Frank L. Smith, Wagoner

U.S. Army 604th Engineers

American Expeditionary Forces ( A.E.F.)

World War I


Frank Smith was drafted into military service on 3 April 1918. He was working as an appraiser for Farm and Home Savings and had just moved from his childhood home in Washington,  D.C. to take a new job in Chicago,  Il. , when he received the call to service from Uncle Sam. He returned to D.C. and to his draft board.   ( Draft induction)  and was assigned to the 604th Engineer Regiment. As you can see from the  photo on page one,  he was a wagoneer ( or caisson driver ) in the mounted section of the 604th.

The regiment was trained at Camp Leach, D.C and Camp Glen Burnie in Maryland.( postcard)

Photo at left : The mounted section. Sergeant Hughes on horseback near Dead Man's Hill.

According to William Falknor's  research:

The 604th Engineers were a part of 6A-V Corps and the unit was sent to France arriving at Le Havre Harbor in France.  It was created as a temporary unit but the unit was on the front lines during the Meuse-Argonne Battle.  V Corps was located in the center of the battle line.  The name Meuse is from the Meuse River and Argonne from the Argonne Forest which created a salient between them. The unit may also have been fought previously in the Battle of Belleau Woods.  This battle was the first battle for the newly arrived A.E.F. soldiers.

The Meuse-Argonne offensive started on September 26, 1917 and ended on November 11, 1918 with an A.E.F. Allies victory.  The German Army surrendered shortly after the battle and the Armistice, Treaty of Versailles was signed on November 11, 1918. 

After the Armistice was signed, the 604th Engineers Regiment returned to the United States at Newport News, Virginia aboard the ship U.S.S. New Hampshire.

Aboard the USS New Hampshire (who was on her last of 4 voyages transporting home veterans of World War I)  the troops enjoyed a daily newspaper called the Range Finder and according to that Frank performed many comedy skits to entertain his fellow soldiers on their  long journey home.

"Good Bye France" -the 640th departs France->

According to the Ranger Finder Newspaper published on board the battleship USS New Hampshire on June 16 1919 that nights Smoky Hour, the entertainment program featured a Wagoner Smith and Pvt Fraiken in a comedy sketch.

His notes say: "This was a great success put on in the middle of the Atlantic before 1700 soldiers and 1100 sailors" Range Finder

The ship arrived back in the U.S. on June 22, 1919 where the unit disembarked and marched in parade fashion up the main street of Newport News.

Frank was discharge from the U. S. Army (A.E.F.) at Camp Meade , MD on 27th June 1919.  Franks discharge copy : pg 1 , pg2

General Order 38-A, from G.H.Q. American Expeditionary Forces dated February 28, 1919 states a Thank You for Service from General John J. “Black” Pershing, Commander in Chief

Frank's copy of the order : GHQ

Look at Medals the men of the 604th




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