November 12, 1918 – The Army of Occupation

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Among the terms of the Armistice was one that the Allied forces would move into Germany and occupy the lands west of the Rhine.  The 301st would be part of that occupation force.  There were only 5 days to pull up stakes from Flirey, or wherever the individual companies were working.  Company A was in the town of Vieville-sous-les-Cotes and was to remain there until their work in the area was complete.  Still, they needed to get everything ready for the march to Germany, a march that would be described by one writer of the 301st Engineers as “one of the most historic marches recorded in history.”

Jay escaped some of the work of breaking camp and bundling everything up since he was on leave in the south of France at the time.  But I’m sure Sergeant Shetler had trained his cooks and other workers very well in how to get that kind of work done since for months they had been doing just that as they went with A’s work crews across the St. Mihiel area.  He would still be in Aix for a few days but I have no doubt his leave would have been ended in time for him to join Company A as it began that long march to the ‘Vaterland‘.

“When the Armistice went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and put to an end to the carnage and savage fighting…the regiment caught its breath and found that just five days were allotted in which to complete and renew its equipment and get into shape to advance as a part of the Army of Occupation.  For those five strenuous days bales of clothing, heaps of tools and hordes of weird-looking fleabitten creatures (which later under the expert care of our stable sergeants and wagoners became recognizable as horses and mules) deluged the outfit.”

–  A Short History of the 301st Engineers

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