Kansas State Historical Society Exhibit

When I visited Topeka, Kansas for a family reunion in May of 2002 I was pleased to find that the small exhibit a cousin had told me about was still in the State Historical Museum. It shows my grandfather's photograph with a quote I was unfamiliar with and the Congressional Medal he was awarded.

See below for text

I also have a photograph of my grandfather being given the medal in Salina, Kansas following the war. My grandfather was notified that he had been awarded the medal and was content to have them mail it to him. The local civilian and military officials weren't about to permit this. They organized a big to do. Pathe film studios showed up and filmed the event to show at picture houses before the movies.

Note the bullet holes on either side of his helmet. Grandpa had the helmet hanging on the entry way between his garage and his house when I was growing up. My cousin John used to take it down and play with it. He's the one who alerted me to the exhibit.

This is a picture of my Grandfather with his father, Thomas, and his mother, Charlotte, standing at his side in the band shell during the award ceremony.

Text in the display

"This medal of honor was awarded to George S. Robb of Salina. One other Kansan. Erwin R. Bleckley of Wichita, was posthumously awarded this high honor.

'The day I was hit in the side they were sure coming around thick, one hit my gat (pistol) and put it out of commission, another went thro the top of my helmet, another went thro the bottom of my trench canteen and another went thro one of my side pockets.'
    Lt George Robb, American Military Red Cross Hospital, No. 1 France, October 25, 1918

This helmet was worn by Lieutenant George Robb of the 369th Infantry. Late in September 1918, Robb was wounded four times. He displayed such heroism during this action that he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor."

One note-

My Grandfather had been a teetotaler. HIs family never drank liquor and he had never touched alcohol. However, because the 369th Infantry was assigned to the French Army and was given French arms and equipment he got his first taste of liquor. The French Army routinely gave their soldiers port wine for their canteens as part of their rations. 

When my grandfather was shot in the side he felt a searing pain. It was the wine soaking into his wound. It was probably a great disinfectant.