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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A head‑and-shoulders photograph of a young man in the high-collared dress uniform of a West Point cadet. He has a frank and slightly amused look. He is Emory Jenison Pike, a West Point graduate and United States Army officer whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Emory Jenison Pike

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Fifty-second Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 11th, 1921.

 p49  Emory Jenison Pike
No. 4066 Class of 1901
Died of wounds near Vandieres, France,
September 16, 1918, aged 41 years.

Emory Jenison Pike was born in Iowa, December 17, 1876, and appointed from that state to the Military Academy in 1897, graduating with his class in February, 1901.

His first service was in the 2d Cavalry, which he joined at Matanzas, Cuba, returning with it to the United States in December, 1901. After two years at Fort Myer, he sailed with his regiment via Suez for a tour of Philippine service. His next station was Fort Assinniboine, Montana. Promotion to First Lieutenant took him back to Cuba and to the 15th Cavalry, in February, 1907. From March, 1908, until September, 1915, he was on duty with his regiment at Fort Ethan Allen and at Fort Leavenworth, except for two very creditable years as a student at the Army School of the line which he completed as a "Distinguished Service Graduate" in 1914, and at the Army Staff College from which he graduated the following year. It is worthy of note that these two years comprise practically all of his detached service.

 p50  Promotion to Captaincy took him to the 8th Cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas, 1915, where he remained until August, 1917, when he was ordered to Fort Leavenworth as an instructor in the School of the Line. Before entering on his new duty, he was promoted to Major, National Army, and joined the newly organized 82nd Division at Camp Gordon, Georgia.

After many months of hard preparation in which he fully shared his part of the burden, he embarked with his division in April, 1918. Landing in England, it was immediately sent to France and assigned with a skeleton British division for a month's preliminary training, followed by two months' front line training in the Toul sector. In August the Division was moved over to the Marbache sector, and September 12, the first day of the St. Mihiel drive, found it astride the Moselle forming the right or pivot of the attacking line of the 1st Army.

On September 15, Pike went forward to the front line to reconnoiter machine gun positions on newly occupied ground. The following citation explains what followed:

"Emory J. Pike, Lieutenant-Colonel, division machine‑gun officer, 82nd Division. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Vandieres, France, September 15, 1918. Having gone forward to reconnoiter new machine‑gun positions, Colonel Pike offered his assistance in reorganizing advance infantry units, which had become disorganized during a heavy artillery shelling. He succeeded in locating only about 20 men, but with these he advanced and, when later joined by several Infantry platoons, rendered inestimable service in establishing outposts, encouraging all by his cheeriness, in spite of the extreme danger of the situation. When a shell had wounded one of the men in the outpost, Colonel Pike immediately went to his aid, and was severely wounded himself when another shell burst in the same place. While waiting to be brought to the rear, Colonel Pike continued in command, still retaining his jovial manner of encouragement, directing the reorganization until the position could be held. The entire operation was carried on under terrific bombardment, and the example of courage and devotion to duty, as set by Colonel Pike, established the highest standard of morale and confidence to all under his charge. The wounds he received were the cause of his death. Emergency address: Miss Martha Agnes Pike, daughter, 1806 Tenth Street, Des Moines, Iowa. Residence at appointment: 1806 Tenth Street, Des Moines, Iowa."

He died the next morning.

Genial, sympathetic, tolerant, improvident, he was a philosopher, accepting what fell to his lot with an even temperament, always cheerful and unruffled. The real man in him was wrought out most clearly when put to the supreme test in battle. The estimate placed on him by his superiors is measured by the reward — the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Pike had the qualities that make a good soldier and he was one.

F. P. L.​a

Thayer's Note:

a The writer is very probably Col. Pike's classmate, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Frank P. Lahm.

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Page updated: 16 Feb 17