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Lieutenant Mark Ethell
McLean County, Illinois

[McLean County, Illinois, in the World War, 1917-1918; by Edward E. Pierson & Jacob Louis Hasbrouck c 1921]
(Transcribed by: Teri Moncelle Colglazier)

Before the war, Mark Ethell was a contractor in the city of Bloomington and was pursuing the ordinary career of a builder of houses in the county seat. When the war ended, he was Lieut. Mark Ethell of the Second U. S. Engineers, and had made a record with his command in the fighting which was done by the famous Second Division, of which the Second Engineers was a part.

Lieut. Ethell volunteered early in 1917, and offered his services on the formation of the regiment of engineers which afterward became the Second Engineers. After a short period of training at Fort Leavenworth and Camp American University, the regiment was sent to France, November 12, 1917, where they participated in many of the most trying situations.

At his own request, he was transferred to the 2d Engineers, 2d Division, a combat command, engaged actively at the front. He was promoted to Regimental Engineer and served in that capacity until the regiment arrived at the Rhine. He participated in four major offensives and many minor engagements, escaping injury except a few light shrapnel wounds, until October 29, 1918, and then, while making preparations for the final drive on November 1, he received very serious injury from gas, but remained at his post.

His record is best recorded in the words of his commanding officers, Col. W. A. Mitchell and Maj Hinckley, the latter stating: "It has been my good fortune to have Lt. Ethell in my organization and, for co-operation, pep, speed, resourcefulness, hard work day or night and ability to get results, he is one among ten thousand. Further, his ability to command and inspire troops is invaluable. The army forever needs pioneers men who can get results with what is at hand, and Lt. Ethell ranks as a pioneer of the first class. He should now be a captain to say the least."

Col. Mitchell says the following: "Lieut. Ethell has been under my command both in the 20th and the 2nd Engineers. He has always been loyal, energetic and especially agreeable in every way. His great activity and pleasant personality overcome any deficiency he may have had. He was on my list to go home for promotion but the war ended before he could be ordered. He was gassed in the Argonne but foolishly and bravely did not report it, as he thought he should continue his work. As a result, he has been considerably injured, to my very great sorrow."

Because of his injury, he was invalided home ahead of his division after having spent two months on the Rhine with the Army of Occupation. He was discharged March 24, 1919, at Camp Grant.

Lieut. Ethell brought home with him from Europe one of the most remarkable collections of battle field trophies and pictures of the scenes near the front that was in possession of any man who went to the war from McLean county.


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