Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Adeleta and the Boys of Company K



Company K on the Sandusky County Courthouse Steps
 

In early April of 1923, Captain Frank Buehler of Fremont, Ohio announced the death of Adeleta, the cat.  With tears in his eyes, the veteran stated that she had been buried with full military honors!

A large, pure white angora, Adeleta had been living with the Buehlers on Adams Street where she was loved and pampered by the entire neighborhood. But her beginnings were anything but quiet. As the mascot of Fremont's Company K of the 147th Infantry, Adeleta was all military.

In 1916, Company K joined General John J. Pershing's Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa.  Shortly after arriving at Fort Bliss, Texas, the Fremont soldiers encountered a fluffy little feline.  Details of just how Adeleta was "inducted" into Company K remain murky. Sources indicate that she was "drafted" as a kitten against objections from her owner.  By the time an investigation was launched, it was too late. She had been "sworn in."

With orders to capture Pancho Villa, Pershing's 10,000-man force headed for the Mexican border.  Now a member of Company K, the kitten traveled with the troops. Like most angoras, she was intelligent, curious, and bonded easily with humans. During the nine months spent patrolling the border and confronting Mexican revolutionaries, she grew into a "beautiful, powerful" creature whom the men claimed was "terrible in war."

While fighting Pancho Villa's guerrillas on the border, the Fremont soldiers heard Mexican villagers singing a romantic folk song about "Adelita," a brave female warrior who fought along side the revolutionaries. Then and there they knew they had found the perfect name for their mascot.  

When Company K returned from the border and settled in at Fort Riley, Kansas, Adeleta was front and center with her comrades. But in a matter of months, everything changed for the Fremont soldiers and their beloved Adeleta. With war brewing in Europe, Pershing was headed overseas and the 147th Infantry would go with him.

The soldiers worried about Adeleta and her future. What would become of the mascot who had touched their hearts and brought them so much enjoyment during their days on the border?  With all certainty, the men knew taking her to Europe was out of the question.  Finally, the men decided that on their return to Fremont, Adeleta would be "furloughed" so that she could live with the Buehler family. And there she remained - fat, happy, and the center of attention. At the end of World War I, she was there to welcome home her former comrades.

She lived another five years with the Buehlers until that fateful spring day when Taps were sounded to herald her passing and honor her service to the boys of Company K.

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