Mule Rearing African American Officers doughboys with mules African American Soldiers 1 The pilots pilots in dress uniforms Riveters gas masks

World War I Centennial News



#COUNTDOWNTOVETERANSDAY update for October 1, 2016

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Thank you all for your great help in making the Countdown To Veterans Day 2016 a success in the first week!

To date, we have had some 146 participants post some 768 tweets on Twitter, which have reached an overall potential audience of 1,497,525 people.

On Facebook, posts and re-posts by such friends as the PBS American Experience, DAV, and Navy History & Heritage Command have brought us a potential audience of 1,085,000 people.

  • Our Twitter results are: 768 posts, 146 Users, 1,497,525 Impressions.
  • Our Facebook audience impressions are over 1,085,000 to date.

For more information, and for opportunities to honor America's Veterans, go to the Countdown to Veterans Day page.

U.S. World War One Centennial Commission meets at Dawn Patrol in Dayton

By Joshua Venuti
Staff Writer
WW1 logo 200

On September 30, the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission held its quarterly meeting at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton Ohio. The meeting was held coincidentally with the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous Air Show, a showcase of World War One-era military aircraft & replicas, along with the Annual Conference of the League of WWI Aviation Historians.

The Commission meeting included an Executive Director’s Report, a Memorial report, an education report, an international report, and the chairman’s report. Notable attendees of the meeting included the newest Commissioner, Ambassador Theodore Sedgwick, as well as Chair Robert Dalessandro, Vice Chair Mr. Edwin Fountain, and Commissioners Dr. Libby O’Connell, Dr. Monique Brouillet Seefried, Dr. Matthew Naylor, and the Centennial Commission’s Executive Director, Mr. Daniel Dayton.

Read more: U.S. World War I Centennial Commission Meets in Dayton, Ohio

U.S. World War One Centennial Commission enters formal partnership with the Federal Government of Belgium

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Dalessandro WoutersOn Monday, 26 September, the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission signed a partnership of mutual support with the Federal Government of Belgium regarding the commemoration of the Centennial of World War One.

Robert Dalessandro, Chair of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission (L), and Dirk Wouters, Ambassador of Belgium to the United States, share a handshake after signing the partnership of mutual support agreement for the commemoration of the Centennial of World War One.The Government of Belgium has set up special programs to provide public education and commemoration for the war. Belgium saw some of the greatest loss of life on the Western Front of the First World War, which included the awful fighting in the areas around Liege, Mons, Passchendaele, Ypres, and Chateau-Thierry.

As early as 1914, American philanthropists lead by future President Hoover started one of the largest global humanitarian campaigns ever planned, and their ‘Commission for Relief in Belgium’ fed millions of Belgian civilians in occupied Belgium.

Today, fallen U.S. soldiers are notably honored at the Flanders Field cemetery in Waregem, Belgium. President Obama was hosted by King Philippe of the Belgians for an official visit at Flanders Field cemetery in March 2014. This new agreement calls for the two organizations to share their experience, knowledge, and technical means, as they prepare for the commemoration of the American intervention in World War One.

Read more: U.S. World War One Centennial Commission enters formal partnership with Federal Government of...

Joe Weishaar briefs World War One Centennial Commission Advisors on Memorial Status

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Weischaae briefing Oct 26Joe Weishaar, the designer and architect-in-training who created the landscape design-concept for the National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park, gave an update brief to several of the Special Advisors and Diplomatic Advisors to the World War One Centennial Commission on Monday, September 26.

Notable attendees at the event were Senator John W. Warner, Special Advisor to the Commission; Senator Carol Moseley Braun, member of the Diplomatic Advisory Board ; and Ambassador Louise V. Oliver, member of the Diplomatic Advisory Board. Several other senior stakeholders and members of the Commission staff also attended the briefing.

Read more: Joe Weishaar Briefs World War One Centennial Commission Special Advisors on Memorial Status

Four questions for Theresa Sims

Trade show booth spreads U.S. World War One Centennial Commission message

By Erica Goldaber
Staff Writer

Theresa Sims is the Director of Strategic Relations for the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission.

1. What are the main goals of the booth effort?

1The main goal of the booth outreach is to create awareness about the World War One Centennial Commission’s efforts to honor and memorialize the 4.7 million who served and the 116,516 who gave their lives for our great nation. This effort allows one on one contact to help educate senior leaders, decision makers, and citizens about the Great Sacrifice and the War to End all Wars. It also creates public awareness, interest, and support for the future National Memorial for World War I at Pershing Park. Given that we’re a few months ahead of the 100 year anniversary of President Wilson’s “Call to Arms” in April 6, 2017, we are handing out Flanders poppy seeds packets as a reminder to “plant the seeds to remember” the upcoming commemoration of U.S. entry to WW1.

Read more: Trade show booth spreads U.S. World War One Centennial Commission message

Countdown To Veterans Day 2016 is underway

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

CountdownToVeteransDay screen www worldwar1centennial org countdownAs we all know, Veterans Day is coming up. This week, on 21 September, we began our annual "Countdown To Veterans Day".

We at the World War I Centennial Commission feel that one day a year is not enough to talk about veterans issues.

So, last year, we tried to do something about it.

We partnered with people on social media to create a simple awareness campaign. We all started to add the simple term "Countdown To Veterans Day" or hashtag #CountdownToVeteransDay into our regular messages, our social media posts, our signature blocks, and our websites.

Simple awareness was not enough for us, as we thought it important to make Veterans Day a day ON, vice a day off. We wanted to offer people an opportunity to create a meaningful experience for their Veterans Day.

Read more: Countdown To Veterans Day 2016 is underway

Four Questions for Robert Laplander of Doughboy MIA

"A man is only missing if he is forgotten. We won't let them be forgotten"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Robert J. Laplander is an author, military historian, musician, and the world's leading authority on the 'Lost Battalion' of the 77th Division during WW1. He has written several books about the Lost Battalion, and currently curates the "Doughboy MIA" section of the WW1 Centennial Commission web site.

Tell us about the Doughboy MIA project. What is it, actually?

Doughboy MIA is a Robert Laplanderproject sponsored by the USWW1CC. There is no complete and accurate record of the US Missing In Action from WW1, so our ultimate goal is to not only create one, but also to disseminate what happened to them and collect what information we can on each. While the devastating fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973 destroyed the majority of information on the Doughboys, there is still plenty of information out there to be had, though it is scattered. Part of what we do is gather those bits together to try and recreate the records of these men.

In the end, we hope to have the story of each man who went MIA on the battlefield, or was lost or buried at sea. Our motto is A Man Is Only Missing If He Is Forgotten.

Read more: Four Questions for Robert Laplander

Commission Special Advisor Senator John Warner honored at the Pentagon

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Ash Carter John Warner Carl Levin(L to R) Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Senator John Warner, Senator Carl LevinThe Department of Defense honored former senators John W. Warner (R-Virginia) and Carl Levin (D-Michigan) at the Pentagon. Levin and Warner are former chairmen of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter presented the two men with awards at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.

The two men were awarded the Medal for Distinguished Public Service which is the Department of Defense’s highest civilian honor. Carter also dedicated the Levin-Warner Legislative Affairs Suite in honor of the two senators.

Senator John Warner serves as a Special Advisor to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. In that capacity, he is involved with assisting the commission with their outreach to elected officials on the national level. He has long been an advocate for the U.S. military, and for our veterans. He is a former Secretary of the Navy, and personally served as a Navy enlisted sailor during World War II, and as an officer in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Read more: Special Advisor, Senator John Warner, honored at the Pentagon

Virginia holds statewide vigil to commemorate World War One Vets

Event Sept17 GuardingMemorials 250

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

On Saturday, September 17th, the World War I Centennial Commission for the Commonwealth of Virginia hosted a statewide vigil to Commemorate the state’s World War I veterans. The Vigil was organized by Lynn Rainville, a professor at Sweet Briar College.

The purpose of the vigil was to bring attention to the Virginians who served in World War I, and it was held from 11am to 1pm at several communities across the state including Front Royal, Harrisburg, Newport News, Petersburg, Byrd Park in Richmond, and in Winchester VA. Hundreds of people came out to see participate in the vigil.

Professor Rainville was inspired to put together the vigil when she saw the “We Are Here” performance art piece created by the UK’s 14-18NOW, a government-sponsored commemoration organization. On the centennial of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, “We Are Here” posted silent World War I reenactors, in uniforms with bags packed, at train stations and World War I landmarks across Britain. The piece was deeply moving, and created a great deal of conversation and introspection throughout the entire country.

Read more: Virginia Holds Statewide Vigil to Commemorate World War One Vets

National World War I Museum and Memorial to be Featured on Jeopardy! 

By Mike Vietti
National World War I Museum and Memorial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National World War I Museum and Memorial will be featured prominently on the Friday, Sept. 23 episode of the Emmy Award-winning television game show Jeopardy!.

JeopardyJeopardy!, the top-rated quiz show on television with more than 23 million viewers each week, will feature the Museum in an entire category of video clues filmed on-site at the Museum. Jeopardy! Clue Crew members Jimmy McGuire and Kelly Miyahara visited the Museum and participated in the filming of the clues.

“With millions of viewers across the world, Jeopardy! provides a tremendous opportunity to educate the public about the Great War and its enduring impact,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO. “We are thrilled that the team at Jeopardy! chose to recognize the importance of the First World War by traveling to our nation’s official World War I museum and memorial.”

Jeopardy! is hosted by Emmy winner Alex Trebek and recently began its 33rd season in syndication. Since its syndication debut in 1984, more than 7,300 episodes featuring more than 448,000 clues have aired. The show holds the Guinness World Records mark for the most Emmy Awards won by a game show (33 Emmys).

Individuals interested in viewing the show can identify broadcast times in their area by visiting

100 years ago in September, tanks changed warfare forever

By Kyle Mizokami
via Popular Mechanics

One hundred years ago on September 15th 1916, German soldiers looked out over the tops of their trenches and got a tremendous shock. Giant metal-covered vehicles, as large as a barn, were slowly advancing towards their position, moving forward in a caterpillar-like motion and spitting cannon and machine gun fire as they came. It was like nothing they'd ever seen before. This was the battle of Flers-Courcelette, and the age of the tank had arrived.Tank

The tank was invented to break the stalemate of trench warfare on World War I's European battlefields. Artillery and machine guns, plentiful on both sides, were particularly effective against the main form of offense—the infantryman. As a result the defense was stronger than just about anything that could be thrown against it, so much so that infantrymen spent most of their time cowering in trenches and bunkers. When the infantry did attack, they would often outstrip their supporting machine gun fire, leaving them vulnerable to counterattacks.

Enter the tank. Designed to swing the pendulum back, the tank was destined to make the offense stronger than the defense and accompany the infantry in the attack, bringing along protected machine guns and cannons that would later be used to beat back the inevitable enemy counterattack.

Read more: 100 Years Ago, Tanks Changed Warfare Forever

4 Technologies invented in World War One that we still use today

By Dixie Somers
via Argunners Magazine

War doesn’t just spur nations to create better offensive and defensive technology; it can also lead to everyday products and technology made necessary due to shortages and changing needs in times of war. Here are just a few examples of technology developed during the Great War that we still 1

1. Air Traffic Control

Prior to World War I, pilots were virtually isolated once they left the ground with no ability to receive information. The United States Army developed and installed the first two-way radios in planes during WWI, but before America became involved in the war. Two-way radios were developed in San Diego in 1915 with the ability to send telegraphs over a distance of 140 miles a year later. In 1917, the technology advanced to allow human voices to be transmitted from a plane to a ground operator.

The first Airport Traffic Control tower to regulate arrivals, departures, and aircraft movement opened in Cleveland, Ohio in 1930.

Read more: 4 Technologies Invented in World War 1 That We Still Use Today

New web site section on Army Nurse Corps in WW1 debuts

Army Nurse Outdoor UniformThis week a new section of the World War One Centennial Commission web site appears that will tell the story of the Army Nurse Corps in World War 1. Unlike the iconic Red Cross nurses of WW1, the role of the Army Nurse Corps nurses in the Great War has been somewhat obscure.  This effort to highlight the contributions of Army nurses to the war effort has been decades in the making.

In 1984, Jo-Ann Power read a description of women who volunteered to go to France to nurse American Doughboys. The piece was a short article in The Washington Post, but it piqued Jo-Ann’s interest in women who ventured abroad to a foreign land—and a foreign war—during a time when few women traveled beyond their garden gates.

Jo Ann PowerAuthor Jo Ann PowerA freelance writer for newspapers and magazines, Jo-Ann was also an aspiring novelist. She had taught high school and college history classes, and she knew that many enjoyed learning history from reading well-researched historical novels. The story of 22,000 American women who volunteered to nurse wounded and dying United States soldiers and airmen had been woefully neglected.

Read more: New web site section on Army Nurse Corps in WW1 debuts

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