World War I US Army Soldier. Merle David Hay was a farm boy and store clerk from Glidden Iowa, who signed up to fight in World War I just weeks after the United States congress declared war on Germany. Within three weeks of enlisting he was sailing to France, and a few months later he became one of the first three US Army soldiers killed in World War I. Private Hay, along with Corporal James Bethel Gresham and Thomas Enright, were killed by German troops in France while serving as part of Company F, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. The surprise attack by the Germans occurred at night, with vastly outmanned American forces engaging the enemy in close combat. Witnesses saw Private Hay using a bayonet to fight two German soldiers during the battle, and he was found dead after the attack. Besides the three men killed in the attack, five were wounded and twelve captured. All three soldiers were buried on the battlefield where they fell. In 1921, Private Hay was removed and re-interred in his home town of Glidden, Iowa. The cemetery itself, previously known as West Lawn Cemetery, is now also known as Merle Hay Memorial Cemetery.