More reflections by Jim Traner
The movie The Lost Battalion has been around for some years (Rick Schroder plays the Major), and I got interested in looking up some facts on it. Most are pointed out in the movie – 554 soldiers attack the Germans in the Meuse-Argonne offensive and 107 are killed, 63 missing, and 190 wounded in the 5 days before they were rescued. Their Commander, Major Whittlesey along with two others received the MOH. Here’s where it gets a bit odd – Whittlesey acted as a pallbearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier along with Sgt. York on November 1921. A few days later he booked passage on United Fruit Company ship going to Havana. The first night out of New York, he disappeared and was never seen again. He is presumed to have committed suicide by jumping overboard. A number of letters were found in his state room addressed to relatives and family and instructions to the Captain of the ship on dealing with the disposition of his baggage left in his stateroom. A sad story but losing all those men through no fault of his own was probably a heck of burden to carry. Also, I wonder if participating in the Unknown Soldier ceremony triggered something. We will never know.