A WWI Soldier and His Camera
A story of an American soldier in World War I, who at the rank of Private in 1918, helped to bring the Great War to an end. Emil F. Rezek enlisted in the Navy, became completely bored and wanted out. He took off his sailor's uniform, put on his civies and enlisted in the Army. After being sent to St. Nazaire, France, as part of the 19th Engineers, he found his mark as an army railroad fireman. However, the Navy MP's caught up with him and was ready to charge him with desertion. However, since his commanding officer highly regarded him, he was assigned to the Navy to transport the newly constructed 14 Inch/ 50 Caliber Railroad Gun to the front. In constant danger, five guns were sent to the front lines to shell the German communications and assembly areas. This operation from September to November 1918 was a major factor in bringing the four-year war to an end with the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918. The story shows that a soldier in the lowest grade, determined to provide his all, can make a difference. Pvt. Emil Rezek was an avid photographer with his Kodak vest pocket camera, which along with his diary and photo comments thoroughly enriches the story. Pvt. Rezek survived the war without any serious injury and returned to the USA working 45 years as an engineer on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad.