July 30, 1918: Martin Treptow Killed in Action

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Martin August Treptow was a barber from Cherokee, Iowa.  Enlisting in the National Guard, during World War I his unit was called up and Treptow found himself in the 168th Infantry, part of the 42nd Division, called the Rainbow Division by Major Douglas MacArthur, who would rise during the War to eventually command the division, because it consisted of National Guard units that stretched across the country like a rainbow.

July 30th, 1918 was a hard day for the division.  Participating in the Second Battle of the Marne which stopped the last major German offensive of the War and saved Paris from capture, the division was attempting to take Hill 212 on La Croix Rouge Farm and incurring heavy casualties.  A message from Treptow’s unit needed to be taken to another platoon.  Private Treptow did not hesitate, but grabbed the message and ran off with it.  As he neared the platoon leader to deliver the message, Treptow was cut down by a burst of German fire.  He was twenty-five years old.  Sergeant  Joyce Kilmer was killed on the same day, in the same battle, a little bit later.  Go here to read about him.

As his personal effects were being gathered up, this was found on the flyleaf of the diary he kept:

 

America must win this war.   I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.

 

Martin Treptow

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One Comment

  1. Not waiting for his commander to choose a runner but taking the task on himself he is courage personified.
    Call it wishful thinking however it looks like he might be wearing our Lady’s Miraculous Medal in the photo. I tried to enlarge the picture to gather any detail but was unsuccessful. Regardless, his bravery welled up from a deep spring within. A heart of service.

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