Mess Sergeant Bernie Daniels, Service Number 733602
Bernie was born in Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee on 18 September 1890, but grew up in Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee. He and his family called Jonesborough home. Bernie enlisted in the United States Army on 28 April 1908 at Columbus Barracks, Columbus, Ohio at the age of 17. He did fib a little, said he was born in 1888 and was 19.
Bernie was assigned to Company B, 9th Infantry Regiment (Manchu), a nickname they picked up while fighting in China and deployed with them to the Philippines on 2 May 1910 during the Moro Rebellion. He reenlisted at Warwick Barracks, Cebo, Philippines on 1 May 1911. Bernie was then promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Company G, 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). For his service and actions during the night attacks on his camp at Liet Lake, Jolo, Philippines on 24, 25 and 26 November 1911, he was awarded the Philippine Campaign Badge #19683. Bernie returned to the states and was discharged at Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, New York on 30 April 1914.
After the Great War, World War I began for us on 6 April 1917 when we as a nation declared war on Germany, Bernie again enlisted in the United States Army. This time at Chickamauga Park, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia on 30 May 1917 as a Private. He was assigned to Company K, 6th Infantry Regiment (Regulars) at Fort Bliss, Texas. Bernie moved up the ranks very quickly due to his prior service, Corporal on 3 July 1917 and Sergeant a month later on 1 August. The 6th was reassigned to the 5th Division on 18 November 1917 at Camp Logan, Houston, Texas. On 11 December, Bernie and the 6th were officially added to the rolls of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 5th Division. Bernie then received another promotion, this time to Mess Sergeant on 17 December.
The 5th Division remained scattered throughout the eastern and southern United States and trained on their own. Bernie and the 6th deployed to France on 9 April 1918 and arrived the port city of Bar-sur-Aube soon after. All the infantry units had arrived by 1 May and the rest of the division in June making it the eighth American Division to arrive on French soil. Bernie and the division as a whole for the first time began an intensive training cycle under the supervision of French instructors. The division went into action on 14 June 1918 and that same day received their first casualty of this war.
Bernie fought in four unit campaigns: Anould Sector, St. Die Sector, St. Mihiel Offensive and the Argonne-Meuse Offensive. It was during St. Mihiel that the division ended up with the nickname they carry even today. For their actions the Germans started calling them “Der Rote Teufel” which means The Red Devils. Bernie now a Red Devil is credited for fighting in four engagements as well: Frappelle, St. Mihiel, Argonne and Moline. On 14 October 1918 during the Argonne-Meuse Offensive near Bois Des Rappes, France, Bernie was hit by German machine gun fire in the Argonne Forest and killed. He was 28 years old and now rests in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Plot F, Row 21, Grave 40 in Romagne, France.
Bernie was the first son of John Henry Daniels and Mary “Mollie” Elizabeth Brooks. His three brothers also served in the United States Army, William in the Philippines prior to WWI, Ira was with Bernie in Company K during WWI and Sherman right after WWI in 1919. Sherman also served during World War II.
–Submitted by Allen D. Jackson, USAF (Ret)