Post 39 Namesake - Pvt. George Eber Duclo
American Legion Post 39 was named after Eber Duclo by a vote of membership. Each year, the post remembers
and honors the post namesake at his grave site in Crystal Valley Cemetery.
- War / Action: World War I
- Service Branch: Marine Corps
- Highest Rank: Private
- Date of Death: 6/15/1918
- Place of Death: Chateau Thierry Sector, France
- Circumstances: Killed In Action at the Battle of Balleau Wood (6/1-26/1918) during the German 1918 Spring Offensive in World War I, near the Marne River in France.
- Place of Burial: Crystal Valley Cemetery, Manitou Springs, CO [Bloc Row 4, Lot 8, Plot E]
- Date of Burial: 09/11/1921
George Eber Duclo was the first soldier from Manitou Springs to die in World War I and was buried on 11 September 1921 at Crystal Valley Cemetery [Bloc Row 4, Lot 8, Plot East]in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Manitou Springs Memorial Park is dedicated to him and all of Manitou’s sons and daughters who have gave their lives for their country. A bronze statue and plaque of the WWI doughboy is present in the park. Duclo Avenue is named for Eber Duclo. Its original name was Ute Avenue.
Tucked behind old "No. 2," a retired Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway locomotive, hidden by massive trees that line Fountain Creek, sits Memorial Park. It's a small park, sandwiched between El Paso Street and Old Man’s Trail. Paths worn in the grass attest to its popularity. On the park's east edge, a bronze statue of a doughboy stands tall, rifle in hand, atop a large boulder. A 1918-vintage Howitzer cannon guards the west side where another boulder bears a plaque honoring George Eber Duclo. Also, Duclo Avenue in Manitou Springs is named for Eber Duclo. Its original name was Ute Avenue.
Eber was born in Michigan and was the only son of John and Emma Duclo living on a Manitou Spring’s ranch near Cascade. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines on 22 Nov 1916 and was assigned to the 15th Company, 5th Marine Regiment in France. By March, 1918 he was assigned to the 6th Machine Gun Battalion. The 6th Machine Gun Battalion was a battalion of the US Marine Corps which served during World War I. Along with the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments, the battalion was part of the 4th Marine Brigade.
On 15 March, the 6th Machine Gun Battalion moved up to the Department of the Meuse, in the Verdun Sector, with the purpose of relieving the machine gun companies that were deployed in support of the 6th Marine Regiment at that time. This was the battalion's first experience of the front and although they were not involved in any major conflict at this time, it helped to prepare them for their later engagements by enabling them to learn about how the war was fought on the Western Front. The battalion was not deployed as a complete unit at this time though. Instead, it was split up and its individual companies were attached to the various battalions of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments.
In late May, the 6th Machine Gun Battalion was deployed to support the defensive operations in the Chateau–Thierry Sector. During this time, they were employed as a complete unit in order to provide concentrated fire support at key points along the Allied line. The 77th and 81st Companies were assigned to the right flank while the 15th and 23rd Companies were assigned to the left. Their job was to lay down covering and harassing fire during both defensive and offensive operations. They also assisted the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments in their respective drives through Belleau Wood.
The aggressiveness of the men of the 4th Marine Brigade during both the offensive and defensive phases of the Battle of Belleau Wood resulted in them being held in high esteem by the Germans serving in the trenches opposite them. In recognition of 4th Marine Brigade achievements during the fighting, the woods were later renamed the "Bois de la Brigade de Marine". In addition, the legend of the United States Marine Corps getting their nickname "Devil Dogs" came about as a result of this battle. In recognition of their many battle accomplishments, the Marines of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments, and 6th Machine Gun Battalion were awarded the French Croix de Guerre three times. As a result, these units were authorized to wear the Fourragère and the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War); it also subsequently became a part of the unit's patch. The fourragère thereafter became a part of the uniform of these units, and all members of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments are now authorized to wear it while serving with those regiments.
Last available Marine Corps muster records indicated that Eber was still assigned to the 6th Machine Gun Battalion in May, 1918. Eber Duclo was killed in action at the Battle of Balleau Wood on June 15, 1918 during the German 1918 Spring Offensive in World War I, near the Marne River in France .He was buried in France.
Eber’s father requested that his son be returned to Colorado Springs. He was sent a letter on July 15, 1921 from Lt Col H. Lay U.S.M.C. announcing that his son’s remains were disinterred and would be returned to the United States at Hoboken, New Jersey soon. On August 24, 1921, Eber’s body was transported to Colorado Springs with a soldier escort. On September 11, 1921, final services were held for George Eber Duclo and he was laid to rest in Crystal Valley Cemetery in Manutou Springs, Colorado.
In 1919, the same year that The American Legion was founded, fellow World War I veteran members of The American Legion Post 39 in Manitou Springs, proudly voted Eber Duclo to be the namesake or their Post.