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Frank Severin Erickson
Ernest Julius Erickson
Andrew Anders Sebran Erickson
American Expeditionary Force 1918 - 1919
Out West & North Dakota

My grandfather Pvt. Frank Gustaf Severin Erickson was a member of the AEF, the American Expeditionary Force from 1917 - 1919 and served in the 77th Division, 308th Infantry and was a runner / rifleman with Company H. He served under Major Charles White Whittlesey and Captain George G. McMurtry. During the Lost Battalion Argonne early October 1918 period Frank served as a runner for Captain William J. Cullens.

Captain William Cullens' March 1, 1919 card to Frank Erickson

Frank shipped out to Liverpool, England from Brooklyn Harbor on August 8th, 1918 aboard the troop ship, "Nestor." He had completed his military training at Camp Upton in New York in July of 1918 and had awaited debarkation to England at Camp Mills on Long Island, NY.

By September Frank was serving with the 308th in France. Before he knew it he was thrown into combat when the Meuse Argonne Offensive commenced in late September. Eventually as history and myth circled around and around, Frank would become a surviving member of what is referred to as "The Lost Battalion."

The Lost Battalion, the name given to the nine companies of the United States 77th Division of the American Expeditionary Force, consisted of 554 men that were surrounded by German forces in the Argonne Forest in France between October 2nd through the 8th of 1918.

Roughly 197 were killed in battle and approximately 150 went missing in action and or were taken prisoner. Only 194 remaining men walked out alive.

As a runner, Frank braved many a day of machine gun and sniper fire, artillery shelling and mustard gassings. A telling quote stated by a fellow soldier, Pvt. Lee "Buck" McCollum from aboard the ship that was taking him home in 1919 to New York. It offers his feelings and maybe the thoughts of many of the survivors of the Lost Battalion.

"Laughingly we had first boarded these boats, youth bound for France, youth looking for adventure, soldiers on parade. Now less than a year later we were returning home no longer laughing, light-hearted boys in our teens and early twenties, but men old beyond our years. Each of us was bringing home an uninvited guest, a guest that would live with us through the rest of our days, who would sit with us at our tables and would wake us from our earned night's rest, to force us to walk step by step with him, over and over again, across the battlefields of France."

Over the years Frank has been referenced in various books and newspaper articles published throughout the states on the subject of the Lost Battalion. I include below some that I am fortunate to own.

Lost Battalion - Book

77th Brigade - 308th Infantry Regiment

Lost Battalion

Meuse-Argonne Offensive

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