TRUMAN TRAVEL October 2018

Registration for Harry S. Truman and the A.E.F. Battlefield Tour is now closed. To receive first notice of future trips and tours, as well as VIP invitations and special access opportunities, please consider joining The Buck Stops Here Society.

The Truman Library Institute is pleased to offer unique travel opportunities as a benefit for members of The Buck Stops Here Society, the Truman Library Institute’s premier membership program. With an annual donation of $1,000 or higher, Society members receive exclusive access to privileges and benefits, including VIP tours, invitations to private events with speakers and visiting dignitaries, and a highly anticipated annual travel opportunity.

In 2018, the Truman Library Institute, in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial, will offer an unforgettable 6-night experience in France. Please join us for Harry S. Truman and the A.E.F. Battlefield Tour.


Tour Dates: October 16-22, 2018
*Optional Normandy Extension: October 22-24, 2018

Great leaders are forged upon battlefields, particularly in the harrowing year of 1918. During the centennial of World War I, join the Truman Library Institute, along with the National World War I Museum and Memorial, for a once-in-a-lifetime trip across a Western Front that inspired individuals and nations. Follow in the footsteps of Capt. Harry S. Truman, with the additional option to visit the World War II site of Normandy. Experience the beauty of serene spaces and delicious cuisine of French wine country as we visit well-known battlefields and exclusive locales with inspiring travel to France and areas of American Expeditionary Forces involvement.

This trip is being offered in conjunction with the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum’s special exhibition, “Heroes or Corpses: Captain Truman in World War I.”

Our guides will be Clive Harris and Mike St Maur Sheil.  Staff from the Truman Library Institute and a member of the National World War I Museum and Memorial’s historical team will also be joining the tour.

$2,250 PER PERSON (payable in two installments; $250/pp single supplement)

$600 PER PERSON 2-DAY NORMANDY EXTENSION (optional; $200/pp single supplement)

*Non-refundable deposit due by March 15; Balance due by August 1, 2018.

The cost for the 2018 tour includes:
– Pick up and drop off in Paris, coach, driver, and 2-3 guides throughout tour
– 6 nights half board accommodation
– Normandy option: as above with 2 additional nights half board accommodations

It does not include:
– Flights to and from Paris
– Lunches and dinners unless included on the itinerary
– Incidentals

Questions about membership or this unique travel opportunity? Please contact Kim Rausch, director of development, at 816.400.1214 or

Tour Itinerary


The tour will start at 11 a.m. in the Citizen M Hotel Charles De Gaulle Airport. Our first stop is to visit the impressive Museum of the Great War, Meaux, to provide some context for the next few days touring. We then continue onto our hotel. Overnight Vienne Le Chateau | Evening Meal and Museum Entry Included 


Harry S. Truman’s “D” Battery was held in reserve for this battle, but as this was the first major battle fought by the American Army in World War I, this is a fitting place to begin our pilgrimage in his footsteps. We will start our visit in the lovely town square of Pont-a-Mousson where the French nation honored the courageous young American volunteers of the American Field Ambulance Service with a magnificent memorial. Afterwards we will walk through the remarkable German trench complex at Flirey before visiting Seicheprey where in April 1918 the 26th “Yankee” Division became embroiled in vicious hand-to-hand fighting during a German trench raid. We will then visit the stunning American Battle Monument atop Montsec which honors the sacrifices of the American 1st Army here in September 1918.

Lunch will be in the railway station at St Mihiel which was bombarded by American forces in 1918. Afterwards, we will experience the reality of the 22 days in September 1917 which “D” Battery spent marching at night as we follow their grueling 100-mile route to the Meuse Argonne. Our visit to this iconic battlefield will commence at the American memorial at Montfaucon. Members of the party will be given the opportunity to ascend its lofty column and survey the battlefield where Harry Truman won his spurs as a leader of men. Overnight Vienne Le Chateau | Breakfast included


The battle of Meuse-Argonne is still the largest ever deployment of American troops in a single battle and Harry Truman’s own words will guide us through the heart of some of its fiercest fighting. There can be no better guide for this day than his vivid letters which we will use to follow him from the time he is awoken on September 26, 1917, by the barrage of 14” naval guns.

We will start in the fields of Neuvilly, where “D” Battery commenced its bombardment and then trace their progress as they advanced under heavy fire and reached the Butte de Vauquois, which was one of the most heavily defended positions on the Western Front. From there we will proceed via Cheppy where George C. Patton was wounded and visit the location where Harry S. Truman disobeyed his orders and saved many lives by preventing a German attack.

Truman often risked his life by acting as a Forward Observation Officer (FOO) when he would crawl forward towards enemy lines and then, using a telephone, direct his guns onto the best targets. He never did this to better effect than at Charpentry, and we will see the site of the action where his guns enabled the Doughboys of the 35th Division to overcome strong German defensive positions. Afterwards, “D” Battery advanced to a hill where Harry Truman directed his guns as they withstood a fierce counter-attack, and one of his men described how he had “never heard a man cuss so well or so intelligently, and I’d shoed a million mules.”

It was after this action that the 129th Field Artillery were relieved, so we will finish the day with a visit to the scene of the Medal of Honor action by that formidable son of Kansas, Pvt. John Barkley and the woods where a 13-year-old boy became the youngest Doughboy to see action. We will conclude the day by assisting in the “Taps” ceremony at the American cemetery at Romagne-en-ArgonneOvernight Vienne Le Chateau | Breakfast included 


We will follow “D” Battery’s movement to the battlefield of Verdun and see the bunkers where Harry S. Truman learned to “sleep with a gas-mask on” in “a very large arched room.” Here the landscape still bears witness to the ferocity of the ten-month battle in 1916 which was a “war within a war.” We will walk this extraordinary landscape before we visit the legendary Fort Douaumont.

We will take lunch in a café built immediately after WWI to feed the battlefield pilgrims, and then we will visit Verdun which Truman described as “the most famous, and hardest fought for city in France … where every house I saw had a shell hole in it” before returning to our hotel. Overnight Vienne Le Chateau | Breakfast and Evening meal included 


After finishing our visit to Meuse-Argonne, we will drive to the memorial at Blanc Mont which commemorates the brilliant action fought by the U.S. 2nd Division in October 1918 and which the French thought was one of the most brilliant divisional actions of the war. Afterwards, we will drive south to the Marne and hear the story of how the American 38th IR / 3rd Division earned the soubriquet “Rock of the Marne” and helped change the course of World War I. Overnight Chateau Thierry | Breakfast included


Leaving our hotel, we head for Paris where we will visit both the Museum of the Legion of Honour and the French Army Museum before late afternoon/evening free time to explore Paris. Overnight Paris | Breakfast included

MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2018  (Optional Normandy Extension)

Individuals choosing not to participate in the Normandy extension will be delivered to Charles De Gaulle Airport for return a.m. flights to the U.S. Those continuing on to Normandy will visit Pegasus Bridge and pass through the British & Canadian beaches prior to arriving at our hotel. Overnight Port En Bassin | Breakfast included


We will spend a full day studying the U.S. Rangers Action at Pointe du Hoc, the 101st Airborne Division landings at St Mere Eglise, and action at Brecourt Manor. We’ll end the day with a visit to Omaha Beach and its nearby War Cemetery and Interpretation Centre. Overnight Port En Bassin | Breakfast Included 


Return to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for onward flights to the U.S.  Breakfast Included 

Our Guides

Clive Harris

Raised in Hertfordshire, Clive developed a lifelong fascination with history. He spent seven years with the Royal Corps of Signals, serving operationally overseas with the 1st Armoured Division in BAOR — an Infantry attachment with the Royal Green Jackets, in Cyprus, Germany and France — and finally taking an instructor’s post in the Signals Wing of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. On leaving the army he joined his local Constabulary, serving 11 years in their Force Operations Room as a specialist communications officer and control room manager. In 1998 he began working as a speaker, writer, researcher and battlefield guide and since then has guided groups to the Somme, Ypres, Arras, Mons, Cambrai, The Hindenburg Line, Verdun, and Gallipoli for the Great War, as well as Normandy, Arnhem, The Italian Campaign, and of course the London Blitz for the Second World War. Clive is a Badged Member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides (No33) and also a member of the British Commission for Military History.

Mike St Maur Sheil

After studying Geography at Oxford, in the early 1970s Mike began his career as a photojournalist covering “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Here he became associated with the New York picture agency, Black Star, and over thirty years later he is still in the fortunate position of being paid to do what he loves doing — taking photographs. Mike has visited over 60 countries around the world, working for a wide range of clients such as ABC-TV, BBC, Anti-Slavery International, British Red Cross, European Commission, National Geographic, New York Times, Shell, Time and Time Life.

Additional Details to Note

Travel Insurance

Traveler is responsible for securing own travel insurance.

Refund Policy

100% refund if minimum numbers are not met.
Cancellation prior to March 15 = 100% refund
Cancellation March 15 – July 31 = excess beyond $1,125 non-refundable deposit
Cancellation after August 1, no refund.

Flight Recommendation

You are encouraged to fly on the carrier/flight of your choice. However, the Truman Library Institute will make flight recommendations (most likely arriving in Paris on October 15) for those interested in traveling with others that will be participating in the Harry S. Truman and the A.E.F. Battlefield Tour.