Photo page 60 Annual Report – http://www.library.usma.edu/index.cfm?TabID=6&LinkCategoryID=49#46
5889. Class of 1918 (Aug., 1917)
Killed in action July 18, 1918, at Vaux, France, aged 24 years.
First Lieutenant Earle Adams Billings, 9th Infantry, U. S. A., son of Charles and Grace Akers Billings, was born April 1, 1894, at Gor- ham, Maine. He received his earlier education in the public schools of Gorham and Portland, Maine, graduating from the latter High School. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy from the First District, Maine, and entered the same in June, 1914, as a member of the Class of 1918.
His career at the Academy was one of which anyone might well be proud in that he graduated with his class in August, 1917, nine months prior to the date set for the graduation of the Class of 1918. His kindness and thoughtfulness toward everyone with whom he came in contact was distinctively prominent in his every act and those characteristics, coupled closely with his loyalty, integrity and his everlasting determination to succeed through squareness to others, gained for him from his classmates a profound respect and admiration.
Lieut. Billings upon graduating was assigned to the 9th Infantry, which at that time was overseas. He was one of the few officers of
his class who was fortunate enough to receive an assignment to a
unit which had already embarked for foreign service.
Before sailing, he was married to Miss Ruth Dingley Jenkins, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Welsey Jenkins of Portland, Maine, on October 10th, 1917. He was with her only until November 2, 1917, at which time he sailed for England. He remained in London but a few days and then joined his regiment, the 9th Infantry, in France and was with it until sometime in January, 1918, when he was detailed to an officers’ school as an instructor. In the latter part of March, 1918, he was appointed range officer, which duty he performed until the thirtieth of May when he was sent to the front to rejoin his organization and was with the 9th Infantry up to the time of his death on July 18, 1918.
Prior to his death he was cited in orders and mentioned in French newspapers for bravery in action, since which time his wife has received a Croix de Guerre from the French Government.
Following is extract from Order.
General Headquarters of the Armies of the North and Northeast.
Personnel Bureau. Order No. 11,462. “D” Extract. (Decorations.)
With the approbation of the Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, the General Commander in Chief of the French Armies of the North and Northeast cites in the Order of the Army Corps:
First Lieutenant Earle A. Billings, 9th Reg., Inf.
“July 1, 1918, at Vaux, he led his men to the assault under violent
bombardment without losing track of the wounded. He himself saw too that they were carried to the rear. Inspired his men by his bravery
and his coolness.” * * *
At General Headquarters, November 11, 1918.
The General Commander in Chief.
From a French newspaper:
“First Lieut. Earle A. Billings, 9th Infantry, led his men through heavy barrage, working continuously during the entire bombardment, locating and directing evacuation of the wounded. By his valor and coolness, in spite of high explosive and gas shelling, he was an incentive to his men. This at Vaux, July 1, 1918.”
Following is extract from letter written to Mrs. Billings by the Commanding Officer Co. A, 9th Infantry:
Ninth Infantry, France, Sept. 18, 1918.
My Dear Mrs. Billings:
Earle was second in command of Company A when we started over the top on the morning of the 18th. He was assigned to command of the left wing of the company. We had gone about 1500 yards when I was notified that Earle was wounded-I believe by machine-gun fire. I immediately sent two men to assist him, but had to continue the advance without being able to see him. It was not until after the engagement that I learned of his death. He had been killed by shell fire. This occurred south of Soissons, about 500 yards southwest of Beaurepaire Farm. He was buried in the same locality with other officers of the 9th who fell on the “Field of Honor.”
I offer you my heartfelt sympathy. The whole regiment shares with you the sadness of your loss. But in your grief please remember that Earle gave his life for a noble cause; his sacrifice has not been offered in vain. Earle fell while gallantly and fearlessly leading his men in action. The whole Company loved him and would have followed him anywhere. While he served under me I twice had the pleasure of recommending him for distinguished conduct in the face of the enemy, from which I hope you will hear further.
I shall not ask you to bear your loss bravely, for I know that you shall, for anyone related to Earle could not do otherwise.
(Signed) FRANK C. FOLEY
Captain 9th Infantry.
All of us who knew Earle can easily realize the deep sorrow which must surround the relatives, particularly the mother and the young wife of the deceased, who like many other mothers and wives of America made sacrifices and played such an important part in making the world safe for Democracy.
The Class of 1918 extends to the parents, wife and relatives of Lieutenant Billings their profound sympathy for their loss which is only made easier to bear in taking pride in his bravery knowing that he so nobly did his duty in the time of intense danger, with coolness and little regard for himself, all of which is symbolical of the motto we all love so well-Duty, Honor, Country.
Croix de Guerre from the French Government
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