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

World War I Centennial News


 

Governors Island living history event  to mark NYC WWI Centennial

Camp Doughboy 2017 posterNEW YORK, NY – On September 16-17, World War I will be alive, with a full weekend of activities, ceremonies, and living history demonstrations on Governors Island. All activities are free and open to the public.

Camp Doughboy will bring together living history re-enactors, vintage vehicles from a century ago, authors of World War I books, and active duty Army soldiers. They will even have a working World War I-era tank!

“We are taking history out of the classroom, and opening it up to everybody." observed Dr. Libby O’Connell, U.S. World War I Centennial Commissioner. “Camp Doughboy gives people of all ages the opportunity to learn about the Great War”.

Event organizer, noted NYC history author Kevin Fitzpatrick, agreed. "The story of America in World War I is very much a New York/New Jersey-area story. The Lusitania departed from Pier 54 on her last voyage. The Black Tom explosion was right over there. The Rainbow Division, the Fighting 69th, the Harlem Hellfighters, New Jersey's Lightning Division, were all legendary. Most of the U.S. troops left for France from Hoboken. Irving Berlin wrote the great WWI songs from Tin Pan Alley. The 'Lost Battalion' were nearly all Lower East Siders. The big Memorial Day parade at the end of the war went down 5th Avenue. This is our city's heritage".

The Living History site will be open from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17. Ferries are available from Brooklyn and Manhattan every half hour. https://govisland.com/info/ferry

Read more: Camp Doughboy Living history event on Governors Island to mark WWI Centennial in NYC

The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council & WWI research competition

national academy of sciences 2 510 320By David A. Hounshell
Roderick Professor of Technology and Social Change, Emeritus, Department of Social & Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University

On the occasion of the centennial of World War I, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are pleased to announce an open competition for scholars under the age of 30 to research and write a scholarly paper on a major aspect of how scientists and engineers in the United States were engaged in the World War I effort.

The focus, drawing on the creation of the National Research Council (NRC) associated with World War I, is on institutional changes (e.g., the charter of the NRC) and the research enterprise in America. In effect, scholars should look at how the war experience shaped long-term relationships among scientists and engineers and U.S. policymakers regarding national security and public welfare.Hounshell David 188x220David Hounshell

(Read a brief account of the NAS and NRC in the context of World War I.)

Qualified scholars should submit, by November 30, 2017, a 500-word concept document that describes the scope of the proposed research. In addition, applicants should provide a list of possible primary sources of evidence to be used in the proposed research.

The five best entries will be chosen by a National Academies’ review committee, and the authors will be invited to submit a fully developed research paper. Upon acceptance of the invitation, invitees will enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to provide a final paper of between 8,000 and 10,000 words by September 10, 2018. They will be provided with a grant of $5,000.00 for research expenses and invited to utilize the NAS' records under the mentorship of the NAS professional archivists. The scholars will be expected to present a 20-minute summary of major research findings at a public conference at the NAS in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018.

Additional discussants and participants will be included in the public event. The review committee will subsequently deliberate and announce the winner of a $10,000.00 first prize.

Read more: World War I and the National Academy of Sciences & National Research Council: A Research...

Fort Sam Houston commemorates WWI centennial

By Staff Sgt. Tomora Nance, USA
U.S. Army North Public Affairs

FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX—The year is 1917. It’s approximately three years after the onset of World War I, also known as the “Great War.” Most of the world’s economic, great powers are already involved in a taxing warfare in terms of money and loss of lives—both civilian and military.

However, on April 6, 1917, the U.S. ended its non-intervention policy, and Congress declared war on Germany entering into the Great War after the breach of international law through unrestricted submarine warfare, the publicized Zimmerman Telegram and the sinking of several U.S. merchant ships.

Retired Master Sgt. Vernon Schmidt (left), a 91 year old surviving member of the 90th Infantry Division’s from WWII, sits alongside his wife during the Fort Sam Houston’s WWI Centennial Ceremony honoring the 90th ID inside the historic Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “This is exciting and a real honor for me to represent my division,” said Schmidt. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tomora Nance, U.S. Army North Public Affairs)Retired Master Sgt. Vernon Schmidt (left), a 91 year old surviving member of the 90th Infantry Division’s from WWII, sits alongside his wife during the Fort Sam Houston’s WWI Centennial Ceremony honoring the 90th ID inside the historic Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “This is exciting and a real honor for me to represent my division,” said Schmidt. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tomora Nance, U.S. Army North Public Affairs)With a small military force, the Selective Service Act allowed the U.S. government to increase its force through manning of the Army. Over 4 million men and women from the U.S. served in the armed forces. Not only did the manning forever change the Army, so did the structure with the inception of divisions. One of those divisions was the 90th Infantry Division.

Fast forward 100 years.

Several Soldiers and civilians gathered Aug. 25 for Fort Sam Houston’s WWI Centennial Ceremony honoring the 90th ID inside the historic Quadrangle here for an outdoor ceremony.

As this year marked the national commemoration for the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into WWI, military basses across the U.S. are celebrating their storied unit’s involvement and accomplishments in ceremonies. And, Fort Sam Houston is no different.

“I’m so honored to be able to witness this ceremony; it was very humbling and emotional to witness the unfurling of the division’s colors,” said Jeanie Travis, daughter of retired Maj. Gen Robert H. Travis, the last commanding general of the 90th ID. “I grew up respecting the Army because it was a part of my everyday life as a small child. And when I read the history of the division, his [her father’s] stories come back to me.”

Read more: Fort Sam Houston commemorates WWI centennial

September 1 2017 arboreal conditions surveyRepresentatives from the U.S. World War I Commission and its National World War One Memorial Design Team met with tree specialists on Friday, September 1 at Pershing Park in Washington, DC to assess the park's existing arboreal conditions. Discussing tree preservation included (l-r) Joe Weishaar, lead designer for the Memorial; Harry Chopev, Bartlett Tree Experts; Edwin Fountain, WWICC vice chair; and Monica Pascatore, GWWO, Inc. Architects. Click here to check out the latest progress of the WWI Memorial design.

 

Bismarck Powwow to honor Native Americans who served in WWI

By the Associated Press
via the usnews.com web site

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — One hundred years after World War I, a powwow in North Dakota will honor Native Americans who served in the conflict before they were even considered U.S. citizens.

They'll being remembered at the 48th annual International Powwow next weekend at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck. Several hundred family members and descendants of World War I Native servicemen are expected to participate in the ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 10, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

SmithSgt. John W. Smith from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, pictured in the WWI era (right) and as a member of the American Legion in the 1950's.The grand entry will feature honor guards and drum groups from the five governing tribes of the college: the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation; Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate; the Spirit Lake Sioux; the Standing Rock Sioux; and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

"They'll sing songs in their language, World War I victory songs, that represent some of the deeds that their relatives have done," said Leander "Russ" McDonald, president of the college.

Names will be read of more than 355 veterans from the five tribes who served in World War I, including Sgt. John W. Smith from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Before he left he wrote a note on a picture of himself that said, "Forget me not."

Native Americans didn't become U.S. citizens until 1924.

"I don't think the fact that they weren't citizens was really relevant to them at the time," said Marilyn Hudson, a relative of Smith and longtime director of the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum. "There's always been the desire to protect and serve the country where you live."

Read more: Bismarck Powwow to Honor Native Americans Who Served in WWI

Forgotten faces of WWI get their due in St. Paul historical mural

By Curt Brown
via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune web site

There probably wasn’t a more patriotic graduate from the University of Minnesota. Or one dealt as harsh a hand as Tokutaro Nishimura Slocum.

Born in Japan in 1895, he emigrated to America at 10. When his father moved to Canada to escape discrimination, the Slocum family in Minot, N.D., adopted “Tokie.”

David GeisterArtist David Geister at work on the WWI mural at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.He did well enough at the U to gain acceptance to Columbia Law School in New York — just as the U.S. entered the first world war in 1917. Slocum dropped out, enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought in the forests and trenches along the Western Front. German poison gas would scar his lungs for the rest of his days.

Initially denied U.S. citizenship despite his service, Slocum lobbied for legislation granting citizenship to Asian-Americans who fought for the U.S. during the Great War. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor a generation later, Slocum helped the FBI arrest Japanese immigrants living in America.

That didn’t stop the government from forcibly removing him from his home in Los Angeles in 1942 and locking him up at the Manzanar incarceration camp. He was one of 120,000 Japanese-Americans corralled during WWII.

Slocum battled health problems for years before dying in 1974, two weeks shy of his 79th birthday. Tokie lives on, though, in a massive new mural-in-progress at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

“When this mural is finished, we will showcase 100 individuals who had a hand in creating modern America,” said David Geister, a self-described “storyteller with a paintbrush.”

Read more: Forgotten faces of WWI get their due in St. Paul historical mural

Four questions for Dr. Patrick R. Jennings, National Museum of the United States Army

The Five of Hearts: "She is a legendary piece of US Army history."

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

We are following with great interest the construction progress of the new National Museum of the U.S. Army. The museum will house a remarkable collection of artifacts that will tell the story of our nation's military history, from our very beginnings as a nation, right up to present-day.  We are pleased to learn that World War I will play a front-and-center role in that story. The Museum promises to have a truly world-class collection of artifacts from World War I, to include period uniforms owned by high-profile figures from the war, pivotal documents that shaped the war's outcome, weapons that were used in combat, and much, much more. Among the items that will have a permanent home there is a very special tank, the "Five of Hearts", which was a combat veteran from the battle of Meuse-Argonne, and which was recovered from the battlefield soon after the war, and returned to the U.S. as a special tribute to the the courage of those first tank soldiers to serve in the U.S. Army. We spoke to Dr. Patrick R. Jennings, Ph.D., Programs & Education Specialist at the National Museum of the United States Army, to hear more about this great museum, and about it's World War I artifacts.

We heard about the recent placement of your World War I-era tank at the museum construction site. Tell us about this tank! Whose is it, where did it come from, how did you hear about it? How did you get it here?

Dr. Patrick R. Jennings pictured inside the 2-man crew compartment of the Renault FT-17 tank during an inspection. (U.S. Army Photo)Dr. Patrick R. Jennings pictured inside the 2-man crew compartment of the Renault FT-17 tank during an inspection. (U.S. Army Photo)This particular tank, a Renault FT-17 with serial number 1516, was built by the French. The tank mounts a short-nosed 37mm gun in an armored plate, rotating, turret that had slight angles to deflect enemy fire.

It carried a crew of two – a commander/gunner and a driver - in a remarkably small space with the engine exposed just behind them. Despite the small size, the Renault FT-17 proved a capable combat vehicle so the US selected the design as the foundation for America’s first tank, the M-1917.

Final design and production of the M-1917 would, however, take quite some time, so the French supplied several FTs to the fledging American Tank Corps.

Serial number 1516 was passed down the line from depot to front line unit where it landed with Company C, 344th Tank Battalion. Dubbed the “Five of Hearts,” a tactical identifying mark, the tank went into action St. Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

I will tell you more about the storied combat history of this tank, but once it was accepted as Army property it remained just that.

Because of her history she was shipped back to the US as a “war hero” and placed at the first home of the US Army Tank Corps, Fort Meade, Maryland. Fort Meade has been home to the “Five of Hearts” since about 1919.

So, hearing about it, or finding it, wasn’t hard – she is a legendary piece of US Army history.

Read more: Four questions for Dr. Patrick R. Jennings, National Museum of the United States Army

Four questions for Nathan Bynum

Arlington, VA during World War I: "The effects of the war were not always far away."

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

Nathan Bynum Nathan Bynum Nathan Bynum works as an Instructor/Producer with the "Document Arlington" community video project. He has spent the several past months leading a group of film students in the creation of a documentary film about Arlington County and WWI. Members of the World War I Centennial Commission attended a special screening of the film last week, and it was amazing. It shows a truly grassroots effort by local high students to engage with WWI in their community. We caught up with Nathan recently, and asked him about the World War I film project.

You and your students worked on a pretty special WWI video project. Tell us about it. How did the idea come about? 

The project is a partnership between Arlington Independent Media and Arlington County's Historic Preservation Program. We choose three paid high school interns who work to create a documentary on a topic chosen by the Historic Preservation Program.

This year, the topic chosen was Arlington during World War I, which was 100 years ago. Students were given a lot of freedom with how they went about covering the topic. They wanted to interview experts on the time-period, but they also brought a lot of their own knowledge and research to the topic. They were also encouraged to come up with their own story line, which focused on a high school student doing a project about World War I who decides to focus on Arlington's role. The effects of the war were not always far away.

Read more: Arlington, VA during World War I: "The effects of the war were not always far away."

WWI "Teaching Literacy Through History" educator development sessions in six cities for 2017-18

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

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has allied with the American Legion, and with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (GLI), to produce a series of programs to teach educators about World War I topics.legion lehrman logos

Using a $50,000 grant from the American Legion, the Gilder Lehrman Institute will produce World War I-themed "Teaching Literacy through History" seminars in 6 cities throughout the 2017/2018 calendar school year. The Centennial Commission will assist in providing curriculum content, communication support, and other resources.

The locations of the six seminars will be Anchorage, AK, Albuquerque, NM, Louisville, KY, San Diego, CA, Providence, RI, and Detroit, MI.

"Teaching Literacy through History" is a GLI professional development program which presents teachers with literacy skills and tools for using primary sources in the classroom that directly benefit student understanding and performance. For these seminars, teachers will work with eminent historians to deepen their knowledge of World War I, and will leave the sessions with classroom‐ready lesson plans and resources on World War I, to take back to their schools.

For these seminars, teachers will work with eminent historians to deepen their knowledge of World War I, and will leave the sessions with classroom‐ready lesson plans and resources on World War I, to take back to their schools.
The goal of the program is to help teachers across the country to engage their students on the causes, the human aspects, the results, and the ultimate lessons from World War I, in order to bring the era to life.

Read more: WWI "Teaching Literacy Through History" educator development sessions in six cities for 2017-18

National World War I Museum and Memorial launches contest to reward teachers 

By Mike Vietti
Director of Marketing, Communications and Guest Services, National World War I Museum and Memorial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This isn’t just an apple…

As teachers and students go back to school, the National World War I Museum and Memorial announced the launch of a contest to “Send a Deserving Teacher on an Adventure!”

Adventure logo with MuseumThe Museum is offering the public the opportunity to give something special to deserving teachers who make a difference in the lives of students with the grand prize winner receiving a trip to Kansas City for a personalized experience at America’s official World War I museum and memorial.

“The mission of the National World War I Museum and Memorial is to educate the public about the Great War’s enduring impact,” said National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor. “Teachers are absolutely essential in the public understanding how the first truly global conflict continues to affect us to this day and we’re thrilled to offer a reward for their dedication and commitment.”

Between now and Friday, Sept. 8, the public may enter a deserving teacher for the opportunity to win an adventure to Kansas City that includes airfare, hotel accommodations and admission to the National World War I Museum and Memorial for two (2) people (the nominated teacher and a guest of their choice), where they can meet with Museum collections and education staff and enjoy a personalized Museum experience.

Read more: National World War I Museum and Memorial Launches Contest to Reward Teachers

Phil Eaton–The Coast Guard’s Winged Warrior of WWI

By William H. Thiesen, Ph.D.
Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian
via the Coast Guard Compass web site

The first German submarine operations on U.S. waters took place not in World War II, but during World War I. With responsibility to guard the coast, the U.S. Coast Guard had several encounters with these early U-boat attacks, including those of U-156. Armed with 18 torpedoes, four deck guns and a supply of underwater mines, U-156 began its campaign against East Coast shipping in June 1918. During this cruise, the crew sank nearly 35 vessels including the armored cruiser USS San Diego, which was sunk by one of its mines on July 19 with the loss of six lives.

Second Lt. Philip Eaton photographed at the U.S. Navy’s flight training school in Pensacola, Florida. (Courtesy of the Coast Guard Aviation Association)Second Lt. Philip Eaton photographed at the U.S. Navy’s flight training school in Pensacola, Florida. (Courtesy of the Coast Guard Aviation Association)The Coast Guard and its aviators played a vital role in the World War I war effort. In 1916, Congress authorized the Coast Guard to develop an aviation branch, including aircraft, air stations and pilots. Coast Guard officers began to train at the Navy’s Pensacola Naval Flight School. Lt. Philip Bentley Eaton was one of these officers.

Eaton’s early passion had focused on engineering and technology. He matriculated from the prestigious Webb Academy of Naval Architecture. After graduating from Webb in 1907, Eaton received an appointment as a cadet engineer in the Revenue Cutter Service School of Instruction, graduating with the class of 1908. Over the next six years, he saw service aboard cutters stationed in Baltimore, New York, Milwaukee, New London, Conn., San Juan, and Port Townsend, Wash. In 1915, Eaton was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Bear and served there for two years before departing in 1917 for flight training at Pensacola.

On April 6, 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany and the Coast Guard was transferred from the Treasury Department to the U.S. Navy. After earning his wings as a naval aviator in October, the Navy assigned Eaton as executive officer of Naval Air Station Montauk (Long Island), New York, and eight months later received command of Naval Air Station Chatham on Cape Cod. Chatham supported two dirigibles and seven seaplanes with a complement of 245 officers and men. After two weeks on the job, Eaton received a field promotion, rising from second lieutenant to captain of engineers, the equivalent of the Navy’s rank of lieutenant commander.

Late in the morning on Sunday, July 21, U-156 emerged from the hazy waters of Cape Cod to prey on American coastal shipping. The U-boat crew located the towboat Perth Amboy and four wooden barges lined up in a towline. Rather than waste precious torpedoes on the slow-moving Perth Amboy and its consorts, U-156’s commander ordered his crew to shell the vessel and its barges with deck guns. Some of the long shots landed on Nauset Beach, the first foreign cannon fire to hit U.S. shores since the War of 1812 and the only enemy shells to hit American soil during World War I.

Read more: Phil Eaton–The Coast Guard’s Winged Warrior of WWI

Chambersburg WWI 'Doughboy' gets a face lift

By Jim Hook
via the Public Opinion web site

Chambersburg doughboyThe Doughboy statue at the intersection of Lincoln Way East and Queen Street in Chambersburg, PA will soon get a facelift. The statue sits in the area also known as the "East Point."(Photo: Markell DeLoatch, Public Opinion)CHAMBERSBURG – One hundred fifty guardsmen camped at Wolf Lake this week 100 years ago.

They had answered the call to fight in the Great War, known later as World War I.

In less than a year Company C of the 8th Pennsylvania Infantry would lose soldiers for whom local veterans’ clubs are named. Before the “war to end all wars” was over, 116,000 members of the U.S. military would die. Nearly 100 of them were from the Chambersburg area.

The townspeople honored their war dead in 1923 with a plaque of 86 names and a Doughboy statue at the East Point of Lincoln Way East.

This week a preservationist is cleaning and sealing the bronze statue.

“The statute has been there a while,” said Eugene Hough, a field restoration specialist with Saving Hallowed Ground. “It’s extremely important that the monuments stand to tell the story of the past and to keep an open dialogue. We drive by them very quickly and don’t realize what they are.”

Hough, who often dresses in a WWI uniform, also is bringing a giant American flag for a ceremony on Friday afternoon to honor the soldiers and citizens who served in the Great War.

He said he hopes to reach students and veterans with the preservation work.

“We don’t have WWI veterans alive anymore,” he said. “It was a horrific engagement. There’s a lot to learn from it.”

About 10 million soldiers from all counties died in the global conflict (1914-18). The first modern war is recognized for machine guns, armored tanks, biplanes, mustard gas, “shell shock” and the stalemate of trench warfare.

Read more: Chambersburg WWI 'Doughboy' gets a face lift

World War I American Veterans Centennial silver dollar design unveiling set for Oct. 9

By Paul Gilkes
via the Coin World web site

Designs selected from a juried competition for the 2018 World War I American Veterans Centennial silver dollar will be unveiled Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Association of the United States Army annual meeting and exposition.

Coin WorldApproved designs for the 2018 World War I American Veterans Centennial silver dollar are expected to be unveiled Oct. 9 in Washington, D.C., nearly 10 months after they were originally scheduled to be released. On April 6, 1917, the U.S. joined its allies – Britain, France, and Russia – to fight in World War I. When the design competition was launched in February 2016, the contest calendar indicated release of the adopted designs would be announced in January 2017.

World War I Centennial Commission officials confirmed Aug. 29 the October unveiling date, but noted the event will not include release of the obverse and reverse designs for five American Armed Services 1-ounce .999 fine silver medals honoring the five branches of the U.S. military — United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marines, United States Air Force and United States Coast Guard.

While the commemorative silver dollar is congressionally authorized, the five silver medals are being produced separately by the U.S. Mint to augment the coin program. U.S. Mint officials have not announced details yet for the silver dollar release, although World War I Centennial Commission officials are anticipating a January issue.

Read more: World War I American Veterans Centennial silver dollar design unveiling set for Oct. 9

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