These men are veterans of Chateau-Thierry, Soissons, Saint-Mihiel, Champagne and the Argonne—what is left of them. The world will never forget how they stopped the German at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Woods in Ludendorf's final great drive on Paris. Six weeks later this same division, together with the famous French-Moroccans, delivered that splendid counter stroke at Soissons, the turning point of the war. Again we hear of this division at St. Mihiel along the southern side of the salient where the fighting was heaviest—and they smashed through in record time. Three weeks later they were in the Champagne wrenching loose the Kaiser's stranglehold on Reims. And a month later they broke through the German line in the Argonne.
After the Armistice they were sent to Germany as part of the Army of Occupation, billeted in Vallendorf, Bendorf, Neuwied and other places east of the Rhine. The 2nd Division saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war. It suffered heavier casualties than any other American division;—4,478 killed and 17,752 wounded; captured more prisoners, 12,026, and more pieces of artillery, 401, and won more American decorations for valor in action, 7 Medals of Honor, 673 Distinguished Service Crosses and 13 Oak Leaf Clusters equivalent to second citations for the D. S. C. The division was also decorated with the Croix de Guerre by the French Government,
Here we see those brave men who have experienced every hardship, who have been through an inferno of horrors, entraining for the coast. They have been overseas nearly two years. Crowded in these little German cars they have a long and tiresome journey before them.
Imagine the joy in these men's hearts as this train pulled
to a stop in Brest. After many hard months, they were about to board
a ship and return to their own country. To their families ...
There were some trips by train as they served in France
and Germany. Some by truck. Most of the time they marched through rain
and mud. One place to the next. There were times no food was to be
had. No water. Given no place better, they slept in the
mud. These are the faces of heroes.