France, February 28, 1919

      Now that your service with the American Expeditionary Forces is about to terminate, I can not let you go without a personal word. At the call to arms, the patriotic young manhood of America eagerly responded and became the formidable army whose decisive victories testify to it’s efficiency and it’s valor.

     With the support of the nation firmly united to defend the cause of liberty, our army has executed the will of the people with resolute purpose. Our democ-racy has been tested, and the forces of autocracy have been defeated. To the glory of the citizen-soldier, our troops have faithfully fulfilled their trust, and in a succession of brilliant offensives have overcome the menace to our civili-zation.

      As an individual, your part in the world war has been an important one in the sum total of our achievements. Whether keeping lonely vigil in the trenches, or gallantly storming the enemy’s stronghold; whether enduring monotonous drudgery at the rear, or sustaining the fighting line at the front, each has bravely and efficiently played his part. By willing sacrifice of personal rights; by cheerful endurance of hardship and privation; by vigor, strength and in-domitable will, made effective through organization and cordial co-opera-tion, you inspired the war-worn Allies with new life and turned the tide of threatened defeat into overwhelming victory.

      With a consecrated devotion to duty and a will to conquer, you have loy-ally served your country. By your exemplary conduct a standard has been established and maintained never before attained by any army. With mind and body as clean and strong as the decisive blows you delivered against the foe, you are soon to return to the pursuits of peace. In leaving the scenes of your victories, may I ask that you carry home your high ideals and con-tinue to live as you have served—an honor to the principles for which you have fought and to the fallen comrades you leave behind.

      It is with pride in our success that I extend to you my sincere thanks for your splendid service to the army and the nation.    

Faithfully, John J. Pershing, Commander-in-Chief