ShareThis Page
Westmoreland

World War I book follows exploits of Western Pa. soldiers in 313th Machine Gun Battalion

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, 12:30 p.m.

Andrew Capets already knows plenty about local history, having co-authored a book about Trafford’s past and served as an amateur historian for the Trafford Historical Society.

But he didn’t know as much as he wanted about the history of his own family.

“When I started to learn about my grandfather and his service in World War I, I began to come across firsthand accounts written by officers in his battalion,” said Capets, 51, of North Huntingdon.

Through the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, Capets tracked down the journal kept by Lt. Minard Hamilton, his grandfather’s commanding officer in the 313th Machine Gun Battalion, which drew men from the Erie County area and Western Pennsylvania at large.

“When he passed away, someone donated all of his letters and journals to the institute,” Capets said. “As I kept finding more and going through more, I spent several years gathering information and thought this would be a great opportunity to honor these men, some of whom didn’t come home.”

As the international community marks the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end in 1918, Capets has self-published “Good War, Great Men,” an exploration of the 313th Machine Gun Battalion’s wartime exploits.

The battalion participated in was the Meuse Argonne Offensive in the fall of 1918, a battle stretching the full length of the Western Front in which 1.2 million American soldiers fought.

“It was one of the bloodiest battles in American history,” Capets said.

More than 26,000 Americans and 28,000 Germans were killed during the battle.

Capets’ grandfather, whose name he shares, left the U.S. on April 5, 2018, at 22 years old. He boarded the U.S.S. Mercury and began the journey back home on May 21, 1919, and was honorably discharged in June of that year.

Capets said the journals helped him gain a much better understanding of what the men went through.

“I was able to sort of walk through the war with my grandfather,” he said.

He felt it was important to tell the mens’ stories.

“There’s no one surviving from the first World War, and a lot of times it gets overshadowed by World War II,” he said.

Capets will give a presentation on World War I and his book at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 5 at the Manchester Room in Trafford.

“I’ll talk about some of the local history from Westmoreland County and Pittsburgh, and then talk a little about the men from my book,” he said.

For more on the presentation, see TraffordLibrary.org .

“Good War, Great Men” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble .

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

Above, “Good War, Great Men,” Andrew Capets’ book about his grandfather’s battalion in World War I.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Above, “Good War, Great Men,” Andrew Capets’ book about his grandfather’s battalion in World War I.
Above, “Good War, Great Men,” Andrew Capets’ book about his grandfather’s battalion in World War I.
Above, “Good War, Great Men,” Andrew Capets’ book about his grandfather’s battalion in World War I.
Above, Capets’ grandfather Andrew with his wife, Mary Kuchta.
Above, Capets’ grandfather Andrew with his wife, Mary Kuchta.
Memorabilia from author Andrew Capet’s grandfathers time in WWI at his home in North Huntingdon Twp., on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Capets recently self published a book on his grandfathers time in the European theatre.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Memorabilia from author Andrew Capet’s grandfathers time in WWI at his home in North Huntingdon Twp., on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Capets recently self published a book on his grandfathers time in the European theatre.
Author Andrew Capets poses for a portrait at his home in North Huntingdon Twp., on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Capets recently self published a book on his grandfathers time in the European theatre.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Author Andrew Capets poses for a portrait at his home in North Huntingdon Twp., on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Capets recently self published a book on his grandfathers time in the European theatre.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me