On This Day, 2-OCT 1918, We Honor a Fallen Hero

Gilbert C. Jeck was born 25-MAR 1901.  Gilbert was the son of Robert Jeck (1868-1949) and Lydia M. Wille Jeck (1867-1940).  Gilbert had four brothers; Willis, Harold, Robert, Larrad and three sisters; Wilma, Marguerite and Ada.  They lived at 324 Houston Street in St. Charles MO.  

At the time of Gilbert’s enlistment in May 1917, he was a student at St. Charles High School.  Gilbert went overseas to France on the troop ship Missanabie on 3-MAY 1918.  Gilbert was appointed Battalion Runner in the Army 35th Division, 138th Infantry Regiment in I Company. His brother Willis served in the Navy.  The 138 Infantry was part of the Missouri National Guard.  

Gilbert was in the same regiment with other St. Charles men killed in action; Ed Kohl and Charles McGowan.  Captain Harry S. Truman was also in the 35th Division.  

The 138th Infantry Regiment first took over operations in the Vosges Mountains in southern France and drew first blood for the 35th Infantry Division during a trench raid at Hilsenfirst. The regiment later took part in the Battle of St. Mihiel. In the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne, the regiment led the division on the first day of the attack on 26 SEP 1918. During this engagement, fighting through fog, enfilade fire from their left flank, and under constant artillery barrages, the regiment toiled through an exposed sector, German machine gun nests, and sniper fire to complete its objective on Vauquois Hill. The regiment fought alongside Colonel George S. Patton’s tank brigade to capture the villages of Cheppy and Exermont. 

The Meuse–Argonne offensive was a major part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front. It was fought from September 26, 1918, until the Armistice of November 11, 1918, a total of 47 days. The Meuse–Argonne offensive was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. It is the second deadliest battle in American history, resulting in over 350,000 casualties including 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives. U.S. losses were worsened by the inexperience of many of the troops, the tactics used during the early phases of the operation and the widespread onset of the global influenza outbreak called the “Spanish flu”. 

Gilbert was reported missing 2-OCT-1918 in the early stages of the Meuse-Argonne offensive and ultimately declared dead on the same day.  Gilbert Jeck was 18 years old.  Gilbert C Jeck is buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location. 

Gilbert C. Jeck is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.  

Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at sccvetsmuseum@gmail.com or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.