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

World War I Centennial News


 

American Legion & VFW support rescue of ailing World War One memorials

via the Baltimore Post-Examiner

WASHINGTON, DC—The two largest veterans groups in the United States, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), with a combined membership of 3,700,000, have signed on to support a national initiative designed to rescue ailing World War One memorials.Memorial

The program, 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS was created by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago, IL. as a $200,000 matching-grant challenge for groups who undertake the restoration, preservation or conservation of local World War One memorials.

After World War One, thousands of memorials were erected across the country to honor the local veterans who served. 100 years later, many of these memorials are in need of restoration or repair.

“Many of these memorials were originally established by local American Legion and VFW posts in those communities, and so it is fantastic to have these same organizations join in our effort to repair, conserve and restore our WWI American heritage”, explained Dan Dayton, Executive Director of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission.

Read more: American Legion & VFW support rescue of ailing World War One memorials

Four Questions for Paul Glenshaw and Mark Wilkins

"They command our respect and remembrance today."

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

Among the World War One community are a rare handful of experts on early aviation. Paul Glenshaw and Mark Wilkins are two such people. Paul is a filmmaker and writer, Mark is a historical consultant and master model builder. They both worked together recently on a pair of remarkable film projects, celebrating the earliest American aviators in the war. These film projects are 'The Millionaires’ Unit' and 'The Lafayette Escadrille'. Paul and Mark took some time to talk to us about their projects, and about their passion for World War One aviation.

You folks have another awesome World War One aviation movie project, Lafayette Escadrille, to go with your first one, The Millionaires' Unit. Tell us about both projects, and what stories you tell with each.

The Millionaires’ Unit was completed in 2015 after seven years’ work by co-directors Darroch Greer and Ron King working with the Humanus Documentary Films Foundation. The Lafayette Escadrille film brings that team together with aviation writer and filmmaker Paul Glenshaw, aviation historian and photographer Dan Patterson, and historical consultant and master model builder Mark Wilkins. Dan and Paul collaborated on an article and a museum exhibit about the Escadrille in 2014 and 2015. After reading Paul and Dan’s article, Darroch reached out to say we need to make the film. Mark brings great expertise in the history of the war, the Escadrille, and how their airplanes actually flew.LEFilmTeam500Members of the Lafayette Escadrille movie team (l to r): Mark Wilkins, Dan Patterson, Paul Glenshaw, Darroch Greer.

These projects together tell the story of the remarkable self-starters who created American combat aviation in the Army and the Navy. Both the Lafayette Escadrille and the Millionaires’ Unit were created by volunteers before the United States entered the war. The characters in each are such extraordinary individuals that as storytellers we know there’s no way we’d be able to make them up.

Both were led by visionaries who foresaw the airplane as a formidable and possibly decisive weapon. Both had members who paid the ultimate sacrifice. And when the United States entered the war, the pilots from each were desperately needed to form the backbone of the U.S. Army Air Service and the Navy’s Flying Service, respectively.

There are differences, of course. The Escadrille came first, was formed in France, and was created to defend France. Its pilots ultimately served in the U.S. Army when the U.S. entered the war. The First Yale Unit (or Millionaires’ Unit) came second, was formed at Yale, and became the first Naval Air Reserve Unit, and was created to defend the U.S. The Escadrille drew from soldiers and ambulance drivers serving across the Western Front, all of them coming together to form a cohesive unit. The Yale Unit began as a cohesive group, and then was split up to serve across the Navy’s theaters in the U.S., England, and France.

Mostly, though, the two films are about the extraordinary characters who had the vision and courage to volunteer to fight in the most difficult circumstances and risk everything for the sake of democracy and freedom. They found themselves thrust together in the middle of a war unprecedented in scale and horror which caught them and indeed the world by surprise.

Read more: Four Questions for Paul Glenshaw and Mark Wilkins

National World War One Museum and Memorial to get $6.4 million upgrade

By Rae Daniel
via kshb.com

Museum upgradeA $6.4 million project is coming to the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

Chief Executive Officer and President of the National World War I Museum and Memorial, Matthew Naylor says 3,500 square feet of space will soon be home to a new gallery.

“We're really excited about the future here at the National WWI Museum and Memorial and this space that we're standing in now is an unfinished area within the envelope of the building that we're going to be creating a new gallery in,” Naylor said.

Naylor says it will have a climate controlled environment.

“In an old building like this, we sometimes get intrusions of water, we want to make sure this space is absolutely secure,” he said. “And that'll provide this high quality, climate control environment for us to bring treasures of other countries right here to Kansas City to exhibit.”

Read more: National World War One Museum and Memorial to get $6.4 million upgrade

Four Questions for Michael Telzrow

"Stories of real individuals who served their country with dedication and honor"

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

On July 14, 2016, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued a proclamation establishing July 25, 2016 through November 11, 2018 as the World War One Centennial Commemoration throughout the state of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Centennial Committee was established, and an agenda of activities, exhibits, and events started to take shape.The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is proud to partner with the Wisconsin World War One Centennial Committee, to tell the remarkable story of our World War I veterans during the coming months. We are also thrilled to host the Wisconsin Committee web page on our website.To mark the opening of the new site, we talked to Michael Tezlow., a Wisconsin Centennial Committee member, and the Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

Wow -- The Wisconsin WW1CC website is now live! What does that mean, and where do we find it?

Michael TezlowIt means that we are now able to share the stories of Wisconsin WW1 veterans and the activities of the Wisconsin WW1 Centennial Commission, and partners, as they relate to the centennial observance. Of course, it can be located on the National WW1 Centennial Commission website. It also means that we, at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, will be able to share with web visitors our stories and rich collection of WW1 material, as well as the roster of Wisconsin upcoming events.

You folks have a pretty full slate of activities coming up already -- an exhibit, a symposium, the database, etc. Tell us about them.

The largest collaborative effort will culminate in a scholarly symposium on Oct 27-28, here in Madison. The symposium is a joint sponsorship effort between the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Wisconsin WWI Centennial Commission, The War in Society and Culture Program, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. There will be a call for papers coming out after January 1, 2017, and we expect a good response. Jennifer Keene, author of Doughboys, The Great War, and the Remaking of America will open the symposium on the evening of October 27, 2017 at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison. Activities include tours of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and, of course, the presentation of papers on October 28.

Read more: Four Questions for Michael Telzrow

Four Questions for Valerie Chapeau

"Remembering the friendship that evolved between the Doughboys and the population"

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

During the Spring 1917, a few weeks after the United States entered World War One, the American General Staff decided that the southern sector of the Loir-et-Cher Department would become a key element in its military strategy. An extensive infrastructure took shape under the American Service of Supply Command (camps, depots, communication lines, transport). Among the many localities that welcomed Uncle Sam's Doughboys, an outstanding example is the Cher Valley and in particular, the town of Gièvres. The U.S. Army Engineer Corps arrived in August 1917 and began construction of an immense supply camp, including a cold storage plant that supplied food for American forces dispatched from Dunkerque to Italy. The sector comprising Noyers-sur-Cher/Saint-Aignan was occupied by the 41st Division as a Replacement Camp. Its mission was to receive and maintain personnel, including classification, training, and assignment of soldiers to replace those wounded or killed in battle. 100 years later, the communities and associations located in the Cher Valley and in the Sologne are celebrating this historical episode by organizing a span of cultural activities. Valerie Chapeau, historian for the French region of Vallée du Cher et du Romorantinais, fills us in on what the region has planned.

The vallée du Cher et du Romorantinais played a key role in World War I for the American troop. Tell us about what happened there.

Quickly after the declaration of war, the American General Staff decided to make of the center of France, and particularly the south of the Loir-et-Cher department, an intermediate base between the landing ports (Saint-Nazaire, Brest) and the fighting areas. This rural territory, well connected by railroad lines, was the ideal place to maintain, train or cure soldiers. Moreover, General J. J. Pershing had made a policy to provide each soldier who landed in France 30 days of training & support. One ton of materiel also arrived for each of them.Valérie Chapeau 200

To store and deliver this material in the good time, the Service of Supply chose Gièvres, a community located in the southern of the Loir-et-Cher department, to built an immense supply base capable of furnishing food, clothing, and technical, medical and communications equipment for an army of two million men. This depot was called the G.I.S.D (General Intermediate Supply Depot). Its construction began in august 1917. The hugest cold storage plant of the period, after those of Chicago, was also built in order to provide fresh food for American forces dispatched from Dunkerque to Italy.

In February 1918 the first center for airplane assembly was built in Gièvres and Pruniers-en-Sologne. The Air Service Production Center n°2, completed the two air service bases, settled near Tours and Issoudun, which formed and trained pilots. This center was quickly followed by a plant for automobile assembly, which reached a total of 20,000 vehicles by 1919. More than 80,000 American men served in these camps.

The south of the Loir-et-Cher department was also chosen to become the settlement of the 41st division. In the first days of January 1918, an immense camp made of tents and baracks settled in the meadows of the community of Noyers-sur-Cher. Other camps were built, during the following months in the communities of the whole Cher valley.

Read more: Four Questions for Valerie Chapeau

Hamby sworn as new Commissioner for the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

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

WASHINGTON, DC—The United States World War One Centennial Commission has a new commissioner, Mr. Terry Hamby, who was appointed by Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell. He was officially sworn in as a Commissioner at the Commission offices in Washington on Wednesday, 14 December 2016.HambyCommissioner Terry Hamby

Commissioner Hamby joins fellow commissioners Colonel Robert J. Dalessandro (Chairman), Edward L. Fountain (Vice Chairman), Jerry L. Hester, Colonel Thomas Moe, Ambassador Theodore Sedgwick, Dr. Libby O’Connell, Dr. Monique Seefried, Major General Alfred A. Valenzuela, Debra Anderson, and Dr. Matthew Naylor.

Mr. Hamby is a veteran of the Vietnam War. During the War he served as a member of the Naval Air Wing. After the war he served in the U.S. Army reserves until he retired in 1993. Mr. Hamby is also a businessman, and was founder and CEO of BMAR & Associates, which provides services to the Department of Defense.

He comes from a family full of military tradition. His great grandfather served in the union army during the Civil War, and his grandfather served in World War One.

Centennial Commission Chair Robert Dalessandro welcomed the new appointee. “This is great news for us. Mr. Hamby comes to our commission with decades of public service, along with significant skills in leadership and management. We are very pleased to be joined by Commissioner Hamby in our efforts to tell the World War One story”.

Read more: New Commissioner for the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

Four Questions for Christopher A. Warren

"WW1 fundamentally changed the relationship between the American public and the Federal government"

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

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) have teamed together to create a joint exhibit on the First World War. Arlington National Cemetery Historian Christopher A. Warren Talks about the timely new exhibit and how it came to be, what surprises the creation of exhibit provided, and why it is so important to remember those who wore the uniform of their nation in World War One.

The Arlington National Cemetery has a new Visitors Center exhibit that is really interesting. Tell us about it.

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) have teamed together to create a joint exhibit on the First World War. The exhibit will mainly focus on the American experience in the war, and how ANC and ABMC were focal points for remembrance and commemoration of the Great War. Arlington visitors centerArlington National Cemetery Visitors CenterOur exhibit is thematic in nature, covering everything from the arrival of the U.S. on the battlefield, to the influence of technology on the war, from the experiences African-Americans and Women during the war, to the repatriation of fallen service members back to the U.S. and ANC, as well as the creation of ABMC cemeteries overseas.

We emphasize and explore how ANC and ABMC became partners in commemoration throughout the 1920s-1930s. Although ABMC cemeteries are overseas and ANC is here in Virginia, both venues had a significant impact on the American public as locations for grieving and solace, whether at the burial site of a loved one, or visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, who initially represented all unknown and unrecovered service members who gave, as Abraham Lincoln said, “the last full measure of devotion.”

The exhibit, located in the ANC Welcome Center, will officially open on 6 April 2017, the 100th year anniversary of the U.S. declaration of war on Imperial Germany. The exhibit will remain in the ANC Welcome Center until 2021, the 100th year anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Read more: Four Questions for Christopher A. Warren

Four Questions for Kevin Fitzpatrick

"Meet others who are passionate about living history"

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

Kevin Fitzpatrick is a noted historian, reenactor, author, and living history storyteller. He is based in NYC, and he has particular interest in how his city was involved with & impacted by World War One. As a reenactor, he is leading an event, called the Doughboy Swap Meet, to help recruit new history buffs to the field, and also to help outfit reenactors who are already active within that community. He took a few moments to talk to us about the event taking place on February 17, 2017.

What is a Doughboy Swap and Sale?

Fitzpatrick leftKevin Fitzpatrick (left) in a Doughboy uniformIt is a one-day event in New York City for World War One reenactors to find uniforms and equipment, and to meet others who are passionate about living history. A proper Doughboy impression starts with a basic uniform. At this event we’ll bring together reenactors and vendors with items specific to Doughboys, from collar discs to helmets.

Why are you doing this? Who are you trying to reach?

As the centennial of America’s entry into the war approaches, more living history enthusiasts are being drawn into reenacting and Great War impressions. We see a steady increase in questions on social media and forums about getting into the hobby and how to get kitted up properly. There are a lot of reenactors in the New York region, and they can help those new to WW1 living history get properly equipped. Who we want to reach are both those that are already reenactors and want to swap or buy more gear, as well as meet those that want to begin an A.E.F. impression.

Read more: Four Questions for Kevin Fitzpatrick

Not Waiting for the Call: American Women Physicians and World War One

via wwionline.org

Womens HospitalThe modern weapons and tactics of World War One produced unprecedented conflict and carnage in Europe. France suffered the devastating effects of the war being fought on its soil, including a severe humanitarian crisis resulting from the bombardment of villages near the constantly-moving front lines. With the local village doctors away fighting at the front, the rural civilian population--already ailing from malnutrition and disease--were left even more vulnerable to illness and epidemics. Despite the widespread suffering, women physicians were not permitted by the European Allied countries, and later, the United States, to serve as officers in the military medical corps.

By 1917 when the U.S. entered the conflict, there was a shortage of workers for all types of jobs related to the war effort, including physicians – domestically and overseas. The need for the nation to mobilize for the war effort, and the growing professionalization of women accelerated the conversation about the role and status of women in the United States, where most were still denied the right to vote. Women doctors eagerly participated in this conversation, as many viewed it as their patriotic duty to use their medical skills during the war, to care for both civilians and soldiers.

With so many male doctors called away to combat, it seemed obvious to women physicians like Dr. Frances Van Gasken, Professor of Clinical Medicine at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, that the United States government would call upon them to fill the need for medical personnel.


Read more: Not Waiting for the Call: American Women Physicians and World War I

Commissioner James Whitfield, January 12, 1926–December 6, 2016

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

Jim WhitfieldJim Whitfield (Photo by The American Legion)The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission has received the sad news of the recent passing of our Commissioner James Whitfield. He was 90 years old.

The Centennial Commission Chair, Robert Dalessandro, expressed the sorrow felt by the entire Commission and staff. "Jim was a true gentleman and friend. We will all miss him. He will long be remembered for his dedication and work on behalf of veterans, and the World War One generation."

Fellow Commissioner Jerry Hester added "I will treasure his devotion and friendship".

James Seymour “Jim” Whitfield was born on January 12, 1926 in Warrensburg, Missouri, the son of William Henry “Dub” and Mary Virginia (Asbury) Whitfield. On January 3, 1957, he and Ruby Virginia Raker were united in marriage in Warrensburg. She preceded him in death on March 12, 1999. On July 19, 2003, he and Kathryn Henry were married in Louisiana, MO. She preceded him in death on March 26, 2013.

Read more: Commissioner James Whitfield, January 12, 1926-December 6, 2016

VFW joins $200,000 giveaway program to rescue ailing WW1 Memorials

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

WASHINGTON, DC—The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has become a Supporting Organization for the 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program.

Sponsored by the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS is a $200,000 matching grant program for groups who undertake the restoration, preservation or conservation of local World War One memorials.100C 100M Logo snip

After the war, thousands of World War One memorials were erected across the country to honor the local veterans who fought. 100 years later, many of these have fallen into obscurity and neglect fading from view as honors to those vets. The 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program was created to support up to 100 WW1 memorial rescue projects in 100 places around the country.

“The VFW strongly believes in honoring all who served as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This project allows us to take action at the local level in communities across the country to bring attention to those who served in World War One," said Debra Anderson, Quartermaster General for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Commissioner with the World War One Centennial Commission.

The 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program launched in July, 2016, and the grant application period runs until June 15, 2017. "Having the VFW as a supporting organization is a real benefit", said Theo Mayer, the 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program manager for the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. "With the help and support of the VFW's 1,300,000 members, we can expand the awareness of these available funds. Our mutual goal is to ensure the memory of World War One veterans, and the memorials placed all over America to honor their are remembered."

To help local VFW members to identify & adopt community World War One memorial projects, the 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS program managers have prepared new resources that are specially-tailored to VFW regional and local posts. These will be distributed in the coming weeks. Visit the 100 CITIES/100 MEMORIALS page for more information on the program.

Centennial commemoration to bring fresh look at 'Black Jack' Pershing

By Chuck Raasch
via the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WASHINGTON—It Pershing clipwas not the war that ended all wars, a fact that resonates in today’s long struggle to defeat terrorism.

World War One, which the United States entered in 1917 and helped win a year later, is easily passed over in the nation’s annals of conflict.

Even though nearly 4.7 million Americans served during the war and 116,516 were killed (more than half in non-combat deaths) and more than 200,000 wounded, it is no longer a memory for most. Monuments to Civil War generals and big memorials to the Vietnam War and World War II grace the capital’s mall and neighborhoods.

World War One? Not so much.

Even so, the centennial of the United State’s entry into that war will be modestly commemorated next year, and with a big Missouri twist.

“World War One has been kind of bookended between the Civil War and World War Two,” said Mitchell Yockelson, a military history specialist at the National Archives and Records Administration. “A lot of vets came back and never wanted to talk about it. Everyone and their cousin was trying to publish a book on the Civil War. By the time we were ready to embrace [World War I], World War II came along.”

Yockelson is the author of a book about Missouri native John “Black Jack” Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force that tipped the war for the French and British against Germany.

Read more: Centennial commemoration brings fresh look at Missourian 'Black Jack' Pershing

WW1 exhibition comes to Hampshire library

By Denise Moran
via the
Elgin Courier-News

ELGIN, IL— A soiree was held on Monday, December 5 at the Ella Johnson Memorial Public Library, 109 South State Street in Hampshire, to celebrate the arrival of the World War One Centennial Traveling Exhibition.

Hampshire and Burlington area vetsHampshire and Burlington area World War One veterans posed for this photo in 1919. (Photo via Denise Moran / The Courier-News)The exhibition is being sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and presented by Library of America in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Voices from War, Warrior Writers, Words After War, The National WWI Museum and Memorial, the United States World War One Centennial Commission, and Wounded Warrior Project.

World War One began in 1914. It ended when the treaty was signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, which was Nov. 11, 1918. The day is remembered as Armistice Day.

"The exhibition will be at the library until Thursday, Dec. 22," said Kelly Sheahan, reference specialist at the library. "We are fortunate to be one of the 50 libraries across the country to showcase this exhibition. We applied in July, and we learned in mid-August that we would host it. In addition, we received a $1,200 grant that we will use for WWI history and to recognize the service of veterans from other wars."

Read more: WWI exhibition comes to Hampshire library

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