Two Grandfather’s, Two different War Experiences.

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Recently I’ve been hearing that Memorial Day is only to honor those who served and died in a war.  Our family is very lucky that no one has died in a war.  Both my grandfather’s served in WWI.  My husband’s brothers served during WWII and my husband served during the Vietnam War, but never was sent to Vietnam.  My Uncle served during the Korean War, but was never sent to Korea.  So you can see we have been fortunate not to lose anyone.  However, I would still like to honor those who served today even though they were not killed in the line duty.  All now except my husband, have passed on.  Thanks to all of you for serving.

Both my grandfather’s served during WWI.  One stayed here in the United States, the other one was sent to France.  I wrote about my grandfather who was sent to France a couple of years ago on this blog.  I am reprinting it today along with my other grandfather’s story too.  Both are not the most exciting stories, but I am still proud of both of them for serving.  When any one enlists or is drafted, they don’t know what the future holds.  They both went without complaint and served their country during war time, not knowing if they would return.  That in it’s self must be scary.  So here are their stories.

Grandpa Kaiser

Grandpa Kaiser Military 2

My Grandpa Kaiser was in the Army during WWI; however he never left the United States.  Even though I knew Grandpa well, I do not know much about his military service.  I heard that he spent most of his time in Georgia.  I have lots of pictures he took during this time.  I have never sent for his military papers.  I was looking to see if I had his enlistment or discharge papers, but all I could find was an “Order of Induction into the Military Service of the United States”.  It doesn’t give much information.  It just says to report to the local board at 1950 Lawrence Ave at 10 AM of the 31st day of August 1918.[1]  By this time the war was almost over.   I did find a couple of cards with his papers.  One is a “Notice of Classification” dated 7/11/1918.  His classification was an “I-A”.[2]

I also found another card “Army Training School Certificate”[3].

The information on the card is as follows:

School: South Div. War Training

Location: 26th and Wabash Ave.

Name: Kaiser, Fredrick Rudolph.

Permanent Address:  233 Winnemac Ave., Chicago, Illinois.

Course: Auto Mechanic

Started Date:  9/1/1918

Finished Date:10/31/1918.

Trade Rating in School Course

A= Apprentice  J=Journeyman   E=Expert

Main:  Auto Mechanic Rating: A

Eng. Assem: A

Auto Elec: A

General Ratings by Three or More Instructors

5=Highest   4=High   3= Middle   2=Low  1=Lowest

Mechanical Ability:  4   3   3

Speed:                         3   3   3

Resourcefulness:       3   4   4

Personal Qualities    4   5   5

I had wondered why Grandpa entered the war so late.  Then I learned that the first registration was June 5, 1917 for men ages 21 – 31.[4]  Grandpa missed having to register by 3 months.  He turned 21 the following September.[5]  The second registration was June 5, 1918 for those men who turned 21 after June 5, 1917.[6]  This is when Grandpa registered.  His WWI draft card is dated June 5, 1918.[7]  This answered my question as to why he was drafted so late.

His draft card said he was working for the Texas Company (Texaco).[8]  Grandpa went back to work at Texaco after leaving the service, and he continued to work for them until 1961 when he retired with 46 years of service.[9]  I wish I knew more about his military service, sometime I will have to send for his records.  In the mean time, I’m proud he served in what ever capacity.  During both of the wars he was teased about his name Kaiser.  So on this Memorial Day, thank you Grandpa for serving our county.


[1]  Order of Induction into Military Service of the United States for Frederick R. Kaiser, Order Number 152, Serial Number 146.  Dated August 31, 1919.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[2] Notice of Classification for F. R. Kaiser, Order No. 152, Serial No. 146,  Dated July 11, 1918.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[3] War Department—Army Training School Certificate for Frederick R. Kaiser.  South Div. War Training, 26th and Wabash Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author

[4] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background. http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration/index.html

[5] Baptism Certificate for Friedrick Rudolf Kaiser, baptized June 21, 1899, born September 12, 1896, Ravenswood Evangelical Church, Pensacola and Hoynes Avenues, Chicago, IL; Registry Entry #485.

[6] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background. http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration/index.html

[7]“United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K6DF-C7F .  Fredrick Rudolph Kaiser, 1917- 1918.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Certificate of Retirement from Active Duty with Texaco Inc. for Fred R. Kaiser, 1961 after 46 Years of Loyal Service. Signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Augustus C. Long.

Grandpa Manfroid

My grandfather, George Manfroid, served in France during WWI.  He died when I was eight years old so I never heard about his war experience in France.  All my father ever said was that his father was in France during WWI.  That was it the end of the story.  I did not think much about it until one day when I was reading his enlistment and discharge papers.  I was going to use these papers for a class that I was teaching.  I wanted to show an example of things that you might find in your possession or in the possession of a relative, and how they can be used to help you trace your ancestors.  I had read these papers before but all I really cared about back then was where he was born, date of birth, etc.  But since I knew all that I took a closer look and thought about what they said.  He was inducted on September 19, 1917 in Maywood, Illinois.  His vocation was a millwright, he was 25 years old, blue eyes, light complexion, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and single.  His character was excellent, his service honest and faithful.  He was part of the A.E.F. France, received no wounds, and was entitled to wear the Blue Service Chevron.  He was at Camp Grant, Illinois when discharged on January 19, 1919.[1] [2]

After studying the papers, I was curious as to what A.E.F. stood for and why he received the Blue Service Chevron.   I look up the A.E.F. and found it stood for American Expeditionary Forces,[3] and the Blue Service Chevron was given to soldiers who served overseas less than six months[4]  I Googled my grandfather’s name and found his name in a book titled The Official History of the Eighty-Sixth Division.  He is listed as serving in 311th Trench Mortar Battery.  According to the book he left New York Harbor on September 17, 1918 aboard the Lapland for France.  He spent his time in Vitrey and Chauvirey-le-Chatel.  The 86th division was to be sent to the Lorraine Front on November 14, 1918 with other American Divisions and thirty French Divisions to capture the Metz.  The 86th was to participate in what the supreme war council had planned as the Allies’ mightiest endeavor of the war.  But on November 11, 1918 came the news of the signing of the Armistice.  He returned to the United States on January 9, 1919 aboard the Georgia.[5]

The men prepared for a year to battle on front lines and for some this was a disappointment. I don’t know my grandfather’s feelings because nothing was ever said.  I think about the part fate played here.  If he fought and was killed, I would not be here.  We take for granted our lives and the lives of our ancestors.  But one little twist of fate could change everything.  Even though he never fought on the front lines, I am still proud that he served his country honorably and faithfully during this time.  Thank you Grandpa for your service to this country!


[1] Enlistment Record for George Manfroid, September 19, 1917, Maywood, Illinois, book 44, page 176.  In possession of author.

[2] Honorable Discharge from the United States Army for George Manfroid, January 19, 1919, Camp Grant, Illinois. Book 44, Page 175.  In possession of author.

[5] Little, John G., The Official History of the Eighty-Six Division (Chicago, Illinois, States Publication Society, 1921). https://www.google.com/search?q=Official+history+of+the+eighty+sixth&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

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About Gail Grunst Genealogy

Gail has been researching her own family since 1979. Her research has taken her back to 1800 Belgium and 1800 England. Gail has worked in a library for the last 20 years and has answered genealogy questions for patrons and helped patrons with their research. In addition to her degree in Library Media Technology, Gail has a two degree in Basic American Genealogy Research from the National Genealogy Society. She has done volunteer work for various Genealogy Societies. Gail teaches several Classes in Genealogy for the Round Lake Area Library, and would be happy to conduct a class for your organization. If interested in a class or if you would like a one-on-one consultation, please contact Gail. Please enjoy Gail's family History Blog

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