David Gilbert Wisted

"David Gilbert Wisted" by Bernard James Chisholm

When the thunder of cannon ceased along the battle front on that historic day of November 11, 1918, and peace came again to the war spent world, more than 80,000 members of the American Expeditionary Forces had valorously given their lives to the cause.

Today over 30,000 of them sleep in beautiful and peaceful cemeteries in the areas where they were engaged and stately monuments mark the chief theaters of American activities. In the valley six miles northwest of Chateau Thierry at the sloping foot of Belleau Wood, the Aisne-Marne Cemetery is the hallowed resting ground for 2,269 American boys.

Over the ridge a short distance lie 14,000 German soldiers. In this cemetery with Belleau Wood for a background, marble crosses and stars form curving rows around the base of the hill, while from the center of the hillside rises the chapel of French Romanesque design standing watch over this sweeping panorama.

In the forefront of many long rows of crosses and stars the inscription on one reads: DAVID GILBERT WISTED Pvt. 6 Regt. U.S.M.C. 2 Div. Minnesota June 3, 1918.

David Gilbert Wisted, the first Duluth man killed in the World War and after whom American Legion Post 28 of Duluth was named, was a member of the Sixth Marines in the famous Chateau Thierry drive shortly after the United States entered the conflict.

David was born in Duluth on the 13 day of September 1893 of Norwegian parents. His father and mother, Iver and Davida Wisted, were both born in Norway. Prior to his entry in the service he lived at 1201 East 4 Street and was a clerk for the U. S. Food Administration Department.

A reprint of a photo taken in 1913 in the 1938 issue of the Duluth News Tribune shows David was a member of the handball team which represented the Duluth Y.M.C.A. in the state and national handball tournament in St.Paul.

A copy of his Military Service Record as compiled by the Minnesota War Records Commission, State of Minnesota, St. Louis County, shows David Wisted enlisted in the Marine Corps at Duluth, Minnesota on December 15, 1917 as a Private, Serial No. 304728.

He trained at Parris Island and Quantico and upon completion on February 24, 1918 was assigned to the 138th Company Replacement Battalion. David embarked from Philadelphia March 12, 1918 and arrived at the port of Brest, France April 1, 1918.

On April 26 he was transferred to the 6th Marine Regiment, then part of the 2nd Division, and assigned to the 82nd Company. Early in 1918, while the American Army was being built up in the section East of Paris, the Germans commenced their series of major offensives.

Available American troops were immediately turned over to the Allied Commander in Chief to use as he saw fit. To help stop the enemy drive of May 27, which started north of the Aisne River, American divisions were hurried into the line in the vicinity of Chateau Thierry, directly across the German line of advance toward Paris.

Of the American divisions taking part in this great counter offensive, was the 2nd. David first went into action on about May 30th participating in the battles of Chateau Thierry and Belleau Wood which raged in this vicinity. On the morning of June 3, 1918 while advancing with his company at Belleau Wood, David Wisted was killed in action by high explosive. Blood red poppies bloom around these hallowed battle grounds in great profusion which brings to mind vividly (Col.) John McCrae’s never dying verses.

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