- 1935 HURRICANE HISTORY
- Narrative Report of the Florida National Guard
- By Jerry Wilkinson
- (The following report was obtained from the National Archives and excerpted exactly as copied. Font and spacing have been adjusted for web site use. Only one set of quotation marks is used. J. W.)
"First Battalion 124th Infantry
NATIONAL GUARD OF FLORIDA
P. O. BOX 68
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.
October 11th, 1935.
SUBJECT: Narrative Report of Tour of Duty (Florida Keys - Sept.2 - 11,1935)
TO: The Adjutant General, State of Florida, St. Augustine, Fla.
Immediately after the storm that struck the Florida Keys on September 1st, the undersigned Officer was ordered out on active duty to take command of the Florida National Guard troops who had been sent to the Keys in the aid of Civil authorities. The undersigned together with his adjutant, Lieut. Curtis D. Clements, arrived at Snake Creek at 8:30 A.M. Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, 1935.
Upon arrival it was found that Capt. Roger Carter was in command, having been ordered out with Battery "D" 265th CA Regiment. Under his command were Lieut. Marion V. Leonardy and Lieut. Edward G. Ballard together with a composite detachment from the Post of Miami consisting of 40 men. It was found that Headquarters and quarters for the men were established at Tavernier. The men were housed in the new theatre building and headquarters in a store owned by Roger Albury. The arrangements were satisfactory and permanent arrangements were made.
Accompanied by Capt. Carter and Lieut. Clements and 2 sergeants an inspection of the area was made. Islamorada was visited and due to the fact that there had been a number of homes located there and because of the large amount of property scattered around, it was decided that an out-post should be established there. Accordingly 1 Officer and twenty men were detailed to establish themselves at Islamorada starting Thursday morning to remain 24 hours and to be relieved by a similar detachment. Their duties were to guard property and allow no one to remove anything from the Island and to prevent looting and trespassing.
Upon our return to Tavernier we realized the necessity for more troops and upon being contacted the Adjutant General ordered out 44 more men and 3 Officers. The Officers were Capt. Victor H. Kuschel, Capt. John G. Macfarlan, and Lieut. August R. Lindsley. Upon their arrival, approximately Midnight Wednesday, Sept. 3, 1935, the total strength was 8 Officers and 84 men. Thursday morning Lieut. Lindsley and 22 men left for Islamorada to establish the out-post. It was decided to establish a provost guard of 22 men to handle passes into the area and otherwise maintain order on the main road. Capt. Kuschel was appointed Provost Marshall. Capt. Carter was appointed Executive Officer and Capt. Macfarlan was appointed Mess Officer.
A guard was established on the road in front of Headquarters and no one was allowed to enter the area without first obtaining a pass from Capt. Kuschel. His policy was to grant passes to those having business below Tavernier.
Thursday afternoon in company with Capts. Carter, Kuschel and Macfarlan and Lieut. Clements, a visit was made to Lower Matacumba, the site of Camp #3. There it was found that Major Wm. Y. Albury together with Capt. Leslie Russel and Lieuts. William C. Harris and William E.P. Roberts and Battery "E" 265th CA were actively engaged in Guard work having been ordered out by the Governor. An attempt was made to report to Sherriff [sic] Karl Thompson but he couldn't be located. We then returned to Tavernier.
On Friday morning the Kitchen was permanently arranged and the job of feeding not only the troops but the civilians was being handled by Capt. Macfarlan and two mess sergeants and two cooks. Sheriff Coleman of Dade County was a visitor and a conference was held. He gave the Guard the instructions he wanted carried out and everything was working harmoniously.
From Thursday night until the day we were relieved, our duty consisted in patrolling the area, preventing sightseers from over-running the Keys and preventing the removal of an chattel illegally. The out-post at Islamorada was maintained until Tuesday Sept. 10, 1935. A Lieut. and 20 men would proceed to Islamorada every morning and relieve the previous detachment who would return to Tavernier.
Firing squads were furnished for the ceremonies preceeding [sic] the cremation of the bodies that were not removed to the cemeteries.
On Tuesday, Sept. 9th, Sherriff Coleman notified the Guard that he was turning the responsibilities of the Keys back to Sheriff Thompson of Key West and that the National Guard would not be needed any longer and for us to prepare to return to home stations. So as soon as possible after that, all troops were ordered home. Before we could leave it was necessary to turn our post over to the deputies who had been hired to replace us and that took nearly 20 hours.
Capt. Kuschel and detachment from Company "C" 124th Inf left Wednesday afternoon one hour ahead of Capt. Carter and Battery "D", Capt. MacFarlan and a detachment from Company "A" and Lieut. Leonardy and a detachment from Company "B". The tour of duty comprised 11 days and activities met with the approval of the Sheriff with whom we were to work.
ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE William H. vonBehren
Oct 14, 1935 Major, 124th Inf. ENG.
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA"
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