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world war 1 military records of caost and geodetic survey personnel

Percy B. Castles, First Lieutenant, Engineer Corps, U.S. Army:

On September 24, 1917, by Executive Order No. 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the War Department. Previous to his transfer he was a draftsmen with the Coast and Geodetic Survey. He passed the required physical examination and was ordered to active duty as First Lieutenant, Engineer Reserve Corps, U.S. Army. He was first assigned to the Reserve Officers’ Training Camp, American University, Washington DC., and completed his training course on November 26, 1917.

On December 10, 1918, he was ordered to the 303rd Engineers at Camp Dix, N.J., and attached to Co. A, 1st Bat., where he instructed incoming recruits in infantry drill, rifle practice and general engineering problems.

On January 31, 1918, he left the U.S. for overseas duty on the R.M.S. “ADRIATIC”, and proceeded via Halifax, N.S., for Liverpool, England, under convoy, arriving there on February 17th. During the passage three submarines were sighted and one of the vessels of the convoy was lost.

Arrived at Le Havre France, on February 19, 1918, and proceeded to Angers, Maine, et Loire, where he was assigned to the 116th Engineers, under Colonel R. D. Black, and appointed topographic officer in charge of surveys and mapping for use in artillery and engineer maneuvers.
On March 18, he was ordered to General Headquarters and assigned for a course in aerial photography, mapping and observing in the Areal Photographic Section of the 29th Engineers, and attached to Co. A, 1st Bat., Colonel R.G. Alexander, Commanding. After completing this course on May 5, 1918, he was ordered to the 116th Engineers, which was replacement regiment, for reassignment to duty at the front. While awaiting orders he was placed in charge of transporting supplies for aeroplane construction for the French Army.

On June 14, 1918, he was attached to the Headquarters Staff of the Railway Artillery Reserve, 1st Army, as Assistant Engineer Officer and in connection with this assignment, completed drainage and sewage projects and assisted in extensive railway yard construction. Continuous German aerial attacks both day and night enlivened the work in hand.

During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive he assisted in the construction and operation of light and heavy railway for the Artillery, covering a large portion of the active sectors on reconnaissance for the placement of heavy guns. While under this assignment he was appointed Adjutant of the 1st Railway Operation Division, 2nd Army, carrying on the movement of the railway artillery.

On December 31, 1918, he was ordered to report to the Commanding General, 33rd Division, for duty on the Luxemburg German Border, and on January 7, 1919, he was assigned as commanding officer, Co. D, 2d Bat., 108th Engineers, under Colonel H.A. Allen, and was stationed at Berdorf, Luxemburg.

On January 24, 1919, he received orders to proceed to Angers, Maine et Loire, for transportation to the United States.

On March 16, 1919, he left Brest, France, in command of a casual company of troops, for the United States, on the U.S.S. GEORGE WASHINGTON, and arrived at New York City, on March 25th, 1919.

He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, at Washington, D.C., on April 2, 1919, and returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on April 3, 1919.

Earl F. Church, First Lieutenant, Engineers, U.S. Army:

On September 24, 1917, by Executive Order No. 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the War Department. Previous to his transfer he was with the Coast and Geodetic Survey as a geodetic computer. Immediately after transfer, he was enrolled as First Lieutenant of Engineers and was assigned to Company A, 29th Engineers at Camp Devens where he was stationed until October 31, 1917, when he sailed with his company for France.

The company was stationed at the 29th Engineer’s Base Plant, at Langres and served directly under command of Colonel R.G. Alexander of the General Staff. His duties there were the studies of all geodetic problems in connection with the inauguration and execution of map work by the American forces; taking charge of the computations of all surveys, teaching computations to officers and men, particularly the methods applicable to geodetic work in France; writing papers on computations, map projections and other problems; computation of Lambert projection tabes; arranging and filing geodetic information covering the area of the front, etc.

He also served under Major John P. Hogars of the General Staff, who was in charge of G-2-C. of the 2nd American Army, stationed at Toul. While at this Station the duties assigned were to take charge of all computations of triangulation and traverse for artillery use; filing and furnishing of all geodetic information within the 2nd Army Section; and investigating all geodetic problems entering into the work of mapping.

During his service in France he was awarded two meritorious citations, one on July 26, 1919, from General John J. Pershing, Chief of the American Armies, for conspicuous and meritorious services in geodetic work and another, a French Government Citation, the order of Silver Palm, with the designation as an officer of the Academy.

Lieutenant Church also received highly complimentary letters from officers of the General Staff, copies of which appear in Part II of this report under the heading “Official Letters and Documents”.

He was honorably discharged from military service in the United States Army , at Washington, D.C., on March 6, 1919, and returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey on March 7, 1919.

Albert Churchill, Quartermaster, Third Class, U.S.N.R.F.:

Transferred with the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer SURVEYOR by Executive Order No. 2707, on September 24, 1917. He was enrolled in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force and served on the U.S.S. SURVEYOR as Quartermaster third class, but the length of his service is not known at this office, as he did not return to the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

William H. Clark, Captain, U.S. Army:

On July 13, 1917, he resigned his commission as Aid in the Coast and Geodetic Survey and accepted an appointment as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

The files of the Coast and Geodetic Survey relating to his war activities are not complete, but information is available that he was with the Casual Detachment at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., on December 11, 1918, and later that he was retired with the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army.

Leo Otis Colbert, Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N.R.F.:

On September 24, 1917, by Executive Order No. 2707, he was transferred to the service and jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Previous to his transfer he was with the Coast and Geodetic Survey as a commissioned Hydrographic and Geodetic Engineer.

Pending his assignment to sea duty he was detailed to temporary duty at the Seattle Field Station of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and while upon this duty he also gave instructions to a class in navigation at the Naval Camp at the University, State of Washington, of which Miller Freeman, Commander U.S.N.R.F., was Commanding Officer. This latter duty was performed upon request of the Commanding Officer without written orders from the Bureau of Operations.

On February 23, 1918, in accordance with orders, he reported on board the U.S.S. NORTHERN PACIFIC for the passage from Puget Sound Navy Yard to New York and was immediately assigned to duty as Assistant Navigator and Watch Officer. He was not detached by the Commanding Officer upon arrival of the vessel in New York on account of the lack of experienced watch officers on board, and after the completion of the first trip as a transport to France, in April 1918, he was permanently assigned to duty on that vessel as Watch and Division Officer.

On August 4, 1918, he was appointed Lieutenant Commander, Class 3, U.S.N.R.F., and was reassigned to the U.S.S. NORTHERN PACIFIC with additional duties as First Lieutenant of the vessel. He served under the command of Captain Charles F.P. Reston, U.S.N., until December, 1918, and during the remainder of his assignment under Captain Lewis F. Connelly, U.S.N.

During the period of his assignment to this vessel he made nine voyages between New York and Brest, France, previous to the signing of the Armistice , and two after that time. Upon returning to New York from the last voyage, the vessel grounded at Fire Island. As many wounded troops were on board at this time, their situation was a source of anxiety to the personnel on board. The work of transporting the wounded, and other passengers on board, from the stranded steamer to vessels off shore, was done as weather permitted during the following four days. On the nineteenth day after grounding, the vessel was floated and towed into New York.

The NORTHERN PACIFIC was a vessel of 9,708 tons displacement, with a length of 509 feet and breadth of 63 feet, and a maximum speed of 23 knots. During her service on the North Atlantic, she carried many prominent officials including Secretary of War Baker, Assistant Secretaries Ryan and Keppel, Major Generals Chamberlin and Gorgas, Colonel House, Admiral Benson, and several foreign officials. On account of her speed, she was especially adapted for the return of wounded troops and special care and accommodations were provided for them. She was one of the fastest transports engaged in the U.S. Navy Transport Service during the war and is credited with making the quickest turn-around in that service.

He was relieved from active duty in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force on March 29, 1919, and on the following day returned to the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

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