On April 6, 1917, Congress declared war. Before this great war would end in 1918, the U.S. acquired an army of 4 million men (2 million had been sent to France). Within these numbers were brave men from our city. Over the next few days, we will highlight some Gold Star soldiers who lost their life while in uniform. (The practice started with WWI with gold stars being awarded to the fallen soldiers’ mothers.)
ORVILLE M. COSTON
Lieutenant Orville Coston, born March 19, 1893 in Lincoln County, Tennessee, was killed in action October 1918 in the Argonne Forest of France. Below is text from a newspaper notice announcing his death.
Lieut. O. M. Coston Killed in France
Lieut. Orville Menees Coston, of Birmingham, one of the most popular boys who ever attended the University of Alabama, has made the supreme sacrifice. He was killed while leading his men in an attack on a machine gun nest in the [Argonne Forest]. Lieut. Coston was the sort of man that demanded respect wherever he went and no risk not too great for others was too great for him.
He was the son of Dr. R. H. Coston of Birmingham, and attended the University of Alabama for five years, graduating in Academic and had completed one year of his law course when the war broke out. He was among the first to volunteer and went to the first officers’ training camp at Camp Gordon where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry. He sailed for France last April and had been in the thick of several fights.
In a letter received from Lieut. Coston last month he said that he was so glad that the fight was nearly over and that he thought he would soon be back in the States with his loved ones.
Lieut. Coston was a leader in every phase of University life. He was a member of the Lambda Chi fraternity, Business Manager of the Glee Club, a member of the Black Friars and a member of other clubs.