1918 -WW I Camp Gordon, GA
Sergeant, U.S. Army
<very dim copy of photo - no personal information>
IN THE U.S. ARMY IN 1918 DURING WORLD WAR I
By: Sidney Rosenberg
In 1915 before World War I occured, to earn a free vacation and in addition receive $1.00 per day, I volunteered to replace for 10 days a Tennessee State Militiaman named Johnson. I assumed the name Johnson which was the custom and understood by everyone. Johnson could not attend the summer maneuvers scheduled by the State Militia for private reasons. It excited my urge for excitement and adventure. After I volunteered the shock of toting a 90 pound pack on my back, taught me nothing comes free. I paid for it with ten days of grueling hot marching in record breaking July heat. That experience helped me tremendously in future experiences.
When I was "blown" into the U.S. Army in the big draft of World War I, I decided at the start to make it another vacation, and not concern myself about my future. I with a few other young men, was shipped from Nashville, Tenn. to Fort Gordon, Georgia about 12 miles from Atlanta. Most of the draftees were "Georgia crackers" who had never wandered more than five miles from their Appalachian hills. There were a few New York City street bums who were picked up by the police and told to register and join the military or else go to jail for their petty crimes. A few real northern volunteers and patriots also were in our Company C. It was quite a mixture of young men.
Automobiles were scarce then and I was possibly the only soldier who could keep record books, type and drive. In addition, with my previous military training, the Captain in a few weeks promoted me to Private First Class, Corporal, and Company Clerk and finally Sergeant. He owned a big automobile so he made me his orderly and I drove him around.
He was a married man back home. On one occasion we drove to Atlanta with two ladies, one of them his friend. They tried to frame him but he was smart and refused their offers of a tryst. The Captain allowed me to do anything I desired on my own and I did not abuse the privilege.
Each morning before breakfast we assembled in line before our wood barracks. We had short arms inspection but I won't go into that. We had sick call when those who felt ill would step out and receive a big CCC pill to eliminate what was in their bowels and then some. I observed every morning a few of our buddies much larger and stouter than myself would step out of line at Sick Call. With my inborn curiosity, I asked a few of them "What did you get sick from?" The answers were generally the same, "That beef I ate last night." So I quit eating meat until I was discharged from the Army. I have continued to thrive and remain strong on my diet of vegetables, fruits and bread, passing up meat and gravy. (From that experience this concept comes to me to control overweight and gradually reduce while continuing to eat the foods you love. I should accomplish it without resorting to pills and harm to the body from ripoff advertisements.)
A revelation that even during wars the self acclaimed patriotic business citizen's greed, sometimes superceded the patriotism of men serving in the Army, was evident a few years later in a Congressional investigation of Army purchases. It was disclosed that meat salesmen had sold the Army spoiled meats which had been in storage two to three years. Someone probably received kickbacks.
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