Betsinger served in the U.S. Army during World War I. Born on March 5, 1900, he was from Chicago, Illinois and enlisted as a private in the 12th Field Artillery in 1917. He embarked for France from Hoboken, New Jersey in early January 1918. The diary appears to include letters to his family and is missing many pages. The entries include opinions about the war, observations of fellow soldiers, and experiences in combat, including discussion of heavy shelling and mustard gas during the Battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918. Many of the descriptions are graphic in nature. Betsinger survived the war and later moved to Monte Vista, Colorado, where he operated the Triangle Tourist Camp in the 1940s. His wife, Elda Aden Betsinger, was a public school teacher. He died in San Diego, California in January 1980.