Notes to Consider
“Action beats reaction.”
Born in Breathitt County on New Year’s Day 1890, Willie Sandlin first enlisted with the US Army in 1913 and served along the US-Mexico Border during the exciting times there. Sandlin was honorably discharged from the Army after his initial hitch, but re-enlisted with US entry in the Great War in 1917. On 26 September 1918, Sgt. Willie Sandlin used on three occasions maneuver, high explosives, and dashing lone bayonet attacks to kill 24 German soldiers and helped to capture more than 200 during the first day of the Allied Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Shining examples as to how audacious action beats reaction.
After the war, Sandlin did not seek the limelight, but instead lent his name recognition primarily to adult literacy advocate Cora Wilson Stewart. Willie Sandlin also dealt with the lingering effects of war.
Sgt. Sandlin was gassed by the Germans on two occasions. As documented by the US Veterans Administration (and for which he was never justly compensated); Willie Sandlin’s lungs continued to deteriorate from the damage inflicted upon them by German gas. He died an early death at the Louisville Veterans Hospital in 1949.
I was saddened to learn this past week the young (then) man who picked me up upon my arrival to the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1988, and who (along with his new bride) saw me off at the El Paso International Airport upon the completion of my hitch with the Regiment, is now in stage four of a rare type of cancer.
Within a year of putting me on that plane, my old fellow cavalry trooper climbed upon a plane which took him to war during this nation’s first fight with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. Overseas duty in Iraq exposed large numbers of troops to a cocktail of chemical agents. As was the case with German gas or Vietnam’s defoliants; there are servicemen who sometimes receive the butcher’s bill long after they’ve stepped off the field of battle. Keep them in your prayers.
Next Week: Korea
Shane Morris is a retired soldier and teacher. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject: “NTC”)