It was not always possible to get tour participants’ hand-written feedback in the journal. This was especially true for one-day tours. The excerpts below are from emails received after the tour:
I want to submit a highly enthusiastic review of Randy Gaulke’s guide service for the Meuse-Argonne battlefield. It is difficult to quantify how much I learned when touring with him for a day, but let me give a few specifics.
My goal was to research the role of the 77th Division (the Statue of Liberty Division) with whom my paternal grandfather served. Randy and I started near the site where the 77th took off from the existing French trenches and then attacked straight into one of the most fortified areas of the entire Western Front on September 26, 1918.
Randy and I followed up the trip with a trip to the monument at Montfaucon and the American Cemetery at Romagne. I don’t think we stopped talking the entire day, and I cannot think of a single question that he couldn’t answer authoritatively.
I recommend doing reading and research on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive beforehand so you know the basics of the battles and the units that you might want to focus on. Once armed with that knowledge, you can fully take advantage of Randy’s encyclopedic knowledge of the area.
As we approach next year’s 100th anniversary of the battle in 2018, I cannot imagine a better way to learn about it than a tour with Randy Gaulke. Highly recommended.
Earlier this year I read William Walker’s “Betrayal at Little Gibraltar” which fascinatedly described America’s World War I’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the story/cover-up of a senior officer who subverted orders to assist the US 79th Division in their assault on Montfaucon.
At the end of July 2017, Randy took me to many of those places mentioned in the book and gave me a first-hand account of what happened during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. We spent a good deal of time going through the field, forests and trenches (as well as a German bunker) which really brought to life what had happened during the most important time during WW1. I certainly have the “bug” when it comes to WW1…
Experiencing the Meuse-Argonne landscape (along with Randy’s photos of then and now) had me realize on a deeper level how grateful I am for all those men who fought in WW1. I’m also grateful to have been introduced to Randy as he stepped out in faith and reorganized his (and his family’s) life to make this possible for people like me that have an interest in WW1 and for those who want to learn more and/or know more about where family members served. Thank you to Randy and his family. I hope to be back again for more research. And if you are reading this review and thinking about going to France to experience it too–don’t hesitate–do it now, you won’t regret it.
It was such a pleasure to meet you, your father and son. Thank you for all you provided to Kane and I while we visited France. Your interest, passion and insight into WW1 were inspiring and helped provide me with a better understanding of what my grandfather and his comrades faced during combat. Your tour of the battlefield near Consenvoye and the Bois de Chaume and wood surrounding, provided an emotional peak on my journey of discovery. Your kindness and thoughtfulness in providing a 100-year-old collectible of the war and the opportunity to honor my grandfather and all the soldiers in the Meuse-Argonne with a planting of poppy seeds is something I will never forget. Thank you so much!
I hope I have another opportunity to cross the Atlantic and visit the Meuse-Argonne battlefields again. If not, my memory is filled with what I experienced last week. Thank you, Randy!