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Veterans’ Voices
Honoring our men and women in uniform

By MARY DRENNON

Special to the Tribune-Herald

Note: This Veterans’ Voices has been published
previously in May 2019. Writer Mary Drennon is out a
few weeks.

I

t’s small enough to fit into the palm of a hand or slip into
a pocket, yet its contents are invaluable. They contain a
tiny record of life in the trenches during World War I for
one John Pustejovsky, an Abbott resident born on June 25,
1893, near West.
Pustejovsky grew up working on the family farm. In
October 1917, at age 24, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. As
a sergeant during WWI, he was a member of Company A,
111th Engineers, caring for the Army mules and bringing
supplies and ammunition to troops in the field. He fought in
France in the battle of St. Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne
Offensive, the latter of which cost 26,277 American lives,
making it the largest and bloodiest operation of World War
I. With the end of WWI and the signing of the armistice,
Pustejovsky received an honorable discharge on June 18,
1919.

Johnnie Pustejovsky
holds his father's
World War I uniform
jacket, helmet, dog
tags and the diary he
kept during the war.
Photo is John
Pustejovsky in
uniform.

World War i
Returning home, he married Annie Bezdek on Nov. 26,
1919. They moved to Abbott, farming and raising cattle for
a living. Pustejovsky was a prominent member and leader
of the Abbott community, serving on the school board and
helping organize the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic
Church and Fatima Cemetery.
He and Annie had one daughter, Christine Pustejovsky
Polansky and five sons, Frank, Henry, Wesley, Clement and
Johnnie.
John Pustejovsky died on July 19, 1972 and is buried at
Fatima Cemetery. Among his survivors are his son, Johnnie
Pustejovsky, and a granddaughter, Georgia Hutyra.
His son shared his father's diary from the war years.
October 8, 1917 (first diary entry; no further entries until
July 7, 1918): Left West at 12:30. Arrived San Antonio Camp
Travis 8:30.
July 7, 1918: 12 p.m. We rolled out of Camp Bowie. 7
p.m. we crossed the Red River into Okla.
July 10, 1918: Woke up at Erie Canal. Arrived in Niagara
at 7:10 a.m. Seen the Falls.
July 11, 1918: Crossed to Long Island at 9:30 a.m. went
under the Brooklyn Bridge. Came into Camp Milk Long
Island N.Y. at 4 p.m.
July 16, 1918: 6 a.m. got on the ship that morning.
July 18, 1918: Left the port at 2 p.m.
July 30, 1918: Anchored in the French harbor at Braust.
July 31, 1918: We unloaded and went to the little shelter
camp N.E. of Braust.
August 3, 1918: Marched to Braust in mud and rain where
after loading on train we left at 5 p.m.
August 4, 1918: Country is level lots of wheat and oats
the appearance of soil is poor. There we see binders and
tractor engines and old Dutch wind mills.
September 12, 1918: Broke camp 7 a.m. Marched to
forest Bois De Lusure.
September 14, 1918: Moved up Thiseourt highway
camped in Rugnvilla Ruins
September 15, 1918: Bodhe aviator shot down while

Courtesy Photo
Photo by Mary Drennon

eating lunch.
September 19, 1918: Broke camp 8 p.m. marched 30 kilo
to a point 1 kilo N.W. St Michael.
September 21, 1918: Broke camp 8 p.m. Marched 20,
kilo to Forest De-Argonne. Camped in forest. Artillery was
prepared for heavy borage (borrage) we stayed under all day.
September 26: Marched 16 kilo to La Hasgu. Camped in
no man’s land.
October 8: Moved to dugouts in vicinity of LaHaszo and
French dugouts.
(On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed ending
WWI)
November 12-16, 1918: Camped in German dugouts near
Apremont in Forest Lochian-Tenles.
November 29, 1918: Marched 56 kilo to Busnouil.
Camped in barracks and washed (ro??) 2 weeks.
December 14, 1918:Moved to Vergigny near St.
Florentine. Built barracks at the R.R.
(No further entries until March 11, 1919)
March 11, 1919: Marched to Tonnerre.
March 29, 1919: I was in Paris.
May 13, 1919: Loaded on train at 9:30 a.m. Passed
Benny Beautiful country along the river. A beautiful castle on
the hill.
May 22, 1919: Exchanged our francs for dollars.
May 23, 1919: 5 a.m. we walked up the gang plank on the
USS Great Norther. At 6:45 we left the shores of France.
May 30, 1919: 7:00 a.m. we passed the Statue of Liberty.

574 Youngblood Road, Waco, Texas, 76706 • 254.662.5571 • JRoof.com

Pulled into the dock at 8:00 a.m. and unloaded the USSGN.
Loaded on ferry boat on which we crossed to Long Island.
Arrived Camp Milk at 2 p.m.
June 8, 1919: At 4 p.m. left Camp Milk passed through
Philadelphia.
June 9, 1919: Lynchburg, Va. at 12:30. Danville, Va.
great tobacco (?) houses.
June 10, 1919: Knoxville Tenn.
June 11, 1919: 8 a.m. Memphis Tenn. Crossed river into
Ark. Country flat, crops in weeds, no grains. At 7 p.m. we
hit Springfield, Mo. The Red Cross served coffee and cake.
June 13, 1919: 5 a.m. Okla City. Ate a big breakfast at the
Red Cross Canteen. Parade at 9 a.m. At 7:30 p.m. crossed
the Red River into Texas.
June 14, 1919: Dallas Parade at 10 a.m. Dinner at State
Fair grounds. 3 p.m. arrived at Camp Bowie. Detrained in
heavy rain.
June 16, 1919: Stood physical examination.
June 18, 1919: (Last entry) Received discharge at 11 a.m.
Arrived at West 5:30 p.m. Emil Jerabek carried me home in a
car. Mama was at home and the rest were hoeing cotton.
“Veterans’ Voices,” featuring stories about Central
Texas veterans, publishes every Sunday. To suggest
a story about a Central Texas veteran, please email
veteransvoices@wacotrib.com.“Veterans’ Voices” is
proudly sponsored by Johnson Roofing.

At Johnson Roofing, we believe in America and proudly stand behind the men and women of our armed forces.

OFFICE, WACO, TX 76701

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