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Camp Doniphan Part of Fort Sill

   
Camp Doniphan Part of Fort Sillloupe
Randolph Road at Currie Road
Lawton
OK
USA
73503

IN JUNE 1917, ON THE PRARIE WEST AND SOUTH OF HERE. ONE OF THE GREAT TRAINING GROUNDS OF THE
FIRST WORLD WAR WAS ESTABLISHED. NAMED IN HONOR OF MISSOURI’S COLONEL ALEXANDER W. DOLIPHAN OF MEXICAN
WAR FAME THE HUGE NATIONAL ARMY CANTONMENT OCCUPIED 1,200 ACRES AND WAS LAID OUT IN MTHE FORM OF A
HORSESHOE, OPENING TO THE EAST. THE MARKER IS AT THE SITE OF THE NORTH ENTRANCE TOL THE CAMP.
FRAME MESS HALLS, STOREHOUSES, CANTEENS AND OTHER FACILITIES WERE ERECTED BY THE SELDEN-BRECK
CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OF SAINT LOUIS. THE REST OF THE CAMP WAS A CITY OF PYRAMIDAL TENTS HEATED BY SIBLEY
STOVES.”JITNEYS” AND A TROLLY LINE PROVIDED TRANSPORTATION TO LAWTON.
INFANTRY UNITS OF THE OKLAHOMA NATIONAL GUARD, PART OF THE 36TH DIVISION COMMANDED BY MAJOR GENERAL
EDWIN ST. JOHN GREBLE, TRAINED IN THE SUMMER OF 1917 BEFORE JOINING THE DIVISIONS TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD
ELEMENTS AT CAMP BOWIE. ON 13 SEPTEMBER THE 35TH DIVISION, COMPRISING THE KANSAS AND MISSOURI NATIONAL
GUARD, AND COMMANDED BY MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM M. WRIGHT, WAS ACTIVATED HERE, CAMP DONIPHAN WAS ITS
HOME FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS.
THE 50,000 MEN WHO TRAINED HERE WOULD REMEMBER WITH NOSTALGIA THE WIND, THE DUST, THE HEAT OF SUMMER,
THE COLD OF WINTER IN CANVAS TENTS, THE STRENUOUS DRILLS AND MARCHES, AND THE ENDLESS DIGGING OF TRENCHES,
DUGOUTS, AND ARTILLERY EMPLACEMENTS IN HARD-BAKED SOIL AND HARDER ROCK IN “NO MAN’S LAND” NEAR
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN.
AMONG NOTED MISSOURIANS PRESENT WERE 1ST LIEUTENANT HARRY S. TRUMAN, BATTERY F, 129TH FIELD ARTILLERY,
LATER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND CAPTAIN DWIGHT F. DAVIS, COMPANY L, 138TH INFANTRY, LATER SECRETARY
OF WAR, MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT M. DANFORD, LAST CHIEF OF FIELD ARTILLERY, COMMANDED THE 129TH FOR A PERIOD
HERE. A MARKER ON GRIERSON HILL OVERLOOKS THE ENCAMPMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMEN’S BATTERY F.
IN THE SPRING OF 1918, TO THE HAUNTING STRAIN OF “OVER THERE;’ THE MEN OF THE 35TH LEFT FOR THE BATTLEFIELDS
OF FRANCE. THERE, WITH THEIR COMRADES-IN-ARMS OF THE 36TH, THEY FOUGHT AND DIED IN THE MEUSE-ARGONNE
OFFENSIVE, ONE OF HISTORY’S MOST DECISIVE CAMPAIGNS.
AFTER THEIR DEPARTURE, CAMP DONIPHAN BECAME A FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE FIRING CENTRE, COMMANDED BY
BRIGADIER GENERAL EDMUND L. GRUBER, COMPOSER OF THE “CAISSON SONG.” IN THE LATER YEARS THE SITE WAS AS THE
SUMMER TRAINING CAMP FOR THE OKLAHOMA NATIONAL GUARD.
THIS PLAQUE, TOGETHER WITH THE SIMPSON GUN ON SIGNAL MOUNTAIN THAT OVERLOOKS THE CAMP DONIPHAN AREA, STAND AS
LASTING AND GRATEFUL MEMORIALS TO THE HOST OF BRAVE SOLDIERS WHO TRAINED HERE IN FREEDOM’S CAUSE IN WORLD WAR ONE.

 
Robert Shay, PH3, USNR-R, 1964-70

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