Soldier Life

The first letter to be featured in the Lindsborg paper was from Wendell Nystrom, a Bethany College student. He wrote while still in training and discusses the harsh realities that he is facing in camp, and how the structure has been changed from previous ones and that the military is learning from its mistakes. Nystrom makes sure to discuss the busy schedule, realistic situation, and the mass amount of soldiers that have been asked to resign since the beginning of camp. [1]

Letter From Wendell Nystrom

Letter From Nystrom Continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roy Underwood was another soldier who wrote a letter that was later published in the newspaper. He was also not in war territory when he wrote his letter but he was farther in the process of being overseas than Lynstrom. At the time of his letter he is currently on a ship on its way to France. Underwood discusses in detail what goes on during his time on the ship, at first talking about how it’s taken longer than expected to arrive at their destination due to U-boats. The mass of the letter discusses sea sickness and how he incurs a bad case of it. At the end of the letter, the newspaper informs us that Roy did arrive safely in France. [2]

Soldier Letter From Underwood

McPherson’s Company D, one of the original companies to arrive at camp, published its schedule in the Lindsborg posten. [3]

Daily Life of Soldier at Camp

Below is the “Calendar” for the 353rd Infantry.  Ten men from Lindsborg (eleven including Albert Reynolds from Ellsworth but a student at Bethany College) trained with the 353rd, and seven of them served overseas with the 353rd.  Those men are: Carl Dahlstrom (Co. B); Albert Reynolds (Co. H); Robert N. Johnston*, Nels Rosengren (Co. I); Albin Larson*, Elmer C. Lindholm*, Emil Pinkall* (Co. M); Harold O. Cedarholm, John A. Hagstrand, Clarence W. Hegberg, Elmer Liljestrom (Supply Company).  The men denoted with asterisks (*) did not travel overseas with the 353rd.  Chances are they transferred to other regiments beforehand, such as Emil Pinkall who fought at the Battle of St. Mihiel as part of Company B, 7th Infantry.  As you peruse the calendar, remember that the US declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.  It took almost five months for the 353rd to be formed, and over thirteen months to make it to France.

Calendar:

  • Organized at Camp Funston, Kansas, Sep. 5, 1917
  • Left Camp Funston, May 26, 1918
  • Sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey (111 officers 3401 enlisted men), June 4, 1918
  • Reynal Training Area, France, June 24 – August 4, 1918
  • Occupation Lucey Sector, August 5 – September 12, 1918
  • St. Mihiel Offensive, September 12-16, 1918
  • Euvezin Sector, September 16 – October 7, 1918
  • Reserve Fifth Corps, October 9-19, 1918
  • Meuse-Argonne Offensive – Bantheville Woods, October 19 – November 1, 1918
  • Final drive Meuse-Argonne Offensive, November 1, 1918
  • Barricourt Woods – Tailly and Army Line, November 2, 1918
  • Stenay, November 11, 1918 [Armistice Day]
  • Army of Occupation, November 24, 1918 – May 6, 1919
  • U.S.S. Leviathan (105 officers, 2533 enlisted men) Port of Brest, France, May 14, 1919
  • USA, May 22, 1919 [4]

You can read more about camp life, sailing overseas, World War I campaigns, and their eventual return in Charles N. Dienst’s regimental history of the 353rd.


[1] Lindsborg News Record, December 14, 1917

[2] Lindsborg News Record, December 21, 1917

[3] Lindsborg News Record, October 19, 1917

[4] Charles F. Dienst, History of the 353rd Infantry Regiment, 89th Division, National Army, September, 1917-June 1919 (Wichita: The 353rd Infantry Society, 1921), x.