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November 11, 2014 / Gregory Williams

Veterans Day: Carl Billings

Last year I retold the already retold story of Henry Lincoln Johnson. This year, I wish to tell a much more mundane and probably a far more common sort of story of an American Carl Billings WWIwar veteran, that of my great-grandfather. Actually it won’t even be me telling the story. He left it for us, as part of an old resume of his that my brothers and I found on trip to the Decatur County Historical Society in Greensburg, IN.

I post this in honor of my family’s veterans. Thanks boys.

What follows is a transposed excerpt from Carl Billings’ undated resume, c1940.

Page 2 War Experience

August, 1917 – Enlisted in U. S. Navy at Chayenne, Wyo. Required to wait until group of 50 could be gathered together. In December started teaching at Chugwater, Wyo.

Jan. 2, 1918 – Called to Chayenne. Passed physical examination and kept there at Normandy Hotel for three weeks, then sent to Denver with group of 50 Navy enlistees.

Jan. 25, 1918 – Rejected by U. S. Navy because of “green color blindness”. Returned to teaching at Chugwater.

June 25, 1918 – Inducted into U. S. Army at Chayenne.

June 28, 1918 – Mustered in at Camp Lewis, Wash.

July 11, 1918 – Transferred to Camp Kearney (now Camp Pendleton) Calif., near Mexican border. With Co. A, 160th Inf., 40th (Sunset) Div. Carl Billings Resume p2

July 28, 1918 – Arrived at Camp Mills, N. Y.  after several days’ ride through U. S. and Canada.

Aug. 7, 1918 – Left U. S. on British cattle ship Mentor.

Aug. 20, 1918 – Landed at Liverpool, England. Moved through Stratford-on-Avon & Birmingham to Southampton.

Aug. 28, 1918 – Across English Channel to Le Harve, France.

Sept. 4, 1918 – Arrived at front near Verdun. With Co. I, 112th Inf. , 28th (Keystone) Div.

Sept. 26-Oct. 8 – Battle of Argonne Forest. Relieved by 82nd (Tennessee) Div. Sgt. Alvin C. York in battalion that relieved us. Sgt. York performed his famous exploit on following day.

Oct. 9-Oct. 16 – Back for rest at Vignot, France.

Oct. 16 – Moved up to Thiscount Sector

Oct. 18 – Tagged for hospital. Dysentery

Oct. 18-Nov. 16 – Base Hospital at Toul, France.

Nov. 16-Dec. 11 – Casual camp at Nevers, France.

Dec. 15 – Back with Co. I, 112th., at Buxieres

Jan. 5, 1919 Marched back to Souvigny on Meuse River.

Carl Billings’ resume continues onto a third page and outlines his movements and activities throughout France where he taught at a “Battalion school for illiterates” and took up studies in Educational History, Administration, and Psychology at a university in Beaune, France before his discharge from the Army in the summer of 1919.

What is poignant to me from this record of his experience is the boring detail he includes. Surely employers would not have been compelled one way or the other about his dysentery. If I could meet the man today I might ask, hoping that he witnessed nothing on the front worthy of mention, over experiences more worthy of deliberate omission.

November 10, 2014 / Gregory Williams



October 27, 2014 / Gregory Williams

When the Train Passes Our House

The Train

October 19, 2014 / Gregory Williams

A Pleasantly Busy Autumn

Autumn has been enjoyably busy, and rewarding. I have hobbies because I have a hard time sitting still. The mind is always going and the only way to calm it seems to be to focus it on tasks unrelated to work or household management.

These days I’ve got a companion. She’s a busy one too, and like her father the Toddler can hardly stay still. Weekends are of course for family time, and so we’ve spent our Sunday mornings brewing beer while her mother has a chance to sleep in. The Toddler helps measure the ingredients, and add them to the pot. Her favorite part is cleaning up after, because she loves making a mess cleaning up another!

Then it’s really family time once Mom wakes up, which usually involves chasing the kid around with one camera or another while she continues to discover the world around her.

At night I’ll settle into the home office or workshop to focus on my solo hobbies like firearms, cameras, or simply viewing the photos of a day’s events.

Here’s a gallery of some of these moments. Posted mostly to Instagram, where if you’re interested you can follow at, or on Tumblr at

Thanks for visiting! Hope you are all well.

October 13, 2014 / Gregory Williams

Tiny Skeleton Warriors vs Knights

Gregory Williams:

Reblogging for October, and because this is one of my favorite sets ever.

Originally posted on Social Williams:

It was these Tiny Pirates and the Petri Extension Tube Set, and the baby that reminded me how much fun action figures can be. Especially if they are pirates and skeletons. And definitely if you pit them against knights that are of a slightly smaller scale.

These figurine designs are Copyright Toysmith Group; Auburn, WA and sold as parts of the sets “Battling Pirates” and “Guardian Knights”.

Photos taken on this Nikon with a 13mm generic extension tube.

View original

October 11, 2014 / Gregory Williams

A New Project

Aero Precision Lower

October 9, 2014 / Gregory Williams

Damn Fine Night in the Village

It’s a good thing that the weather is warm, the moon is bright, and our little street is quiet tonight. Not for any particular reason mind you, it’s just always a good thing when one’s environment is peaceful and pleasing to the eye. So many are not.

Of course the day did have it’s ups and downs. There was work, and if that wasn’t enough work required extra attention and diligence and the breaking of routines to deal with a sticky little highly visible problem. I’m a creature of habit and when my habits are interrupted something is wrong. Damn Fine Night

Then came the beer. The first batch brewed a week and one half ago was ready to be moved from the primary fermenter into the secondary. In short, five gallons reduced to four due to a clog in the spigot caused by an unstrained whole hop flower. So close to the bottom and with the integrity of the whole batch at stake, one can’t just stick a paper clip up there you know. On the bright side the toddler was helping me, and that was adorable for all the questions and because she was so excited to be helping.

“What’s this called Papa?”

“A secondary fermenter”

“Secary ermentor?”


“An this?”

“Primary fermenter.”

“Imary ermentor?”


“What’s this called?”

“A primary fermenter…”

And so on, from “iphon hose” to “ai lock”.

When we were finished transferring the wort, with the stinky mess that is a freshly emptied fermenter, I found the kitchen drain clogged. Flipping on the disposal just made a god damn fountain, and the toddler’s inquisitive nature had to be stifled for the use of liquid drain opener and a plunger. There are just some things a toddler shouldn’t be around to ask questions about, and one of them is anything that involves liquid bases and plungers.

And when I sat down to eat my Sloppy Joe, the teenager called. It’s that time for her to fill out paperwork for college, art school actually. I was impressed by her urgency, she was all business. “Thanks! I’m going to go work on this then.”

Any road, I’m writing this while enjoying a pint, listening to the soft babbling of a bubbling airlock that tells me four gallons ferment as well as five. Ups and downs aren’t really much considering my girls, and the lovely night outside. Even if I am still sort of working.


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