Warren A. McKeon
Private U.S. Army
26th Infantry Regiment,
Entered the Service from: California
Died: July 18, 1918
Buried at: Plot B Row 37 Grave 23
Oise-Aisne American Cemetery
Warren Alexander McKeon, popularly called “Jim Dick”, served in the 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division in World War 1. C.B. Galpin of Newcastle received a message from Washington telling of the fact that McKeon was among those wounded in France when several other Placer youths were killed, injured, or captured. McKeon was a volunteer. He made several attempts to get into the service before he succeeded, having been turned down on account of physical deficiencies. The young man was reared at Yankee Jims, having arrived there when but a boy. He had no relatives and on leaving for war service, he made Mr. Galpin his “nearest of kin”. Up to the time he was wounded, he had sent and received letters from Mr. Galpin, but since that time, nothing has come and no word has been received concerning him.
After returning to the same location for another tour of duty, a habit which the “Blue Spaders” would keep for an entire century, the regiment was selected as one of only four Regular Army infantry regiments deemed fit for immediate combat to form the first American Expeditionary Division in June 1917. This expedition division would later be renamed the 1st Division and thus began the Regiment’s long association with the “Big Red One”.
As part of the first American soldiers to arrive in France, the First Division, 26th Infantry Regiment immediately left for the front. Along with its sister regiments of the division, it earned more campaign streamers than any other regiments during World War 1, but at a terrible cost. Over 900 “Blue Spaders” lost their lives in a six-month period. But the battle was won and this turned the tide for the Allies at a crucial period during the summer of 1918. By war’s end the soldiers earned seven battle streamers and two foreign awards. During this conflict, the Regimets names “Blue Spaders” came into usage. The Regimental shield consisting of a Mohawk arrowhead signifies regimental spirit of courage, resourceful daring and relentless pursuit of the enemy. Following a brief occupation duty in Germany, the regiment returned to the United States and served as a part of a smaller peacetime Army.
The American Expeditionary Forces Memorial located on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. commemorates the two million American Military personnel who made up the AEF of WWI. General Pershing’s tribute inscription reads:
“In their devotion, their valor, and in the loyal fulfillment of their obligations, the officers and men of the American Expeditionary Forces have left a heritage of whom those who follow may ever be proud.”