Gas proven as grave as enemy’s bullets
MUNCY In the crisp, clean air on the Lycoming County side of North Mountain, Leland Edward Green took his first breath on August 2, 1896. No mother gazes into her infant’s face and contemplates sending him off to war.
For many males born in the decade of the 1890’s, war would be their fate just as it was for the son of Wallace and Marietta (Bigger) Green. The fifth of ten children, Leland would make his mark on the world even before the U.S. entered the Great War. He attended and graduated from Muncy Normal School, a Lycoming county preparatory institution for careers in teaching.
His teaching career was soon interrupted by World War I. Early in his career, he reported to Fort Slocum, NY, and was assigned to Company C 102nd Field Signal Battalion. With only five weeks of training, officer Green was shipped overseas.
While serving, the soldier fell victim to mustard gas. Lobbed from guns, canisters of the deadly gas drifted down into the lowest crevices of the earth, into trenches causing either death or lifelong lung damage.
In early March 1919, after surviving the winter in France, Green’s unit boarded the ship Hollandia at the port of Brest which set its coarse for Brooklyn, NY. Of the approximately 272 soldiers on board, most were residents of the Empire State. The fellow veteran closest in residence to him seemed to have been George B. Mills of Chambersburg, PA.
Although Green’s lungs had been damaged by gas, he continued to make great strides in his life. The veteran returned and furthered his education taking work at Bucknell University before going on to earn a degree at Elizabethtown College. He also took graduate courses in New York State.
For two years, Green was an industrial counselor at the Eastern Penitentiary in Lewisburg. He then became vocational advisor under the Veterans’ Administration.
Seeking an area more conducive to persons with breathing challenges, Green moved to Arizona and became director of vocational guidance at the Phoenix Technical School.
On March 5, 1949 at age 53, Green died at his home in Safford, Arizona, recuperating from lung surgery.
The veteran’s remains were transported back to the area of his birth, interred in the Franklin Church Cemetery at North Mountain.
In Hughesville, services were held to accommodate his numerous relatives. They included brothers Brunner and Erman; sisters Elva (Edgar) Sahm, Lorena “Renie” (Abe) Whitmoyer, Ruie Edna (Melvin) Bay, Martha (R. R.) Lunger and Veda (Grant) Lunger. Also, a stepson, Niles Piatt.
After the veteran’s death, wife Bernice Howe Piatt Green, formerly of Waverly, returned to New York state to reside in Endicott. Reportedly, she continued coming to this area to visit the Green family.