WW1 186th Aero Squadron dog tag
Posted 18 April 2017 - 11:58 AM
Sergeant First Class William Streicher is listed as a passenger on the White Star Line's RMS Adriatic on January 31st, 1918, which is the date of her sailing for England after waiting a few days for a convoy for the trip across the Atlantic. Upon arrival in England, the Squadron underwent further training, and landed in France in Late August of that year. While expecting to arrive at the front in early October, the Squadron was further held up by a lack of trained observation teams.
Wikipedia has an excellent write up on their combat operations, which lasted just a couple of weeks before the war ended. From that page:
On 27 October 1918 the squadron was assigned to the First Army Observation Groupand moved on the 29th, to Souilly Aerodromefor combat operations. All supplies, personnel, and equipment were transported the same day. The planes were transported by air. At Souilly one truck was all the transportation in the possession of the squadron. This one truck was used to draw rations, for aerial field service, for transportation of personnel to and from town, for hauling water, for all transportation of supplies and for hauling fuel.
The 186th participated in the operation of the two Argonne-Meuse offensives. The first trip over the lines were made 5 November 1918, by 2d Lt. Donald B. Phillips, pilot and 2d Lt. John B. Holmberg, observer. This plane furnished protection for a plane of the 88th Aerp Squadron which was on the same aerodrome with the 186th and was glad to cooperate in permitting our fliers to acquire experience over the lines in company with their old experienced skippers.
The Squadron was held up in starting work over the lines because they were the first American squadron assigned to the long distance reglage work, (flying to strict map coordinates). This was new to them, and it was necessary to make considerable liaisons to the French squadrons that knew how this work should be done. There were also difficulties in the coordination with the infantry units the squadron was programmed to support, with the rapid advance of the units. On 6 November, the 186th moved again, to the nearby Lemmes Airdrome.
On 8 November, 2d Lt. Fred C. Griffith, pilot and 2d Lt. Kenneth F. Potter, Observer, furnished protection for contact patrol northwest of Verdun. On 10 November a reconnaissance of German territory within the triangle of towns of Stenay, Montmedy and Olizy was made by 1st Lt. Clarence M. Smith, pilot and 1st Lt. Sidney S. Stocking, observer, and considerable valuable information was brought back but the ending of the war the following day impaired a great deal undoubtedly the value of that information. By the Armistice on 11 November the squadron had suffered no casualties nor had they received confirmation of any victories.
Third Army of occupationEdit
As far as the Squadron were concerned the armistice was signed on 16 November for on that night an entire hangar was set aside for a party which included every enlisted man and every officer in the squadron. There were numerous speeches and songs not to mention a twenty-piece band from Rampont. This party lasted into the wee hours of the morning and everyone "did his bit", and it is hard to tell even to this day which was the utmost in the minds of the jolly squadron that night, the signing of the armistice or a celebration of the anniversary of the organization of the 186th Aero Squadron. 
The squadron remained at Souilly Aerodrome until 15 April 1919 when the First Army Observation Group was demobilized, and the squadron was reassigned to Trier Airdrome, Germany to serve as part of the occupation force of the Rhineland under the Third Army Air Service, VII Corps Observation Group. At Trier, the squadron was able to perform test flights on surrendered German aircraft. Flights of the Fokker D.VII, Pfalz D.XII, Halberstadtsand Rumpler aircraft were made and evaluations were made. 
On 12 May 1919, orders were received from Third Army for the squadron to demobilize. It was ordered to report to the 1st Air Depot atColombey-les-Belles Airdrome, to turn in all of its supplies and equipment and was relieved from duty with the AEF. The squadron's Salmson aircraft were delivered to the Air Service American Air Service Acceptance Park No. 1 at Orly Aerodrome to be returned to the French. There practically all of the pilots and observers were detached from the Squadron.
Personnel at Colombey were subsequently assigned to the Commanding General, Services of Supply and ordered to report to one of several staging camps in France. There, personnel awaited scheduling to report to one of the Base Ports in France for transport to the United States and subsequent demobilization. The 186th Aero Squadron returned from Europe in June and was demobilized at Mitchell Field, New York.
Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:14 PM
Wow, very cool dog tag.
Nice history attached to it as well. Thanks for posting!
Posted 20 April 2017 - 04:19 AM
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