MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History


On June 9, 1917, nine weeks after the United States declared war on Germany, 20-year-old Everard J. Bullis—the only boy of five siblings in a middle-class family in St. Paul, Minnesota—enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, waiting until that evening to spring the news on his parents and sisters. Soon he was in its newly established boot camp at Quantico, Virginia, preparing for what he called, in one letter home, the “Big Fight.” On April 9, 1918, his battalion had a final inspection and review by Brigadier General John A. Lejeune, Quantico’s commandant. “The blood was racing through my body and chills ran up and down my spine,” Bullis would write in his diary the following day. “I felt like a warhorse for fight.”

“The blood was racing through my body and chills ran up and down my spine.”

In the second volume of the diaries he faithfully kept during World War I, Bullis described in detail the 5th Marine Regiment’s experiences on the Western Front, including its desperate stand against repeated German assaults at Belleau Wood and actions at Soissons, St. Mihiel, and Blanc Mont Ridge.

Bullis died in 1964 at age 67, but years later David J. Bullis discovered his grandfather’s diaries and published Doing My Bit Over There: A U.S. Marine’s Memoir of the Western Front in World War I

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