Frazer pens book about local soldiers

Published 4:04 pm Friday, July 12, 2013

Some sacrifices that are made should never be forgotten.

And one Butler County native has dedicated the past several years toward ensuring that the nearly century-old sacrifices of several Butler County troops are remembered in his first published book.

Nimrod Frazer has spent eight years penning “Send the Alabamians: World War One Fighters in the Rainbow Division,” which is a historical account about the Alabama National Guard Regiment (the 167th Infantry) that was mobilized in 1916 and sent to France in December of 1917 to fight in World War I.

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The regiment engaged in several key battles that helped turn the tide in the war, including aiding the French resistance against Germany’s last efforts to take Paris in 1918 and the Battle at Croix Rouge Farm, the second-bloodiest battle fought by any Alabamians since Gettysburg.

The regiment consisted of several soldiers from the Butler County area, including Frazer’s own father, Will Frazer.

“He was 19 years old when he joined up in 1916, and it was the defining event in his life — it was the biggest event in the lives of many of those guys from Butler County,” Frazer said.

“I was very much inspired by my father’s military service and others from Butler County who were there.”

Frazer knew about the accomplishments of those Butler County soldiers before he could even read, and his desire to take on the eight-year project stemmed from his own realization of how little he knew about that time.

The questions that were raised prompted the beginning of his research, but his father’s actions inspired his own call to arms.

He served in the Korean War, where he received a silver star, and that experience served him far more than he’d ever realized it would at the time.

“It gave me an appreciation for terrain and for combat,” Frazer said.

“And so when I went back to France to retrace the steps of these Alabama guys, I went to the actual battlefields and walked over them, and was able to appreciate the way those battles developed and were fought.”

Frazer’s exhaustive research also included four separate trips to the National Archives, Carlisle Barracks and a number of other notable locations.

And despite being a historical account, comprised of purely primary sources with authenticated documentation, efforts have been made to ensure that the book can inspire as many as possible.

His initial 400-page script was cut nearly in half for readability’s sake.

“We cut out all the nonessential stuff, trying to make it readable and appealing to the layperson as well as the scholarly person,” Frazer added.

The University of Alabama Press is publishing the book, although a specific release date beyond the 2014 window has yet to be announced.

But 2014 is as an appropriate time as any, considering the year marks the centennial anniversary of World War I.

Frazer is aiming for an ideal spring 2014 release, just before Memorial Day.