“MY DUTY TO MY COUNTRY”

BY PVT. JACK KNEELAND, NO. 105, 43RD CO., 5TH

REGT., U. S. MARINES

 

Pvt Kneeland
Pvt Kneeland

WHEN the great World War was raging, and the United States were preparing for any trouble that might occur between her and the Teutonic Government, I was playing in vaudeville. April 6th we received word that our Government declared war on Germany. Immediately I decided to quit the show business and go into the service, but what branch I did not know as I was unfamiliar with the different outfits of Uncle Sam’s noble army and navy. As I was walking down the street I happened to notice different recruiting officers, appealing to the men to enlist in the several outfits we have, for the sake of our folks at home, and for democracy. I happened to think of the navy as a good chance, but as I wished to be in the thick of the battles and excitement I decided it was either the army or the United States Marines. While I was trying to fix my mind on what I should do, a marineĀ  sergeant came and started talking to me and asked me what I was going to do. I told him I was ready for the worst, and that I was anxious to go across the water and do my bit. He said that the United States Marines was the place for me, a boy with the spirit Americans wanted. Well, it did not take me long to make up my mind, and shortly I was being examined by the doctor for physical fitness. I was confident I would pass the rigid test that is given to the marines as I had never had an illness of any kind in my life. After the examination I was told I was 100 percent perfect, and sworn in as a private in the soldiers of the sea, as we call the marines. First to fight on land and sea. Three days laterĀ I was called to depart for Paris Island, S. C., where I was to get my training. I arrived the 15th of April and was immediately sent to a quarantine station where all preparations were given, such as clothes, finger prints taken, and then I was finally sworn in once more, on the 21st day of April. After all these proceedings were over, I was sent to the maneuvering ground where the greatest task lay. We drilled from morning until late in the evening, but I did not mind it as I knew that it was for a good purpose. Digging trenches, hand grenade practice, bayonet drills and rifle practice were our continual routine, for fully three months. I was then transferred to Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, for duty, where I was assigned to the 5th Regiment to be ready for overseas duty.

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