|Capt. Edmund Czaskos from the Milwaukee Journal, May 22, 1919|
Edmund was raised in Milwaukee. He attended the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Elementary School and South Division High School. On June 21, 1916, at the age of 20, Edmund enlisted in the Fifth Wisconsin National Guard Regiment. At the time, the United States was still trying to retain its neutrality in the Great European Conflict. A more pressing need was on the southern border with Mexico. In March of that year, the Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa, had attacked Columbus, New Mexico in a raid for war supplies. In response, President Woodrow Wilson had dispatched, General "Black Jack" Pershing and 5,000 troops to Mexico on the Mexican Expedition to get Villa, dead or alive. Edmund, along with the rest of the Fifth Wisconsin, was sent to the border in support of that Expedition. The Expedition never succeeded in its primary mission, and General Pershing and the rest of the troops were redeployed once the U.S. entered the war against Germany in April, 1917, but in the meantime, Edmund had used his time well and had been promoted to sergeant.
Edmund returned to Wisconsin where he helped recruit a "Polish Battalion" for the service. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant, and with the rest of the Fifth Wisconsin National Guard, was sent to Waco, Texas where they trained and reorganized into the 128th Infantry Regiment of the 32nd Infantry Division. During that time, Edmund was promoted again, to First Lieutenant in Company D.
Having completed its training and reorganization, the 128th was shipped to France by March, 1918 where it was thrown into the thick of the fighting. In a short period of time, it fought in the campaigns of Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne and Meuse-Argonne. The tenacity of its fighting was so marked that the French called the 128th Regiment "Les Terribles." The 32nd Division was the first to penetrate the German Hindenberg Line and ever since its shoulder patch has born the distinctive red arrow piercing a line as a recognition of that accomplishment.
Edmund Czaskos, and the rest of Company D, were in the thick of the combat. The ferociousness of the fighting is no better illustrated than by the fact that only eight men of Company D returned to Milwaukee with Edmund Czaskos. Two were still in France, but the rest were either in hospitals recovering from their wounds or were buried oversees.
At least part of the honors awarded to the 128th can be attributed to Edmund Czaskos. On August 1, 1918, Edmund was involved in an assault of the Germans near Cierges in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry. Showing extreme valor, he managed to capture two machine guns and four Germans manning them. For his actions, he was awarded Croix de guerre by the French government and a Citation Star by the U.S. He was also promoted to Captain and put in command of Company D. Like most of the men in his unit, Edmund did not make it through the war unscathed. On August 31, 1918 when Company D was thrown into action against the strong German defenses on the Juvigny plateau, Edmund took seven shrapnel pieces and multiple bullet wounds to his left arm and side. In his own words, Captain Czaskos describes the circumstances in which he received those wounds and the death of one of his Company mates:
"After the Chateau Thierry drive, where Leslie [Chapman] distinguished himself very much, we were sent to the Soissons front. On the second day of our attack, which was August 31, we were ordered over the top at 4 p.m. We had pierced the enemy lines for about a kilometer and after a severe fight took the town of Juvigny from the enemy.
"Going past the town, we came to a sunken road, and Leslie helped me to get over. We had advanced about twenty feet when the Germans opened up a heavy machine gun fire. I received nine bullets through my shoulder and side. Leslie was hit about the same time, but was shot through the heart and died instantly. I called to him but he did not answer, and crawling over to him I found he was dead. I do not remember more, for when I next came to I was in the hospital and I am sure that Leslie is buried where he fell."
The injuries that Edmund received in Juvigny kept him out of action for the next two months. Although he returned to Company D in time to take part in the fighting of the Argonne Forest in November, 1918, he was still receiving treatment for his wounds after the War.
Returning to Milwaukee, Edmund became active in politics and community organizations. He eventually rose to become the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds in 1935-36. However, his main occupation was as the owner and operator of Edmund's Shade Shop at 1407 W. Mitchell Street. His mother and his brother Joseph were also involved in that operation.
Edmund married Eleanore (Peggy) Rogalska, the sister of George F. Rogalska, who was a private in the HQ Company of the 128th Infantry. He was killed in action on August 2, 1918. Edmund and Peggy do not appear to have had any children. Edmund died in Palmetto, Florida in 1966. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery along with other Rogalska family members.
Relation to Nearest Featured Profile (Hattie Baranowski, Featured Profile #12): brother of sister-in-law.Path From Nearest Featured Profile: Hattie Baranowski > brother, Dr. Stanley Baranowski, (Person of Note described in Hattie Barnanowski's profile), > wife, Eleanore (Czaskos) Baranowski > brother, Edmund Czaskos.
Also, Alice (Polewczynksi) Czaskos, sister-in-law of Edmund, is the sister-in-law of Winifred (Domachowski) Polewczynski, daughter of Joseph Domachowski, Featured Profile #5.
Sources (page references on newspapers on Google New are to the page on Google News):
"Bowman Quits Register Post," Milwaukee Journal, November 11, 1935, p. 1
"Bowman Shows Czaskos the Job," Milwaukee Journal, November 22, 1935, p. 21
"Chapman Only Auburn Boy in Thirty-Second Division," Auburn (NY) Citizen, November 11, 1919, p. 13
"Edmund T. Czaskos," Milwaukee Journal, April 15, 1966, pg. 16
Edmund T. Czaskos entry at Military Times Hall of Valor
"Takes Foe Guns; Wins High Honor," Milwaukee Sentinel, May 22, 1919, pg. 3.
Thirty-second Division (National Guard) on www.newrivernotes.com