The poem was written by Raymond Reinke on 03/23/1919 in Rhinebrohl Germany from the late actual history as shown by record of the United States history. It was sent in a thank you letter to the American Red Cross for receipt of a comfort kit. The original letter is in a museum in LaGrange, Illinois.
Raymond stated "The last day in the march up to the Rhine, our 6th regiment over ran the 5th regiment marines by taking a shortcut through a tunnel of a railroad in a mountain which cut off about 5 miles and in this way we were the first Americans to cross the Rhine."
Belleau Wood was a turning point in WWI as well is a landmark in the history of the Marine Corps. In mid-1918, with the German army just 50 miles outside Paris, the Allied Second and Third Divisions mounted a counter-attack to halt the Germans dead and retake Belleau Wood -- but the only way into the woods was through an adjoining wheat field and this field was heavily protected by massive German firepower.
As American forces arrived on the scene, Captain Lloyd Williams of 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines Regiment was told by the retreating French army that turning back was the best course of action. He declined, giving the now-famous reply, "Retreat, hell! We just got here!"
The enemy had every square inch of that field covered with interlocking machine gun and artillery fire. The Marines paid dearly with every step they took. The enemy couldn't believe that the Marines would advance in the face of such devastation. But they did. When officers fell, sergeants led the way. When sergeants fell, corporals took the lead. And when corporals fell, the privates fought on."
In the end, the Marines of the 4th Marine Brigade's 5th and 6th Regiments took the blood-soaked grounds of Belleau Wood. The battle that had begun June 1 ended June 26 when Maj. Maurice Sheaerer, Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, could finally report with pride, "Woods now U.S. Marine Corps -- entirely."
Raymond was awarded The Good Conduct Medal which is awarded on a selective basis to enlisted members in the Regular Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve to recognize good behavior and faithful service in the U.S. Marine Corps while on active duty for a specified period of time. Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals were numbered from their inception up to (and including part of) World War II. The style and placement of the numbering varied over time but for most of this period the number was engraved as part of the naming of the medal. A major exception to this was a group of 50,000 medals rim numbered in the 20000 to 70000 range. These medals were issued to Marines who had enlisted for the duration of the First World War and were issued unnamed. USMC Good Conduct Medals were also named from their inception to 1951, when the practice was discontinued. The number on Raymonds metal is 60935.
Posted in memory of my Grandfather
And all those that fight for our freedom