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Ohio in WW1 - Articles


American Field Service Volunteer Ambulance Drivers for the French Army - 1915-1917

By Brooke Anderson, MAPS Museum

15 ambulance

The American Congress declared war on Germany April 6, 1917. Prior to that declaration, America had maintained a position of neutrality; this was strictly a European war. However, many young American men and women were eager to join the fray, regardless of their Government’s official position. There were many reasons; some wanted to fight, others saw war as a romantic crusade. Germany’s brutal attack on and occupation of Belgium angered others to the point of volunteering. Plus, the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine, with the loss of 128 American lives, as well as many women and children was not to be forgotten. And, many remembered the aid a young America received from the French during our own Revolution; this was a very strong feeling, and many wanted to repay what they felt to be a debt to France for their aid in our victory over the British.

As German troops stormed into France in the fall of 1914, the large American colony in Paris inaugurated a volunteer ambulance service to transport the wounded from the front lines to the American Hospital on the outskirts of Paris. In January, 1915, A. Piatt Andrew - a former Harvard professor and future Congressman from Massachusetts - arrived in France as a volunteer ambulance driver. He soon began to transform the service from a subsidiary of the American Hospital to an independent organization that transported the wounded from the front lines to aid stations to the rear. His effort was supported by another American volunteer organization, the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps.

At its height, the American Field Service (AFS) numbered 2,500 volunteers and operated not only on the Western Front in France but also in the battle areas of Italy, Greece, Serbia and Albania. This is one of the many incredible stories of WWI. The volunteer drivers were primarily university men from all over America; the ambulance of choice was a Model T chassis with a purpose-built body. The ambulances were provided by fund drives; schools, clubs, towns, individuals all collected and donated the funds necessary to purchase these vehicles. With America’s entry into the war, these units became a part of the US Army Ambulance Service, which continued to serve the French and Italians, as had the AFS. The AFS participated in every major French battle, and carried munitions, supplies, and more than 500,000 wounded soldiers from both sides of the war.

Among the many AFS volunteers were six men from Akron, OH: Paul A. Cahill, TMU 184; David Darrah, TMU 397; Chester A. Elliott, SSU 9; Russell J. Henderson, TMU 397; Harry R. Karnaghan, SSU 14; Harry C. Roth, SSU 14. As the French needed truck drivers as well as ambulance drives, AFS volunteers drove both. SSU units drove ambulances; TMU units drove trucks. All drivers were close to the Front on a daily basis, often in the middle of artillery barrages and even enemy attacks. When America joined the war, AFS volunteers, already battle veterans, were given the choice of leaving the service with honor, or enlisting in the U. S. military; five of the six Akronites chose to stay. Mary Gladwin also from Akron, was another dedicated medical volunteer, serving overseas in the International Red Cross.


The Lynching of Robert Prager and the Sedition Act of 1918

By Becky Preiss Odom, History Curator, Ohio History Connection

Spy War PosterAmericans feared that German spies had infiltrated their communities and workplaces from the beginning of the war. The Espionage Act and later the Sedition Act sought to punish both spies and disloyal Americans. From the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, World War I Poster Collection,

It was just after midnight. The bright headlamps of several automobiles illuminated the mob of about 100 people gathered around the tree. Several men pulled fiercely on a rope thrown over the tree limb, and Robert Prager flew up in the air, gasping and grabbing at the rope around his neck. The men released the rope, and Prager’s struggling figure fell to the ground. Someone in the crowd produced a handkerchief, and another man stepped forward and bound Prager’s hands behind his back. Thus restrained, the men pulled the rope, and Prager rose into the air again. Suspended, without his hands to pull at the noose around his neck, Prager kicked his feet until suddenly he went still. The men tied off the rope, and the crowd slowly dispersed, leaving Prager’s dead body hanging from the tree limb in the darkness.

Robert Paul Prager, a German immigrant accused of uttering disloyal remarks against the U.S. government and President Woodrow Wilson, was lynched just outside of the small town of Collinsville, Illinois, at about 12:30 in the morning on April 5, 1918. He was the first person suspected of disloyalty during World War I to be killed in the U.S. by a vigilante mob. [1]

The war against Germany increasingly generated fears of disloyalty and spies. In early June 1917, President Wilson directed all U.S. government agencies to root out German spies. He issued the directive, in part, because members of Congress claimed that German spies in the U.S. Navy and War Department supplied Germany with information to give it a tactical advantage over the U.S. in the war.[2] The Espionage Act, signed into law later that same month, prohibited and punished acts that threatened the safety of the U.S., undermined U.S. military actions, or interfered with recruitment for or enlistment in the U.S. military.[3] This law infringed on Americans’ right to freedom of speech in order to ensure the successful defeat of Germany in the war, and it resulted in the close scrutiny of German-Americans for potential German loyalties and the persecution of any American who spoke out against the war or the federal government.

Sedition ArticleThis article in The Democratic Banner (Mt. Vernon, Ohio) calls for stricter punishments for disloyal Americans during World War I. Ironically, the article was published on April 5, 1918, the same day Robert Prager was lynched and the Senate voted in favor of the Sedition Act.

President Wilson, his Cabinet, Congressional representatives, and other public officials used Prager’s lynching as evidence of continued, rampant disloyalty in the U.S. and argued for laws to punish disloyal speech. The President and his Cabinet blamed Prager’s death on Congress, claiming that its failure to pass adequate laws prohibiting and punishing disloyalty forced citizens to take justice into their own hands. U.S. Attorney General Thomas Gregory concurred, saying in a statement to the press, “It cannot be condemned. The department of justice has repeatedly called upon Congress for the necessary laws to prevent just such a thing as happened in the Illinois town.”[4] The attorney general explicitly blamed Congress for Prager’s lynching, and, more importantly, he condoned the mob’s actions.

Congress addressed Prager’s lynching and the motivations of the vigilante mob on the Senate floor later that same day. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge argued that Prager’s death signaled the need for stricter laws against disloyal speech, and Senator William Borah explained, “…[U]nless these people were dealt with in an orderly way and a legal way the mob would undoubtedly deal with them.…I simply call attention to the fact that I have received notice by telegraph that at Collinsville, Illinois, April 5, a mob of 300 men lynched a man by the name of Prager for disloyalty.”[5] Despite inflating the size of the mob, the Senator’s words were heeded by his fellow Senators who voted in favor of amending the Espionage Act of 1917 to outlaw all disloyal speech against the U.S., its government, and its armed forces in what was commonly called the Sedition Act.[6]


“Collinsville man killed for abusing Wilson,” St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, April 5, 1918.

“Will comb for German spies,” St. Charles [MO] Daily Cosmos-Monitor, July 6, 1917.

Charles Cheney Hyde, “The Espionage Act,” The American Journal of International Law 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1918): 142-146.

“Investigation waits on inquest Monday,” New York Times, April 6, 1918.

Senator Lodge of Massachusetts and Senator Borah of Idaho, speaking for the amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, on April 5, 1918, to the Senate, H. R. 8753, 65th Cong., 2d sess., Cong. Rec. 56, pt. 5: 4645.

 Sedition Act of 1918, Public Law 150, 65th Cong., 2d sess. (May 16, 1918), 554.


[1]“Collinsville man killed for abusing Wilson,” St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, April 5, 1918.

[2]“Will comb for German spies,” St. Charles [MO] Daily Cosmos-Monitor, July 6, 1917.

[3]Charles Cheney Hyde, “The Espionage Act,” The American Journal of International Law 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1918): 142-146.

[4]“Investigation waits on inquest Monday,” New York Times, April 6, 1918.

[5]Senator Lodge of Massachusetts and Senator Borah of Idaho, speaking for the amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917, on April 5, 1918, to the Senate, H. R. 8753, 65th Cong., 2d sess., Cong. Rec. 56, pt. 5: 4645.

[6]Sedition Act of 1918, Public Law 150, 65th Cong., 2d sess. (May 16, 1918), 554.


World War I, Memorial Day, and Small-Town Ohio

By Paul LaRue, Ohio World War I Commemoration Committee

New Holland Memorial Day 2017The 2017 Memorial Day Procession in New Holland, Ohio. The American Legion post in New Holland was named for the four New Holland men who lost their lives in WWI. Photo courtesy of Paul LaRue.

The origin of Memorial Day dates back to shortly after the Civil War, when Decoration Day was established. My earliest memories of Memorial Day are of World War I commemorations in rural, southern Ohio. My mother would take my brothers and I to the Memorial Day service at a nearby small town. Each year an elderly woman – I believe a widow of a World War I soldier – would slowly walk to the podium, unfold a faded sheet of paper, and begin reading: "In Flanders Fields the poppies blow / between the crosses row on row."

As we commemorate the service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans on Memorial Day, some of the connections to World War I have faded. The World War I Centennial provides an opportunity to reconnect with Memorial Day. Memorial Day commemorations in small towns and villages in Ohio, and around the country, are unique. Small communities often share key components of the commemoration (e.g. Honor Guard and high school bands). This is accomplished by staggering the times of the events. Local Veterans organizations generally organize the events.

This year, I will be participating in three events on Memorial Day, located in Frankfort, Clarksburg, and New Holland. These three communities have a combined population of less than 2500. The ceremony in Frankfort begins at 10:00 a.m., and the Honor Guard that will be present is from the Frankfort American Legion Post #483. The Frankfort American Legion Post #483 is the Joseph E. White Post. Joseph White served in the Rainbow Division, was killed in action, and was a recipient of the Croix de Guerre for bravery.

The next community, the smallest of the three, is Clarksburg with an 11:00 a.m. service. Clarksburg lost two of its sons in World War I service to pneumonia. Bugler Glen Ater, also from the Rainbow Division, was a recipient of the Silver Star for gallantry in serving as a trench runner. Glen Ater is buried in Clarksburg.

My last commemoration of the day will be with New Holland. The New Holland American Legion ARCH Post #477 was named by taking the first letter from the first name of the four sons New Holland lost in World War I. The "C" in the acronym ARCH is for Clyde Zeller, killed in action September 30, 1918, and buried in France. The New Holland ceremony is now organized and coordinated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #8041, with assistance by the Frankfort Honor Guard. The procession in New Holland starts from the center of the Village at 12:30 p.m. Any and all, young and old, some on tractor, some on foot, proceed from the center of town to the cemetery. The community has decorated the graves of all Veterans, following the traditions set in most communities, large and small.

The ceremonies are brief in length, but impactful. Following the services, Veterans and members of the community linger to visit, and often walk around looking for the graves of family and friends. And oh yes, I forgot to mention – I will conclude my comments at each by reading a poem that begins: “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow / between the crosses row on row.”


The Men They Carried: Dogs in World War I

By Kristen Newby, World War I Project Coordinator, Ohio History Connection

 P395 B01F01 007Eddie Rickenbacker (lower left) and other 94th Aero Squadron officers outside an aircraft hangar. The squadron’s mascot, a dog named Spad, stands on the plane. All images via Ohio Memory.

With the Armistice Day Centennial only seven months away, Americans remember the sacrifices made by the men and women who served in World War I, as well as the hard work required on the home front to support the war effort. The quick mobilization and training of troops is certainly one of the more impressive feats the United States accomplished during its involvement. When considering the manpower utilized by the U.S. alone, the numbers are staggering, with an increase in Armed Forces personnel from 350,000 in April 1917 to nearly 4 million at the war’s end in November 1918. Military units on both sides of the conflict did not rely on manpower alone, as animals such as horses, mules, and carrier pigeons played important roles at camps, during travel, and on the front lines. However, let us not forget the sacrifices made by the some of the creatures whose unwavering friendships we hold closest to our hearts—dogs.

SA1947AV B05 F04 08Sometimes dogs would return with the helmets of wounded soldiers to signal that they had found someone needing medical attention. All images via Ohio Memory.

Armies recognized that many of the qualities our furry friends possess—exceptional sense of smell and heightened hearing, intelligence, and admirable loyalty— make them excellent recruits. Trainers preferred larger, more durable breeds that could survive in harsh weather conditions and traverse rugged terrain, like German shepherds, retrievers, pointers, and Airedale terriers (not to think any less of Chihuahuas and dachshunds!). Dogs were trained in a variety of skills. Sentry and scout dogs were trained to detect and signal soldiers when the enemy was advancing or close by, especially at night. Sometimes dogs were stationed in the trenches where they alerted soldiers to oncoming attacks from opposing lines. Due to their size and mobility, dogs were easily kept safe in the trenches and were more reliable than horses and mules to successfully deliver ammunition and other supplies.

SA1947AV B05 F04 07This Red Cross dog drags an injured soldier to a safe location where medics can treat him.

One of dogs’ most important duties was identifying and retrieving wounded men from the battlefield. These medical dogs located wounded and dying men who were often unable to crawl to a spot where they would be easily found. Unfortunately, injured soldiers were sometimes not recovered because they were in crater holes or dugouts in isolated areas and were never found by their comrades. Both the Army and Red Cross trained these dogs to carry medical supplies in a box on their backs, enabling injured soldiers to treat themselves on the spot once discovered. The dog would tear off a part of the man's uniform and carry it back to camp to let handlers know they found someone. They then led medical personnel to the injured soldier for transport to a hospital for more advanced treatment. Other duties included guarding prisoners of war and carrying mail from post to post. Sadly (albeit infrequently), dogs were sometimes sent with timed explosives into enemy trenches, although this seems to have only been done in dire circumstances. Dogs sometimes lived with soldiers as unit mascots, no doubt providing therapeutic and emotional support as a comforting companion.

As we remember the various ways Americans contributed to the war effort, may we remember the dogs who died alongside their companions during the Great War, and the families who said goodbye to their beloved pets, surely knowing that their dogs’ bravery would make them proud.


Ohio Humanities Announces WWI-Related Funded Projects

By David Merkowitz, PhD, Assistant Director, Ohio Humanities

HayesPh3 B10F03 004Dated November 1917, this photograph shows Colonel Webb C. Hayes standing with nine Italian military men in Padua, Italy. Learn more about the Hayes family and WWI by visiting the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums. Image via Ohio Memory.

World War I was an epoch defining event in world history. Ohio’s role in the war and the ways that the war and its aftermath shaped the history of Ohio continues to be significant and thoroughly underappreciated. Ohio Humanities, the state-based partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is pleased to be able to support the public humanities and history programming of history organizations across the state as they explore the history and its continuing impact of World War I on Ohio. In 2018, Ohio Humanities has invested $45,000 in four projects.

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont is carrying out the project, “Patriotism & Protest: Engaging our Veterans.” The centerpiece of the project is the exhibit: “A Family of Service: The Hayeses in World War I.” This new exhibit commemorates the one hundred year anniversary of World War I, and seeks to interpret the history of the average soldier and public support and dissent towards the military action.

A consortium of organizations in Summit County - Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, The University of Akron Archival Services, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, and the Summit County Historical Society – have come together to produce the documentary film, “Summit County and the Great War: In the Words of Those Who Served.” The film brings 100-year-old letters, photographs, memoirs and other World War I-era documents housed in local collections to life through stories told via dramatic readings sandwiched between context-setting narration and on-camera expert interviews.

The Columbus Historical Society is developing an exhibition entitled "We Shall Remember Them: How Columbus Remembered The Great War."" This endeavor seeks engage the public in a discussion about how the city has chosen to remember World War I since its end in 1918.  "We Shall Remember Them"" will reveal the ways that Columbus residents shaped and communicated the war's memory, through the construction of memorials, monuments, cemeteries, and an urban landscape that reflected the names and events related to the war itself. The project will also consider the role veterans played in postwar Columbus society.      

The Kent Historical Society in partnership with the Kent Free Library is developing the exhibition, “Kent and the Great War” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI.  The exhibition examines the war from soldiers’ and nurses’ points of view and contrasts that with the view put forth by the federal government and the U.S. military.  A wide array of artifacts will be exhibited including military uniforms and paraphernalia, photographs, newspaper articles, war posters, souvenirs, and postcards. The exhibition also premiers many outstanding, never-before-exhibited collections of photographs taken by soldiers, personal diaries, and letters to and from the front.

To learn more about these projects, please visit in the coming months.


The Creation of the 37th “Buckeye” Division

By Cyrus Moore, Ohio History Service Corps Member, Southeast Ohio History Center

Co C 135 MG Camp SheridanCompany C, 135th Machine-Gun Battalion, 37th Division. during Training at Camp Sheridan. Co. C was formed from the Machine-Gun Company of the 7th Infantry, Ohio National Guard. Photo courtesy of the Southeast Ohio History Center. 

Ohio was one of only a few states to have its National Guard form a complete division in the First World War. Because of its pre-war origins, the 37th Division became known in the military as the “Buckeye” Division, and it adopted the bullseye from the Ohio state flag as its insignia. However, its composition was like that of other divisions, and contained many men who had not been part of the pre-war Ohio National Guard (ONG). The Ohioans who formed the core of the division were fortunate to be able to preserve their state identity in the massive Federal Army created by the War Department.

Before the Ohio National Guard entered Federal service in 1917, it was organized by a regimental system, with each regiment and its individual companies coming from a certain geographical area. It consisted of nine infantry regiments, one independent African-American infantry battalion, two artillery regiments, engineer companies, a signal battalion, ammunition trains, military police, and headquarters troops. Despite the variety, the ONG bore a closer resemblance to the volunteer armies of 1861 than the massive armies waging war in Europe in 1917. The crucial difference was the ONG’s use of brigades as self-contained formations, which contained two to four regiments and a few thousand soldiers. Armies in Europe were fighting on a much larger scale. Divisions were the standard formation, which consisted of multiple brigades and with tens of thousands of soldiers. To fight effectively in Europe, the ONG, along with the rest of the US military, had to reorganize on a divisional system.

Ohio began mobilizing its National Guard in the Spring of 1917. Existing ONG companies recruited to full strength as new recruits full of patriotic fervor joined up while new companies and even a new regiment were formed. The pre-war ONG lacked the artillery necessary to form a division, so cavalry and some infantry companies were converted to artillery. Through the influx of additional soldiers, expanding the artillery, and Ohio Governor James Cox’s heavy lobbying, the War department allowed the Ohio National Guard to enter the federal army as its own division, one of only a few states to do so.

General Pershing created a division model for the American Expeditionary Force, known as a “Square Division” due to the four infantry regiments at the core. To compensate for the soldiers inexperience, Pershing and his staff made the regiments and divisions much larger than those of European armies. A typical US regiment would number over 3,000 men, while a division would be around 27,000.

In September and October of 1917, the Ohio National Guard began leaving its home state, bound for Camp Sheridan, Alabama. At Camp Sheridan the ONG entered the federal army and reorganized into a division. The Ohio National Guard became the 37th Division, known as the “Buckeye” division.

73rd Infantry Brigade

74th Infantry Brigade

145th Infantry Regiment

146th Infantry Regiment

135th Machine-Gun Battalion

147th Infantry Regiment

148th Infantry Regiment

136th Machine-Gun Battalion

62nd Field Artillery Brigade

Divisional Troops

134th Field Artillery Regiment, 75mm guns

135th Field Artillery Regiment, 75mm guns

136th Field Artillery Rgmt, 155mm howitzers

112th Trench Mortar Battery

134th Machine-Gun Battalion

112th Engineer Regiment

112th Signal Battalion

Headquarters Troop

Table 1: Order of Battle (component units) for the 37th Division


Significantly, the regiments and battalions of the new divisions lacked any state designations. They were numbered according to their position in the Federal Army. State origins remained but only in the nicknames, which soon became official. Though some state regiments were renumbered and stayed mostly together, often men from the various state regiments were scattered across the division to raise the new regiments to strength. To further augment division strength, soldiers from other states and draftees from across the country were added to the constituent regiments.

Ohio National Guard officers were scattered even more than their men. The War Department wanted experienced Regular Army officers in high ranking positions, but National Guard officers could not be dismissed without causing resentment. Guard officers were used to fill lower positions wherever needed, and were thus often sent far from their original outfits.

When compared to the pre-Federalized composition of the Ohio National Guard, the 37th Division is much more robust; it was better balanced in terms of infantry to other troop types, and contained equipment necessary for modern warfare, such as machine-guns and heavy mortars. Though heavily restructured, the division contained many Ohioans and preserved its state identity.


Cole, Ralph D. and W. C. Howells. The Thirty-Seventh Division in the World War, 1917-1919. 2   Vols. Columbus, OH: The Thirty-seventh Division Veterans Association. 1926.

Grotelueschen, Mark E. The AEF Way of War: The American Army and combat in World War I. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. 2007.

Teacher Resources Now Available: World War I and the American Home Front

By Kristen Newby, WWI Project Coordinator, Ohio History Connection


 theykeptthesealanesopenThe 1919 Victory Liberty Loan drive was the fifth and final issue of the Liberty Loan, bonds sold during World War I to finance the war. The Victory Liberty Loan was intended to raise enough funds to offset debt accrued from wartime expenses. This poster encourages Americans to purchase Victory Liberty Loans, showing a U.S. submarine approaching American ships. Via Ohio Memory.

As part of the Little Stories of the Great War: Ohioans in World War I project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Ohio History Connection has released the first in a series of three free resource guides and classroom activities, with this set covering the American home front during World War I. Created primarily for high school teachers, the resource guide ‘Will you have a part in Victory?’: World War I and the American Home Front lists sample primary sources in the World War I Collection on Ohio Memory pertaining to civilian contributions to the national war effort. The war posters, letters, and photographs highlighted in the resource guide engage students with the many ways Americans supported the war, including purchasing war bonds and war savings stamps, volunteering with the American Red Cross, growing produce in victory gardens, and rationing food and conserving other materials like metals, rubber, and gasoline.

The classroom activity, Conservation in the First World War, includes three activities utilizing primary sources to engage students with food conservation measures used during World War I. These activities require students to explore the World War I digital collection, and each can be completed in one class period or assigned as homework. Students can critically examine World War I posters encouraging Americans to contribute to the war effort, read a bulletin published in local Ohio newspapers informing readers about reducing food consumption, or create a week-long meal plan for a family of five which incorporates home-grown produce and aligns with the U.S. Food Administration’s conservation days.

Check back soon for the next bundle of educator resources! If you have any questions, please contact project staff at

Download the resource guide

Download the classroom activity

Faces in the Book: A Bridge between the U.S. and Italy

By Kristen Newby, WWI Project Coordinator, Ohio History Connection

In commemoration of the centennial anniversary of Armistice Day, the Museo della Battaglia Vittorio Veneto (Museum of the Battle of Vittorio Veneto) in Italy has created a website called Faces in the Book ( which commemorates the men of the American 332nd Infantry Regiment who fought in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. Researchers Giorgio Marinello and Franco Giuseppe Gobbato created Faces in the Book in conjunction with a permanent installation at the Memoriale dei Cavalieri in Vittorio Veneto, highlighting America’s intervention in Italy during World War I.

comapnyeThis panoramic photograph shows Company E at Camp Sherman near Chillicothe, Ohio. By the end of World War I, more than 120,000 soldiers trained at Camp Sherman. More photographs of the 332nd Infantry Regiment are available on Ohio Memory here. Via Ohio Memory.

Assembled and trained at Camp Sherman near Chillicothe, Ohio, one of sixteen army training camps across the nation, the 332nd Infantry was part of the 83rd Division, also known as the “Ohio Division,” as the most of its men were from Ohio. The 332nd was training in France in May 1918, when General Pershing selected the unit to be sent to the Italian Front at the request of the Italian government. In late July 1918, a total of 4,000 soldiers and 125 officers, including the 331st Infantry Regiment medical unit, arrived in Villafrance di Verona, Italy, under the command of Colonel William Wallace. The 332nd was called to Italy for propaganda purposes with two responsibilities—to bolster the morale of the Italian people, and to trick Austrian forces into thinking there was a large American presence in Italy. The men regularly organized staged marches on the Italian lines along the Piave River, without engaging in combat, changing their location and uniforms daily to convince Austrian aero-observers that large numbers of American units were deployed there. Italian government officials even requested that the American unit selected have as few Italian-Americans as possible, so that Austria would not entertain the possibility that these were Italian troops disguised as Americans. The 332nd also participated in public events like military medal decoration ceremonies, enabling them to interact with Italian civilians in cities and towns along the front.

Finally in October 1918, the 332nd Infantry was summoned to advance to the front lines and cross the Piave. The 332nd was assigned to the Italian 31st Division, and marched as part of the British XIV Corps across the Italian line in pursuit of fleeing Austrian troops crossing the Tagliamento River. Allied troops continued to push forward and seized the Austrian position on November 4th. Later that day, Italian and Austro-Hungarian officials signed an armistice agreement, ending conflict on the Italian Front, and bringing an end to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

facesinthebookView the portraits of the men who served in Company K of the 332nd Infantry Regiment here. Via Faces in the Book.

Faces in the Book features content from two books owned by a private collector; History of Company K which contains photographs of each member of the company, and a book which lists the names of the men of Company E. Each soldier’s photograph from History of Company K is available here, and the names and addresses of members of Company E are available here in a full-text searchable PDF document.

Creators Gobbato and Giorgio hope for Faces in the Book to “[establish] a bond between Vittorio Veneto and all those living in the USA, who will now have an additional tool to keep alive the memory of their ancestors, with the awareness that, after more than a century, their contribution in the Great War is still very much alive in the historical memory of our country and is continuously reflected in the relations between our two nations, based on peace and solidarity.” Faces in the Book highlights one of the many ways Ohioans contributed to World War I, and celebrates the memories of loved ones from across our state and nation.

The Museo della Battaglia Vittorio Veneto has an open call for documents or photographs relating to the 332nd Infantry. For more information about Faces in the Book, or to speak to project staff about sharing your private collections, please send inquiries to

In honor of National Library Week, we're excited to bring you this story highlighting the important role libraries played during World War I.

The Library War Service in Ohio

By Penelope Shumaker, Metadata Librarian, State Library of Ohio

Camp Sherman LibraryThe Camp Sherman library, May 29, 1918, via Ohio Memory.

During World War I, Camp Sherman’s Major General Glenn wrote to W.H. Brett, a librarian at Cleveland Public Library, to ask him to help change the perception that soldiers don’t have time to read, and to encourage the donations for camp libraries.  Glenn emphasized that “there is no one thing that will be of greater value to the men in his cantonment in producing contentment with their surroundings than properly selected reading material.”

Libraries across Ohio answered the call.  In 1917 the American Library Association authorized the State Library Commissioners to take charge of War Library Service in Ohio.  The board created the statewide book drive, called the Book-for-Every-Soldier campaign, which held book drives in every county.  Over 250,000 books were donated to this campaign.  The State Library of Ohio’s Traveling Library program also loaned 500 volumes to the 7th Regiment of the Ohio National Guard.

Many of the books gathered in Ohio were directed to the camp library at Camp Sherman, which was located near Chillicothe.  A librarian from the Chillicothe Library, Burton Egbert Stevenson, was appointed as the Camp Librarian.  Stevenson was a noted novelist and war activist.  During the war he was a prolific writer in the War Library Bulletin and ALA War Service Library Report for Congress.  At Camp Sherman, Stevenson worked to have a comfortable and well-stocked library of 40,000 volumes.  To create an atmosphere of comfort and a sense of home, he successfully advocated for a fireplace in the library. 

Camp Sherman NewspapersSoldiers sorting deliveries in the newspaper room at the Camp Sherman library, via Ohio Memory.

In addition to the book drives, Stevenson wrote to every newspaper published in Ohio and western Pennsylvania, requesting five complimentary copies of each publication for the library.  His efforts resulted in over 300 papers delivered to the cam.  Along with the fireplace, these newspapers gave the soldiers a reminder of home with the local news coverage from the soldiers’ hometowns.

In the ALA’s War Service Library Report. Stevenson noted soldiers’ interest in books challenged his expectations.  While men often read fiction, he wrote, “when I started this work…I had some very plausible theories about the kinds of the books the men would want; but I soon discarded them.  We have requests for every sort of book, from some books by Gene Stratton Porter to Boswell’s ‘Life of Johnson’ and Bergson’s ‘Creative Evolution.’  We have had requests for Ibsen’s plays, books on sewage disposal, and so many requests for ‘A Message to Garcia’ that I had a supply mimeographed” (1918).   Only banned books – such as those advocating pacifism, or with pro-German, anti-capitalist, or pro-socialist themes, were not made available by Stevenson and other camp librarians like him.  However, Stevenson continued to work to have a wide variety of books for the soldiers, and contributions from libraries and parlors across the state helped him achieve this goal. 

The Library War Service hit its peak in 1919 but continued directing reading materials towards service members through the end of the war in 1920.  Meanwhile, Camp Sherman was one of the last World War I Army training camps to be commissioned in 1921.  Additional information on camp libraries and the Library War Service’s efforts can be found via the following sources:

The American Library Association Archives: A Book for Every Man: The ALA Library War Service

The American Library Association: Library War Service

Ohio Memory (to see images and other Camp Sherman-related images, click here)

Introducing the Ohio Poppy Project

By Amy Rohmiller, Ohio World War I Coordinator, Ohio History Connection 

Help us commemorate the sacrifices of Ohio’s World War I service members! The Ohio World War I Centennial Committee is collecting homemade poppies from communities across Ohio for the commemoration of the Armistice that ended World War I and to recognize the hundreds of thousands of forgotten Ohioans who served in that war.

The Ohio Poppy Project wants to help communities across Ohio connect to their World War I history and honor World War I soldiers across the state. Our goal is to collect poppies until fall 2018 and display all the collected poppies at the Ohio History Center in Columbus as part of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11, 2018.  Making poppies can be an easy, meaningful way for your historical society, community group, school class, or scout troop to commemorate The Great War.

Ohio played a major role in World War I in almost every area you can think of.  As a state, Ohio sent the 4th most troops in the country and about 5% of the entire nation’s military manpower. Ohio was the home of Camp Sherman, the third largest training camp for soldiers. Over 120,000 soldiers trained at the camp outside of Chillicothe. 

Poppies became a symbol of World War I and the contributions of our nation’s soldiers during the war with the publication of the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae. The poem memorializes soldiers who fought on the Western front, especially in northern Belgium. This area saw some of the worst fighting of the war. Poppies continue to be a symbol of World War I today.

If you would like to join our commemoration and make poppies, we have resources and templates to help.

If your class or group makes poppies and would like to have them displayed at the Ohio History Center during the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, you can ship them to:

Ohio World War I Committee
Ohio History Connection,
800 East 17th Ave,
Columbus OH 43211

The Ohio Poppy Project is inspired by the Kentucky Poppy Project.

Ohio Women in World War I

By Shannon Kupfer, Digital Initiatives Librarian, State Library of Ohio 

Women have served in every United States war since before the country had a name.  Sometimes they served in secret, dressing in men’s garb and hiding their identity.  Those who wished to serve openly sometimes did so as nurses, an occupation that was crucial to the war effort but which relegated them to a role more “appropriate” for females.  Others served through efforts such as growing victory gardens, knitting warm woolens for American troops, or working in other domestic wartime efforts. 

Then came World War I and the Naval Act of 1916.  Signed into law by Woodrow Wilson, the Naval Act of 1916 – also called the Big Navy Act – was designed to increase the Navy’s size, with a goal of making it the largest in the world.  To that end, recruitment was a high priority, and it was through a loophole in the recruitment language that women gained entry into the armed services.  Specifically, the language said that “all persons who may be capable of performing special useful service for coastal defense” were eligible to enlist, but made no mention of limiting recruitment to men.  According to Prologue Magazine, “After reviewing the act, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and the Bureau of Navigation (the forerunner to the Bureau of Personnel) concluded that the language did not prohibit women from enlisting in the reserves. The act gave the Navy a previously untapped resource that allowed administrative operations to be carried out by naval personnel and freed able-bodied men to serve aboard ships.”  The women would be given the title Yeoman (F); “F” stood for “female,” though the women quickly became known as “yeomanettes.”  Initially, their duties were largely clerical and administrative, but expanded to include mechanical work, cryptography, making of munitions, and other duties.  By the end of the war, thousands of women had enlisted in the armed services.

okey Woodsfield High School newspaper article on Okey, an alumna of the school, via Ohio Memory.

Ouida Mabel Okey, of Graysville, Ohio, enlisted in the Marines on October 22, 1918 – two months after Opha Mae Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the Marines – and continued her service through July 31, 1919.  Ms. Okey was one of three women from Ohio to serve in the Marine Reserves, the other two being Mildred A. Cowell of Marietta and Mary A. Williams of Youngstown.  According to the Woodsfield High School Dynamite, Ms. Okey’s alma mater’s newspaper, she was one of two hundred women chosen from a pool of five thousand applicants, and served in the Casualty Section of the Adjutant and Inspector’s Department of the Marines.  She, and other women like her “look[ed] after the details connected with discharges, allowances, the welfare of the wounded, their recreational activities and many other things…Besides this, the girls drill, do guard duty, etc.  In fact the girls are Marines.  Their ranking titles are the same and their punishment for infractions of discipline is the same as it is for their big brothers in the service for similar violations.”  Remarkably, at least for the time, the women also received the same wages as men, assuming they were also able to rise to the same rank. 

Though women were now allowed to enlist, other avenues for supporting the war effort still existed for them.  Many thousands chose nursing as a way to provide needed medical expertise, as well as comfort, to soldiers in need.  One such woman was Clara Edith Work Ayres.

Ms. Work Ayres was born in Attica, Ohio, in 1880.  At the age of twenty-three, she married Wayland Ayres, but her marriage was short-lived; in 1906, Mr. Ayres injured his hand and died three days later after contracting tetanus.  After her husband’s death, Ms. Ayres moved to Chicago, graduating from nursing school in 1913.   Not long after, just prior to America’s entry into the war, Ms. Ayres volunteered as a nurse for the Red Cross and was assigned to work in France.  Unfortunately, however, Ms. Ayres never arrived; while awaiting departure from New York, she was killed on her ship during a practice firing of weapons.  Incidentally, Ms. Ayres is considered to be the first American civilian to die in World War I, though this is debatable.  According to historian Marjorie Waterfield, the 128 Americans that drowned as a result of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 were actually the first American civilians to die in the war, but Ms. Ayres was the first to be killed after America’s entry into the war. 

For women at home, the war offered opportunities that were not generally available to women during peacetime.  Women were often called upon to work in factories, holding jobs that were typically occupied by men.  Others worked with the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) to provide activities to men residing at Camp Sherman or other training camps, based inside or outside the U.S.   The Y.W.C.A. also facilitated relationships between American women and non-English speaking women residing in the U.S.: “Multitudes of foreign born women ignorant not only of the language of our country, but also of its laws and customs are left helpless when their men are summoned to the service…” The Y.W.C.A. responded to this need by opening centers where “foreign-tongued women may find friends at all times.”  The Y.W.C.A. warned of the perils of war for women who were unoccupied in productive efforts, including “blurring high ideals…letting down personal restraint…permitting loose social relationships.”   The war, on the other hand, “has opened to women a variety of employments hitherto regarded exclusively as men’s work,” making women the nation’s “second line of defense.”

 Those who chose not to, or were unable to, work outside the home or serve in the Navy or Marines still found ways to contribute to the war effort.  The Wagner Park Nursery Company of Sidney, Ohio, produced a pamphlet which advised women that “It is not only a patriotic duty to do your share in making your own ground bring forth needed vegetables but it is a privilege that yields rich dividends to you both in pleasure and health.”  Meanwhile, organizations like the Red Cross made knitting for soldiers a popular method of showing one’s support for soldiers; with the rallying cry of “knit for Sammie!” – “Sammie” being a nickname for soldiers fighting for Uncle Sam – women across Ohio and America knit a variety of clothing and accessories, often using patterns issued freely by the Red Cross themselves.

In September, 1918, just one month after the first woman enlisted in the Marines, President Woodrow Wilson expressed his support for a federal amendment to give women the right to vote.  How could the United States fight for liberty around the world when half of its citizens were denied the fundamental right of suffrage?  The companion argument, however, was based on sacrifices, such as those made by Ouida Okey, Clara Ayres, and the countless unnamed women who contributed to the war effort at home.  Their contributions entitled them to equal protection and equal rights, and those contributions, and the rights they gained, continue to inspire women a century later.


HistoryLink: Knitting for Victory – World War I, accessed 3/29/2018

National Archives: Prologue Magazine, “The Story of Female Yeomen During the First World War;” accessed 3/28/2018

National Parks Service: Women’s Suffrage and World War I, accessed 3/29/2018

Red Cross Knitwear, accessed 3/29/2018

Smithsonian Magazine, “During World War I, Many Women Served and Some Got Equal Pay,” accessed 3/28/2018

Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Women in World War I, accessed 3/29/2018

Toledo Blade: “Historian Tells Story of Nurse Who Died at Start of World War I,” accessed 3/28/2018

United States Army: Women in the Army,  accessed 3/28/2018

Sources from Ohio Memory:

YWCA Pamphlet: War Work for Women, accessed 3/28/2018

YWCA Pamphlet: One Year with the War Work Council of the Y.W.C.A., accessed 3/28/2018

Seeds for your War Garden brochure, accessed 3/28/2018

Ohio Memory Blog: “Camp Sherman: ‘Ohio’s Soldier Factory,’” accessed 3/29/2018

Ohio Memory Blog: “Ohio Memory Madness 2014: Ouida Okey, the Girl Marine,” accessed 3/28/2018

Help Reveal the Untold Stories of Ohioans During World War I!

transcription tool In this letter, Ohio native Harlan W. Johnson writes that a German spy was discovered at his camp in Austin, Texas, where he was attending the School of Military Aeronautics. Via Ohio Memory.

In an effort to commemorate the World War I Centennial, the Ohio History Connection is digitizing World War I collections from its own holdings, as well as cultural heritage institutions across Ohio, as part of the Little Stories of the Great War: Ohioans in World War I project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). These collections are freely available in the World War I in Ohio Collection on Ohio Memory (

As part of the Little Stories of the Great War project, the Ohio History Connection has developed an online transcription tool. You can help us share more of the story by helping to transcribe handwritten letters, diaries and more at! Transcribed text is added to the digital item’s record on Ohio Memory, making the content easier to discover and use. By taking time to transcribe these documents, you are helping to uncover and share the important experiences of Ohioans during the Great War. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us at

“Spring Forward, Fall Back”: Daylight Saving Time and World War I

By Kristen Newby, WWI Project Coordinator, Ohio History Connection

Last Sunday at 2am, America (with the exceptions of Arizona and Hawaii) turned its clocks forward one hour. Although we look forward to longer days with more sunlight in the spring and summer, and an extra hour of sleep in the fall, our bodies struggle to adjust our internal clocks to the time shift. People often suggest that daylight saving time is an obsolete measure, and actually counteracts its original intentions. Daylight saving time was a hotly contested topic even in its beginnings during World War I.

Germany was the first to enact daylight saving measures in April 1916, when Germany and its allies turned their clocks forward, with the United States and Great Britain soon to follow. On March 19, 1918, Congress passed President Wilson’s proposed Standard Time Act, or “An Act to save daylight and to provide standard time for the United States,” which divided the country into the five time zones in use today. Additional hours of daylight were intended to both increase productivity for wartime industries as well as conserve energy, as more hours of daylight meant less fuel consumption to for artificial light. With national and local programs for rationing food and conserving valuable materials like metals and rubber, daylight saving time was another way civilians on the American home front could support the war effort.

PerrysburgJournal 19180530The May 30, 1918, issue of the Perrysburg Journal features this "On the Spur of the Moment" column by American humorist Roy K. Moulton, in which he describes a woman arrested for selling watered milk, claiming her cows ate “dew-laden grass” due to the lack of morning sun. Via Chronicling America.

Many believe daylight saving time was instituted to provide farmers with more daylight to increase agricultural production, especially during the war when there was a huge push for victory gardens at every home. However, farmers were one of the largest opponents of daylight saving time because more hours of daylight in the evenings meant fewer hours of daylight in the morning, which they heavily relied on for harvesting, preparing produce for market, and milking dairy cattle.

MedinaSentinel 19190822On August 22, 1919, the Medina Sentinel announces the repeal of the Standard Time Act. Via Chronicling America.

On April 20, 1919, the Standard Time Act was repealed over President Wilson’s veto, although some local governments maintained its use. Daylight saving time was re-instituted during World War II on February 9, 1942, when clocks were moved ahead an hour until the war’s end. After its repeal in September 1945, its use was once again deferred to local decision makers.

Congress passed the Uniform Time Act on April 13, 1966, under President Lyndon B. Johnson, which established daylight saving time across the United States and re-instituted the five time zones defined in the original 1918 legislation. The length of daylight saving time was later extended in 1986, and most recently in 2007 to the current daylight saving period from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November.

Ephraim Rose, Story of a World War I Soldier from Ohio

By John Haas, Manuscript Curator, Ohio History Connection 

Ephraim Rose header

Our story is about Ephriam Rose, an African American Ohio National Guardsman, born in West Jefferson Ohio in 1898.  In August 1916 his family was living in Lima Ohio and he joined the Ohio National Guard at Dayton and was a member of the 9th Separate Battalion of Infantry Ohio National Guard.  At that time the Army and the United States National Guard was segregated and many states had separate or independent units of African American soldiers in their various state National Guards.   As you can see by the date, August 14, 1916, the United States had not entered the war yet and it was peace time in Ohio. 

In late 1916 the Ohio National Guard was mobilized to send troops to the Mexican border to guard it from incursions by Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa, and possibly other Mexican Revolution soldiers.  According to the sources here at the Ohio History Connection the 9th Battalion of the Ohio National Guard stayed in Ohio.  However a newspaper article about the Rose family and their World War I service, states that Ephriam Rose served on the Mexican Border.  I believe that to be a mistake since it appears the 9th Battalion stayed in Ohio.  They helped construct the Ohio National Guard training base and mobilization center at Camp Willis in Upper Arlington Ohio. 

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917 the entire Ohio National Guard was mobilized, including the 9th Separate Battalion of Infantry, and prepared for war.  All the old Ohio National Guard unit numbers were changed to fit into the U. S. Army mobilization structure and the 9th Battalion of Infantry of the Ohio National Guard became the 2nd Battalion of the 372nd Infantry Regiment.  The 372nd was made up of all African American National Guard units from various states including Ohio, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  The 372nd was part of the 93rd United States Infantry Division and they trained near Newport News Virginia.   The other units in the 93rd Infantry Division (Provisional) were the 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly the 15th New York Infantry, known as “the Harlem Hell fighters”;  the 370th Infantry, which had been the 8th Illinois Infantry Regiment, “the Black Devils”; and the 371st U.S. Infantry who were mostly non National Guard draftees or volunteers. 

Our soldier, Ephriam Rose, was listed as a Bugler with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 372nd Infantry regiment.  As you can see by the picture enclosed the Ohio History Connection has his dog tag, a photo, his Official Roster entry and a newspaper article about his service.  His unit left Newport News Virginia on March 30, 1918 aboard the Susquehanna and arrived at St.-Nazaire France.  He is listed as a member of the AEF, American Expeditionary Forces, from that date till he arrived back in Hoboken New Jersey on February 11, 1919, aboard the U.S.S. Leviathan.  The Leviathan sailed from Brest France on February 3, 1919. 

Ephraim Rose H99140

While in France the 2nd Battalion, and our Ephriam Rose, of the 372nd Infantry Regiment served with the French Army 157th Infantry Division, the Red Hand Division, commanded by General Mariano F. J. Goybet.  You might ask: why did the 372nd (and the 371st as well) serve with a French Division?  Well the American general officers did not want to command black troops and did not want Black troops serving with their White troops.  So both the 93rd Infantry Division (Provisional) and the 92nd Infantry Division, also an African American unit, were given to the French Army and served with them till the war ended. 

Ephriam Rose and the 372nd entered the front line trenches for the first time on May 31, 1918 and launched their first major offensive action on September 21st, 1918.  Between June and September most of the original African American officers had been removed and replaced by white officers.  Boards of Examination had been set up to evaluate officers and that was the result.  Despite the loss of their long service and familiar officers the troops of the African American regiments performed remarkably well.  Ephriam Rose and the 2nd Battalion of the 372nd were in the front lines near Verdun and Hill 304, a place made famous and infamous during the 1916 Battle for Verdun.  Later they moved through many French towns including Bois de Brocourt, Juvigny, Brienne-le-Chateau, Vitry-le-Francois, Jessecourt, Hans and Ripont.  From September 26th through October 8th they participated in the great Meuse-Argonne Offensive with the 371st Infantry and both were attached to the 157th French Red Hand Infantry Division.  Ephriam Rose and the 2nd Battalion of the 372nd captured part of Bellevue Signal Ridge and Bussy Farm. They attacked and eventually captured Sechault and later the town of Monthois.  The American units and the 157th French Division were taken out of the line on October 8th.  In the last month of the war they were in the Alsace and Lorraine defensive sectors but did participate in combat operations.    

The 372nd Infantry Regiment suffered casualties consisting of 91 men killed in action and between 600 and 700 wounded or gassed.  The full strength of the regiment would have been about 3000 men.  The afore mentioned newspaper article says our Ephriam Rose was wounded in battle, but his roster entry does not mention that.  Most of the roster entries do mention if that soldier was wounded, but no 23 volume roster can be completely accurate and so he may have been wounded and it may have not been recorded properly.  The 372nd and the 371st U.S. Infantry Regiments were awarded numerous medals and awards for their service in France.  Each unit was given a regimental Croix de Guerre, 168 individual Croix de Guerre, 38 Distinguished Service Crosses, four Medal Militaire and two crosses of the Legion of Honor.  The unit Croix de Guerre was presented to the 372nd at the Port of Brest France by Vice Admiral Moreau, the Maritime Prefect of Brest, before a large audience of French and American officers and soldiers. 

The 372nd Infantry Regiment raised over 10,000 French Francs for a monument to be established near Monthois, the scene of their one of their major battles.  They deputized General Goybet and Colonel Quillet to act as trustees to get the monument erected.   From the unit history of the 2nd Battalion, 372nd Infantry is the following quote:  “ On September 30, 1929 a commission consisting of members of the Ohio State Senate and Legislature visited the battlefields of France and formally received and dedicated this outstanding monument and achievement for the great State of Ohio.”

 As mentioned above Ephriam Rose and Company G, 2nd Battalion, 372nd Infantry Regiment arrived back in the US of A on February 11, 1919 at Hoboken New Jersey.  But he was one of four brothers that served in World War I.  His brother John H. Rose served in France with the 116th and 537th Engineers; brother Paul Rose served in France with the 304th Service Battalion;  brother Joseph W. Rose served in France with the 365th Infantry Regiment; plus three brothers in law also served.  The article describing the Mr. and Mrs. John H. Rose family of Lima Ohio can be found here:

Ephraim Rose and his brothers all show up in the 1920 census living in the same home and address as shown in the 1910 census.  However Ephraim Rose died on November 8, 1922, age 26.  Cause of death was listed as Chronic Parenchymatous Nephritis (Nephrosis) with pulmonary complications.  In laymen’s terms is was a disease of the kidneys producing kidney failure.  The death certificate notes the disease was contracted while in the US Army.  This lends credence to the mention of his being wounded while in France, despite the fact it is not noted in his official roster entry.    He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima Ohio. 

Sources and Resources:

Pictorial History of the Three Hundred Seventy-Second Infantry Army of the United States, 1941, Atlanta: Army Navy Publications, 1941.

The American Negro in the World War.  Emmett J. Scott, Chicago, Homewood Press, 1919. (this book is has been scanned and can be viewed on line.) 

Ohio Memory has several pictures of the 372nd Infantry Regiment, marching in downtown Columbus and their flags:!artifact*%20picture%20manuscript*%20object*%20specimen*%20video!picture%20objects%20/field/all!format!format/mode/all!any!any/conn/and!and!and

  Numerous web sites have material and images for the 372nd Infantry Regiment on line:

New WWI Monument Coming to NMUSAF

By Robert Kasprzak, President, Military Heritage Chapter, League of World War One Aviation Historians 

The League of World War One Aviation Historians was formed in 1985 to elevate the study of military aviation to the level of a true academic pursuit. Membership in the League is open to everyone. Currently, the League consists of over 300 members in the United States and abroad. League members include historians, authors, lecturers, artists, and WWI aviation enthusiasts. The Military Heritage Chapter of the League serves the local Dayton/Columbus/Cincinnati area. It is the only local organization with a focus on educating and preserving the contributions of our early military aviators. Towards that end, the Chapter routinely provides educational briefings to local organizations such as libraries, historical societies, and military-related groups.

In the fall of 2016, the Military Heritage Chapter conducted a tour of the National Museum of the United States Air Force (NMUSAF) Memorial Park. During the tour, the Chapter noted there is no monument to the U.S. Airmen who served at the Front during World War I. Given the fact we are commemorating the Centennial of WW I, the League wanted to establish a monument at the NMUSAF in memory of the Airmen who formed the foundation for today's United States Air Force. The monument would inspire and motivate current and future generations to study the evolution of military airpower during the Great War. The League's Board of Directors enthusiastically accepted the proposal.

The initial monument design was slightly modified and subsequently approved by the Air Force Historical Research Agency and the NMUSAF on 7 June 2017.

Since this year marks the final year of the national and international WWI Centennial activities, this project will not only honor our WWI Airmen but also recognize today's modern air warriors whose legacy they uphold. It will be the perfect blend of the past to the present.

The monument will be dedicated on Friday, 21 September 2018 at the Memorial Park of the NMUSAF near Dayton, Ohio.   The 21 September 2018 dedication date was chosen because the NMUSAF will conduct their biennial Dawn Patrol during that weekend. The Dawn Patrol features a number of events including flybys by replica WWI aircraft.   Literally, thousands of people attend the weekend event and it's a wonderful opportunity to commemorate the conclusion of the Centennial. Planned monument dedication activities include a flyover by WWI replica aircraft as well as a flyover by a modern B-1 bomber. Since many of our Airmen served w/our Allies, officers from our Allied countries (including France, Belgium, England, Canada, Australia, and Italy) have been invited to represent their nations. In addition, the daughter of Lt Stephen Thompson (who was the first American Airman serving w/the U.S. Air Service to shoot down an enemy aircraft) will represent the Airmen of WWI. Today's Airmen will be represented by the Commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The Invocation will be given by a Canadian minister (who is also a re-enactor Chaplain), an Honor Guard of WWI re-enactors and an Honor Guard from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will post the colors, Taps will be played, and a 21-gun salute will be provided by a local Post of the VFW. The monument's dedication will end our Centennial events in a truly moving fashion and provide a vehicle for promoting continued educational and research interest in America's early military aviation legacy. The League is proud to spearhead this memorable event!

Currently, the League has raised over $14,000 (of the $26,000 required) for monument construction, installation, and perpetual maintanance. All contributions are fully tax deductable. Should anyone (or any organization) wish to contribute, please visit the League's website at the following link:

Once on the site, you are also invited to view a short video about the monument. Should you have any questions and need more detailed information, please contact the monument's Project Officer, Robert Kasprzak, via e-mail at:

We believe the monument will be a lasting testament to the early pioneers of military aviation...including ground support personnel as well as those who actually flew operational missions. It would bridge the cultural gap between WWI and the USAF Memorials of later conflicts and reinforce the legacy between those early Airmen and the Airmen of today. We hope you'll join us!

Educational Resources for Teaching the Service and Sacrifice of African American World War I Soldiers

By Paul LaRue, Ohio World War I Commemoration Committee

I live in Washington Court House, a small town in rural southern Ohio. You might think this is an unusual place to learn about African American World War I Soldiers; you would be wrong! Drive past the Homer Lawson American Legion Post #653 on Gregg Street, or take a stroll in our local cemetery. This is the history of my community, and possibly yours as well. You may not see rich history at first glance, but look a little deeper. The same rule applies to teaching about the service and sacrifice of African Americans in World War I. At first glance, you might be tempted to say "there are no good resources;" again, you would be wrong. The World War I Centennial has helped create a renewed interest in African American World War I history, including the creation of educational resources.

Homer Lawson post

As a thirty-year classroom teacher, I always like to connect classroom content locally, when possible. I also serve as a member of Ohio's WWI Centennial Committee, so education is a priority for me. The Ohio WWI Centennial Committee has created educational resources to assist educators in teaching the story of African American WWI Soldiers. The first lesson plan focuses on the role of African American combat troops in WWI. "Searching for Homer Lawson" tells the story of local soldier Homer Lawson who was killed in combat in France. The majority of the approximately 380,000 African American WWI soldiers served in labor or service regiments. These soldiers' stories of service are no less important.

black history educator resources 2

The second lesson plan: "African American Soldiers Labor for Victory"for Victory" includes a letter home from a local soldier in a Pioneer Infantry Regiment serving in France. Both lesson plans are aligned with the Ohio content standards for the American History model curriculum, and could easily be adapted for other state content standards.

The National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places series offers a lesson plan on Colonel Charles Young's protest ride for equality. Colonel Charles Young was the highest ranking African American soldier in the United States Army in 1917. His story of service and sacrifice in the face of institutional racism marks an important early event in the civil rights movement. This lesson plan meets national social studies standards.

I must make full disclosure; I wrote the first two lesson plans, and co-authored the NPS lesson plan with one of my former students, Sarah Lane. Sarah is a recent graduate of Ohio University's school of education. She brings the fresh insights and technical skills that go with her generation. I like to think I bring the wisdom that comes from thirty years teaching in a rural public school. (I guess that just makes me old!)

These are but three lesson plans, and by no means an exhaustive list. In a prior post, I discussed the 80th Anniversary edition of the Black History Bulletin. The Black History Bulletin includes a lesson plan and annotated bibliography on African American World War I service. I don't mean for this to start sounding like an infomercial, but I am proud of the renewed interest in this too often overlooked group of American soldiers!

Ohio World War I Centennial Committee

Contact: Amy Rohmiller, Ohio History Connection:

Committee Members:

Carmella Cadusale, Youngstown State University & North Canton Heritage Society 

Ron Chapman, American Legion Department of Ohio

Steve Ebersole, American Legion Department of Ohio

Shannon Kupfer, State Library of Ohio 

Paul LaRue, High School History Teacher (Ret.)

Dr. Paul Lockhart, Wright State University

Pete Lupiba, Ohio Department of Education

SFC Joshua Mann, Ohio Army National Guard

David Merkowitz, Ohio Humanities

Colonel Thomas Moe, United States Air Force (Ret.)

Cyrus Moore, Southeast Ohio History Center

Toivo Motter, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens 

Becky Preiss Odom, Ohio History Connection

Kyle Yoho, The Castle Historic House Museum




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