"It was a sad day for us when we left a friend such as Samuel Austin … to rest on
foreign soil. I am sure that I express the sentiment of this Company when I say
that he was an excellent soldier, a perfect gentleman and a true friend. Please
accept this expression of sympathy as a solace in your sorrow."
October 6, 1917 Samuel F. Austin enlisted in the Army in Spokane, Washington. Five
days later he arrived at Camp Lewis (in what is today Fort Lewis). Austin was assigned
to the 15th Battalion of the 166th Depot Brigade. He was later transferred to Company
C, 347th Machine Gun Battalion where he remained until his death in 1919.
June 22, 1918, Company C left Camp Lewis, leaving the United States for foreign
soil on July 6, 1918.
Private First Class Austin fought in the Meuse-Argonne offensive from September
of 1918 when he was wounded by shrapnel. Injured, Austin refused to retreat to the
rear or to leave the company long enough to be dressed by a surgeon. He returned
to the front lines of battle. A month later, a bullet from a German airplane wounded
Austin again. This time his injuries forced him off the battlefield. Austin returned
to his Company in December, while it prepared for the return home.
In February of 1919, Private Austin became ill and was taken to a loft to lie down,
while still overseas. About a half hour later Austin tried to stand up and fell
to his death. Private Austin was taken to a nearby hospital and died before an operation
The entire C Company came to his gravesite. Eight of his comrades fired over his
grave while another blew taps. Private First Class Samuel F. Austin’s grave is the
sixth American grave in the CETON cemetery in France.