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Foreword


HISTORY OF THE 305th Infantry
by
Frank Tiebout

FOREWARD


FOREWORD

IT all began on the banks of the Meuse River. No sooner had a colonel of French infantry approached one of our junior officers on November 12th, saying, "Tell your commanding officer that he can pull his regiment out any time he wants to," than a couple of the Old Timers found themselves of the opinion that an account should be written of our experiences. As a result, about the first of January, Colonel Sheldon decreed that one officer, to be designated as Historian, should not be compelled to spend all his time driving imaginary machine gun nests out of the wooded hills bordering upon Chaumont.

The work of writing A History of the Three Hundred and Fifth Infantry thus commenced, gaining headway by almost imperceptible degrees, for the Historian was rendered practically hors de combat by the consciousness of his small degree of new-found, unprecedented freedom, incapable of sane, consecutive effort. Nevertheless, three photographic teams were sent back over all the fighting ground, obtaining almost a thousand pictures from which two hundred have been selected for publication, and many men of the Regiment were persuaded to write of their adventures. Be it said that some made startling disclosures to which propriety and practice deny the light of print. Much of it is, however, in the of t-times inelegant but graphic language of the American Doughboy, rough of speech but ever kind of heart and keen. If one or another company is quoted too frequently in the story it is simply because that scribe, squatting upon the floor of his billet, bending low in the flickering candlelight over a piece of Y. M. C. A. paper and a stubby pencil, succeeded better than his fellows in expressing the American soldier as he is. His observations and experiences are but typical of all the others. The thought arises at this point that too much space may have been devoted to the rifle-men-that not enough has been said of the services of supply, of the runners, of the signal men and linemen, braving unspeakable dangers to perfect and maintain the "nerves" of the Regiment. Of the Auxiliary-we cannot say enough.

It was early a question, in the minds of those displaying the greatest determination that there be a permanent regimental record, whether this book should be so prepared as only to thrill posterity with a recital of glorious deeds, or so constructed as to reveal the man in the ranks as he really is. Should it be an idealistic or realistic representation? Should it assume the guise of a glorified Operations Report, setting everything down in painstaking chronological order? Should it be a series of Company Histories, or Battalion Histories or one big Regimental Story?

A story it is, rather than a history. We do not go " over the top " in every chapter, waving the Flag and shouting, " Forward! " as the posters depict. We spend a lot of time growling and grumbling with the other boys; we try to show the mud on his shoes, the humor that never deserted him even in the very blackest moments; we picture him with a suggestion of budding horns, instead of Cupid-wings-and have a lot of fun living over again with him the crowded hours of the last two years.

When Captain Kenderdine was asked to prepare a roster of officers, past and present, he obligingly said, " Sure," expecting to be detained half an hour. Four weeks later he came up for air. You can therefore guess, without much difficulty, how stupendous was the task of Sergeant James J. White who assembled the roster of enlisted personnel, with statistics pertaining to seven thousand men! To Captain Garner goes the credit for the preparation of the maps, and to Captain Crosby-well, the book would not have been a true account of the Three Hundred and Fifth without his cover and his inimitable sketches.

Of sage conclusion as to war, prohibition, Prussianism and politics there is none. Only this: that had there been such a thing as universal service, we might have got over sooner and back earlier. Some of our other ideas have changed a whole lot. No longer shall we sob if the bed seems short. No longer shall we scoff at eating warmed-overs. After twelve months of canned corned beef and hardtack the old hash will seem like a political banquet. When we think of chlorinated water, cold coffee will be as welcome to us as cream to a cat. In short, we think that members of the Three Hundred and Fifth will be a whole lot easier to live with, and that America is the only real place in which really to live.

F. B. T.
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