WWI DISPATCH January 2024

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January 2024

Call on the Hill-Hassan, Bourgin, Timbe

Senator Maggie Hassan (left) from New Hampshire, who is a cosponsor of S.815 - Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2023, chats with the granddaughters of two of America's first women soldiers: Catherine Bourgin (center), granddaughter of Hello Girls Operator Marie Edmee LeRoux, and Carolyn Timbe, granddaughter of Hello Girls Chief Operator Grace Banker. Hassan's office was visited as part of the Call on the Hill for the Hello Girls project in January, 2024.

Call On The Hill Girls Seeks Support For Congressional Gold Medal Legislation

The Call on the Hill for the Hello Girls took place the week of January 18, as representatives of the World War I Centennial Commission, the Doughboy Foundation, descendants of two of the World War I Hello Girls, and other volunteers walked the halls of the United States Senate office buildings to encourage Senators to cosponsor S.815, the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2023. 52 individual personal letters were delivered to the offices of Senators who have not yet become cosponsors, requesting that they support the legislation awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the Hello Girls, America’s First Women Soldiers. Many of the letters enclosed draft cards filled in and signed during World War I by family members of the Senators. Click to read more about the Call on the Hill, sending a message to Capitol Hill that the Hello Girls Gold Medal legislation needs to pass in the 118th Congress.

Hello Girls pullup banner

Even if you can't charge up Capitol Hill like the Call on the Hill team, you can still effectively support the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in 2024, right from your computer! Click here for our toolbox that makes the process of reaching out to your Representative and Senators very straightforward. You can also reach out by phone to the local and district offices of your Senators and Representative, and tell them that you want them to answer the call, and cosponsor the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in the 118th Congress.

The Hello Girls made critical battlefield tactical communications work effectively for U.S. and French military forces on the front lines of World War I, saving many lives by helping bring the long war to a quicker end. However, when the Hello Girls returned home after WWI ended, they were denied veterans status and benefits until 1977. The Hello Girls earned and deserve the recognition of a Congressional Gold Medal, and the World War I Centennial Commission asks you to help make that happen in the 118th Congress!

When their nation called in 1918, the Hello Girls answered -- please answer their call for recognition in 2024!

National World War I Memorial in D.C. Had Over One Million Visitors In 2023

snip from Sabin tweet

According to statistics provided by the National Park Service, over one million people visited the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC in 2023. This is a nearly 30% increase in visitors over 2022, the Memorial’s first full calendar year being open to the public after opening ceremonies that took place on April 16, 2021. While open to the public now, the Memorial still awaits installation of the monumental bronze “A Soldier’s Story” sculpture to be installed later this year. Once the sculpture is in place, the Memorial is expected to attract many more visitors to the nation’s capitol to view what will be the largest free-standing high-relief bronze sculpture in the Western hemisphere. Click here to read more about the memorial, see how the last segment of the clay sculpture is now on its way to the UK to be cast in bronze, and watch a video interview of sculptor Sabin Howard.

Fort Johnson, JRTC Reveal Memorial For WWI Sergeant William Henry Johnson

Fort Johnson, JRTC Reveal Memorial For WWI Sergeant William Henry Johnson

The Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Johnson hosted a memorial dedication ceremony Jan. 13 at Warrior Memorial Park to honor Sgt. William Henry Johnson. A monument, which commemorates the sacrifices Johnson made to the country, was unveiled. In June of 2023, Johnson was also celebrated when the installation was rechristened Fort Johnson. Johnson, who enlisted in the U.S. Army as part of the 369th Infantry Regiment in 1917, is renowned for his heroic performance in World War I. Click here to read more about Johnson and the ceremony, and watch news video.

Film Planned To Highlight WWI Veteran And Physician Dr. Frank Boston

Dr. Frank Boston memorial

A Pennsylvania local WWI hero goes to the national stage as a documentary film about Dr. Frank Boston gets underway. The documentary film will highlight Dr. Frank Erdman Boston, an African American hero, a surgeon and a soldier who served in France during World War I, including at the Meuse–Argonne offensive. He continued his incredible work by founding a hospital and an ambulance corps, one of the first African Americans to do so. Click here to read more, and learn how the movie's producers hope the film will help more people learn about "this great man and the positive impacts his achievements had on our community."

The Forgotten African-American Regiments Of World War I

369th thumb

Over 380,000 African-American troops served in World War I according to the U.S. National Archives. Writing for the History Is Now web site, Chris Fray notes that most African-American troops were deployed to labor divisions within the US providing manual labor for the war effort. Even the Black soldiers who were deployed to France were first put to work unloading supplies from ships, joining the supply troops known as ‘Stevedores.’ These battalions did not fight but aided by building bridges, repairing roads and ensuring the fighting troops were constantly supplied. But that paradigm began to shift with the advent of the US 369th Infantry Regiment, also, and much more dramatically, known as the ‘Harlem Hellfighters.’ Click here to read more, and learn how the success and bravery of the ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ saw the first serious calls for desegregation of the U.S. Army, which finally occurred in 1948.

Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call: The Heroic Story Of WWI Telephone Operators

Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call cover

"How had I never heard even a hint about these women who were the first female soldiers in the United States military?" To remedy that situation, Diane Pendergraft reads through several books about the Hello Girls, and finds that "In Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators, Claudia Friddell brings Grace Banker to life in fewer than forty pages." Click here to read more about Friddell's book, and find out how "The women of the Signal Corps had signed up for the duration, and many of them were among the last Americans to come home."

Connecticut WWI Veteran Posthumously Awarded Purple Heart Over A Century After Combat Injury

Purple Heart

The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to members of the U.S. military. Pvt. Anthony Butenas of Connecticut, who served in Company E, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, was recently posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action on July 18, 1918, in France, when he was 24 years old. Getting Butenas the recognition he deserved was a long, complicated, and uncertain process. Click here to read the whole story, and learn how assistance from a U.S. senator's office helped his family track down the data needed to get the award for Butenas a century after it was earned in battle during World War I.

Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial

Honoring Fred W. Beaudry

During the week of January 1-6, 2024, Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC was sounded in honor of WWI veteran Captain Fred W. Beaudry, USA.

Detroit’s oldest American Legion post is named for one of Michigan’s first National Guard officers killed in World War I.  The Fred W. Beaudry Post 126 has been in continuous operations for 100 years since October 1919. Fred W. Beaudry was born to an immigrant father from Canada and his mother was a direct descendant of Joseph Talmadge who was a sergeant in the Revolutionary War.  He rose through the ranks of the National Guard starting as bugler and was a First Lieutenant in 1917 serving at the Texas border during the Poncho Villa expedition and as a Captain commanding Company H, 126th Infantry, 63rd Brigade, 32nd Division in France.  He was killed by a German mini-mortar while leading his troops up to capture Hill 212 near Sergey, France on 1 August 1918 during the Anse-Oise campaign.

Fred W. Beaudry

The Daily Taps program of the Doughboy Foundation provides a unique opportunity to dedicate a livestreamed sounding of Taps in honor of a special person of your choice while supporting the important work of the Doughboy Foundation. Choose a day, or even establish this honor in perpetuityClick here for more information on how to honor a loved veteran with the sounding of Taps.

WWI Valor Medals Review Project Update

Valor Medals Review logo small

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 extended the Valor Medals Review Project being conducted by the George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War at Park University. The Review was initiated by efforts of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. Timothy C. Westcott, Director of the  Robb Center, provides an update on where the project currently stands. Click here to read more, and find out how "Robb Centre staff have submitted 50 nominations for consideration to the respective branches within the Department of Defense."

From Plock To Yonkers; The Story Of An Immigrant Doughboy

Phillip Nordenberg

Neil Bass honored his grandfather Philip Nordenberg, who served in World War I with a generous donation to The Doughboy Foundation. Philip Nordenberg fought valiantly and helped the United States achieve victory in Europe during WWI, but there is more to his story than that. Click here to learn about an immigrant from Poland who served in the "All American" 82nd Infantry Division in WWI, and was a hero again after WWII.

The Price Mothers Paid: The Story Of Corporal Peter Wojewoda

Michaelina and Peter Wojewoda

A large pillow featuring a large 32nd Division “Red-Arrow” that was hand-crafted by Michaelina Wojewoda in memory of her son, Peter Wojewoda, who was killed in action during World War I, is one of the centerpieces of Michael Santoro's collection of WWI artifacts. But more than just a mother's memorial, the pillow tells the story of one soldier's dying request, and a fellow soldier's years-long struggle to fulfill it. Click here to read more about how, after fifteen years, a soldier delivered for his fellow soldier just in time.

A Chicago Doughboy’s World War I Postcard From France

Paul Kurowski

"Nothing makes history more interesting than a personal connection to the distant times one usually only reads about in books," writes David Kuroski, "And so, when I learned from a cousin in 2018 that a great uncle of mine (Paul Kurowski, 1886 – 1940) had been in the U.S. Army between May, 1918 and May, 1919 and had served overseas in the 82nd Infantry Division during the Great War, I was quite surprised." But there were more surprises to come! Click here to learn more about David's great uncle, and how a postcard sent from France in 1918 helped reunite two brothers at rest in Chicago in the 21st century.

No Higher Service: Franklin County Maine’s Fallen Soldiers Of World War I

No Higher Service book cover

In Farmington, Maine, stands the John M. Teague Memorial Arch. A veteran of the Civil War, John, along with his wife, chose to commemorate WWI soldiers from Franklin County, to honor their service. Though of humble means, the Teagues gifted their entire estate for the Arch’s construction. It was erected in 1924, two years after John’s death. On Memorial Day, 2024, the Arch will have stood for 100 years, and will be rededicated with an expansive ceremony that echoes its inauguration. To mark the centennial, Glenn Miller helped author a new book No Higher Service commemorating 33 men from Franklin County, Maine who "paid the highest price. Their lives helped buy freedom." Click here read more about the book, and other activities around the centennial to help remember "those who served but never came home."

Teddy Roosevelt’s Son Served In WWI & Was Oldest Soldier To Land On D-Day

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

More than 130,000 Allied troops landed at Normandy as part of D-Day in WWII, but only one of them was the son of a former U.S. President: Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who served in World War I as well, also held the distinction of being the oldest soldier to charge the beach that day. Click here to learn more, and find out how this decorated veteran of both World Wars met his unfortunate end back in France in 1944.

World War I, Union Station, And The History That Shaped Kansas City

Doughboy in front of Union Station, Kansas City, MO

Historic Union Station in Kansas City, MO invites travelers to pause to remember the thousands of souls who passed through the station on their way to defend our nation. You may have noticed their neighbor at the National WWI Museum and Memorial or know their friends at the VFW National Headquarters. Now Union Station shares the significance of its role in the Great War. Click here to read the whole story, and learn how the station opened its doors on November 1st, 1914, to a world at war, and played a pivotal role in sending supplies, troops, and weapons to the front lines over the next four years. 

Swedish Immigrants As Commanders – The Story Of Nels G. Sandelin

Nels G. Sandelin

Nels G. Sandelin emigrated to the United States from Sweden with his parents and family in 1889, very shortly after his birth. He was a pre-war Army veteran and a business owner in his 20's living in Cottonwood County, MN when the United States entered World War I in 1917. When the Government called for men of previous military training, he enlisted in the First Officers’ Training Camp at Fort Snelling. Despite practically no education, having only finished grammar school, Sandelin finished 22nd. in a class of two thousand, and was commissioned as First Lieutenant in August,1917. Click here to read the rest of Nels Sandelin's story, and learn how his service continued beyond the end of World War I. 

Committee On Public Information: When The U.S. Used ‘Fake News’ To Sell Americans On World War I

George Creel

The Committee on Public Information (CPI), also known as the Creel Committee after its chairman, George Creel, served as the first large-scale propaganda agency of the U.S. government. President Woodrow Wilson established the committee in April 1917 through Executive Order 2594 in response to the U.S. entry into World War I in an attempt to mobilize public opinion behind the war effort with every available form of mass communication. Click here to read more, and learn how the CPI "trampled First Amendment rights, largely because of the success of the CPI in instilling fear through war propaganda. The CPI often blurred Wilson’s political goals with the national interest."

Why ‘Murder Of Babies’ Is The Pinnacle Of War Propaganda In WWI And Now

British Empire Union poster snip

The news spread quickly. The German forces cut off the hands of Belgian babies! The year was August 1914 when German forces breached  “neutral” Belgium’s border to avoid French fortifications along the French-German border. At the time, the Germans had already declared war on France. What unfolded was nothing short of war crimes by the German forces in August. During their pillage, they killed thousands of civilians. But later, historians also took stock of how mainly British war propaganda fueled, mobilized and shifted global (especially the Allied forces’) public opinion. Click here to read the entire article, and learn how, then as now, "dissemination of information and war/atrocity propaganda is a delicate (and for some, deadly) dance."

Mercy Dogs: Meet The Heroes Who Delivered Aid And Comforted The Dying On The Battlefields Of World War I

Mercy Dogs

Over 16 million total animals were in service during the Great War, with dogs hauling machine guns and supply carts, serving as messengers and delivering the all-important cigarette cartons to the troops. However, Mercy Dogs, also referred to as casualty dogs, were specifically trained to aid the wounded and dying on the battlefield. First trained by the Germanic armies in the 19th century, these medical dogs began to see widespread use as World War I swept across Europe. Click here to read more, and learn how, trained to find and distinguish between the dead, wounded and dying, Mercy Dogs gave invaluable aid and assistance to soldiers under fire on the battlefields of Europe. 

During World War I, Cats Were Used In The Trenches To Boost Morale

Cat in trench

The Great War was such a difficult time, some soldiers sought out the assistance and comfort of four-legged friends — including cats, who were used in the trenches to boost morale. Dogs, homing pigeons, foxes, goats, lion cubs, and even raccoons also served their countries as pets and mascots throughout the “war to end all wars,” and some even carried out official duties. Cats did a bit of both: Click here to read more, and learn how, though most kitties simply kept their compatriots in good spirits by providing them with loyal companionship (and fending off rats), some also used their heightened sense of atmospheric pressure to detect bombs in advance.

What The 1920s Can Teach Us About Creativity: Lessons From The Post-World War I Jazz Age Revolution

Jazz Age snip

The 1920s, commonly known as the Roaring Twenties, serve as a rich source of insight into the power of creativity following a period of significant strife. After World War I, a wave of relief and joy swept through societies, sparking an era where art, culture, and innovation flourished.  During this time, creativity wasn’t merely a form of expression but a mechanism for recovery and reinvention, driving societal and cultural transformation on multiple fronts. Click here to read more about how the 1920s emerged as a beacon for creative exploration and societal transformation following the profound impact of World War I.

Wheat-Free Baking From World War I: Helping The War Effort

wheat-free cookbook

During World War I, the United States asked the “patriotic women of America” to cut back on the use of wheat flour. Wheat was urgently needed to ship overseas for the troops and for starving civilians in war-torn areas. Recipes in magazines and in booklets like the one shown at left offered alternatives to wheat flour for baking. What patriotic housewife could refuse the appeal to aid the war effort? Her mission was to substitute other flours for wheat flour! Click here to read more, and learn about the amazing spectrum of wheat substitutes used during World War I.

How World War I Soldiers Gave America The Wristwatch

wrist watch

World War I is largely remembered for mud, trenches, and barbed wire, but it also marked a significant turning point in the history of timepieces. Prior to the United States’ entry into the war, many Americans had pocket watches. But that began to change when the Yanks started heading “over there” to fight the Kaiser, said Stan Czubernat, an expert in American-made WWI watches. “A wristwatch, aka the ‘trench watch’, was far more convenient for a soldier in the trenches,” Czubernat told Task & Purpose. “Rather than fumbling around and reaching into your pockets to pull out your pocket watch, all a soldier had to do was look at his wrist. Almost all advertising for military watches had switched over to wristwatches by the time the United States entered the war in spring of 1917.”  Click here to read more, and see how the technological revolution in wristwatches, like so many things that began in WWI, endures to this day.

Doughboy MIA for January 2024

Pvt. James J. Argiroplos

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is PVT James Argiroplos, born in Sparta, Greece, on November 8th, 1893. In 1911, he emigrated to Keyser, West Virginia, where he ran a candy store. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on April 2nd, 1918, and assigned to Company “F” of the 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division. On August 15th, 1918, PVT Argiropols was at Serre Ridge, near Hébuterne, France, when he was Killed in Action. An eyewitness stated PVT Argiroplos was “Blown beyond recognition by a shell.” A New Zealander found a piece of a U.S. coat collar with the ornament “F,” which was said to be all they could find of him. Postwar, the Graves Registration considered PVT Argiroplos as the potential remains of an Unknown U.S. soldier recovered from a nearby cemetery. Still, identification could not be made as his civilian dentist did not keep dental chart records. PVT Argiroplos is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Somme American Military Cemetery in Bony, France.

Would you like to be involved with solving the case of PVT James Argiroplos, and all the other Americans still in MIA status from World War I? You can! Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization today, and help us bring them home! Help us do the best job possible and give today, with our thanks.  Remember: A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Merchandise from the Official
Doughboy Foundation WWI Store

WWI Poppy Lapel Pin

Start the New Year with a new Poppy Lapel Pin!

Plenty In Stock!!

  • Exclusive Commemorative WW1 Poppy Lapel Pin
  • Buy for you, and for great gifts!
  • Soft enamel color design
  • Approx. 1.5 inch in dia.
  • Standard military clasp

Make a new Poppy Hat part of your 2024 outdoor ensemble!

  • Classic white relaxed golf cap
  • Low profile six panel unstructured
  • Standard pre-curved visor
  • Washed chino twill
  • Fabric strap with antique brass sliding buckle
  • The front features our beautifully embroidered poppy design
  • Doughboy Foundation logo embroidered on side
  • Decorated in USA
  • Cap imported, TAA compliant

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

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the Doughboy Foundation.

Willie Edward Richardson

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org

Willie Edward Richardson

Submitted by: Sherrill Rayford, Ed.D. {Grandchild}

Willie Edward Richardson born around April 4, 1895. Willie Richardson served in World War 1 with the United States Army . The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service

Memories: Willie Richardson, A World War I Veteran

My grandfather, Willie Richardson, was a veteran of World War I, and his experiences symbolize the service and family life of many African American soldiers. Unfortunately, their military service occurred during a period of “nots.” They could not eat in certain businesses; they could not live in certain neighborhoods; their service was often overlooked or devalued. Yet, my grandfather and those soldiers defended the world and prospered within limitations.

Yet, the invisibility of my grandfather’s service seemed invisible in 2018 as I viewed a pictorial display of World War I soldiers in an Arkansas Welcome Center. None of the soldiers in the display looked like my grandfather. Therefore, I contacted the Arkansas visitor’s bureau to express that soldiers of color should be commemorated too. The communication exchange was informative and productive as I learned of efforts to find and preserve the service of Arkansas’ soldiers of color during World War I.

However, I also learned that my grandfather’s two brothers also served in World War I. Before the communication exchange, I thought one of my grandfather’s brothers had been killed in another war. This perception came from visits to his home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and watching him reflectively hold papers and a folded flag that belonged to one of his brothers. Afterwards, he returned the materials to a cedar chest beside his bed.

Read Willie Edward Richardson's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.