#WarriorWednesday: Private Almer M. Aasgaard #NeverForgotten

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Private Almer M. Aasgaard
Jul. 10, 1895 to Sep. 15, 1918

Photo provided by Find A Grave & Suellen

Photo provided by Find A Grave & Suellen

It’s most often very difficult to find information about warriors from earlier conflicts and it frustrates me. I’d like to properly remember our heroes. I lucked upon information for Private Aasgaard, but let’s start with the basics.

Aasgaard was a private in the United States Army, 305th Field Artillery Regiment, 77th Division. He entered the service on the 24th of February 1918 at Camp Dodge Iowa.

The first mention I found of Private Aasgaard finds him in a shelter near Ville Savoie, known as Cemenocal Cave—I believe the date was August 22, 1918. The Germans hadn’t fired on the area before, but a shell landed near a group of officers. Everyone ran to the cave for shelter, Lieutenant Graham and “other infantry officers stood
back to let the men in first.” During the commotion, another shell hit killing Graham and two others.

Corporals Hickey and Rice and Privates Golden and Aasgard, who were on duty with the infantry, carried Lieutenant Graham’s body to Les Pres Farm over heavily shelled roads. Chaplain Sheridan was summoned and the lieutenant was buried in the little cemetery on the Chartreuve Road where so many of our men lie.

The next mention, and unfortunately the final one, relates the circumstances of Private Aasgaard’s death. He was in Fismes, France. I believe he was part of the Saint-Mihiel Offensive which occurred September 12 through 16, 1918.

For days shells of all calibers had fallen about the place without accomplishing any more damage than tearing up the soil. Then this one arrived. It fell at the picket line. The horses stood in a row. Private Aimer M. Aasgard groomed a horse near the end of the line. Near him sat a group of telephone men, winding wire on makeshift reels — a necessary diversion of the telephone detail when there was nothing else to do. The men heard the whine of the approaching shell and realized from their acquired judgment that it would fall very near. They called out a warning and ducked. Aasgard wasn’t quick enough. A tiny fragment cut into his neck, severing the jugular vein. Dr. Cronin hurried to the doomed man. Aasgard died within a few minutes.

A few facts about the Saint-Mihiel Offensive:
September 12, 1918 – The first stand-alone attack by Americans occurs as the U.S. 1st Army attacks the southernmost portion of the Western Front in France at St. Mihiel. The offensive is supported by an unprecedented 1,476 Allied aircraft used as part of a coordinated air-ground attack. Within 36 hours, the Americans take 15,000 prisoners and capture over 400 pieces of artillery as the Germans withdraw.

September 15, 1918 – The Allies push the Bulgarians out of Serbia as French, Serbian and Italian troops make rapid gains, advancing nearly 20 miles northward from Greece in three days. Bulgarian troops attempting to redeploy westward through the narrow Kosturino Pass are relentlessly bombarded by airplanes and overall troop morale collapses. Meanwhile, political turmoil strikes at home as anti-war riots erupt in Bulgaria’s cities along with Russian-style revolutionary fervor that results in the proclamation of local soviets.


Honors: World War I Victory Medal
Burial: Plot D Row 7 Grave 11, Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois, France

WWI Victory Medal

WWI Victory Medal

77th Infantry Division Patch

77th Infantry Division Patch

Sources:

The protagonist of my WID is a physical therapist who works with wounded vets. Through my research I’ve discovered patriots that leave me awe-filled, many of whom gave their life for their country. If I’ve learned only one thing, it is that these soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines don’t do what they do for notoriety, they love their job, their country and their brothers (and sisters) in arms. I encourage you to do a bit of research on these warriors, but keep in mind that initial media reports often contain unverified information and for security reasons many details of operations are never revealed.