This is the story of my grandfather, Jay E. Shetler’s time leading up to World War One, the Great War and the time he spent in the war. It also documents his time after the war as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. He was a Mess Sergeant in Unit A of the 301st Engineers, 76th Division of the US Army.
Between March 11, 1918 when he entered the U.S. Army and June 20, 1919 when he was discharged, Jay sent many letters home, most to my grandmother, Rinda, but also to his brother, Dell and Rinda’s sister, Gertie. Using these letters, several books that were written about the 301st Engineers, I pieced together where he was each day of that period. I also used a lot of information found on the internet about the 301st, about the Army, about the War itself. I also got a LOT of help from friends like Susi Adler, Todd Hinz, Peter Wever, and many MANY men and women from WWI-related Facebook pages, I am very grateful for their help.
There are many facts but there’s also conjecture. When I couldn’t know exactly what he was doing on any particular day I could surmise what a Mess Sergeant would have been up to.
The books about the regiment and his unit contained a great number of photographs. I’ve added these to the blog but I also took photos from online sources. I think these photos demonstrate what was going on in the war, things that Jay would have been doing in his position. I also will add photos from my visit to the St. Mihiel area in 2017 and there will be more when I visit again this September.
Sadly there are only two photos of Jay. The first is the day he received his uniform and the other, the day he was discharged.
Please take this blog for what I’ve meant it to be, a tribute to my grandfather, a man I never met who served our country well in the Great War from 1918 to 1919. Its been a lot of work but it has truly been a labor of love.
I welcome comments and corrections about anything I might have posted. Also, feel free to send the email addresses of other interested parties, I’ll be happy to include them in the distribution list.