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WWI DSC Medal Grouping to a Lion of Cantigny


Allan H.
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Allan H.

This story begins with a head's up from a close friend of mine who knew that I was looking for a WWI Distinguished Service Cross, but what became so much more once the research was done. I am proud to be the current caretaker of this group of medals that once belonged to 1st Lieutenant W. Ross Gahring. Lt Gahring was a platoon leader in the 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division AEF during the War to End All Wars. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Gahring was quickly identified as a man of decisiveness and a natural leader of men. Lt Gahring was well thought of by his men and his commanders. The 28th Infantry Regiment saw some of the heaviest fighting in World War I and suffered terrible casualties during the Cantigny campaign. 

 

LT Gahring was first cited for valor for his actions at Cantigny where he earned a silver citation star. His citation follows:

 

GAHRING, W. R.
Citation:
By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918 (Bul. No. 43, W.D., 1918), First Lieutenant (Infantry) W. Ross Gahring, United States Army, is cited by the Commanding General, 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, for gallantry in action and a silver star may be placed upon the ribbon of the Victory Medals awarded him. First Lieutenant Gahring distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving with the 28th Infantry, 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in action during the operations connected with the capture and defense of Cantigny, France, 27 to 31 May 1918. First Lieutenant Gahring led his platoon to its objective and reorganized his post under heavy machine gun fire; although wounded he remained on duty with his platoon for nine hours, lying in a shell hole and issuing orders to his men.
Home Town: Mount Vernon, Missouri

 

LT Gahring wasn't finished with his acts of valor. During the same period of time, LT Gahring was seriously wounded by machine gun fire as he led his men in combat. You can read his citation for the DSC:

 

GAHRING, W. ROSS
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: May 28 - 31, 1918
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to W. Ross Gahring, First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action at Cantigny, France, May 28 - 31, 1918. First Lieutenant Gahring was severely wounded by machine-gun fire shortly after successfully leading his platoon to its objective. November 1, 1918. Throughout the two campaigns Captain Gaillot accompanied every officer's patrol, fearlessly exposing himself to heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, rendering invaluable service to the regiment to which he was attached.
General Orders No. 99, W.D., 1918
Home Town: Mount Vernon, MO

 

LT Gahring was issued DSC number 147, and also added that citation star to his WWI Victory Medal. LT Gahring was also twice decorated by the French Army with the Croix de Guerre, once with a gold star and once with a gold palm. Included with the group is a miniature DSC from the WWI era and a single crossed rifle collar insignia.  While it may not be the largest of medal groupings, it is a rather compelling one, at least in my eyes.

 

During my research on LT Gahring, I discovered that a book was written about the actions surrounding the fight of the 28th Infantry at Cantigny. "The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War" was written by James Carl Nelson in 2010, over 90 years after the ruddy fighting there. Mr. Nelson goes into great detail about Company D of the 28th Infantry and the heavy losses inflicted on the Regiment.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read through this narrative. Enjoy the photos of the medals earned by LT Gahring on the fields of France.

 

Allan

 

WROSSGAHRING.jpeg

DSC1.jpg

DSC2.jpg

DSC3.jpg

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Blacksmith

What an exceptionally gorgeous and historical grouping, as a testament to Lt. Gahring's gallant service.

 

Thanks for sharing it Allan.

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AustinO

Allan - do you have a copy of Nelson's book?  If not, I have one I have no use for.  Happy to hand off at SOS if you don't have it. 

 

Fantastic medal grouping you've got there! 

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Kurt Barickman

Very nice DSC group Allan,

 

Kurt

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usmedalman

Great group. Cantigny is an often overlooked battle that proved American troops had the grit needed to be successful in combat. My grandfather was with Co. C., 18th Inf. at Cantigny.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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Allan H.

Thanks everyone for your great comments. Thanks to Austin O as well- PM Sent! The 1st Division has always had a soft spot for me as they are located at Ft Riley, a mere hour down the road. I did ROTC Advanced Camp there and was commissioned there as well. I mobilized for Desert Shield out of FT Riley and worked as a DA Contractor there for five years. Lot's of memories.

 

W. Ross Gahring should have received a Purple Heart and a Silver Star medal, but would have had to apply for the awards when they came out. I don't know if he did apply for them. I purchased the DSC from a dealer who specializes in WWI and WWII German militaria and only after buying the DSC was I told that I might be interested in some other medals that came with it? Well, duh! Yes, I needed them too.

 

Allan

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Outstanding! And who cares if “not the largest of medal groupings”?  I’ll take quality like that over quantity anytime!

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Brian Dentino

Beautiful and historically significant group Allan.  Well done on the research and write up here.  Thanks for sharing the good Lt. story and sacrifice here for us to see.

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Allan this group is visually stunning and a story of heroism that is humbling.  I’ve always wondered why the 1st lost the 28th during the conversion from the square to triangle division given its history with Cantigny.  Thanks again for sharing this with us.
 

Kyle

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tdogchristy90
On 7/12/2021 at 5:35 PM, KurtA said:

Outstanding! And who cares if “not the largest of medal groupings”?  I’ll take quality like that over quantity anytime!


+1 on what Kurt said. 

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Brian R

This is such a great group and I just love that he was cited twice and the VM includes the star. 

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manayunkman

Congratulations on your acquisition.

 

Love the miniature DSC.

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