Sgt. Fred William Wolfe
Company K, 339th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army

Born: 24 Dec 1892 near Northport, Michigan
Enlisted: 15 March 1909, Detroit, Michigan
Civilian Occupation: Sign Painter
Married: Margaret Kenney 30 Jan 1922
Died: 10 Nov 1951

(killed by a drunk driver while crossing State Fair Ave.
near his home on Keating Street in Detroit)

Fred Wolfe was a three-fourths Native American from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

Sgt. Wolfe fought on the Emtsa River Front at Kodish, Mejnovskaya, Avda, and Tegra.
He was awarded the British Distinguished Conduct Medal for his service in North Russia. His citation reads as follows:

Fred W. Wolfe, 2021728, sergeant, Company K, 339th Infantry, 85th Division. American Expeditionary Forces, Russia. British Distinguished Conduct Medal, List No. 55, dated January 9, 1920, British War Office. Residence at enlistment: 549 Stanley Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

According to this Associated Press report from Archangel dated 01 April 1919, ".... 14 Michiganders, six from Detroit, have been decorated by the British government for gallantry in action..... Distinguished Conduct Medals were given to Sergeants F.W. Wolfe, 357 Theodore St., Detroit...... Sergeant Wolfe, throughout the fighting about Kadish, displayed the greatest initiative and gallantry as a platoon commander and scout."

Sgt. Fred Wolfe is at the center top of this photo, which was likely taken in Archangel during the two week period in
early November 1918 when Company K was rotated back from the Emtsa Front. The men are dressed for the rifle range.

Top: Fred Wolfe
Middle row, l. to r.: John Watson, Bernard Crowe (Grewe) and Walter Pease
Bottom row could be: Michael Kenney and Howard Nylus..

Wolfe and Crowe have been positively identified by their grandsons.
Watson, Nylus and Pease were identified as being in this photo by Stan Bozich in his book "Detroit's Own Polar Bears", where this photo appears on pg. 18.
The man at lower left resembles other photos of Michael Kenney.

On 30 Dec 1918  Sergeants Crowe and Kenney were killed in action south of Kodish at Verst 12 on the road to Avda.
Their remains were returned to the US in Nov. 1919. Sgt. Crowe was buried in Mt. Elliott Cemetery, Detroit.
Sgt. Kenney was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Flushing, Queens, New York.

Sgt. Wolfe is at left.


Sgt. Wolfe is at far right.

A pencil sketch made by Sgt. Wolfe on
Regimental stationery in 1919 while in Russia.


(click to enlarge)
Sgt Fred Wolfe (far left) and Sgt. Levi Bartels (far right) along with
other member of Company K; 10 July 1919, Camp Custer, MI
(photo courtesy of Marcia Fischer and Bruce Bartels)

Fred was discharged from the Army at Camp Custer on 19 July 1919,
at which time he held the rank of First Sergeant.
He later became a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars
Polar Bear Post No. 436 in Detroit.
In 1934 he served as the
Post Commander.
(the photo of their Post's stone in the 1939 Michigan Veteran's Monument at
Woodward and State Fair in Detroit is from the webmaster's collection).

Fred at work as a sign painter, after the war.


Here is a photo of Company D, 1st Infantry, Michigan National Guard at Camp Duffield, 1912.
Apparently Fred was a member of this Company during that period and he appears in this photo kneeling in the front row, fourth from the left.

All photos are courtesy of Brian O'Dowd, Fred Wolfe's grandson, unless otherwise noted.


Webmaster: Mike Grobbel
Created on 11 Nov 2007; Revised on 21 Jan 2013 and again on 24 May 2020.