Lloyd Staley: Veteran's Story

James Clark Hughes
Capt. James Clark Hughes and members of Kansas National Guard in Europe during WWI.

Lloyd Staley Bio:

Born: September 16, 1895 Died: December 16, 1983

Lloyd Staley's army career began August 5, 1917, at Garnett, Kansas, which was the headquarters for Company K, Kansas National Guard. The raw recruits of K Company stayed at Garnett all of August and most of September, until moving to advanced training camp at Lawton, Oklahoma. The company then became part of the 35th Division, U.S. Army -- and Company K became Company K 137th U.S. Infantry.

The 35th Division entrained for Camp Mills, Mineola, Long Island, New York, on April 14, 1918. On the ninth of May, the Division landed at Le Havre, France. Lloyd was detailed to the Postal Detachment of the 35th Division, A.P.O. 743, where he served the rest of his Army enlistment.

Lloyd was discharged from the Army on May 4, 1919, at Camp Funston, Kansas, with the rank of Sergeant.

'Army City' Garnett, Kansas August 6, 1917

My Dearest Mary,

We are in the Army now. I am sitting inside our little old tent listening to the gentle patter of the raindrops on the canvas. It began raining here this morning and it is still at it. No drill today, so I will have time to write a letter or two. We got into the city all O.K., marched up to the armory and had dinner. They have mess in the armory. We have to march back and forth to eat. Eats are pretty good so far as they have some women helping with the cooking.

Set up camp in the afternoon. Shoemaker has been Acting Corporal in our squad. We got the tent up all right under the direction of one of the old heads who has seen service on the border. Some equipment was issued in the afternoon. As my name is down well in the list, I have not received anything yet in my own name.

Corporal Hilton is staying in town so he let me have his stuff. Got pack, gun, poncho, and numerous other things I don't know what are used for. Slept on the ground last night in a tent with just an even dozen in it. Some of the fellows are staying in town at hotels, rooming houses, and private houses. Taken altogether, things are in rather poor shape as yet, but I suppose it takes a little time to get around. A few of the bunch act like a bunch of bums instead of soldiers, but they will get that taken out of them when they get to a real camp.

They got Parker Melliush for kitchen duty the first thing. Walter Anthony was stuck for guard duty last night. It must be fine walking up and down in front of a row of tents watching the other fellows sleep. One thing they did do, everybody had to quiet down at ten-thirty last night. We had a good entertainment before lights out. (We had a light, too, as some of the bunch got hold of a lantern.) A fellow in our squad by the name of Donald gets off some pretty good comedy -- original stuff, too. He is a rather rough nut, but not as bad as some of this crowd.

There was some crowd at the station yesterday, wasn't there? I think I shook hands with everybody in town three or four times. Not a very pleasant task under the circumstances, either. Well, I got so much company in here that I can't think straight. This is rather a poor excuse of a letter, but I will write again soon.

With best of love to my own little girl,

Lloyd S.

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