Tuesday, August 4, 2009

James Madison Pearson

My family history relates that my grandfather James Madison Pearson saw action in World War I with the 2rd Infantry Division and with the 3nd Infantry Division.

In the spring of 1918, with close to 50 divisions freed by Russia's withdrawal from the war, the German Army launched a series of attacks on the Western Front, hoping to defeat the Allies before United States forces could be fully deployed.

The 2nd Infantry Division was organized in October of 1917 and headquartered at Bourmont, Haute Marne, France. In June of 1918, the 2nd Infantry Division stopped a German advance at Belleau Wood. At Belleau Woods, the 2nd Infantry Division was three times awarded the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry under fire. The 2nd Infantry Division was next committed to the battle at Chateau-Thierry.

The 3rd Infantry Division was posted to a position protecting Paris on the banks of the Marne River. In July of 1918, the 7th Machine Gun Battalion of the 3rd Division rushed to Chateau-Thierry amid retreating French troops and held back the Germans. While other units retreated, the 3rd Infantry Division remained rock solid and earned its reputation as the "Rock of the Marne".

My grandfather received numerous medals, including the Silver Star, Croix de Guerre, and Purple Heart during his service with the 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions. He was wounded in action and treated at a hospital in Graffigny-Chemin, near Bourmont. It was here that he met and wed my grandmother, Marguerite Chevalier (Chevallier) Meine.

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