From the Susquehanna to the Rhine: The Military Career of Daniel Strickler in Two World Wars

“Hold at all costs.” It’s an order no commander wants to give. It is certainly unwelcome — and perhaps even terrifying — to the subordinate who receives it. The phrase was used on the morning of December 16, 1944, at the headquarters for the 28th Infantry Division in Wiltz, Luxembourg. Maj. Gen. Norman Cota (1893–1971), the commander of the 28th, issued the order during the initial phase of the...
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Soldiers to Governors: World War II

More than 1 million Pennsylvanians served in the Armed Forces during World War II. Five of these servicemembers would later be elected as Pennsylvania’s governor. Carrying on the great American tradition of citizen-soldiers, these civilians or members of the National Guard left their homes and families to volunteer to fight for their country during a crucial period in history. The Pennsylvania...
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Editor’s Letter

This edition of Pennsylvania Heritage was produced mostly through teleworking, as all of us in the Keystone State — and the world — have been in the midst of what already has become one of the most momentous episodes in contemporary history. In the devasting weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, every realm of human existence has been profoundly affected. As we continue through the crisis, history has...
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William Curtis Truxal’s Footlocker

William Curtis Truxal (1882–1960) was a 34-year-old attorney residing in Somerset when the Pennsylvania National Guard unit he commanded, Company C of the 10th Infantry Regiment, was mustered into federal service for World War I on July 15, 1917. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, he had first enlisted in the guard as a private in February 1914, and by October of that...
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Trails to the 28th Infantry Division National Shrine

The year 2018 marks the centennial of the last year of World War I and the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of November 11, 1918, that ended the war’s active combat. (The Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended the war between Germany and the Allies, was signed in June of the following year.) Memorializing those lost in the war was an important step in putting the Great War in the past....
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The Sacrifices of Company C: Somerset County’s Valiant Soldiers in the Great War

In spring 2004 a resident of Somerset in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, chanced upon an aged postcard that had fallen behind a dresser many years before. Dated November 7, 1918, the postcard had been sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, and was addressed to “the Family of Herbert Foust,” a soldier of Company C, 110th Infantry Regiment, a Pennsylvania...
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Editor’s Letter

Forty some years ago, when I was in elementary school, I took a field trip with my science class to The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg to see the dioramas of Pennsylvania’s wildlife in Mammal Hall. Walking around the dark, circular gallery, I peered through windows into the fascinating, realistic habitats of 13 mammals, from the common to the locally extinct, and was transported to...
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Pennsylvanians at Meuse-Argonne: The 28th, 79th and 80th Divisions in the Last Major Offensive of the Great War

Pennsylvanians served with honor and distinction in World War I, with more than 297,000 men from the Keystone State engaged in the conflict as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), established in July 1917 to join the Allied Powers (France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy) in the fight against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and Bulgaria). The majority of...
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Editor’s Letter

The cover of this edition of Pennsylvania Heritage is graced with the famous 1822 painting titled The Artist in His Museum, in which Charles Willson Peale portrayed himself at age 81 in the museum he established in Philadelphia, located at the time in the Long Gallery on the second floor of the Pennsylvania State House (now called Independence Hall). In the painting, Peale lifts a curtain,...
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Keystone Men of Iron: The 28th Infantry Division in the Great War

In 1917, when America entered World War I, the 28th Infantry Division was the nation’s oldest National Guard unit. Organized by Pennsylvania in 1878, the division was made up of units that had already earned battle streamers for contributions in conflicts from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Arriving in France in late Spring 1918, the 28th immediately began developing a reputation for...
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