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

World War I Centennial News


 

 

Writing Lucky’s Way

"It was important for me to let people know what it was like during the year 1918." 

By Gina Hooten Popp
Special to the United States World War One Centennial Commission web site

As an author, I don’t plan a story, but rather let the story come to and through me. So when Lucky’s Way—my historical fiction novel about a young World War One fighter pilot from Houston, Texas started to take shape in my imagination, I totally immersed myself in research about The Great War. From non-fiction books and documentaries containing historical facts and timelines to soldier’s diary entries and letters sent back home, I learned about the nuances of this fascinating era. But before I go into more detail about my research for Lucky’s Way let me back up and tell you a little bit about the book itself.

Gina Houghton Popp 300Gina Hooten PoppLucky’s Way is the second book in my three-book historical fiction Texas series titled Winds of Change. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to read the entire series as each book stands alone. In fact, many readers have told me they read the series in reverse and enjoyed it just as much.) In The Storm After, the first book of the series, four survivors of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane come together to form a family of sorts as they recover from inconceivable loss. Seventeen years later in 1918, the historical fiction saga picks up in Lucky’s Way, following the same cast of characters (and a few new ones) all the way from war-torn France to the Gulf Coast of Texas.

In the opening chapter of Lucky’s Way, it is the month of September and The Great War is starting to show signs of a possible end. Lieutenant Lucky McLaren, a battle-weary U.S. fighter pilot, is headed home to Houston, Texas on an extended reprieve. But destiny has other plans for him when Antonia, an Italian beauty, suffragette and ex-Allied spy, seeks refuge in the same train car he is traveling on—changing not only his homeward bound direction, but also the course of both of their lives. Soon the young Lieutenant finds himself back overseas, fighting for his country and his life. Filled with history and passion, Lucky’s Way is an inspirational tale of healing and redemption—a stirring testament to the power of belief and self-discovery, to hopes lost and found again.

Yes, Lucky’s Way is a World War One love story. But as one of my readers told me, it is not a goopy love story, but rather one along the lines of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. “Don’t worry,” the reader went on to say, “In addition to the romance there’s a lot of interesting information about the war and the time period.”

Which brings us back to what it was like to research a book set in World War One. So much has been printed about the war, but I wanted to give a glimpse of what it was like for the individual. So I started my research by reading diary entries. Before too long, the people who wrote them started to bring the time period alive for me. I was interested in what their everyday concerns were about, as well as what other events (beside the war) were happening globally.

Read more: Lucky’s Way

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Remembering Veterans: Ken Buckles

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In March 29th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 116, host Theo Mayer spoke with Ken Buckles, relative of the last surviving American WWI veteran, Frank Woodruff Buckles. Ken is the Executive Director of Remembering America's Heroes, an organization dedicated to the memory of the men and women who have served this country. The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity: Ken Buckles and Bill Clinton presKen Buckles, pictured here with President Bill Clinton

Theo Mayer: This week for Remembering Veterans, Frank Woodruff Buckles was a United States Army corporal and the last surviving American military veteran of World War 1. Frank enlisted in the US Army in 1917 at the age of only 16 and served with a detachment at Fort Riley driving ambulances and motorcycles near the front lines in Europe. Frank Buckles left us on February 27, 2011 at the age of 110. Many Americans have family traditions of service and so it is here. With us today is Frank's descendant Ken Buckles, who has been an educator for the Living History Day event since 1996 and is the Executive Director of Remembering American Heroes, an organization founded in 2002. Ken, welcome to the podcast.

Ken Buckles: Thank you.

Theo Mayer: Well it's nice to have you here. Let me start with a couple of questions about you personally. How are you related to Frank Buckles?

Ken Buckles: Well it's 1992, I was curious about family genealogy and my parents had given me a list of names that had eight names on it and I recognized my great-grandfather and my grandfather and of course my father, but nobody knew what the heck it was. So I found it and bam, it went to a genealogy center and found out with Robert Buckles descended from him and they had settled in West Virginia, Harpers Ferry. So I called information to see if there were any Buckles living in the area, and in those days they connected you and he answered the phone and that started about a nine-year relationship over the phone. Just an amazing, incredible man who lived a fascinating life. I could talk about him for hours, and he kept saying "when you're going to come out, when you're going to come out?" So I came out when he was 99 and then I visited him every year on his farm in West Virginia until he passed. And then of course his funeral was at Arlington National Cemetery.

Read more: Podcast Article - Ken Buckles Interview

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Post-War Transatlantic Flight 

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In March 29th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 116, host Theo Mayer told the story of the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean; a tremendous feat made possible by innovations in the flight technology that resulted from The War That Changed the World. 

Theo Mayer: We've been spending a lot of time looking at the political ramifications in aftermath of World War 1, some progressive and some not much so. But the aftermath of World War 1 also had profound effects on technology and new technology driven industries- take aerospace, for example. Throughout the history of powered flight there have been a host of prizes for achieving major milestones.assembly Vimy planeThe modified Vickers Vimy bomber that carried Alcock and Brown across the Atlantic Ocean in 1919

One of the biggest ever was offered to the first pilot to cross the Atlantic in a single jump. It was a British newspaper, The Daily Mail, who as early as 1913 offered a ten thousand pound sterling prize to accomplish this feat, the equivalent of a little more than a million dollars today.

Driven by World War 1, airplane technology progressed substantially so that by 1919 a whole bunch of adventuring sky pioneers were aiming for the prize. The shortest distance between North America and Europe is the route between Ireland and Newfoundland, but that requires flying into the predominant headwinds so the adventurers all shipped their planes to Newfoundland to fly the other way. The region got so crowded with aviators that when John Alcock and Arthur Brown, the guys who eventually won the prize, shipped their airplane to Newfoundland they couldn't find an open pasture to work in, at least not until one of the other teams failed.

It's interesting to remember that in 1919, all planes were open cockpit. That means cold, miserable and really uncomfortable conditions. It also means you had to fly low under the weather- yuck. These two pioneers converted a Vickers Vimy bomber, which had twin engines, and replaced the bomb-carrying capacity with extra fuel tanks.

Read more: Podcast Article - Transatlantic Flight

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

WWI Remembered: Alan Axelrod on George Creel, America's Chief Propagandist- Part 1

 

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In April 5th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 117, author Alan Axelrod joined the show to speak at length about George Creel, the publisher of the government's Official Bulletin and one of the most powerful war-time Americans. The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity:

Alan AxelrodAlan Axelrod is the author of over 150 books on topics such as history, management, and businessTheo Mayer: With us today is Alan Axelrod, the author of more than 150 books on leadership, history, military history, and business, among others. And one of those books that Alan wrote is called Selling the Great War: The Making of American Propaganda. It's the bio of George Creel. We got together to talk about George, and it turned into such an interesting conversation, we're going to have to break this out into two parts. Here's part one of George Creel, the man who sold America on World War I. Alan, welcome.

Alan Axelrod: Great to be with you.

Theo Mayer: Alan, you and I have talked about George Creel quite a bit, but let's maybe introduce him in a broad context first.

Alan Axelrod: Well, he was a young man from rural Missouri, who was the son of a doting mother and an alcoholic father, and not very well educated. But he had a quick mind, and he was intensely curious, and he became a journalist, sort of through the back door. He worked for some small town papers and then moved to New York, and found work as a joke writer. He eked out a living writing jokes that were just stuck in newspapers to fill space.

But eventually, he linked up with a few influential people, and he became a muckraker, he became a very socially high-minded journalist. And in this job, he became acquainted with Woodrow Wilson during his first run at the presidency, and he just fell in love with the man, he fell in love with progressivism. By the time Wilson stood for reelection in 1916, Creel had ingratiated himself with Wilson, and became the writer of Wilson's campaign, biography, and became a leading exponent of Wilson—particularly Wilson's opposition to any American involvement in World War I. And, of course, Wilson won by a very narrow margin, reelected largely on the campaign slogan "He kept us out of war."

Then, of course, he takes the oath of office, back in those days, in March of 1917. And on April 6 of that year, he asked Congress for a declaration of war so that the United States could join the war that he had kept the country out of during this first administration. And this put Creel in the position of having to turn the American public around, 180 degrees, from this orientation of pacifism, of absolute neutrality, to total commitment to a war in Europe.

Read more: Podcast Article - Alan Axelrod Interview

 

2019 american legion 100th anniversary gold proof mergedThe U.S. Mint's American Legion commemoratives mark the centennial anniversary of the founding of the veterans organization in Paris in 1919 at the end of World War I. The program's Proof $5 half eagle is shown.

U.S. Mint releases images of struck 2019 American Legion Centennial coins 

By Paul Gilkes
via the Coin World magazine web site

The United States Mint has released images of struck examples of the three 2019 American Legion 100th Anniversary commemoratives to be issued to the public at noon Eastern Time March 14.

The Mint will be offering Proof and Uncirculated versions of the program’s gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar. The gold coin has a maximum authorized mintage of 50,000 coins, the silver dollar 400,000 coins, and the half dollar, 750,000 coins, across all product options.

The adopted designs approved by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were unveiled during an Aug. 29, 2018, event held in Minneapolis during the Legion’s 100th national convention.

The gold coins are being struck at the West Point Mint with the W Mint mark while the silver dollars will bear the P Mint mark of the Philadelphia Mint where they are being produced. The Proof half dollar will bear the S Mint mark of the San Francisco Mint and the Uncirculated half dollar the D Mint mark of the Denver Mint.

The half eagle obverse, designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Chris Costello and sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill, commemorates the inception of the American Legion and its mission to serve America and its war veterans. The outer geometric rim design from the American Legion emblem, the Eiffel Tower, and V for victory represent the formation of the organization in Paris in 1919 at the end of World War I.

Read more: U.S. Mint releases images of struck 2019 American Legion Centennial coins

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Commission News: Valor Medal Review Task Force, Part II

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In March 29th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 116, host Theo Mayer spoke with Park University's Dr. Timothy Wescott and Ashlyn Weber, a history student, about their work with the Commission's Valor Medal Review Task Force. The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity:  

Theo Mayer: This week we want to introduce you to another one of our Valor Medal Task Force partners, the George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War at Park University, a private school in Parkville, Missouri. Joining us today to talk about their part of the program are Dr. Timothy Wescott, Associate Professor of History and the Director of the George S. Robb Centre.

Joining him is Ashlyn Weber, a hiWestcott TimothyDr. Timothy Wescott is the Director of Park University's George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great Warstory major at the University who's also working on the program. Both of you, welcome to the show.

Timothy Wescott: Thank you Theo, it's a pleasure to be with you today.

Ashlyn Weber: Thank you very much for having us. 

Theo Mayer: So Tim, I'd like to start with you and ask you about the University's efforts on behalf of the Valor Medals Review Task Force. What role are you playing and what kind of activities you guys undertaking?

Timothy Wescott: Well the Centere is researching, we are drafting narratives and performing genealogical outreach with the actual descendants of the service members that we're researching.

Theo Mayer: About how many are there?

Timothy Wescott: Between the five groups that we are researching, which include Asian Americans, African Americans, Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans, we are estimating that will probably be 125 to 150 actual individual service members that we will review within the focus of the task force.

Read more: Podcast Article - Timothy Wescott and Ashlyn Weber Interview

 

Barrier Island Center Exhibit of African-American WWI Servicemen Includes Shore Soldiers 

via the Eastern Shore Post newspaper (VA) web site

Byrd.Herbert websiteHerbert Lee Byrd was an African-American World War I serviceman from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The Barrier Islands Center in Machipongo is hosting a temporary exhibit on loan from the Library of Virginia, “True Sons of Freedom.”

To commemorate World War I, “True Sons of Freedom” uses photographs of African-American soldiers from Virginia who fought overseas to defend freedoms they were denied at home. African-Americans from all parts of the Commonwealth served in the army and navy during World War I. The soldiers highlighted in “True Sons of Freedom” came from locations across Virginia and most worked as farmers or laborers before the conflict.

Reflecting the pride and determination of African-American World War I servicemen, the images were submitted by these veterans with their responses to military service questionnaires created by the Virginia War History Commission as part of an effort to capture the scope of Virginians’ participation in the Great War. The series of questions about the veterans’ experiences provides invaluable genealogical information about the soldiers, their families, and their service records.

World War I recruitment efforts aimed at African-Americans brought new soldiers into the armed services, providing them with opportunities to travel, to work, and, in many cases for the first time, to face cameras—all outside the restrictions of the Jim Crow South. These pocket-size portraits, made outdoors or in makeshift studios, became mementos for families and sweethearts.

More importantly, these photographs challenge the crude and demoralizing cultural products of an era that often reduced African-Americans to stereotypes and denied them full participation as citizens of the United States. They posed in uniform, some in casual stances, others with a rifle to show their combat readiness. Here were African-Americans presented as they wanted themselves seen.

Read more: Barrier Island Center Exhibit of African-American WWI Servicemen

 

  mightymilneleadimage(Left) Alan Alexander Milne and his son Christopher Robin. (Right) Illustration from Winnie the Poo.

'Winnie the Pooh' Was Created by a Vet Explaining WWI to His Boy

By Eric Milzarski
via the Military.com web site

There is nothing more heart-wrenching to veterans with families than having to explain why daddy hasn't been the same ever since he returned from the war. A reasonable adult can grasp the idea that war is hell and that it can change a person forever, but an innocent kid — one who was sheltered from such grim concepts by that very veteran — cannot.

A. A. Milne, an English author and veteran of both World Wars, was struggling to explain this harsh reality to his own child when he penned the 1926 children's classic, "Winnie-the-Pooh."

As a young man, Alan Alexander Milne stood up for King and Country when it was announced that the United Kingdom had entered World War I. He was commissioned as an officer into the 4th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, as a member of the Royal Corps of Signals on February 1, 1915. Soon after, he was sent to France to fight in the Battle of the Somme.

The description, "Hell on Earth" is apt, but doesn't come close to fully describing the carnage of what became the bloodiest battle in human history. More than three million men fought and one million men were wounded or killed — many of Milne's closest friends were among the numerous casualties. Bodies were stacked in the flooded-out trenches where other men lived, fought, and died.

On August 10, 1915, Milne and his men were sent to enable communications by laying telephone line dangerously close to an enemy position. He tried warning his command of the foolishness of the action to no avail. Two days later, he and his battalion were attacked, just as he had foreseen. Sixty British men perished in an instant. Milne was one of the hundred or so badly wounded in the ambush. He was sent home for his wounds suffered that day.

Milne returned to his wife, Daphne de Selincourt, and spent many years recovering physically. His light finally came to him on August 21, 1920, when his son, Christopher Robin Milne, was born. He put his writings on hold — it was his therapeutic outlet for handling his shell shock (now known as post-traumatic stress) — so he could be the best possible father to his baby boy.

Read more: 'Winnie the Pooh' Was Created by a Vet Explaining WWI to His Boy

 

“The players carried their gas mask cases over their shoulders the whole time in case of an enemy attack.”

Baseball Goes to War – How Doughboys Took America’s Pastime to the front lines in WWI

By Alexander F. Barnes
via the Military History Now web site

Batter Up sheet musicUncle Sam comes up to bat against the Germans in a patriotic wartime song.Famed American Sportswriter, Jimmy Cannon, wrote: “It is part of our national history that all boys dream of being Babe Ruth before they are anyone else.”

For the American men serving in World War One, Ruth was already on his way to becoming an icon. But most of them had grown up with other baseball players as their heroes. Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, “Home Run” Baker, and others filled their daydreams with baseball exploits.

Other sports of the period drew an audience but only baseball and boxing - to a lesser degree - truly had a grip on the average American male from about 1890 to 1916. And this was the era during which most Doughboys were born or came of age.

In many ways, the makeup of the U.S. military during the First World War mirrored the clubhouses of professional baseball. The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were filled with country boys, factory workers, shop clerks, cowboys, coal miners, college students, sons of immigrants, and even recently arrived immigrants themselves. And like baseball, where Black ball players were restricted to the “Negro Leagues,” African-Americans were welcome to serve in the military, but only in their own units.

Game called on account of war

The United States declared war against Germany in April 1917. America’s entry into the conflict was followed by the Selective Service Act. The legislation required all males aged 21 to 31 to register for a draft. There were exemptions for family dependency, physical disabilities and work in a war industry. But “playing baseball” wasn’t one. As a result, most major and minor league players registered and were judged eligible to be selected. Later, when the draft ages expanded to 18 to 45, team coaches, front office staff and even umpires were required to register.

The 1917 baseball season was not good one. Bad weather forced many games postponed or cancelled. And more and more, players were being drafted and sent off to military training camps. Worse, those not yet called up faced scorn for not enlisting. Newspaper editorialists were asking why professional baseball was not doing more to support the war effort.

Read more: Baseball Goes to War – How Doughboys Took America’s Pastime to the front lines in WWI

 

John Purroy Mitchel at trainingAviation School, North Island, San Diego, Cal. Picture shows Major John Purroy Mitchel, S.R.C.A.S., Ex-Mayor of New York City and his classmates being instructed on the airplane motor at North Island, San Diego, Cal. (Major Mitchel – is standing on the right near the display) Date: 3/14/1918.

John Purroy Mitchel: The "Boy Mayor" of New York who died in WWI

By Harry Kidd
via the National Archives' Unwritten Record blog web site

This post was written by Harry Kidd. Harry is a volunteer at the National Archives working on textual and photographic digitization projects. Harry is a former Navy photographer himself and came across this story while researching military photographers.

John Purroy Mitchel (1879 – 1918) was a native New Yorker. Trained as a lawyer, he gained wide recognition as a reformer who began investigating corruption, incompetence, waste and inefficiency in the city government in 1906. With the support of the anti-Tammany force, he was elected president of the Board of Aldermen in 1909 where he enacted fiscal reforms.

In 1913, based on his efforts to improve the efficiency of government operations, he was nominated as the Republican candidate for mayor. At the age of 34 he was the second youngest person elected mayor and often referred to as “The Boy Mayor of New York.”

Mitchel served as mayor from 1914 – 1917. After failing to win re-election, he enlisted in the Army Air Service as a flying cadet. He completed training in San Diego and was promoted to major.

On the morning of July 6, 1918, Mitchel was returning from a military training flight to Gerstner Field, Louisiana when his single seater scout plane went into a nose dive and crashed. The former mayor was unfastened in the plane and fell to his death at age 38.

Read more: John Purroy Mitchel: The "Boy Mayor" of New York who died in WWI

 

New scale-model maquette of the National WWI Memorial 

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Detail snipDetail from part of the new sculptural maquette for the National World War I Memorial.Sculptor Sabin Howard has made an important new development on the new National World War I Memorial for Washington DC.

Working with another world-class, high-tech, sculptural imaging team -- this one at Pangolin Editions Foundry in the UK -- Sabin has been able to create a new, smaller, highly-detailed sculptural maquette of the final WWI Memorial design that is being developed to restore and enhance DC's Pershing Park.

This maquette will be part of the Centennial Commission's progress-update presentation for the next regulatory review meeting with the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) in April.

Video of the new maquette can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/sabinhowardsculpture/videos/413070856119665/

Centennial Commission Chair Terry Hamby expressed his enthusiasm for Sabin's work. "I’m very excited to see the new maquette, and am looking forward to the April meeting with the Commission of Fine Arts. We are really close to making America’s WWI Veteran’s Memorial a reality."

 

 

 

Group 2(Left) This is the only picture on the cannon in theater and likely the only picture that proves it was used (though it got captured!) in combat. It was captioned with a date of June 11th, 1918. (Right) The cannon in sad condition in the village of Saint Paris, Ohio before being picked up for the restoration project. (Center) Restoration project leader Jared Shank behind the cannon undergoing restoration. Shank is an Army field artillery veteran who served in in Afghanistan with the 3rd battalion 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.

14 Questions for Jared Shank 

"I feel a direct personal connection to our Doughboys"

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

Over the years, we have met several members of our WWI community who have gotten personally involved in hands-on projects, projects that help them to really embrace our WWI history. They include trench work restorations, tabletop diorama creations, reenactor impersonations, restorations of trains/tanks/ trucks/artillery pieces/ambulances/warships, etc. We love these projects -- and we always find interesting stories behind those people who undertake them. Our latest such project is being done by our friend Jared Shank, of Ohio. Jared is an Army veteran, and he only just started working on an incredible find -- a WWI-era light artillery piece, with a remarkable history. We were luck to share some time with Jared, and to hear his story.

Where did the artillery piece come from?

This artillery piece came from a war memorial display located in Saint Paris, Ohio.

What is its known history?

Jared Shank mugJared ShankI’m still actively researching this. The common consensus seems to be that is was donated by the local American Legion Post (Keith Cretors Post 148). However, I have not been able to 100% confirm that. More than a decade ago that Legion post went defunct and I haven’t been able to find any historical records of their events. I have been talking to local historians and searching local newspapers for anything that mentioned this cannon, but have turned up very little. My most accurate guess is that it was placed on display sometime between 1922 and 1930. I’ve narrowed it down to those dates based on conversations with locals.

How did it come to you?

The village of Saint Paris has a Facebook page that I follow. At the beginning of the year (2019) they posted about the cannon and its poor condition since it’s been in storage for numerous years and what ideas residents had. They also cited that as a village with a small budget, funds to restore this cannon were non-existent. A high school classmate of mine is on the village council so I started a conversation with him informing him that I was interested in restoring the cannon so that it could be returned to its place amongst the war memorial in town. I also said I would take on the project at no-cost to the village, but might do some fundraising activities.

What research on it did you do?

I have done extensive research on this particular model cannon. It is known most commonly as the Bethlehem Steel 37mm Cannon. Its official designation is the “37mm US Gun (Bethlehem) Model 1 Carriage Mark A Semi-Automatic”. However, it never became a “mainstream” artillery piece and thus printed materials about it are severely lacking.

Read more: 14 Questions for Jared Shank

 

140603154428 07 women great war horizontal large galleryHello Girls was the colloquial name for American female switchboard operators in World War I, formally known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit. During World War I, these switchboard operators were sworn into the U.S. Army Signal Corps. 

Congressman Cleaver Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to the ‘Hello Girls’ of WWI 

via the House.gov web site

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) on March 28 introduced H.R. 1953, the “Hello Girls” Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that would honor over 220 American women who served as phone operators with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. As phone operators, these women played a pivotal role in connecting American and French forces on the front lines of battle, helping to translate and efficiently communicate strategy. H.R. 1953 would award these women, the Hello Girls as they came to be known, with the Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress—for their service and subsequent sixty-year fight for veteran status and the benefits that are earned with it.

“When I was first told the story of the Hello Girls, it really hit home,” said Congressman Cleaver. “As the nephew of a Tuskegee Airman who went to Europe in defense of freedom during WWII, only to return home with less benefits and recognition than his white counterparts, I can understand how these women must have felt after bravely serving their country only to be told they couldn’t qualify as veterans simply because of their gender.”

Formally known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators, the Hello Girls were recruited by General John J. Pershing in 1917 as the first group of women to hold non-medical positions in the U.S. Army. Considering telecommunication in battle was still relatively new at the time, General Pershing was looking for experienced individuals that could improve communication on the front lines. As the telephone operator field was dominated by women, General Pershing made the decision to form the specialized unit comprised solely of women. It was required that the women be bilingual in both French and English so that they could effectively communicate and coordinate with French and American forces. By the end of the war, the Hello Girls had connected over 26 million calls in support of the war effort, and even continued to serve in Europe to organize the return of American forces following the armistice.

Read more: Congressman Cleaver Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to the ‘Hello...

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