When my dad, Everett C. Perry, Private 1st Class, Co. F, 23rd Infantry 2nd Division, U.S Army, was 20 and one-half, he enlisted into the Army in August 1917 and became a doughboy during World War I. He went to France aboard the USS George Washington. That is him standing on the deck of the ship. The George Washington carried President Woodrow Wilson across the Atlantic four times, twice eastbound to participate in World War I peace negotiations in Paris, and twice westbound returning him to the United States.
While in France during the war, my dad was driving a team of mules down a French alleyway and saw a big green overcoat hanging over a wall to dry. Boy! “This will make a great souvenir from the war.” He cut the sleeve off the jacket. Little did he know it belonged to an American major general and, you guessed, it a few minutes later he knew he was under arrest and facing Maj. Gen. Wendell C. Neville, United States Marine Corps, who wanted to know why he tried to wreck his overcoat. My dad explained and was reprimanded.
Years later in 1923 when my dad was in the VA in Rutland Mass., hospital, he received a letter from Neville saying this was of the most amusing incidents of the war. He sent him one of the sleeves and hoped it would please my dad and bring back recollections of their great work in France.
My dad received the Medal of Verdun and his name is in the Golden Book of the Soldiers of Verdum, France.
My dad was gassed in France which led him spending the rest of his life in and out of the VA hospital. He died young at the age of 49 in 1946.
He married my mother in 1925 and they had 6 children. Five girls and one boy. They have all gone to heaven to be with Our Lord except for my sister in Florida and myself.
I can remember him singing 2 songs from the war: Mademoiselle from Armentieres and Over There, Over There.
I thought this would make a great story for your magazine. My husband was in the Air Force and is a member of The American Legion.