Edward Joseph Wolff, Jr.

No. 5777. Class of 1918 (Aug., 1917). Attempted to extinguish flames caused by an enemy airplane in an ammunition dump. He was instantly killed by a shell piercing his heart. Killed August 16, 1918, in France, aged 22 years.

Edward J. Wolff

Silver Star

Eddie Wolff, as he was familiarly known to his friends and classmates, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Wolff, Sr., came from Poughkeepsie, N. Y., as the appointee of Congressman Platt, who represents the district in which West Point is included. Cadet Wolff entered the Academy in the summer of 1914 as a plebe; as an upper classman he easily won distinction – Corporal, First Sergeant, and Lieutenant, aside from taking active parts in the Indoor Meet, Hundredth Night, Camp Illumination, etc.

He was graduated with his class on August 30, 1917, because of war conditions, and was assigned to the 16th Field Artillery; in the same fall he reported at Plattsburgh and was later transferred to Camp Green, N. C. From that station he departed for overseas service, May 10th, 1918, when he held the grade of First Lieutenant. After a brief period of training at Camp De Longer, near Bordeaux, Lieutenant Wolff’s regiment left for the front about August 1st, going into immediate action. What might have been a brilliant career was shortened by a sad, accident which resulted in his instant death.

On the night of August 16th, while preparing to turn his battery over with a view to returning to a rest camp he, with a couple of assistants, attempted to extinguish flames caused by an enemy airplane in an ammunition dump. He was instantly killed by a shell piercing his heart. The irony of the sad happening was that the regiment was to move from its position within the next fifteen minutes. His death caused profound sorrow to all who knew him, but like others of his class, he gave his life to the great cause as though he had met his fate on the firing line, for the duty that he was performing when the end came was one that only the bravest of men would attempt.

From letters received from brother officers who were with him and who knew Lieutenant Wolff it is shown that he acquitted himself nobly at all times, giving his time and energy to others with no thought of himself.’ A partial reward came in his recommendation for the Distinguished Service Cross.

The Chaplain of his regiment laid his remains to rest near the spot where he fell, in the American cemetery on the San Thiband Bazoches road, and in a letter to the bereaved parents of their bright and promising son he remarks:
“He was always prepared to meet his Creator. A clean man in body
and soul was Edward Wolff, Jr.”

This is but a brief history of an officer whose cheerful disposition and spirit of willingness under all circumstances gave promise of a career of value to his country as well as a credit to his regiment and himself, and while he has gone in the body his memory will always remain fresh to those who had the privilege of knowing him.

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