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----- Original Message -----
From: Doug Bowser
To: sgc Doug Bowser
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2008 2:07 AM
Subject: The Last Doughboy


This War to End All Wars was the War of my Father. John W. Bowser was born in Kittaning, Pennsylvania on July 14, 1890. He died on May 30, 1960, just shy of his 70th Birthday. He had three Brothers, Ed, Jim and Mack (he served in WW1 with Mack). All his Brothers lived to be older than 96. My Father had Diptheria in 1906, was hit by shrapnel twice, cut on the face by a German bayonet and suffered gas poisoning due to a German Phosgene Gas attack. I believe the Phosgene Gas shortened his life. When he was gassed, he was ill for a month before they sent him back to the lines. He was a machine gunner in the 3rd Ohio Machinegun Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division "Rainbow". He used a Model 1895 Colt-Marlin "Potato Digger" machinegun that was .30-06 converted from .30-40 Krag. He told me he had to stop mass attacks of German soldiers and the machine gun was a murderous tool of War. After the attacks the Germans attempted on our lines he felt a lot of remorse. He said self preservation got him to do what he had to, stopping the young enemy soldiers. We all need to reflect on what we owe the men that have in the past and do defend our Country. We owe them everything.

Here is a story about the last remaining soldier that served in WW1.

Doug Bowser

George F. Will: Last of the doughboys
NUMBERS COME precisely from the agile mind and nimble tongue of Frank Buckles, who seems bemused to say that 4,734,991 Americans served in the military during America's involvement in the First World War and 4,734,990 are gone. He is feeling fine, thank you for asking.

The eyes of the last doughboy are still sharp enough for him to be a keen reader, and his voice is still deep and strong at age 107. He must have been a fine broth of a boy when, at 16, persistence paid off and he found, in Oklahoma City, an Army recruiter who believed, or pretended to, the fibs he had unavailingly told to Marine and Navy recruiters in Kansas about being 18. He grew up on a Missouri farm, not far from where two eminent generals were born -- John "Black Jack" Pershing and Omar Bradley.


"Boys in the country," says Buckles, "read the papers," so he was eager to get into the fight over there. He was told that the quickest way was to train for casualty retrieval and ambulance operations. Soon he was headed for England aboard the passenger ship Carpathia, which was celebrated for having, five years earlier, rescued survivors from the Titanic.

Buckles never saw combat but "I saw the results." He seems vague about only one thing: What was the First World War about?

Before leaving England for France, he was stationed near Winchester College, where he noticed "Buckles" among the names that boys had carved in their desks. This ignited his interest in genealogy, which led him to discover that his ancestor Robert Buckles, born in Yorkshire on May 15, 1702, arrived at age 30 in what is now West Virginia.

After Cpl. Buckles was mustered out of the Army in 1920 with $143.90 in his pocket, he went to business school in Oklahoma City for five months, then rented a typewriter for $3 a month and sent out job applications. One landed him work in the steamship business, which took him around the world -- Latin America, China, Manchuria. And Germany, where, he says, in 1928 "two impressive gentlemen" told him, "We are preparing for another war." Behind glass in a cabinet in his small sitting room are mementos from his eventful life: a German army belt with a buckle bearing words all nations believe, "Gott Mit Uns (God Is With Us)." The tin cup from which he ate all his meals, such as they were, during the 39 months he was a prisoner of the Japanese -- because he was working for a shipping company in Manila on Dec. 7, 1941.

Widowed in 1999, this man who was born during the administration of the 25th President recently voted in West Virginia's primary to select a candidate to be the 44th. His favorite President of his lifetime? The oldest, Ronald Reagan.

Buckles is reading David McCullough's "1776." That date is just 18 years more distant from his birth than today is.

This Memorial Day, Buckles will be feted back in Missouri, at the annual parade and fireworks in Kansas City. Perhaps he will journey to Bethany, to the house on whose porch he sat at age 3, 104 years ago.

He was born in February 1901, seven months before President William McKinley was assassinated. If Buckles had been born 14 months earlier, he would have lived in three centuries. He has lived through 46 percent of the nation's life, a percentage that rises each morning when he does.

On June 28, 1914, an assassin's bullet in Sarajevo killed the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The war that followed took more than 116,000 American lives -- more than all of America's wars after the Second World War. And in a sense, the First World War took many more American lives because it led to the Second World War and beyond.

The First World War is still taking American lives because it destroyed the Austro-Hungarian, Romanoff and Ottoman empires. A shard of the latter is called Iraq.

The 20th century's winds of war blew billions of ordinary people hither and yon. One of them sits here in a cardigan sweater in an old wood and stone house on a rise on a 330-acre cattle farm. In this case, and probably in every case, the word "ordinary" is inappropriate.

George Will is a commentator for ABC News and a columnist for Newsweek in Washington, D.C.
 

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Thanks for the great story and thank-you and your Dad and all the veterans and man and women serving today. I alot of people don't realize that if it were not for great men like you and your Dad and his brothers that we would not be a free country and probably be speaking another language or be a lamp post.

:sf: :fe:
 

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righttoown said:
Thanks for the great story and thank-you and your Dad and all the veterans and man and women serving today. I alot of people don't realize that if it were not for great men like you and your Dad and his brothers that we would not be a free country and probably be speaking another language or be a lamp post.

:sf: :fe:
MY hats off to anyone who gives of their live that i might live free an let me not take it for granted :sf:
 

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Doug -- thanks so much for sharing ... the pride and committment displayed by your father, uncle, and the last remaining WWI vet is something to cherish ... Our Nation tends to forget this time honored fiber of our historic character - But let us not forget!!
 

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Great read. Those who haven't served, and even those of us who served in peacetime, owe a greater debt than can ever be repaid to these men.

In a time when the word "hero" is thrown around like a 25 cent token, these guys lived it and scoffed at being called anything near heroic. They tell us they did what they had to do. Here's hoping this and future generations will do the same.
 

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Great story Doug! My Father served in WW1. He was born in Parker County Texas in Nov. 1892 and passed away in May 1961 also just short of his 70th birthday. He was in the Air Corps and the closest he got to combat was when his base in England was shelled by a U Boat which surfaced in the Channel. All the shells landed way short and at first they thought the shells were from a nearby artillery unit. Six years after he passed away I ended up in the Air Force. Thank You to all Vets!
 

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thanks to your dad for his service! i agree we have to always remember the sacrifice these men made! even the survivors carry a LOT of baggage with them until their last day. i could only imagine!
 
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