Author's book talk on 'Send the Alabamians' recounts WWI story of state's 167th Infantry Regiment Nov. 11

Published: November 06, 2014
Updated: November 07, 2014
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The pivotal role of Alabama's 167th Infantry Regiment during World War I will be the subject of a public book talk by Nimrod Frazer, author of "Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division," on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. in the Caroline Marshall Draughon Auditorium on the ground floor of the Ralph Brown Draughon Library.

"Send the Alabamians" recounts the regiment's story from their recruitment to their service on the fields of eastern France in the final months of World War I.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. The American commemoration of Veterans Day developed from a commemoration of the Armistice declared on Nov. 11, 1918, that ended the war. Mark Sheftall, an associate professor of history at Auburn University, will introduce Frazer and provide historical context for the book.

Alabama's 167th Infantry Regiment was part of the 42nd Division, created in August 1917 and comprised of volunteers from National Guard Units from 26 States and the District of Columbia. The nickname "Rainbow Division" represented the diversity of men grouped into one division.

Frazer's research on the Rainbow Division stems from stories from his father, a member of Rainbow Division, 167th Infantry Regiment, D Company. Frazer used information from documents such as journals, letters and military reports to describe individual soldiers, including those with Auburn connections, who served in the division.

"Not only did Auburn students such as football player Shorty Wren distinguish themselves in combat in France in the summer and fall of 1918, playing a significant role in the Allied victory against Germany, but the Auburn Band, led by P.R. 'Bedie' Bidez, was the 167th Alabama Infantry Regiment band in the Rainbow Division during WWI," Frazer said. "When the Rainbow Division, led by Douglas MacArthur, crossed the Rhine, Bidez and his band struck up 'Glory to Ole Auburn' to celebrate their victorious entry into Germany."

Frazer is a retired investment banker and former CEO of Enstar. He earned his MBA at Harvard and was awarded the Silver Star for his military service in Korea.

"On Nov. 11, to commemorate the Armistice and our veterans, Rod Frazer will not only highlight the deeds of our Auburn heroes but remind us of the sacrifices of our fellow Alabamians and Americans who gave their lives on French battlefields nearly a century ago," said Monique Seefried, U.S. National World War One Centennial commissioner and president of the Croix Rouge Farm Memorial Foundation.

The foundation was formed in 2005 as a memorial to the 42nd Division on the site of the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm in Fere-en-Tardenois, France, close to Chateau-Theirry. The foundation especially honors the 167th regiment of the division.

The event is being sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University, and the Auburn University Libraries.

A reception will follow the lecture. Books will be available for purchase and signing. For more information on the program, call (334) 844-4903 or visit www.auburn.edu/cah.

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