Private First Class Douglas Penland was born on May 1, 1894 in Hot Springs, North Carolina. He was the son of Pink and Nannie Penland. He had two sisters, Marie Penland and Blanche Penland. Private First Class Penland grew up in Hot Springs, but moved to Unicoi County sometime between 1910 and 1917. He lived in Embreeville, Tennessee where he worked as a miner for Embree Iron Company. He enlisted in the military on August 16, 1917. He was sent overseas on May 2, 1918 and served in the 11th Infantry Regiment, 5th Division. He was killed in action on October 16, 1918 and is buried in Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France (Plot G,31,10).

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