Saturday, January 20, 2007

Two Fellows Home From Camp Taylor

Columbia City Post, Whitley County, Indiana
Saturday ~ December 29, 1917
Vic Phend and Earl Bordner are both home for short furloughs from Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, Ky. The former came Thursday evening. He is in the engineers and likes his work very much. He has grown heavier, weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds and he looks every inch a man now. Earl Bordner is in the medical detachment of the engineers and he, too, has benefited by his training. He is a half inch taller and is also heaver. He will be here until Tuesday, visiting with his father, R. J. Bordner, and others.
Grandpa (Rolland Victor Phend) enlisted in the Army on September 19, 1917 and went as a 'substitute' for someone else. He was 24 years old at the time and about six feet tall. He often commented that he thought he had gotten 'special' treatment because he was an enlistee rather than a draftee. He attained the rank of Sergeant and served in England and France as a member of the 309th Engineers. Though he never said anything about being in combat he was gassed while on a patrol and suffered for many years as a result. At one point the doctors said he wouldn't last six months. He fooled them all by living until the day before his 98th birthday! Mom says she remembers, when she was little, that he often slept sitting up in a chair because he couldn't breathe if he laid down. He received a very small disability pension. At one point when he was in his 80's, the government decided that he was no longer disabled and took away his meager pension. He contacted one of our senators (I don't know which one) and after some delay, his pension was restored.

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