forced by Army duty to interrupt his partnership with his brother.
He was drafted in 1918 for the final year of World War I and assigned
by the Depot Brigade to Company A of 218 Engineers of 18th Division.
He entered as a private and was discharged as a corporal.
In the days of Daddys youth a frontier psychology prevailed.
There was a high premium on manhood; certain personal matters of honor
could only be settled by a fistfight. This code also applied to Army
life. At Daddys station, Camp Travis in San Antonio, there was
a boxing ring with enough spectator seats to accommodate several companies
of men. Boxing was a popular Army sport; it was also used by some
to settle grudges. Many a soldier with time on his hands would turn
out to watch a good fight.
In camp, there was always an element of tension between enlisted men
and officers, especially the non-com officers. In some divisions it
was said that during action in Europe more officers lost their lives
by a bullet from behind than from the enemy. In the confusion of war,
who ever knew for sure?
Private Jarvis finished his meal one evening and went to clean his
aluminum mess tray. He was late and he noticed that the water in the
privates wash kettle had gotten pretty filthy, but the water
in the kettle of the non-commissioned officers was still clean. Since
he was one of the last ones through the line, he moved over to the
non-com kettle. Just then a corporal from another platoon looked over
and said, Get out of there, Private.
Private Jarvis looked up. Annoyed and fed up with Army regimentation,
he said, Go to hell. The Corporal, incensed, said, You
cant tell me that! Now go report to the Sergeant.
Go to hell, repeated Private Jarvis, expressing the indignity
of a real frontier man. Of course in the Army, he was really overstepping
The Corporal rushed off and returned with a First Sergeant, who proceeded
to take them both into the sanctified quarters of the Captain. After
some explanation, the complaining Corporal said, Captain, this
is a personal matter with me. If he didnt have those glasses
on, Id punch him in the nose.
Dont let these glasses stop you, replied Private
That does it, Captain said the Corporal, Lets
Is that what you want, Private? the Captain asked Daddy.
Thats fine with me, he agreed.
The Captain said, Well, all right. You will use our regular
gloves and you will fight by Marquis of Queensbury rules. He
told his aide to get out the boxing gloves.
The word sped through camp that there was going to be a fight. Jarvy,
as he became known to his rooters, was going to fight the Corporal,
who was pretty well resented by many in the camp. Some, however, felt
sorry for Jarvy and thought the Corporal had set him up; it was known
around camp that the Corporal had been the Welterweight Boxing Champion
Jarvy weighed in at 140 poundsa little lighter than the Corporal.
But when the two met in the ring, the difference in experience and
training was obvious. The Corporal danced and skipped, feigned and
jabbed; Jarvy simply waded in flat-footed, saving his energy.
The camp had turned out en masse and cheered their every punch. There
was no set number of rounds for the fight; according to Marquis of
Queensbury rules, it would have to go on until one or the other decided
to call it quits. Both men took a lot of punishment. Finally, in the
fifth round, Jarvys strategy paid off. After some jabbing about
by the Corporal, Jarvy managed to slow him down with a left uppercut
to the chin. Then Jarvy followed with a hard right cross to the jaw
and floored the Corporal for the count of ten.
The Corporal was still on his back when Jarvy was carried away on
the shoulders of a cheering throng. His pockets were stuffed with
candy bars and cigars. Daddy always referred to that moment as the
highlight of his life.
Afterwards, when Jarvy encountered the Corporal, there were no hard
feelings. Luckily, The Corporal was a good loser and held no grudges..