Different Wars. Different Heroes.
My grandfather's medal, an Iron Cross class II, and its official "besitzzeugnis" (certificate of ownership). He was a Lance Corporal and a general commando with Sound Ranging Force 48, 26th Reserve Corps. and, according to the document, was decorated in the name of His Majesty the Emperor and King on the 5th of June, 1918 — for reasons now long forgotten (over a million similar medals were awarded by Germany to its troops for what I suspect was simply not running away).
According to my father, my grandfather never spoke of the war except to say that at one point they (the German army) were literally starving to death and while some of his fellow soldiers had resorted to eating rats, he swore that he'd sooner die than sink so low. Thankfully they were re-supplied.
In 1923, my grandfather brought his family to America via Ellis Island and took up farming in Victor, Iowa. In 1941, my father's family again went to war; my uncle Hans serving with the Headquarter Military Intelligence Services, and my father as an aviation mechanic with the U.S. Navy, stationed in Alaska's remote Aleutian islands.
Many thanks to my good friend Dennis Gerbeckx for translating the certificate and helping me research who Germany's Sound Ranging forces were.
A typical WWI Sound Ranging field post: