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November 18, 2017

11/8/2017 2:02:00 PM
Veterans Day to remember area men who served in World War I

By Karen M. Jorgensen

Veterans Day 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the event that led to the observance - the armistice that ended World War I.

While veterans of that war have passed on, they are still remembered by their families and the nation on the national holiday.

One of those veterans was Oscar Johnson of Dodge County. Johnson's son, Lowell, said that his father and two of his uncles, Sever and Harry Johnson, both served in the war.

Since his father died when he was a young child, Johnson said he does not remember first-hand stories of service in the World War but he has heard about them from other relatives.

All three brothers were drafted into the Army in 1918, Johnson said, Oscar in February and Sever and Harry later that year.

Oscar, he said, went through his basic training at Ft. Meade, VA, and was soon shipped off to France with the 313th Transportation Detachment of the 88th Infantry Division.

The detachment, Johnson said, provided troop transport, repaired roads and bridges and did building construction. That did not keep them out of battle as all troops manned the trenches whenever they were needed.

His uncle, Sever, Johnson said, also served in France with the infantry while Harry remained in the United States.

In addition to the war, 1918 saw the great influenza epidemic and more soldiers actually died from the flu than from combat. Both Sever and Harry fell victim to the flu, Johnson said, although they both survived.

Harry came down with influenza while serving with the army in France and spent the last months of the war in a military hospital. Harry was stationed in North Carolina, Johnson said, and contracted the flu early in 1919. He was hospitalized there and after he recovered served the rest of his duty at the camp in North Carolina.

Young men were drafted into the army in a lottery during World War I, Johnson said, and no provisions were made for the family that saw several of their sons called for duty. In World War II, he added, three sons would not likely be drafted.

Read the rest of the story in the print edition of the Star Herald.

Claremont Service

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