Exhibit: Swaney Family Papers
While still a student, Alexander had orders from the Adjutant General of Montana to open a recruitment station in Missoula. The Missoulian, the local newspaper, opened space for several weeks to hosted him and the recruitment station.
America entered WWI before he could finish his degree, and Alexander spent late 1917 through early 1919 in France with the 163rd 1st Battalion Depot Division, in Montrichard, France. He served as 1st Lieutenant, and later Captain, and was responsible for delivering troops to the Front.
In a letter home about the spartan conditions, Alexander told his mother "...[he] was sent up to the line in charge of 1200 re-enforcements and we had to march a long way without any water and all that I can disctinctly remember that it was blazing hot, dusty, dirty, a long column of men staggering along the road, blindingly, the road was white and glaring, trucks spinning by laden provisions...my throat was so parched I couldn't even whisper, and I had to make commands with signals by my hands..."