Tuesday, August 4, 2009

LeRoy Parkinson Tanner Military Service

LeRoy Parkinson Tanner served in the Army during the Mexican border wars and during World War I. Here is his discharge certificate from his service in the world war.

As noted in this and his Enlistment Record, which I have not included here, he enlisted on May 26, 1918 (although he served earlier on the Mexican Border). He belonged to the American Expeditionary Force. He was one of 360,000 men belonging to the AEF who fell gravely ill during the Spanish Flu Pandemic, but luckily not one of the 25,000 who died.

His discharge papers give him an "Excellent" character, with no AWOL, no absence under G.O. 45 W.D. 1914, and noted that he was entitled to travel pay to Holbrook, Arizona. He was paid $136.56 upon his discharge on June 19, 1919, in El Paso, Texas, which included a $60 bonus.

Here is a description of the history of his regiment's participation in the Border Wars and France:
On May 10, 1916, the Second Texas Infantry was mobilized for Mexican Border service, when the entire National Guard was mobilized with stations on the southern border from Brownsville to El Paso. The regiment was federally recognized May 16, 1916, and sent to the Rio Grande Valley area of the border, where it trained until March 23, 1917, when the units were demobilized at their home stations. One week later, the regiment was called back into service because of the strained relations between the Central Powers and the United States. On April 5, 1917, war was declared on Germany. The regiment was again sent to the Mexican Border to release Regular Army troops. In September, 1917, the Second Texas Infantry and the First Texas Infantry were consolidated to form the 141st Infantry, which left the border and arrived at Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas, September 23, 1917, where the entire 36th Division was mobilized and trained.
The regiment sailed from New York July 26, 1918, arrived at Brest, France, August 6, and was sent to the 13th Training Area at Bar sur Aube, where it remained until September 26, 1918, when it began its movement to the front lines, going into the Epernay-Chalons area as reserve of the French Group of Armies of the Center. On October 3, 1918, the 36th Division was attached to the Fourth French Army and on October 6 began the relief of the Second Division, U. S. A. The 71st Brigade (141st and 142nd Infantry) relieved the Ninth and 23rd United States Infantry.
On October 8, the regiment participated in the great offensive in the Champagne sector, writing a glorious page in the regiment's history. On October 28, after three weeks of front line service, the regiment was relieved by the French Army and marched back 150 miles to become part of the First Army Reserve, United States. The division and regiment were scheduled to be sent into the MeuseArgonne battle which was raging, but the signing of the Armistice prevented this. The regiment then moved to the 16th Training Area around Tonnerre, France, where it underwent intensive training for six months. On May 22, 1919, it returned to the United States, arriving in New York, June 3. Sent to Camp Travis, Texas, it was demobilized July 3, 1919. The regimental colors were decorated with the Croix de Guerre by the French at impressive ceremonies in France.
A biographical sketch written by family members stated that he was going to be sent to the "Russian Front" when the war ended, but this record corrects the information, noting that the regiment was headed to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, also known as The Battle of Argonne Forest, when the armistice was signed.
For a comprehensive history of the 36th Division in the First World War, you can read the following on Google Books:
Chastaine, Ben-Hur. Story of the 36th; The Experiences of the 36th Division in the World War. Oklahoma City: Harlow Pub. Co, 1920.
The picture of the World War I recruits leaving on the train is from www.flickr.com/photos/freeparking/504876693/. I love all those cowboy hats!

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