They called them doughboys. American soldiers serving near the Mexican border wore a coat of white power that arose with almost every step in the chalky adobe soil there. One story goes that soldiers first carried the nickname "adobes," later shortened to "dobies" and ultimately "doughboys."
They were among the ones who marched off to that awful German-American war, fought in the trenches in the mud and amid the stench of rotting bodies, their own waste and the constant fear of what would come next.
With them were the boys of the Anderson Machine Gun Company of the South Carolina National Guard. They were part of the 1st Regiment, South Carolina Infantry, before President Wilson nationalized them as part of the 118th Regiment of the 30th Division.
Victor St. Clair Minor was among them. He had just turned 21. He was proud to be a machine gunner. And he was happy to be in the Army, my mother told me long ago, because that's where his older brother Charlie was.
Charlie had been an enlisted man under Black Jack Pershing down on the border chasing Pancho Villa, and later became an infantry officer. St. Clair wanted to be an infantryman like his brother.
My grandmother did what war mothers of the day did. She sewed a flag – red border, white rectangle in the center, and two blue stars for the two boys she sent off to win the War of all Wars. She hung it on her front door on River Street.
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