257 – Homeward Bound

A telegram arrived April 22 from Headquarters Advance Section, ordering the regiment to move to Le Mans.

And suddenly the telegrams changed the destination of the regiment to Brest.

Victory – History of the 805th Pioneer Infantry

On Friday, June 2, 1919, orders came to move immediately to Brest. Everyone knew what that meant. Brest was one of the main departure ports for troops departing France.

Friday the thirteenth is not a bad date. At any rate, June wore along, and on the 13th, which was Friday, the longed-for orders arrived. The transport Zeppelin was designated as the ship aboard which the Bearcats would journey homeward. Zeppelin was a German passenger ship given to the Allies in March 1919 as part of war reparations, and re-christened USS Zeppelin. It began duty transporting American troops home.

There were the usual complicated details to be arranged, but on June 16 Companies A and B and Headquarters Company marched aboard, to be followed on Tuesday, June 17, by the remainder of the regiment.

It was a sunny France as the Zeppelin eased away and slipped out into the Goulet de Brest. The band played as it left. the ship steamed past the George Washington, the President’s ship, and was soon out to sea.

Victory – History of the 805th Pioneer Infantry

Arrival in New York harbor was exciting. On that date, June 27, 1919, the regiment completed its foreign service. At Camp Upton, pay vouchers and travel orders were prepared. Groups of soldiers were destined to camps closest to their homes. Fifteen officers and 448 men would travel to Camp Funston.

Video – Arrival in New York – 45 seconds
The Junction City Daily Union – June 28, 1919

A great regiment, undoubtedly the greatest colored regiment in the history of America, heard taps for the last time, and on Tuesday morning, July 1, it scattered to the four winds. Colonel Humphrey bade good-by to each train as it pulled away.

Victory – History of the 805th Pioneer Infantry


From Camp Upton, many of the 805th entrained for Camp Funston.

The Junction City Union – July 5, 1919

War was over. Tom Gallagher was home. Now Tom would transition back into civilian life. His job at Coles’s was waiting. His friends were waiting. He was happy to be home.


On July 22, 1919, Tom Gallagher received his discharge from United States military service.


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