One Midwestern family, four generations of service to country

World War I veteran William Mathes' service would start a chain that links four generations of family together through military bond.

Though grandson Merit Pool doesn't know the details of Willis' time in World War I, Merit said Willis did survive a gas attack while overseas in Europe. He also said Willis was part of the American Expeditionary Forces.

His son, Merit's uncle, Paul Mathes, served in the Army during World War II, Merit said.

Merit's father Merit Pool, Jr., was drafted into the Army during World War II, eventually working in the Air Corps, and serving in Africa and Italy, Merit said. He was discharged as a sergeant in 1946. He returned, married and started a family, which grew to include five sons. Of those five, three served.

The oldest son, Merit was drafted into the Army 1968 and discharged in 1970. He served in Germany. Though he trained for work in the signal corps, he worked for the motor pool, he said.

In 1970, the third oldest, Robert K. Pool, was also drafted into the Army and served in Germany, Merit said, and Robert was discharged in 1972.

Paul A. Pool said he enlisted in the Air Force in 1969 and served in Turkey. He served until 1972. His son, Paul M. Pool served with the Army Reserves in Kuwait and Iraq from 2008 to 2009, he said.

Merit's nephew, Stephen Pool enlisted as a Marine Corps Reserves in 2004 and served about eight years.

"The thing about us is, if there’s said to be one is that we love our country," Merit said of his family.