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"I stepped over one [of our wounded] and he said, 'Sgt, can't you please do something for me for I am killed.'... He had a grenade in his pocket and he got it out with his good hand, one hand was torn up pretty bad. He handed the grenade to one of the men and said, 'Give them [the enemy] this. I wish I could.'" (Diary, page 50)

   Reese Melvin Russell
Image of Reese Melvin Russell
Sgt. Reese Melvin Russell [1918]
War: World War, 1914-1918
Branch: Army
Unit: Company E, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division
Service Location: Camp Lee, Virginia; France
Rank: Sergeant
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Like many men in his infantry unit, Reese Russell grew up in the mountains of Virginia, accustomed to the quiet rhythms of rural life. He joined the war effort, his daughter Frances writes, full of enthusiasm for the cause. Russell was gassed while in combat, and though he came home, married his sweetheart, and raised a family, he was forever marked by the war. The man Frances knew slept too little and drank too much. He died in 1943 at 61, a broken man, and Frances learned of a diary he kept during his wartime service some years later, only after her mother died. Frances offers commentary on the accounts in her father's diary entries, which are by turns harrowing and poignant.

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»Diary of Reese Melvin Russell
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»Transcription of diary of Sgt. Reese Melvin Russell, with memoir and notes by his daughter Frances Russell
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  October 26, 2011
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