previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
next arrow

Dispatch Newletter

The WWI Centennial Dispatch is a weekly newsletter that touches the highlights of WWI centennial and the Commission's activities. It is a short and easy way to keep tabs on key happenings. We invite you to subscribe to future issues and to explore the archive of previous issues.

update subscription preferences

View this in your browser

Header Image 09172019

March 2020


Photo with register webinar 04032020

On Friday, April 3, please join us for a virtual tour and construction update of the National WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. featuring the project's lead designer Joe Weishaar, project managers for Grunley Construction, and others. This is a great opportunity to get an insider perspective on this important project. We are practicing all CDC Covid-19 protocols, and are fortunate to be able to continue our mission to build the Memorial that will honor our WWI Veterans in our nation's capital for generations to come. Click on the photo above to register for the webinar on Friday, April 3.

"National World War I Memorial construction should give us pride"

"The coronavirus has shut down much of the nation," says Tom Rogan, "but construction at the National World War I Memorial rumbles on." Writing in the Washington Examiner newspaper in March, Rogan observes that the ongoing construction progress at the Memorial, "as far as it comports with public health needs", "is good news." Rogan points out that keeping the project moving forward on schedule "matters. It has stained the nation's honor that those who fought so long ago have not had a timeless memorial to their service." Click here to read the entire thoughtful and insightful article.

Why Don't We Celebrate the Doughboys as the 'Greatest Generation'?


"Why does the First World War get no respect in America?" asks author Michael Peck in an article on The National Interest web site this month. Peck notes that "over 100 years after America’s declaration of war on Germany on April 6, 1917, our nation’s participation in World War I is seldom remembered except for a few old statues on town squares." Peck wonders if "it has to do with why the war was fought" and how soon "the world was again engulfed by global war." Click here to read the entire article urging Americans to remember the "courage and commitment" of the Doughboys..

On International Women’s Day 2020, Remembering Women’s Roles in WWI

Hellp Girls small

Doran Cart, Senior Curator at The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO, published an article in Ms. magazine this month chronicling the "thousands of American women served in all duties overseas during World War I," on the occasion of International Women's Day. Noting that women served as "doctors, hospital administrators, ambulance and truck drivers, telephone operators, nurses, dietitians, physical therapists, reconstruction aides, entertainers, canteen workers, office workers, fundraisers and many other occupations," Doran also noted that while none were in combat roles, some lost their lives. Click here to read Doran's entire article on the extraordinary performance of American women in the Great War.

Petition asks for World War I monument to be placed in Martinsburg, WV town square

Martinsburg Doughboy ststue

Nearly a century after the World War I Doughboy monument in Martinsburg, West Virginia was installed in front of the historic Martinsburg post office, the impending sale of the Federal property has reignited a controversy from the 1920's about just where the statue should be located. Berkeley County, which own the sculpture, intends to place it in the county's War Memorial Park. The Martinsburg City Council has received a petition requesting the statue be placed in the town square. Click to read articles in the Herald-Mail newspaper and The Journal newspaper that outline a disagreement going back to the original placement of the memorial after World War I.

Decades-long World War I munitions cleanup in DC nears completion

DC munitions cleanup

The peaceful serenity of the neighborhood surrounding the stately home at 4825 Glenbrook Road, in the Spring Valley section of Northwest D.C., was matched by the potential danger and uncertainty of chemical agents buried beneath it. Almost eight years since heavy machinery knocked down the first bricks of the home that had been built atop a World War I chemical weapons testing and disposal site — known as the American University Experiment Station — the painstaking cleanup of what’s been called the “mother of all toxic dumps” is entering its final stages. Click here to read the entire story, and listen to the audio report.

Roanoke, Virginia fought a war against an influenza pandemic in 1918

Roanoake Red Cross

Perhaps 50 million people died worldwide during the flu outbreak in 1918-19, a number that included 675,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 12,000 Virginians died of the flu, 10 times more than died on the battlefields during World War I. Today, as Roanoke joins the rest of the world in trying to fend off another global pandemic, the response to the swift and deadly outbreak of influenza in the fall of 1918 still holds a few lessons.  Click here to learn more about how the city's health department and the Red Cross fought the the pandemic a century ago.

Doughboy MIA for March 2020

DOughboy MIA Generic image

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is SGT John T. Curran, M CO/316 INF/79 DIV, DWRIA while POW 07NOV1918.  John Thomas Curran was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 01AUG1891, the fifth of ten children born to James and Mary Curran. Mary Curran died in 1911; it is not believed James remarried. On draft registration day (05JUN1917) Curran listed his home address as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and his occupation as carpenter. He is described as tall and slender with grey eyes and dark brown hair. He claimed no exemption from service.

Curran was inducted into the service on 02NOV1917 at Allenton, Pennsylvania and sent to Camp Meade in Maryland for training, where he was assigned to Company M/316th Infantry Regiment / 79th Division. He would remain with this unit until his death. He was elevated in rank to Private First Class on 21JAN1918; Corporal ten days later on 31JAN1918; and Sergeant on 10JUN1918. He departed for overseas service with his unit on 09JULY1918 aboard the steamship France, departing from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Records show that SGT Curran was in Base Hospital #31 from 22SEPT1918 through 16OCT1918, cause unknown but likely as a result of the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic then sweeping the world. During this time the 79th Division participated in the assault on Montfaucon on 26 & 27SEPT1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, taking massive casualties in the process. It is very lucky that Curran missed this action – the 79th was pulled off the line by 30SEPT1918 for rest and refittment with replacements; after just five days on the line, the division was combat ineffective.

Curran rejoined the division at Verdun during this its refittment and wrote his last letter home from there dated 25OCT1918. On 03NOV1918 the 3rd/316th again went into action. During the heavy fighting on 06NOV1918, SGT Curran was severely wounded in the ankle by machine gun fire and taken prisoner. He was transported by to a house serving as German Base Hospital # 72 where he is reported to have died on 07NOV1918 of his wounds and been buried in the garden of the house, then serving as a cemetery for the hospital. His death was reported by the International Red Cross on 20MAR1919.

Following the war an investigation into Curran’s death and burial was conducted as late as 1926, and German authorities were questioned on the subject. Records are sparse but indicate German officials insisted at the time they knew nothing further than what had been reported. To date no further Graves Registration Service searchers' reports have been located. Curran is currently believed to be unrecovered, and Doughboy MIA maintains this case as open and under continued investigation.

Want to help in Curran’s case? Why not consider a donation to Doughboy MIA that can help us in our mission of making a full accounting of our missing US service personnel from WW!? Large or small – the size doesn’t matter. What does is that you care and remember. Give to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Commemorative Hat

Commemorative World War I Hat

Inspired by the iconic image of a U.S. Doughboy, you can wear your American pride with this Made in the USA hat.

An informal term for a member of the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, “Doughboys” especially used to refer to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War One. This poignant silhouette of a soldier in trench warfare serves as a reminder of those who sacrificed so much one century ago.

Hat features: Navy with white Doughboy embroidery.100% cotton, structured hat with contrasting pancake visor, sweatband and taping. 6 panel soft crown, pre-curved bill. Velcro closure features U.S. flag emblem on this exclusive commemorative hat. One Size Fits All.

Proceeds from the sale of this item will help to fund the building of the National World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included. 

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Frank Carson Davidson, Jr.

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of


Frank Carson Davidson, Jr.

Submitted by: Marianne (Dee) Dosch {granddaughter}

Frank Carson Davidson Jr. was born around 1894. Frank Davidson served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Frank Carson Davidson, Military Service Gunners Mate 3rd Class Ninth Naval District U.S. Naval Reserve Force

The First World War began in Europe on July 28th, 1914. As hard as the United States tried to stay out of WWI, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to enter The Great War on April 6th, 1917. It turned out to be one of the deadliest conflicts in history as over 18 million troops and civilians were killed during the more than four years of fighting. The Selective Service Act was passed on May 18th, 1917 requiring men between the ages of 21 to 31 to register for the U.S. Armed Forces.

On this one hundred year anniversary of my country entering into WWI, I wanted to know more about my grandfather who served in the armed forces during this time. With the help of my Aunt, his daughter Diana Davidson Carter, I was able to learn some facts about his time in the U.S. Navy. In an old box in her attic were his military records with the information that I compiled together, along with some old photographs, to write this story.

Read Frank Carson Davidson, Jr.'s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

update subscription preferences

View this in your browser

Header Image 09172019

February 2020

Construction fence cover

Phase 1 construction work continues at the site of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. The graphic construction fence covers, designed by Memorial architect Joseph Weishaar, have been installed, listing the key Memorial sponsors and organizations, along with information and photos. Passersby will be able to see through the panels to follow the ongoing construction work.

Our Forgotten Heroes:
Why don’t we talk about World War I?

"During the 'Great War', the United States of America lost over 116,000 of her troops in a span of only 19 months," writes Jessica Manfre on the We Are the Mighty web site.  "It can be argued that without American's force beside the allies, the war wouldn't have ended in victory, but a stalemate. History has documented this impressive and vital piece of our story. So why don't we talk about it and those incredible heroes that turned the tide for an entire world in the name of democracy?"  Click here to read the entire article about how "America failed its heroes by avoiding that chapter in its history."

Foundations & Legacy:
General John J. Pershing

"The Loot"

To the fresh-faced and naive cadets at the University of Nebraska, he was “The Loot.” Some 25 years later, he was “The General” to battle-hardened officers of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) at the end of World War I.  Writing in The Officer Review magazine, Kevin Upton explores how John J. Pershing's experiences on the university campus both shaped and presaged his success on the battlefield in World War I, and his enduring influence on military organizations a century later.  Click here to read the entire thoughtful article.

Lt. Col. Joseph H. Ward:
Doctor, surgeon, soldier

Joseph Ward

Leon Bates "came across Lt. Col. Joseph H. Ward’s name while doing research before returning to college, and came to appreciate his legacy while doing additional dissertation research." Writing in American Legion magazine, Bates notes that while digging further, "I discovered he was a medical trailblazer and early American Legion member whose achievements – decades before the civil-rights movement – have been largely forgotten." Click here to read the entire article, and find out how "this first-generation freedman became a successful physician, surgeon, entrepreneur, Army officer, hospital administrator, civic leader, and prominent member and commander of American Legion Post 107 in Indianapolis."

The Legacy of the World War I: Ft. Des Moines Black Officers Training Camps

Ft. Des Moines grads

One of the most overlooked and neglected stories of African-Americans struggling for their inalienable rights was embodied by the 2,369 Black men who volunteered for training in the two Black Officers Training Camps at Ft. Des Moines, Iowa from June to November, 1917. Hal Chase, professor of African American studies at Des Moines Area Community College, takes up the story of how two of the 2,000 men who trained at Ft. Des Moines and "perceived themselves as the vanguard of their race that would forge a new future" went on to become leaders in the Civil Rights movement. Click here to read Chase's entire article.

First Memorial to African-American Veterans of WWI Built in West Virginia

Kimball, West Virginia

When the United States entered World War 1, a platoon of 1,500 black soldiers from McDowell County, West Virginia  signed up for the fight.They served our country with distinction, and many were recognized with special honors for their service. A memorial dedicated specifically to the African-American soldiers of the First World War (the first memorial of its kind in the nation) opened in 1928 in Kimball, McDowell County.  Click here to learn more about how the memorial, like the soldiers who it was built to honor, was first a key part of the community, then neglected and forgotten, but now being restored again to its place and role of honor.

Innovative, team-taught class brings scale of World War I into focus through trip to European battlefields

Notre Dame class

More than 20 million people were killed and another 20 million or more were injured in World War I, but it’s difficult for Americans today to wrap their minds around just how catastrophic the conflict was. The last survivors have died, the war wasn’t fought on American soil, and it ended more than a century ago. But a group of Notre Dame students now has more than numbers, texts, or photos to help them understand the devastation. Click here to read more about how an interdisciplinary course combined "conventional battlefield analysis with the collective and individual things people did to understand and come to terms with the war."

Alabama teen was American WWI hero

Homer Givens

Homer Givens was 19 years old when he received the title of “America’s first World War I hero,” as well as one of France’s highest honors, the Croix de Guerre. Givens, born in Florence, Ala., also received a Purple Heart and is now honored on the Walk of Honor at Florence, AL’s River Heritage Park. Click here to read more about how "the unassuming, bespectacled young man" became "an unlikely hero" for his actions during a bloody battle with German forces in 1917.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Lest We Forget Book Cover

"Lest We Forget: The Great War"

World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library 

As the United States commemorates the centennial of World War I, one of the nation’s premier military history institutions pays tribute to the Americans who served and the allies they fought beside to defeat a resourceful enemy with a lavishly illustrated book.  It is an official product of the United States World War One Centennial Commission. The story of WWI is told through the memorable art it spawned―including posters from nations involved in the conflict―and a taut narrative account of the war’s signal events, its major personalities and its tragic consequences; and the timely period photographs that illustrate the awful realities of this revolutionary conflict. Most importantly, this book is a tribute to those who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and what would become the Air Force. Proceeds from the sale of this book help fund the new National WW1 Memorial in Washington, DC

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

John Brother Cade

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of


John Brother Cade

Submitted by: Johnette Brooks {GA WWI African American Historian}

John Brother Cade was born around 1894. John Brother Cade served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service

2nd Lt. John Brother Cade, 1894 – 1970, Elberton, GA
Southern University Library Namesake
| Historian | Author | Educator

By Johnette Brooks

John Brother Cade (aka John B.) was born on 19 October 1894 in Elberton, GA. He was the second child of William Richard and Sara Francis (Bradford) Cade. His siblings are his elder brother Luther (also a WWI Private); William Jr.; Dora J.; Luthura and Leola. He attended St. Paul’s CME Church grade school. In 1915, he graduated from Knox Institute and Industrial School in Athens, GA. He was an early member of the C.M.E. or Colored Methodist Church.

Shortly after entering college, John became one of the first to volunteer for the new WWI Officers School in 1917. On 12 June, he was plowing his daddy’s field during the summer college break when he received the notice of his appointment shortly after 8AM. After refusing to pay double the bus fare to a negro man in Elberton with a car, he took the Greyhound bus and arrived too late to take the 3:40PM, non-stop train the Army provided to Iowa. So, he boarded the Dixie Flyer the next day and immediately saw faces he recognized. He first saw (future 1 Lt.) Pierce M. Thompson, the Albany Normal and Industrial School principal; then William Robinson, an Albany teacher; John J. James, a mail carrier from Thomasville.

Read John Brother Cade's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

update subscription preferences

View this in your browser

Header Image 09172019

January 2020

COnstruction work 01302020

Phase I construction work is underway at the site of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. A construction fence now surrounds the site. Click the photo for more information and photos of the ongoing work.

The Evolution Of A Modernist Memorial

Land Collective memorial snip

"Historically-significant landscapes require a nuanced approach to managing change, one that is respectful of the past, but that lifts the bell jar, so that history can be made accessible to twenty-first century society. Such is the case with our work on Pershing Park in Washington, D.C., revivifying a modernist construct redefined as a national memorial and a welcoming place of urban respite." So says David Rubin, the Landscape Architect for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. Click here to read his entire thoughtful essay about how his team strove to find "a balance between the preservation of a culturally significant landscape and the creation of a fitting national memorial within a twenty-first-century urban park. "

World War I Planted the Seeds of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States

Afraicn American Sailors WWI

The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s expansive new exhibition, “We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity,” focuses on both soldiers (and sailors) and civilians to explore the experiences and sacrifices of African Americans during the war, and how their struggles for civil rights intensified in its aftermath. Click here to read more about how “World War I was a transformative event for the world, but also a transformative experience for African Americans.

More than the Harlem Hellfighters: WWI, Black History Month, and the Classroom

Grave Marker African American WWI

Black History Month "provides teachers an important opportunity to highlight diversity too often overlooked in classrooms. World War I content can assist in teaching diversity with lesson plans that highlight the service, sacrifice and heartbreak of African American World War I soldiers and sailors," says Paul LaRue, educator and former member of the Ohio World War I Centennial Committee. Click here to read more, and find great educational resources produced in Ohio that can be used in schools everywhere during Black History Month in February.

Florham Park, New Jersey American Legion Post 43: Pvt. Frank A. Patterson

Frank Patterson obit

American Legion Post 43 in Florham Park, New Jersey is named after Pvt. Frank A. Patterson of Madison, NJ.  Patterson was struck down by the greatest killer of the war, against which all of his training and equipment provided no defense. The battlefields of World War I are well known for their ability to take human life on an industrial scale. But the war’s most insidious killer was disease. Infectious diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal meningitis, and tuberculosis claimed the lives of tens of thousands of American soldiers. Click here to read more about Frank Patterson's tragic fate, and his service that is remembered today in an American Legion post.

Manuel “Mannie” E. Reams remembered by American Legion Post 182

Mannie Reams

American Legion Post 182 is named after Manuel “Mannie” E. Reams, who served in the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Reams was born in February 1890 in Suisun, California. He attended local schools in the area and, between the years 1910 and 1915, made a name for himself playing semi-pro baseball where his teammates gave him the nickname “Babe.” But Reams left the ball fields for the battlefields of World War I, never to return. Click here to read more about a hero in sports and real life is remembered by his hometown American Legion post.

Before they were famous on screen, they served on the front lines of World War I


Before Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains squared off in the classic movie Casablanca, both were among the many 20th century films stars who saw active military service in World War I. As did so many others in Hollywood and elsewhere, both actors carried scars from their service for the rest of their lives. As the 2020 Oscar awards approach in February, this is a good time to read more about Bogart, Rains, and the other famous actors whose Great War military service helped shape their characters, both on and off the silver screen.

Why World War I films, like ‘1917,’ have a different feel than those about WWII

1917 snip

Lewis Beale, writing in the Los Angeles Times, asserts that Director Sam Mendes’ new film, “1917” is "in its own way, every World War I movie in microcosm: the trenches, the scarred battlefields, the rats, the gruesome deaths, the utter futility of a conflict fought over minuscule pieces of land; a war that seems to make no sense, despite the heroism of its combatants." Click here to read more about how cinematic storytelling about war differs between WWI and WWII, and also between movie makers in America and those in the rest of the world.

Doughboy MIA for January 2020

DOughboy MIA Generic image

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is Private Charles B. Jeffries, born 21 July 1892 in Columbus, Ohio, the only son of Van and Ada Jeffries. He and his sister Mary would grow up in Columbus. Charles’ draft card shows him to have been a time keeper at the Ralston Car Company on registration day, and he tried to claim exemption for having a ‘bad throat’. He was 5’6” tall, blond, and slight of stature.

Bad throat or not, Charles received his draft call in May, 1918 and on the 31st of that month was inducted into the army at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. He trained with Battery C, 15th Battalion, Field Artillery Replacement Draft before sailing for overseas service with the 14th Battery, Field Artillery Replacement Draft (part of the Camp Jackson July Automatic Replacement Draft) on his 26th birthday, 21 July 1918.

Once in France, in August Jeffries was sent as a replacement to the 77th Division, by then heavily engaged in combat in the Vesle sector, and assigned to Battery D, 305th Field Artillery. As an inexperienced replacement, he was assigned duty as a runner with the battery. In September, when the 77th moved into the Argonne Forest, Private Jeffries, along with Private Thomas G. Sadler, found himself attached as runner to Lieutenant John P. Tiechmoeller, who by then was the artillery liaison officer from Battery D assigned to 1st Battalion, 308th Infantry. Lieutenant Tiechmoeller’s job was to assist the infantry in its attack forward by calling in artillery fire on stubborn targets of resistance and targets of opportunity. However, in the jungle of the Argonne this job was dubious at best, and the three artillerymen were looked upon with a certain amount of derision.

By October 3rd, Jeffries, Sadler and Tiechmoeller found themselves in the Charlevaux Ravine as part of Major Whittlesey’s ‘Lost Battalion’. There, on 4 October, while surrounded in that ravine, Whittlesey’s men faced an hour and a half artillery barrage by their own division’s guns, from 2:30 pm until about 4:00 pm; a situation inadvertently set in motion by a set of incorrect map coordinates sent back by Lieutenant Tiechmoeller the previous day. It was during that terrible barrage that Lt. Tiechmoeller later recalled seeing Private Jeffries running for the cover of his funk hole in the hillside. That was the last anyone saw of him.

When Tiechmoeller – himself wounded during the barrage – later went to search for Jeffries after the position was relieved, all he found was the boys smashed in the funk hole. Ironically, Private Jeffries was more than likely killed by fire from the guns of his own battery.

Though no trace of Jeffries was ever found, there were five sets of remains from the episode in the Charlevaux Ravine that remain unidentified to this day.

Would YOU like to be a part of our mission of discovering what happened to our missing Doughboys from WW1? Of course you would, and you CAN! Simply make a donation to the cause and know you played a part in making as full an accounting as possible of these men. Large or small doesn’t matter – that you cared enough to help does. Visit to make your tax deductible donation to our non-profit project today, and remember:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise


15 oz White Ceramic
WWI Centennial Mug

Featuring the iconic Doughboy silhouette flanked by barbed wire so prevalent during WWI, you can enjoy your favorite beverage in this 15-ounce ceramic mug and honor the sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers, sailors, and Marines.  

Proceeds from the sale of this item will help build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Harold Edward Carlson

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of


Harold Edward Carlson

Submitted by: Robert E. Carlson {Grandson}

Harold Edward Carlson born around 1892. Harold Carlson served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Harold Carlson, born Harald Eugen Karlsson, on November 3, 1892, in Norrköping,Östergötland, Sweden, was orphaned in 1900, when his father died. He immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, to live with his mother's sister, Mathilde Jensen and his uncle Jens (John) Jensen. It was a crowded house with his sister, another aunt, three cousins and a border, who was my grandmother's brother.

Harold drove a horse-drawn wagon for a warehouse business, as a young man. When the war broke out, he was inducted as a teamster. Harold kept a notebook that listed his duty stations from his induction to his discharge. This is his entry: "May 28, 1918 left home for Camp Upton. Left Upton June 13, 1918 for Camp Johnston, Fla. Arrived the 16th. Left Johnston Aug. 2. To Camp Hill 4. From Hill to France 14. Arrived in Brest 26. Sept. 4 to Sougy 8th (arrived). From Sougy June 2, 1919. From Lemunox 3, 1919. St. Gearvas 12th."

Read Harold Edward Carlson's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

update subscription preferences

View this in your browser

Header Image 09172019

December 2019

National WWI Memorial Is Under Construction!


Construction Launch 2019

(December 12, 2019) Key leaders joined the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission on the site of the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC to mark the start of construction. (Left to right) National Park Service Acting Director David Vela; Commission Special Advisor Admiral Mike Mullen; Commission Chair Terry Hamby; Commission Special Advisor Senator John Warner; and U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.

Construction Permit received for the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC; first phase work is now underway

The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has received a building permit from the National Park Service (NPS) for the first construction phase of the new National World War I Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Key leaders gathered on the Memorial site on December 12 to mark the start of construction, including Commission Chair Terry Hamby, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, National Park Service Acting Director David Vela, Commission Special Advisors Senator John Warner and Admiral Mike Mullen, and others.

The first phase of construction will be a 360-day project to rebuild the former Pershing Park, and prepare the site for the eventual installation of the Memorial bronze sculpture when it is completed. The building permit was awarded after the Memorial design was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission earlier in 2019.

Click here to read more about the construction kickoff, and the road ahead to complete the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

Honor the Doughboys with Year-End Gift

Come Along Wave

It's been an an incredibly dynamic year for the Doughboys. In late August, sculptor Sabin Howard moves his studio from the Bronx to Englewood, NJ to accommodate the "full size" sculpting of the 58 foot long, 38 character bronze relief sculpture called "A Soldier's Journey". The final Memorial design is approved, and first phase construction has begun. It is your continued support that is making all this possible. So we ask you to please include the new World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. in your tax-deductible year-end giving. Click here to donate today!

Valor Medals project will advance in 2020

valor medal wave

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, signed on December 20, requires the service secretaries to re-examine the records of African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Jewish American, and Native American veterans of World War I who earned medals for valor, and decide whether any of them should be upgraded to the nation’s highest military honor. The Valor Medals Review Task Force, a joint project by the World War I Centennial Commission and the George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War at Park University in Parkville, Mo., has identified World War I service records that the service secretaries can use to determine whether they should be reviewed further to be considered for the Medal Of Honor. Click here to read more about this long-sought opportunity to be sure no Doughboy deserving the nation's highest honor is left overlooked.

Spokane community unites to restore neglected World War I Memorial bridge

Spokane bridge WWI memorial

Spokane, WA Daughters of the American Revolution chapter member Rae Anna Victor was chatting with a local historian about the Argonne Bridge in the Millwood section, noting "how sad it was that the plaques had been taken off the Argonne Bridge because now hardly anyone knew the origins of the name. Both of us agreed that it needed to be rectified." From this seed sprouted an amazing grass roots project that culminated in a new memorial dedicated on November 11, 2019. Click here to read more about this project "joining the past to the present, and moving on into the future" that has many lessons for other groups looking to rescue and restore local World War I memorials across the nation.

VFW Post 287 marks 100th Anniversary by honoring World War I namesake

Cpl Sahler

Pennsylvania historian Joseph Felice was driving along Main Street in Coatesville, PA earlier this year when he noticed banners lining the sidewalks, placed there by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 287 in honor of Coatesville area men and women who served their country past and present. One banner in particular grabbed his attention: it read “Wellington G. Sahler, Killed in Action, 1918, Died in the Battle of Argonne Forrest.” Click here to read how Felice's piqued interest resulted in a new understanding and appreciation of Sahlar, his friend Lance Eck, and the story of how and why VFW Post 287 got its name after World War I.

Greenwood, MS American Legion Post 29 named after three World War I heroes

American Legion Post 29 namesakes

American Legion Post 29 in Greenwood, Mississippi bears the name of three World War I veterans who all sacrificed their lives during the Great War. The three officers (one an aviator, two infantrymen) were killed in action in 1918 during the final month of combat in World War I, but thanks to the support of Greenwood’s American Legion Post 29, the stories of these three heroes will live on in perpetuity. Click here to read more about these three heroes: Lt. Samuel R. Keesler, Jr., Cpt. Henry W. Hamrick, and Lt. Gordon Gillespie.

How I Found Austin & How He Found Me

Austin in the Great War

For Robert Eugene Johnson, the author of Austin in the Great War, it started out as a beguilingly simple question about his father, Austin Johnson: "My family always longed to know what happened to Austin during the Great War. When I retired I resolved to find out." That resolution led him on a remarkable journey that started with "only the barest facts about my father’s time “over there” and ended up with a book that shed light on both his father's experience and the history of a half-forgotten component of the American Expeditionary Forces. Click here to read the whole story about the many "goosebumps" encountered in the journey to discover and tell the whole story about Austin in the Great War.

French village of Saint-Parize-le-Châtel commemorates WWI American presence

Hospital at Nevers

The small French village of Saint-Parize-le-Châtel (just south of the city of Nevers—former site of the Service of Supplies of the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI) still commemorates the American presence in their area where the huge Mars-sur-Allier Hospital Camp was located during 1917-1919. Click here to read a message from mayor, the head of the local historical society, and the designer of the historic route around the former U.S. Hospital, which tells of how citizens from the village continue to honor the American men and women who were killed during the First World War.

Doughboy MIA for December 2019

DOughboy MIA Generic image

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

This month Doughboy MIA would like to thank everyone for their contributions throughout 2019. It is through your generous donations that we are able to continue our work, and you will begin seeing more results of this work as 2020 progresses. We have several cases in the works and have made conclusions in several more more, and these will all be featured in coming editions of Doughboy MIA of the Month. 

We took on a big job when we launched Doughboy MIA several years ago, and it has been a hard pull getting started, but we have made progress and that was only possible via YOUR donations and the hard work of our volunteer team. 

Thanks! And blessings to you and yours this holiday season. 2020 promises to be a big year for us, and that means for you, too. Keep those donations coming and know we are ever grateful. The size doesn't matter - the feeling behind it does. Together we will continue to try and make a full accounting of our missing Doughboys until a determination has been made for them all and any that might still be found are.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten - and together we'll keep them from being forgotten.

A Happy New Year to you all.


Rob Laplander and the whole Doughboy MIA team.


Would YOU like to be a part of our mission of discovering what happened to our missing Doughboys from WW1? Of course you would, and you CAN! Simply make a donation to the cause and know you played a part in making as full an accounting as possible of these men. Large or small doesn’t matter – that you cared enough to help does. Visit to make your tax deductible donation to our non-profit project today, and remember:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise


World War I Centennial Commemoration Collector's Bundle $29.95

Collect all commemorative coins and lapel pins in one purchase! 

  • Coins: Each piece is die-struck, bronze alloy, with nice gravity (unlike cheaper zinc coins)
  • Enamel inlay provides premium detailing and finish
  • Each coin and pin comes with its own commemorative packaging, adding value and gifting appeal.

This collection includes a WWI Centennial Coin, Centennial Lapel Pin, Bells of Peace Commemorative Coin, Bells of Peace Commemorative Lapel Pin, and U.S. Victory Lapel Pin. Originally sells for $34.35, now only $29.95.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Charles Wilhelm Gärtner (Gardner)

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of


Charles Wilhelm Gärtner (Gardner)

Submitted by: Charles R. Gardner {Grandson}

Charles Wilhelm Gärtner born around 1892. Charles Gärtner served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

This is the Story about my grandfather, Charles Wilhelm Gärtner, his participation in WW1 and ends after the War with his marriage to my grandmother Anna K. Wolff. Charles Wilhelm Gärtner, participated in the “The Great War”.

Here is what I’ve discovered about him and that “War”.

This was his birth name and he does not change it until 1919. The World War started in July 28, 1914. The United States declared war on the Axis Powers later, in April 6, 1917. In June 5, 1917, Grandpa was working for the “Automatic” Sprinkler Corporation of America in New York City. They sent him to Atlanta, Georgia where he then lived. His job was “Sprinkler Engineer” and maybe the small factory manager. He worked in the Caudler Building (it was small building according to local historians), Atlanta Branch, in the city (Atlanta Georgia). He lived at the Atlanta YMCA. He was single, 25 years of age, of medium height, medium build, gray eyes, and black hair.

On June 5, 1917, he filled out a Draft Registration Card (#756). A year later (April 27, 1918) he was drafted in Atlanta, Georgia. He told his boss “Good bye” or maybe sent a letter to the New York City Headquarters to inform them and waits for his replacement to come. Once released from his job, bags packed, he walked to the Atlanta Recruiting Station and boards a bus for the 13-14 mile trip to Camp Gordon, named after the Confederate General John Brown Gordon. Camp Gordon, northeast from Atlanta, was the receiving station in this area (Georgia & Alabama) for Army induction. Today it’s the current site of the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.

Read Charles Wilhelm Gärtner's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

update subscription preferences

View this in your browser

Header Image 09172019

November 2019

WUSA video 2 11112019

A Soldier’s Journey – Sabin Howard’s National World War One Memorial

MutualArt photo

MutualArt magazine chose the week of Veteran's Day 2019 to examine the process of creating A Soldier's Journey, the sculpture in the newly-approved National World World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. The in-depth article on sculptor Sabin Howard  portrays him working in his"austere New Jersey industrial warehouse studio" to complete "the final modelling stage of A Soldier’s Journey" before the sculpture can be cast.  Click here to read the entire interview.

They Shall Not Grow Old returns to theaters in December for limited run

They Shall Not Grow Old 2019

Back by Popular Demand, Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson’s masterpiece WWI documentary appears again in theaters near you this Holiday Season, featuring never seen before World War I soldiers and events colorized and in 3D. The December 2019 screenings include an exclusive introduction from Jackson, and interview with him at the close. “They Shall Not Grow Old” will be seen December 7, 17 & 18 only. Click here to find the theater nearest to you, and to order your tickets now.

Frank Havlik: Doing what's right

Frank Havlik

Corporal Frank Steven Havlik, E Co, 355 Infantry, 89th Division, stood in the burning church in France in 1918 and had to make a quick decision about what he should try to save from the inferno rapidly consuming the building. Havlik and his buddy grabbed the priest’s golden robe, a chasuble, and each took half away with him as the they left the burning church. Havlik always intended to return the chasuble to its proper owner, and his intention was finally carried out by his family nearly a century later. Click here to read the entire story of how a Doughboy's determination to "do what's right" finally brought the precious artifact home.

A Memoir of the War: A Doughboy's Journey Through France and Germany in World War I

A Memoir of the War

"Writing the memoirs of his participation in the American Expeditionary Forces twelve years after the end of the First World War, my father proudly declared that the time he was in uniform was 'the greatest experience of my life.' Reading them, one can sense that he relished every minute of it, including terrifying moments in combat or coping with mind-numbing mud whether in the trenches or on his never-ending marches. But he never lost his sense of humor." So writes Charles L. Daris of his father Louis Z. Daris' WWI memoirs, which he helped edit and publish.  The remarkable two-volume set provides a unique perspective on World War I, by an American soldier who recorded in remarkable detail what he saw in the Great War. Click here to read the entire article by Charles Davis, and find out how you can get copies of his father's wartime journals.

Bells of Peace 2019: Thanks to all who participated across the nation

Bells of Peace 2019

Bells of Peace is a National Bell Tolling that was launched in 2018 as a part of the Centennial of the WWI Armistice, when fighting on the Western Front stopped.

As a part of the program, and to support small groups for participation, we created a Bells of Peace Participation App. This Smartphone App earned over 22,500 installs in 2018 and so we release an update for 2019.

Although for 2019 we had to let go of several features of the 2018 application (including social sharing), we did get an update published. For 2018, the App was launched on over 3,500 smart phones for Veterans Day.

For 2020, we hope to expand Bells of Peace and produce a more complete update of the App. This is in anticipation that, for next year's Armistice anniversary,  actual construction on the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC will be well underway.

Regarding the Participation App, one of the major improvements we want to implement for 2020 is the user's ability to test their phone and the tolling. In this way users can be sure that they will get the result they planned at 11 a.m. on November 11th, 2020.

Keep reading the World War I Dispatch newsletter for more information on the 2020 Bells of Peace Participation App.

Teaching World War I history after the Centennial is over: a teacher's thoughts

Paul Larue

This Veterans Day marked one hundred and one years since Armistice was declared. The World War I Centennial is winding down. What is the state of World War I education in classrooms across the country? Paul LaRue was a classroom teacher for thirty years in a rural, high-poverty school district in southern Ohio, and also served on the Ohio World War I Centennial Committee, working primarily on education. Paul has some comments and opinions on the state of World War I education in the aftermath of the Centennial. Hint: he gives it pretty good grades.

“The Lafayette Escadrille” movie has World Premiere at the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Lafayetet Escadrille movie poster

The Air Force Museum Foundation Living History Series presented the World Premiere of the film “The Lafayette Escadrille” on Saturday, November 9, in the Air Force Museum Theater. "The Lafayette Escadrille” is the first comprehensive documentary film made about the American volunteers who flew for France before the United States entered World War I. The movie is officially endorsed by the United States World War I Centennial Commission. “The Lafayette Escadrille” follows the path of the young Americans who came to the aid of America’s oldest ally—standing up for the values of freedom and liberty shared by the sister republics. Click here to read more about the movie that is "the only American story that covers the entire duration of the war, from one end of the Western Front to the other."

“Known But To God”: The Unknown Soldier and the U.S.S. Olympia


Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier recently received new SIG Sauer U.S. M17 pistols inlaid with wood from the U.S.S. Olympia. It was selected because she was the honored ship that transported the remains of the World War I Unknown Soldier home from Europe. Today, three American soldiers are interred at the Tomb, one each from World War I, World War II, and Korea. (A fourth unknown from the battlefields of Vietnam was later identified and returned to his family). Aboard the U.S.S. Olympia, a young U.S. Marine Corps captain led the Honor Guard that accompanied the remains of Unknown Soldier back home in 1921—the year the Tomb was dedicated. His name was Graves Erskine. Click here to read the entire story of how the Tomb of the Unknown and Erskine were linked over the next fifty years and three wars.

Postal Service stamp remembers U.S. "Turning the Tide" in World War I

US Postage Stamp

Lisa Y. Greenwade, in the Stamp Development department of the U.S. Postal Service, writes to remind stamp collectors that the World War I: Turning the Tide Forever® stamps are still available from the USPS. The stamps commemorate the nearly five million Americans, mostly men, joined the military, and about a million women entered the workforce to make up for the shortage of civilian labor. In spring 1918, U.S. forces played vital roles in the St. Mihiel battle and the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which helped bring an end to the war. Click here to read more about the development of the postage stamp, and how to get it from the U.S. Postal Service.

WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Doughboy Podcast A

The WW1 Centennial News. The Doughboy Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about commemoration.  Available on our web siteiTunesGoogle Play, PodbeanTuneInStitcher Radio on Demand.  Spotify  listen on Youtube

Weekly episodes completed.
Podcast will Publish SPECIALS
as occasions arise.

The Doughboy Podcast had quite a run! It all started as a weekly conference call between and among those who were focusing on the Centennial of WWI.

In 2017, as the centennial of America's Entry into WWI was imminent, we decided to turn our conference call into a public-facing podcast.

For the next 148 weeks -- nearly three years -- we delivered a series of shows that included the story of WWI from 100 years ago, and stories about those who were commemorating WWI today.

In that time, over 2.17 million show copies were downloaded by an audience which grew to over 100,000 downloads a month.

The Podcast was privileged to interview the smartest, the brightest and best experts and enthusiasts on the subject of WWI. We explored the story of WWI from many perspectives, inviting historians, authors, curators, veterans, musicians, film makers, game developers, orchestra conductors, educators, politicians, and many others.

Most of all we need to say THANK YOU to everyone who tuned in. And you still can! Much of what was captured remains a great listen anytime.

And as we publish new SPECIALS, we will be sure to reach out to everyone who subscribed to the mailing list. SIGN UP HERE.

Doughboy MIA for November 2019

Franklin Ellenberger

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is PVT Franklin Ellenberger - and has a special story!

Born on 12 July, 1892, Frank Ellenberger was from Wilmington, Ohio and was drafted into the army on 27 May, 1918. Sent to Camp Beauregard at Alexandria, Louisiana he was assigned training with the 41st Company, 159th Depot Brigade for indoctrination before being sent to Company I, 153rd Infantry Regiment, 39th 'Delta' Division. The 39th left for France on 6 August, 1918 and once Over There was re-designated as the 5th Depot Division (replacement division). From there, Ellenberger was sent to Company K, 128th Infantry, 32nd 'Red Arrow' Division in September, 1918. When the 32nd went forward to relieve the 91st Division during the Meuse-Argonne campaign on 4 October, 1918 PVT Ellenberger was among them. The 32nd would be the first division to crack the Kriemhilde Stellung six days later, on 10 October, 1918, but by that time Ellenberger was already dead. A statement by his sergeant says he "saw Private Ellenberger killed instantly by fragments from a high explosive shell. Hit in the head... on October 7th, 1918 while in action near Epinonville."

At the time Ellenberger's battalion (the 3rd) was supporting attacks made by the 125th Infantry south of Romagne sous Montfaucon who would, within a few days, capture the ground that the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery occupies today.

Laura Ellenberger

No record of his burial ever made it back to the Graves Registration Service however, and while two separate searches were made for him following the war, nothing further was ever found concerning his case and it was closed in December, 1919. His mother, Laura Ellenberger (right) made the Gold Star Mother's Pilgrimage to see her sons name on the Tablet of the Missing at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in 1931.

Jeremy Wayne Bowles

Then, on the evening of 4 November, 2019, our Assistant Field Manager here at Doughboy MIA, Mr Jeremy Wayne Bowles (at left, commonly known as 'The Dayton Doughboy') was doing some research into Ohio soldiers that served in the war with his family's help when his mother happened to notice a name that rang a bell with her... Ellenberger. Later that night, just on a hunch, she pulled out the family tree to check that name and found an entry for a Private Franklin Ellenberger KIA in the war, who had been her great grandmothers brother. Jeremy checked the ABMC website to find out if this relative of his - whom he had not known about before - was buried in France or had come home and found he was MIA!

Infer what you want about this story, but it certainly would seem some sort of intervention was at work here for a worker with Doughboy MIA to discover through accident and hunch that HE was related to an MIA from that war - another example that a man is only missing if he is forgotten!

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Coin Set box

2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar Set

No longer available from the U.S. Mint!

These Official World War I Centennial Silver Dollar Sets are still available here on the WWI Centennial Commission's online gift shop.

NOTE: Each set comes with 2 separate coins. Each set will accompany the Official Doughboy Design alongside your choice of Military Branch.

"The United Mint certifies that this coin is a genuine 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar, minted and issued in accordance with legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President on December 16, 2014, as Public Law 113-212. This coin was minted by the Department of the Treasury, United States Mint, to commemorate the centennial of America's involvement in World War I. This coin is legal tender of the United States."

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Abraham Wolfe

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of


Abraham Wolfe

Submitted by: David Andrew Masiero, CDR USCG, Ret. {Abraham was my 1974 Restaurant Boss}

Abraham Wolfe was born around 1895. Abraham Wolfe served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service

Abraham Wolfe was my boss at his Lenox, MA steak house when I worked there at age 16. My understanding is he and his older brother Manny had a steak house in Manhattan and at some point Abe decided to have a steak house on his own in Lenox, Massachusetts in Berkshire County.

I lived in the next town Lee, MA. I was inquisitive and asked questions when my waitress mother told me he was a WW1 vet.

Both my Italian grandfathers (born 1895 & 1899) came to USA from villages Pavone (LOM) & Trissino (VZ) in 1922 & 1923 as laborers (Frank at Lee, MA Lime/Marble quarry pits & Andrew at Brooklyn Navy Yard on drydock shoring team). They both were in the ITA combat infantry vs. AUS/HUN. Nono Frank "Chesko" Baccoli lost complete use of one eye so WW1 always interested me. They died in 63 & 65 (me born 1958) when I was too young so I was never able to discuss WW1 with them.

My deceased (2014) father Val Masiero was a 1951-1955 (E5) Navy Construction Electrician Seabee and he told me his father Andrew would NEVER talk about the Great War. It was something NOT discussed.

Back to Abe, .... I am Catholic and Abe Wolfe told me that as a Jew there was great discrimination at Army National Guard boot camp & on the way over on the troop ship. He was in the NY National Guard (part of AEF) and deployed to France.

Read Abraham Wolfe's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

"Pershing" Donors

$5 Million +

Founding Sponsor
PritzkerMML Logo

Starr Foundation Logo

The Lilly Endowment