Among the first of Pershing's regiments to land in France was the Second Engineers, and in Company B, Second Engineers, First Battalion, was Corporal Jay B. Taylor, who graduated from Santa Ana high school in 1913.
The Register has just received a letter from him, reading as follows: "B Company, Second U. S. Engineers, First Battalion, A. E. F., May 5. "Santa Ana Daily Register.
"Dear Home Paper: I just can't help dropping you a few lines as I have just received a bundle of Registers that mother sent me.
"I have read them all. I was interested in the patriotic editions, as many of the articles were, also as to the whereabouts of my old friends and classmates of the Santa Ana high school and Orange county.
"It certainly did me a lot of good to learn ahout all of the boys that I graduated with in '13, as I had lost account of most of them since I left Orange county, but I have often thought of them and of the good old days spent In the S. A. H. S., which were glorious days.
"Shortly after the United States declared war, I felt the call of my country and joined the colors, enlisting in the engineer department and was sent to fill up the Second Regiment, which had just come out of Mexico and was stationed at El Paso, Texas.
"The regiment was re-organited and soon filled up with volunteers and there we went through a period of intense training, then to an eastern port, where we bid good-bye to Broadway and said hello to France, being among the first units to arrive here.
"Since then we have been busy, very busy, as all of us are over here doing the work that's set out for us, each oncoming unit taking over its part and making it easier all the time for those to come. Before we (veterans, so to speak,) realized it, a young America, in khaki, had come to us, steadily increasing the pressure, already great, on the kaiser, until now, with the increasing rapidity of our forces, it will certainly cause him to give way.
"And during all these busy and exciting times my thoughts have often wandered back to those good old days spentin Orange county and I have thought of the boys as they were then and knew they had the true stuff in them that the country now needs and would respond to the call. After reading about them, I am doubly assured of it, as I noticed that those who are not already over here are receiving their training preparatory to coming.
"I will say that all of them will be welcomed, as all of us were, by our allies. It certainly puts new courage into us and doubly assures us, that we will win, to see that America and every individual is behind us, heart and soul, and we will show our appreciation of what they are doing for us, by doing our level best over here.
"I have met one fellow that went to S. A. H. S. He was in an ambulance train and I also came near to where Malcom Tedford was, but did not get to see him, but I am looking forward to meeting more of the boys, since so many must be here ere this.
"In regard to news, nothing much can be said, only that we have become quite accustomed to this country and its ways, are quite contented, taking things as they come. We are used to sudden explosions, have almost become webfooted on account of so much rain and mud and are getting fed well, and lots of clothes to wear, and lastly but not least, plenty of good old American smoking tobacco, which is all any soldier could wish for. We had trouble at first getting American smoking tobacco. In fact it was not over here to buy, but now the folks at home are wise and the commissaries and Y. M. C. A.'s have it to sell, so we are kept well supplied, but the first tobacco that came to our outfit could be sold for from 5 to 25 francs per sack and cigarettes were out of the question.
"Well, I had better bring this to a close or the censor may get tired and drop it in the waste basket.
"Though I did not enlist in Orange county, I would like to have the honor of adding one more star to those 155 in the S. A. H. S. flag, as I know of no better bunch to be registered with than members of the old S. A. H. S.
Hoping to return to good old Etats Unis in the very near future, I remain,
CORPORAL JAY B. TAYLOR, 13B.
—W. S. S.—