Stars and Stripes

The Official Newspaper By and For the Soldiers of the A.E.F.

Transcribers Notes: Men listed as  from Iowa in blue bold

Brackets [ ] spelling corrections


The Stars and Stripes, France, March 22, 1918

The Official Newspaper By and For the Soldiers of the A.E.F.




 Every Rank from Colonel to Private and Most of United States Represented in New Group of Honor Men


 Two Sergeants Commended by Every French Officer in Sector-Trio of Corporals “Showed Coolness of War Hardened Veterans”

       Forty-eight more Americans have been awarded the cherished Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action.  All 48 have been engaged in the sector east of Luneville—a new combat area for American troops.  They represent all ranks, from colonels down to humble buck privates; and they represent nearly all sections of the United States from way down south in Alabam’ to ‘way up north in Minnesota. 

      Other American troops have had the Croix de Guerre distributed among their numbers in addition to those already listed in The Stars and Stripes, but those lists are not as yet available.  In fact, the habit of annexing the coveted war cross of France has become so general among the Americans at the front that it is hard, at times, to keep up with the awards and citations as they are made.  The names of those who won the medal in the operations further to the west than the Luneville and Toul sectors will, however, be speedily forthcoming.

The Newly Honored Men 

The men whose awards of the Cross came as a result of the operations on the sector east of Luneville are: 

      Colonel Douglas McArthur; Lieut-Colonel Matthew A. Tinly [Tinley]; Major William J. Donovan; Captain Charles W. Atkins, Captain Thomas H. Handy, Captain Edward Stellar; Lieutenants Oscar L. Buck, W. Arthur Cunningham, A. A. Pailette, Henry A. Peterson, Howard G. Smith, Alexander W. Terrill, and Bernard Vanhof; Sergeants Abraham Blaustein, Earl [Pearl] Edwards, Varner Hall, William J. Moore, Daniel O’Connell, Theodore Peterson, Raymond Quinlan, Spencer Rossell, Charles W. Stout and James H. West; Corporals Marvin Dunn, Russell A. Selix, Lewis A. Simmons, Thomas W. Sporror, Joseph N. Walker, Homer Whittel, and Russell A. Yarnell; Privates Percy Breese, John A. Bedner, Charles Danielson, Herbert Freeman, Charles Gerdon [Gordon], John Golix, Emil F. Kraft, Floyd R. Leseman, Nicholas McAughren, Elmer McDonough, Charles McLaughlin, Harvey A. McPeak, Charles Meffard, Frank Osgood, James E. Potts, Walter Smith, Amos Tevke, and Lawrence Wenell. 

     Major William J. Donovan’s citation says that he is “a higher officer who showed brilliant military qualities, notably on the 7th and 8th of March, giving, during a violent bombardment, a remarkable example of bravery, and activity and presence of mind.” 

     Major Donovan, whose law practice has been removed from Buffalo, N.Y., to Luneville sector, France, by the exigencies of war, stayed up front, although his own unit had just been relieved, to steady a new unit which had never been in the trenches before, during a period of heavy and accurate shelling by the Boche.  A French officer, who was in the trenches at the time, reported to his superiors that Major Donovan was “the best officer under fire that he had ever seen.” 

Kept His Line Intact

      Another higher officer of the A.E.F. to obtain the coveted French war cross is Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew A. Tinly [Tinley], whose home in the piping times of peace is in Council Bluffs, Ia.  The citation accompanying the award to him says that “during a violent enemy attack he directed, with the coolness and calmness of experience, the defensive operations; and, thanks to the brilliant way in which his orders were given before and during the fight, he succeeded in keeping the line intact despite the efforts of the enemy, who was aided by powerful artillery.”

      The incident noted in the citation occurred during the raid of March 5, northeast of Badonviller, when the Germans knocked our positions almost to pieces by shells, and then attacked in waves.  Although our forces were shaken by the artillery, Colonel Tinley gathered them together and organized them.  When the German infantry appeared they met a hot reception, and after a sharp fight were forced to withdraw. 

      The circumstances attendant upon Colonel McArthur’s celebrated bagging of the Boche were related in the last number of The Stars and Stripes.  The French citation says that he received the decoration “for extreme valor in participating in a French attack with French troops, in order to observe personally the methods used by the infantry and artillery for such engagements—risking his life that the lives of soldiers in the future might be preserved, and for capturing single-handed a Bavarian officer.” 

     Of Captain Handy, the report reads: “To get a better idea of the effects of artillery fire, he followed the assaulting waves of the infantry into the German front line positions, exhibiting a fine example of coolness and bravery.” 

What the Others Did

 The other recipients of the Croix, with the reasons for the bestowed in each case, are listed below: 

CAPT. CHARLES W. ATKINS, Winterset, Ia.—“He installed a platoon under heavy fire on demolished terrain, preparing a counterattack to oust the enemy.” 

CAPT. EDWARD STELLAR, Ottumwa, Ia.—“For bravery and coolness with his troops during an engagement with the enemy.” 

LIEUT. OSCAR L. BUCK, New York and LIEUT. W. ARTHUR CUNNINGHAM, Detroit—“They distinguished themselves by their bravery during a terrific night bombardment when the Germans hammered the trenches held by the troops to which they were attached using trench mortar bombs weighing 250 pounds.” 

LIEUT. A. A. PAILETTE—“He organized his men, after an enemy attack, into a counterattack, repelling the enemy from the trenches his men occupied.” 

LIEUT. HENRY A. PETERSON—“With one trench mortar in his battery knocked out, and all the crew killed, he continued working the piece in the face of an enemy attack until the ammunition was exhausted, shattering the enemy storming columns which were trying to advance.” 

LIEUT. W. ALEXANDER TERRILL, Fort Worth, Tex.—“Seriously wounded and courageous under bombardment.” 

LIEUT. HOWARD G. SMITH—“Counterattacked, he repulsed the enemy from the first line trench which the enemy succeeded in occupying temporarily.” 

LIEUT. BERNARD VANHOF, Grand Rapids, Mich.—“He was badly wounded in the leg, but exhibited coolness and bravery before his troops during an enemy attack.” 

SERGTS. SPENCER ROSSELL, ABRAHAM BLAUSTEIN, WILLIAM J. MOORE AND DANIEL O’CONNELL, all from New York, received their decorations for valorous conduct under fire of the Boche trench mortars.  Two of these sergeants took command of machine guns which the Germans were trying to smash, directing a constant barrage upon the German front line.  They, with Lieutenants Buck and Cunningham and Major Donovan, were commended by every French superior officer in the sector. 

SERGT. EARL [PEARL] EDWARDS, Centerville, Ia.—“For organizing the men left in his command, and counterattacking the enemy, who was entering the positions.” 

SERGT. VARNER HALL, Birmingham, Ala.—“He met an enemy party while on patrol, but gave combat and brought back prisoners.”


Medical Sergeant Hero

 MEDICAL SERGT. THEODORE PETERSON, of Minneapolis, was awarded a posthumous Cross.  He was killed in action.  He installed an emergency dressing station in an advanced position, and continued working under fire until mortally wounded. 

SERGT. RAYMOND QUINLAN, St. Paul—“An energetic soldier, who proved courageous under fire, although wounded in action.” 

SERGT. JAMES H. WEST, Hoke’s Bluff, Ala.—“He helped organize a detachment, routing an enemy patrol and taking prisoners.” 

CORPLS. MARVIN DUNN, of Des Moines, Ia; LEWIS A. SIMMONS, of El Reno, Okla.; and RUSSELL A. SELIX, of Unionville, Ia., had this said of their action: “During a violent bombardment and attack, although it was their first engagement, they showed the coolness and courage of war-hardened veterans.  They were seriously wounded while repulsing an attack.” 

CORPL. HOMER WHITTED, Bessemer, Ala.—He was in a boyan opposite a German, who, after making out to surrender, tried to kill him.  The corporal freed himself, striking down the enemy. 

PVT. PERCY BREESE, Red Oak, Ia.—Seriously wounded while repelling an enemy counterattack. 

PVTS. JOHN BEDNER, of New Prague, Minn.; CHARLES DANIELSON, of Storm Lake, Ia.; EMIL KRAFT of St. Paul, Minn.; FLOYD LESEMAN, of Prescott, Wis.; NICHOLAS McAUGHREN, of St. Paul; CHARLES McLAUGHLIN, of Hutchinson, Minn.; HARVEY A. McPEAK of Renwick, Ia. And WALTER SMITH of Hutchinson—members of a field artillery unit—are mentioned, with Sergt. Quinlin, as being “energetic soldiers, who proved courageous under fire, although wounded in action.” 

PVT. CHARLES GERDON [GORDON], Centerville, Ia.—Wounded while in performance of duty while counterattacking against great odds. 

PVTS. HERBERT FREEMAN, of Mobile, Ala., and AMOS TESKE, of Coal Valley, Ala.—While patrolling, they met the enemy, and aided materially in the capture of two of his number. 

PVTS. CHARLES MEFFARD and JOHN GOLIX, both of Woodbine, Ia.—Seriously wounded while repelling an enemy counterattack on March 5. 

PVT. FRANK OSGOOD, Centerville, Ia.—Wounded in the leg while performing duty valorously. 

PVT. ELMER McDONOUGH, Kellogg, Minn.—Killed while carrying dispatches through the barrage. 

PVT. LAWRENCE WENELL, Minneapolis, Minn.—Killed after accomplishing an important mission under heavy fire.

     Several citations and awards fell to the lot of a certain trench mortar section.  SERGT. CHARLES W. STOUT, of Baltimore, Md., continued to work his trench mortar despite heavy bombardment. CORPL. RUSSELL A. YARNELL, of Swarthmore, Pa., though seriously wounded, remained at his post of combat.  CORPLS. JOSEPH N. WALKER and THOMAS W. SPORROR, both of Baltimore, continued to work their guns under a violent bombardment, as did SERGT. STOUT. PVT. JAMES E. POTTS, of Baltimore, was killed while serving one of the guns under fire.  All six receive the Cross.

      The Crosses awarded to the men who, in gaining it, lost their lives were buried with them.  A duplicate of the Croix will be sent to the family of each of the deceased.


~ source: The Stars and Stripes, France, March 22, 1918

~ transcribed and submitted by Polly Eckles for Iowa in the Great War Special Project