The buck stops here

With the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I looming, it is only fitting that we take a look at the gun carried by the only President to see combat in the conflict.

While the former Spanish-American War veteran President Teddy Roosevelt (R/ Bull Moose) volunteered to return to service to fight the Kaiser in 1917, his offer was not accepted by President Woodrow Wilson (D). Further, although a career Army officer at the time, future President Dwight D. Eisenhower was stuck in training duties stateside and never made it to the frontline in France. One man who did go “Over There” was Missouri-native Harry S Truman, whose past jobs had included farmer and clerk.

Having served as a company clerk in a National Guard artillery unit for a few years before the war, Truman, then 33, reenlisted and was elected lieutenant. By 1918, he was in France with Pershing’s American Expeditionary Force as a captain in command of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 35th ID– in essence 200 Doughboys, four French 75mm guns and 160 horses to pull them and their shells.

Truman’s Battery fired over 10,000 shells in the course of their time on the Western Front, mainly during hard service in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive (Photo: Truman Library)

Post-Armistice, he brought his men home, B/129 losing none to combat, and opened a haberdashery in Kansas City, later getting into politics.

Since he elected to remain in the service, transferring to the Army Reserve (which he remained a member of until 1953) he kept the M1911 Colt .45ACP, serial No. 227577, issued to him in 1918 but did eventually turn it over to the federal government– to the Truman Presidental Library and Museum in 1957, where it, and his Great War uniform, are on display to the public.

Truman’s 1911 was made in January 1918 and was part of a batch of 4,000 guns shipped to Springfield Armory the next month. The Missourian kept it immaculate through an overseas war and 34 years of stateside service in the Army Reserve (Photo: NPS)

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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