Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A FREE European Tour with some risks... with the AEF

My grandfather Ralph Cushman went to war with many other Texas boys in 1917 and was able to take a few photographs along the way. He never showed these to me, but spoke of them often, as even years later the whole experience still dredged up deep emotion. He saw such terrible things, experiencing the thrill of International travel, and military victory, but at the loss of many friends and fellow Americans. He left a very young man from a privileged family and came back a tough Army sergeant, with a very formidable personality.

Still, he was the man who made my brother and me grits and eggs every morning before school, waited on my invalid grandmother like a doting servant, and told us tall tales of yesteryear when we would listen... then years later I got my hands on his photo collection... his cameras, and war mementos. They speak for themselves.

SEE EUROPE by mass transit! (on "Corn Willie")

Luxurious accommodations!
NIGHT LIFE! Sgt. Cushman looks as if he was the designated driver...

Gut German Bier! In a sense it was like a European vacation with incredible risks for many. That's Sgt Shaffer on the left, Private Croop in the middle.

Friendly locals!

SOUVENIRS! : They obtained these spiked helmets from German POW's, and posed with them along with the German crosses around their necks... To my grandfather this was a wild stunt. I saw the helmet once, in neglected condition, when my family burned a little junk shack in the back yard.
A little friendly staff rough housing... Sgts. Cushman, Young and Gee gang up and take down Sgt. Garlock...

"KP" duty: Behavior modification for those indiscreet individuals who get caught stepping out of line.
And now for the real story!

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