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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letter 128 ~ January 15, 1919

I write my mother Hattie and brother Willis to update them with my efforts to obtain a discharge.

Addressed to Mrs. Hattie P. Griffing, Manhattan, KS

Nitro, West Virginia
January 15, 1919

Dear Folks,

It is a good thing you folks gave that party because maybe you started something and others will entertain now. I wish I had been there. I feel awfully left out when I hear about the parties going on at home and I am not even invited. I’ll bet they had a fine time.

I was sorry to hear about Miss Springs. She sure was a fine girl. I suppose I will hear that Minnie has it next.

That man who called up was named [Alfred A.] Holinquest. I bunked with him at the Depot Brigade. He is a pretty nice fellow although he is an awkward country fellow. He took care of my stuff for me when I was out at Smoky [Hill] Flats and we whacked up on all our candy and stuff. He was transferred to the 70th Infantry a short time before I was transferred.

I don’t know whether those papers will do any good or not. I am afraid not because when I took them into the top sergeant, he said, “Why do you get this G__ d____ stuff from your local board. It will queer you sooner than anything.” He said he would show them to the captain and so I am expecting to be called in most anytime and I don’t know what to expect. All the boys with allotments are going to get out tho. They were summoned to the orderly room night before last and asked if they wished an immediate separation from the service. Of course none of them did. Like fun.

Well, today the Hercules Powder Company turns the plant over to the Ordinance Department and we have to mount a double guard and take the place of the guards (hired by the Hercules P.C.) who are being discharged. This makes us go on every four days. That is practically all we do. Except for the time when we are on guard it is easy.

It is nasty weather again. I guess it just can’t stay good weather here but those clear days were sure pretty. The movie theater opens up tomorrow night so things won’t be quite so dead around here maybe.

How is the car running now? Or is the weather too bad for it? How is Dorr’s leg? Did his trip cure him or not?

We are close to the depot and every train I see pulling out of here I wish I was on with a red stripe on my sleeve. My train will come through one of these days tho and believe me, it won’t leave me standing on the platform. With love, -- Ward

  • Alfred A. Holinquest was born 3 July 1898 and resided with his mother at 500 Josephine Street in Dallas, TX prior to his being inducted into the service. His draft registration records indicate that he was tall, of medium build, with blue eyes and light hair.
  • A red stripe on the sleeve generally means a soldier was wounded in action. This may have been the case here too, though perhaps servicemen who were being discharged at the time were also issued red stripes signifying their tour of duty had ended. Ward's tunic bears a red stripe on his left sleeve. If anyone learns more about the use of this insignia during WWI, please let me know.


  1. The scarlet chevron was in fact a Discharge Chevron which was worn midway between the elbow and shoulder on the left sleeve to distinguish the honorably discharged status of the wearer. Wound Chevrons looked the same as Overseas (or War Service) Chevrons which were of gold bullion. Wound Chevrons were displayed above the right sleeve cuff and Service Chevrons were displayed above the left sleeve cuff for every 6 months overseas.

  2. Thank you very much for resolving the red chevron mystery for us. Have been enjoying Sgt. Sam Avery's letters. Keep up the posts. -- wg