Comments: The following information was taken from the website referenced below
During WWI, Robert served in France and Germany as a machinist in Company C, 1st Battalion of the 1st Engineers. As part of the First Division, the vanguard of the developing American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.), the 1st Engineers, including Robert, embarked from Hobokken, New Jersey, on 7 August 1917, arriving at St. Nazaire, France, on 20 August 1917, but not before surviving a German U-Boat attack that same day near Belle Isle that was repulsed by the U.S. Navy's destroyer escorts.
Robert was wounded on 18 July 1918 during the first day of the Allied counterattack at Soissons. After recovering, he returned to service in the Meuse-Argonne in October and was serving there when the war ended on 11 November 1918.
Robert served as part of the Army of Occupation in postwar Germany, with the First Division crossing the Moselle River into Germany on 1 December 1918 and arriving at Coblenz on 12 December 1918. During the occupation, which lasted until 15 August 1919, the 1st Engineers worked to construct shelters, build pontoon bridges, and repair roads. Robert was discharged as a Private First Class at Camp Devens, Massachusetts, on 27 September 1919. His decorations and awards are listed in his service record as WWI Victory Medal with Defensive Sector Battle Clasp, Mondidier-Noyon Battle Clasp, Aisne-Marne Battle Clasp, Meuse-Argonne Battle Clasp, WWI Victory Button (Silver), and a Purple Heart.
More details of Roberts service can be found at the following website Robert O'Connell WWI archive at Catholic University of America. This site will eventually link to a display of his WWI letters.
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