As Frank’s story nears its deadline, a lot of loose ends remain. I am expecting a copy of his service record book and possibly casualty file still to come. I’m trying to get copies of his company’s muster reports from the time they arrived in France in February 1918 through June of that year. Hopefully these will present clues as to his rapid promotions to the senior enlisted leadership position in his company. The Marine Corps must have seen great potential in Frank. With more information available, I hope to do a follow-up on his story later. From first learning of Frank Glick just a few months ago, I felt an uncanny bond with him. We are from the same hometown and we were both Marines, but as the story developed, I learned he lived basically across the street and up a couple of houses from where I grew up until I enlisted. My paternal grandfather lived just two door further down from ours in a home his father had built. He and Frank would have been close to the same age and it is most likely would have been classmates and maybe friends. I’ll end with the more famous words of gentlemen I greatly respect and their views on the World War One Marines.
Famed US Army historian BGen S. L. A. Marshall wrote of the Marines in his American Heritage History of WWI: “Belleau Wood was just one of those things like Lexington and the Alamo – an accident that changed the face of history. From the first go, both sides remained absolutely committed. And the German Crown Prince, who commanded the army group, was a little foolish to let it happen that way. He was hazarding the highest possible stakes in a local dogfight; and he picked the wrong people. The Marine Brigade because it was unique – a raft of sea soldiers in an ocean of Army – was without a doubt the most aggressive body of die-hards on the Western Front.”
Excerpt from “Spirit of Semper Fidelis” by Maj. Rick Spooner, USMC Ret.
Conversation between Marine PFC Spooner (aka Jim “Chick” Yancy in the book) and Marine Gunner Gene B. Robinson on Saipan 1944. Speaking of the way things were done in the “Old Corps…”
“After we had been in France a while in 1917, they made us turn in our Marine greens and we all had to wear Army uniforms for the rest of the war. Some of us started drilling hole in our steel helmets and putting our Marine emblems on the front so everyone would know just who we were.
Of course, there was a big stink over the Marine emblems and we got accused of defacing government property I guess they wanted to court-martial a few of us to set an example. But do you know, Chic, before the Army could bring charges against any of us, every Marine in the brigade had the eagle, globe and anchor on his steel pot. And I mean from the commanding general, old Johnny Jingle-Britches (MGen John Lejeune) down the chain of command to the last private in the rear rank. That’s the way it was in the’Old Corps.’ Marines were a close-knit outfit and they really stuck together. A man’s rank did not mean as much to him as being a Marine did.”
Excerpt from “The Leathernecks” in Col John W. Thomason’s forward to Fix Bayonets
The men who marched up the Paris-Metz road to meet the Boche in that Spring of 1918, the 5th and 6th Regiments of United States Marines, were gathered from various places. In the big war companies, 250 strong, you could find every sort of man, from every sort of calling. There were Northwesterners with straw-colored hair that looked white against their tanned skins, and delicately spoken chaps with the stamp of the Eastern universities on them. There were large-boned fellows from Pacific-coast lumber camps, and tall, lean Southerners who swore amazingly in gentle, drawling voices. There were husky farmers from the corn-belt, and youngsters who had sprung, as it were, to arms from the necktie counter. And there were also a number of diverse people who ran curiously to type, with drilled shoulders and a bone-deep sunburn, and a tolerant scorn of nearly everything on earth. Their speech was flavored with navy words, and words culled from all the folk who live on the seas and ports where our war-ships go. In easy hours their talk ran from the Tartar Wall beyond Pekin to the Southern Islands, down under Manila; from Portsmouth Navy Yard – New Hampshire and very cold – to obscure bushwhackings in the West Indies, where Cacao chiefs, whimsically sanguinary, barefoot generals with names like Charlemagne and Chrisophe, waged war according to the precepts of the French Revolution and the Cult of the Snake. The drank the eau de vie of Haute-Marne, and reminisced on saki, and vino, and Bacardi Rum – strange drinks in strange cantinas at the far ends of the earth; and they spoke fondly of Milwaukee beer. Rifles were high and holy things to them, and they knew five-inch broadside guns. They were the Leathernecks, the Old Timers: collected from ship’s guards and shore stations all over the earth to form the 4th Brigade of Marines, the two rifle regiments, detached from the navy by order of the President for service with the American Expeditionary Forces. The were the old breed of American regular, regarding the service as home and war as an occupation; and they transmitted their temper and character and view-point to the high-hearted volunteer mass which filled the ranks of the Marine Brigade.