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May 18 -July 8, 1918. REPORT OF SIXTEENTH AMBULANCE CO., (EXTRACT)

Sixteenth Ambulance Company,
Second Divisional Area, Amer. E.F.,
France 16 August 1918.
 
1. In compliance with Memorandum No. 59, Headquarters Second
Division, dated July 26th, 1918, herewith the following report:
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On May 18th left Villers le Sec for La Baulleaume, where the company was joined by an officer with a detachment of twelve (12) men, who had remained in the States in order to look after the transportation the company had been training with there.

Left La Baulleaume May 31, 1918, on a forced march of 3 days, which all members of the company have cause to remember. The men, marching under full packs, were called on for the limit of their endurance, as were also the animals. However, buoyed up by the knowledge that they were headed directly to where the French were not quite holding Fritz, the men all responded nobly, covering 80 kilometers on foot in record time to the Chateau Thierry front. Here the company took full part in the action which brought the division the splendid repute it has sustained in every action since.

All ambulances were again detached for service with the 12th, 15th and 17th regiments of Field Artillery. A dressing station for slightly wounded was established at the Langue Farm, on June 6th, where the equipment had hardly been unloaded when the patients began pouring in. All were given prompt treatment, and a place to rest while awaiting evacuation by the sorely overworked ambulances. Hot coffee and hot chocolate were served to the wounded, with a huge slice of bread well buttered to those who cared for it. After many hours at the front with little food or drink most of the men were ravenous, and the food revived their spirits wonderfully. Next day the dressing station was moved to a more advantageous location at the Ventelet Farm, where it was continued for the rest of the stay on this front, treating about 400 slightly wounded.

The entire litter section was sent to the front for service in the Amer. attack which took place in the evening of June 6th. Following this the litter bearers were sent to the front intermittently, winning the praise and approbation of their comrades, working under machine gun and shell fire with efficiency and a fine disregard of danger. While they did splendid work without exception, worthy of special mention is Pvt. Robert R. Stanley. He was rather severely gassed, and was noticed by his fellow stretcher bearers to be working with difficulty. Stretcher bearers being short and in great demand, he begged his comrades not to mention the matter to any one in authority, and continued to carry for the whole of one day, always under intense fire, until he became so weak as to utterly collapse. Fortunately Pvt. Stanley, being of strong physique, did not die, but at the time of writing, ten weeks after he was evacuated, he is in base hospital slowly recovering. The casualties in the litter section numbered 17, or about 25 per cent of the litter bearer strength of the company.

The ambulances continued on active service with the Artillery, and the fact that there were but two casualties in this section of the company was due only to the extreme good fortune of the men. Of these two casualties one was a muleteer who, riding one mule and leading another, had both instantly killed by shell explosion, himself escaping with a slight wound in the left leg. The following recommendation for distinguished Service Cross for the driver and orderly of one of our ambulances cites an incident not at all unusual, but indicative of the spirit and bravery of the men in the ambulance section:

"On the afternoon of June 30th, 1918, Wagoner John A. Anderson was ordered to report with ambulance to remove patient from Battery "D", 12th Field Artillery, then in position in the woods between Farm Paris and Maison Blanche about 100 yards east of the Paris-Metz road. While approaching this objective he encountered a heavy enemy artillery fire, with shells bursting within a few yard of the ambulance, shell fragments passing thru clothing of orderly, who was seated with and to the left of Anderson. This caused the mules to dash off in opposite direction. Anderson not only remained in his seat, regaining control of his team, but returned to this battery psoition [sic] and removed patient while shelling continued. Thruout this very trying and critical time he showed utter disregard for personal danger, great coolness and presence of mind and inspired great confidence among the enlisted men, who in case of themselves being wounded could feel that they would thus be provided and cared for."

A similar citation and recommendation for the Dintinguished Service Cross was made for Pvt. 1 Class William V. Campbell, orderly for Anderson.

The company left this front on July 8th, 1918, moving back with the division to rest area, arriving at Chantemanche next day.

 
(Sgd) E A Brucker,
E.A.Brucker,
1st Lieut., M.C., U.S.R. 16th Amb. Co.
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  Sixteenth Ambulance Company,
Second Divisional Area, Amer.E.F.,
France 16 August 1918.
1. In compliance with Memorandum No. 59, Headquarters Second Division, dated July 26th, 1918, herewith the following report:
 
EXTRACT
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On July 16th left Chantemanche, arriving at the front in Villers-Cotterets Woods July 17th, 1918. A dressing station was established in the woods, which treated about 75 men. During the Allied advance on this front, the ambulances were called on to the limit of their capacity, due to the fact that in some places the roads were badly torn and littered with debris, so as to make motor ambulance traffic extremely difficult. As usual the men answered every demand made on them, acquitting themselves with credit to their company and division.

Left this section on July 24th, moving with the division back into rest area.

 
  (Sgd) E A Brucker
E.A.Brucker,
1st Lieut.,M.C., U.S.R.
16th Amb. Co.
 
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Records Of The Second Division (Regular) Volume 8; Operation Reports — War Diaries
Second Division Historical Section, The Army War College, Washington, D. C.
 
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