Attrition: End of the Line for World War I Soldiers

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March 16, 2007: The last American combat veteran of World War I recently passed away, on February 22nd. Howard V. Ramsey was 109 years old and lived in Oregon. He was corporal, and arrived in France two months before the war ended in 1918. Ramsey drove trucks and cars, which brought him under enemy artillery fire as he delivered supplies to the front lines, or drove an ambulance up to retrieve wounded troops. After the war ended on November 11, 1918, Ramsey spent seven months recovering the bodies of dead American soldiers. Ramsey was born in Colorado, and volunteered for service, as he was too young for the draft. There are still seven American World War I veterans, but none of them went overseas.

Some 4.7 million Americans served during World War I, of whom 53,513 died in combat, 63,195 died from non-combat causes, and 204,002 were wounded. The U.S. did not enter World War I until April 6, 1917. World War I cost about $100 billion, most of which was incurred after the war (for care of veterans, and interest on war debt).

 


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