22. Home- The Battalion Passes Into History


Chapter 22
Home - The Battalion Passes Into History



AFTER many show-down inspections where even the corned willie and shoe laces did right dress, the Battalion, with mingled feelings of happiness and sadness, took leave of friends in Precigne and moved up to Sable for the last train ride in France. This time, however, it was not 40 Homme or 8 Chevaux, but big U. S. cars with U. S. Navy kitchen cars in the middle of the train. It was overnight to Brest and Camp Pontenezen with that huge sign "Come on You Yanks, Beaucoup Seconds". The stay at Brest was of short duration with nobody talking out of turn for fear of being whisked off to a labor battalion. Anyway, that is what was supposed to have happened, and we were too far along the trail to test it out. The old pack had been rolled and unrolled so often we thought that we were pretty good at it but we can't forget that final inspection after which the pack had to be rolled in three minutes.

Time seemed to move so slowly but, at last, and almost unbelievably, the Battalion was aboard the Aquitania. Steadily the shore line of France dropped down below the horizon and soon there was nothing but the old ocean again. This time it was indeed express speed compared to the trip to Liverpool and, best of all, no submarines to worry about. A few short days and then -New York harbor and the excited cheering from those aboard the Welcoming Home boats that encircled the transports - the Statue of Liberty and old, familiar scenes unchanged during the time we had been out of the world, so to speak. A matter of minutes and, at last, Pier 56, N. R., and so to Camp Mills out on the Hempstead plains. Things were moving quickly now and it was no time at all before we were back in New York City for that glorious parade up Fifth Avenue and, ere long, Camp Upton. How strange it seemed, this old camp that had watched us creep in our soldier infancy. Now it was peopled by strangers who were not interested in us, particularly, and somehow there was a feeling that the old camp had slipped from us and that we didn't belong.

With heartfelt goodbyes and warm handclasps the 305th Machine Gun Battalion, 77th Division, A.E.F., passed into history. So, my buddies, we come to the end. Walking through the gateway of old Camp Upton for the last time, thoughts drifted back overseas and, as we said at the beginning of this story, some of our gang did not come back. No, they didn't come back.

. . . THE END . . .
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