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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Doughboy speaks from the grave

This year marked the centennial of the entry of the United States in World War I. Robert Laird's grandfather was a captain of infantry in the Rainbow Division.

"He lived, he wrote about the experience, not as a doomed poet but as a professional soldier. He never boasted, never talked. What I learned, I learned from my grandpa," Laird wrote me.

Laird self-published a book based on grandpa's diaries and letters home, "100 Years On: WW I."

He described the book:
A world war all the European nations wanted, started by the assassination of a minor aristocrat, pursued by incompetent generals who thought they'd win in a week and then slew an entire generation of young men in a single blood-soaked trench called the Western Front. Who do you call? The Americans. Who had fought the first Modern War half a century before and knew how to win them. You need a Grant, a Sherman, a Pershing. Which we had. The point of Pershing's spear was the Rainbow Division. My grandfather was a captain of infantry in one of the most illustrious regiments in the Rainbow Division. The 166th. This book consists of his letters home and his 1918 journal from the ghastliest front of the twentieth century.
It's available on Amazon.


  1. Thank you, Don, for letting us know about it.

  2. The enemy the current generations face wears no uniform.

    Yet they must be fought to the last ditch.

  3. My great uncle was a Marine Gunner in WW1. When asked about it he would shrug it off. When pressed, he would clam up.
    He walked in to the reception after his brother's, my grand father's funeral, saw two kids sitting and looking like fresh meat, one in USMC Dress Greens, walked over and began to speak. He told us some pretty hair raising stories, wounded twice, one of only two from his unit to survive the forgotten battle. IN his old age he reached across the generations and shared a bit of wisdom with two snot nosed hero wanna-be's who were picking up the standard lest it be forgotten. I was that other kid, a new army recruit. The Marine was my eldest sisters son.
    We stand on the shoulders of giants, and upon our shoulders, giants also stand.