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June 2024

Sculpture on its way

After the last finishing touches at the Pangolin Editions foundry in the UK, including the application of a protective patina by sculptor Sabin Howard (top), the "A Soldiers Journey" sculpture has been disassembled and begun its journey back to the United States for installation at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. Packed into several shipping containers at the foundry (bottom), the sculpture, like the World War I Doughboys it portrays, will cross the Atlantic by ship. Once back "over here" the sculpture will be brought to the nation's capitol, reassembled on its waiting pedastal at the Memorial site, and presented to the nation by the "First Illumination" event on September 13. When in place at the Memorial, the sculpture will be the largest freestanding high relief bronze in the Western Hemisphere. (Top photo via BBC; bottom photo via Pangolin Editions)

You're Helping Us Answer Their Call!

Hello Girls Congressional Medal Legislation Gaining Big Momentum in Senate and House

Hello Girls at switchboard with gas masks and helmets square

Great news this month from the campaign of the World War I Centennial Commission and other organizations, as well as many individuals like you, to encourage the 118th Congress to pass legislation honoring the World War I "Hello Girls" U.S. Army Signal Corps telephone operators, America's First Women Soldiers, with a Congressional Gold Medal. As of the publication of this newsletter, S.815, the Senate measure, has gathered 65 of the 67 cosponsors it needs to be brought to a vote and passed in the Senate. H.R.1572, the House measure, has 152 cosponsors, some 70% of the votes needed to pass in the House.

Hello Girls pop-up image

This outstanding progress has happened due to all the many organizations and people who have reached out to Senators and Representatives and asked them to cosponsor this important legislation. If you are one of those people, thank you! If you haven't joined the campaign yet, now is a great time to answer the call, and help get this legislation across the finish line.

The Hello Girls made a huge difference in the outcome of WWI. The ability of the bilingual female operators to pass critical tactical information calmly and seamlessly between two allied armies that spoke different languages was a fundamental breakthrough in tactical communications on the Western Front. The service of the Hello Girls helped bring the fighting to an end in the Allies’ favor as much as a year earlier than it might have taken without them, according to General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Hello Girls in France

But when the Hello Girls finally returned home in 1919 after WWI ended, the women who had served in U.S. Army uniforms received a shock. They were denied veterans status and benefits until 1977. The brave Hello Girls earned and deserve the recognition of a Congressional Gold Medal, and you can join Team Hello Girls in advocating for passage of the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in 2024. You can make your voice heard on this issue right from your computerClick here for our online toolkit that makes it easy to reach out by email to your Representative and Senators.  You can also call the local and district offices of your Senators and Representative, and tell them that YOU want them to cosponsor the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal legislation in the 118th Congress

When their nation called in 1918, the Hello Girls answered – will YOU answer their call for recognition in 2024?

How The Identity Of The Only Black Woman To Serve In The U.S. Army In World War I Was Just Discovered

Renee Messelin

Renee Messelin was a member of the first unit of American women soldiers who served in World War I. Yet her full identity remained hidden until this month, more than a century after she served as a member of the Hello Girls, America's First Women Soldiers. In a famous photograph taken outdoors in Paris in March 1918, Messelin sits to the left of two other uniformed women and stares straight ahead. While the photo has long been famous, no one knew at the time that Messelin was Black. Read author Elizabet's Cobbs entire article, and learn how a researcher working on the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal campaign discovered the truth about Renee Messelin's race, and a lot more amazing information, just before Juneteenth,

National World War I Memorial: A Place To Honor Diversity On Juneteenth

Christopher Watkins

Bugler Christopher Watkins sounded Taps on Juneteenth to remember the “Harlem Hellfighters” at the World War I Memorial in downtown D.C. The tribute not only honored the highly decorated 369th Infantry Regiment, but it also honored and embraced diversity within our fighting forces going back to WWI. Read more to learn how Watkins, originally from Marietta, Georgia, is one of the buglers for the Doughboy Foundation who sounds Daily Taps at the National WWI Memorial, and why having the duty on June 19 had a special meaning for him.

Sculpture For US National World War I Memorial Completed In Stroud

Sabin Howard

The sculpture “A Soldier’s Journey” that will complete the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC, and its sculptor Sabin Howard, are drawing increasing media attention worldwide as the magnificent bronze creation prepares to depart the UK for the voyage home. Here are a few of the articles and broadcasts telling the story of the sculptor and his creation:

 ♦ The BBC covered the completion of the work at the foundry.

 ♦ The NBC TV affiliate in Philadelphia ran a story on Howard

 ♦ National Review did a deep dive on the creative process

Expect to see much more coverage over the coming months leading up to the sculpture's installation at the National WWI Memorial and the First Illumination on September 13.

June 8 Ceremony At WWI Cenotaph In Passaic, NJ’s Armory Park Honors Hello Girls Chief Operator Grace Banker

Grace Banker

One hundred years ago, on May 30th, 1924, one of Passaic’s most notable Veterans of World War l, Grace Banker Chief Operator of the U.S. Army Signal Corps telephone operators (known in France as “The Hello Girls”), was invited to attend the Cenotaph memorial dedication ceremony in Passaic‘s Armory Park. John J. Pershing, America’s most famous General of his time, stood together with Banker at the speaker’s stand. On Saturday, June 8th at Armory Park, in front of the Cenotaph memorial in Passaic, NJ, a ceremony to honor Grace Banker’s service was held. Banker was honored with the US Signal Corps Distinguished Member of the Regiment award. Colonel Linda Jantzen (USA-ret), who was the emcee for the event,  presented a plaque carrying the honor to Grace’s granddaughter, Carolyn Timbie. Read more about the Passaic ceremony here. The event grabbed considerable New Jersey media attention, which you can read here and here.

Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial

Honoring J. Wilbur Randolph

On June 23 & 24, 2024, Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC was sounded in honor of WWI veteran J. Wilbur Randolph.

Randolph was the first resident of Ellwood City, PA to die in World War I. He was in Company L of the 23rd Infantry "where he had the reputation among his superiors as well as among his comrades as a quiet, cheerful, and faithful soldier." On September 12, 2018 Randolph was killed by German artillery fire when "a piece of shrapnel went through his neck, causing instant death." Ellwood City American Legion Post 157 is named for J. Wilbur Randolph. The post was organized in late summer of 1919 by veterans of World War I, and named in memory of the first resident of Ellwood City to make the ultimate sacrifice in that war.

J. Wilbur Randolph

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.

Reuniting Pershing & Patton Families: Sandra S. Pershing And Helen A. Patton

Sandra Pershing & Helen Patton

Two of the greatest legends in American military history rose from the swirling desert dust of Columbus, New Mexico and the Pancho Villa raid that preceded America's entry into World War I – John J. Pershing and George S. Patton, Jr. After Patton died in Heidelberg, Germany, on December 21, 1945, and Pershing died in Walter Reed Hospital on July 15, 1948, there had been no known contact between the families of these two legends. In 2016, learning about an upcoming event to observe the 100th anniversary of Villa’s infamous raid on the U.S., author, photographer, and historian Jeff Lowdermilk decided it was about time to change that. Read how Lowdermilk was able to arrange "the historic call that reunited the two great American families" and sparked a WWI Centennial friendship between these granddaughters that took them back Over There together where their grandfathers had been 100 years before.

Albert Grass: WWI Lakota Code Talker Gets Bridge Named In His Honor

Albert Grass

Timothy Hunts-in-Winter, an enrolled citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, says that he is "just a guy who began researching my family’s WWI soldiers and my tribemates’ soldiers almost 3 years ago." But what an amazing story his family research has uncovered: "a very detailed record of the journey and life of Albert Grass, Richard Blue Earth, my great Uncle Joe Jordan, and their friends Tom Rogers and Joe Young Hawk, a couple of Arikara soldiers who fought alongside Albert and Richard in 1st Division, 1st Brigade, 18th Infantry, 1st Battalion, Company A."  Read more about how Tim's research determined that "Albert Grass of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was the first known Code Talker to die in battle out of any tribe," and how he will be sharing his finding in upcoming articles.

An American Urologist On The Western Front In World War I

GG Smith

"It began like any other clinical encounter between a urologist and their new patient: I asked Mr. Rush what prompted him to schedule the visit and what kind of work he did, in order to understand how any symptoms might affect his daily life. He replied that he was an artist, but had some familiarity with urology, as his late grandfather had been a urologist: perhaps I knew of him? When I asked, “What was his name?” the answer was not promising: George Smith." So begins Dr. Barbara Chubak's story of how this random encounter with a new patient uncovered an astonishing revelation of  World War I and medical history. Read how the artifacts provided by the grandson and an upcoming AUA meeting provided opportunity, means, and motive to explore a fascinating narrative about a medical doctor in and after World War I.

Dedication Of The Peabody Memorial To Soldiers On May 30, 2024

Detail of Frank Vittor’s bronze sculpture Peabody Memorial to Soldiers in Pittsburgh

The Peabody Memorial to Soldiers in front of Peabody High School in Pittsburgh was unveiled to the public at a ceremony on May 30, 1924.100 years to the exact day and hour, a crowd gathered in the student courtyard of what is now the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in Pittsburgh to unveil the Peabody Memorial to Soldiers once again. This time, it was revealing the magnificent restoration of the WWI memorial in time for its centennial. Read Andrew Capet's entire article on the history of the memorial, and his much-anticipated opportunity "to witness the re-dedication of this memorial and share the moment with the leaders, volunteers, students, and former alumni of Peabody High who attended the event."

Hello Girls Musical Brings History Alive For Toledo Christian Schools Students

Daniela Kleimola and Carolyn Timbie

Toledo Christian Schools is a small private school in Northwest Ohio, with a growing and flourishing theatre program. Shortly after presenting "The Hello Girls" musical as their Spring 2024 production, the cast found out that the show was being produced professionally at the Kennedy Center in May by the Doughboy Foundation. 26 students and adults decided to make the trip from Toledo to Washington, D.C. to see that show. They had the experience of a lifetime. Read how the student actors got to see the same show that they had just performed a little over a month before, then meet their professional counterparts, and make "a memory that will last a lifetime."

WWI Donuts Sparked Salvation Army’s Service To Military For 110 Years

Salvation Army donut girl

The Salvation Army’s 110-year-old gambit of giving American soldiers in World War I a “taste of home” helped fuel this nation’s obsession with the circular pastry, its national leader said. According to Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, the evangelical organization’s dispatch of hundreds of its ministers to the front lines in Europe led to an improvised “taste of home” prepared for the troops: deep-fried rings of dough. Read more about this century-old alliance, and learn how the Salvation Army had an entrée with the military because Gen. John J. Pershing remembered the group’s kindness when a fire took the lives of Pershing’s wife and four daughters at the Presidio in San Francisco.

The ‘Hello Girls’ Helped Win WWI —
Why Was Their Service Overlooked?

National Geographic Hello Girls article snip

The National Geographic Society took up the cause of the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal this month! In the NG website, the article noted that "Known informally as the 'Hello Girls,' the 223 women of the Woman’s Telephone Unit of the American Signal Corps were known for their efficacy, patience, and fearlessness on the battlefront. But despite their historic service and the significant publicity they elicited at the beginning of their military service," the Hello Girls "would later be denied veteran status and military benefits, and their efforts almost completely forgotten. No longer: More than a century later, a bipartisan group of legislators is pushing for Congress to memorialize the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit’s service with the nation’s highest civilian honor: the Congressional Gold Medal."  You can read the whole article here, and learn how the Hello Girls "were a trusted part of the military machine, something no group of women had ever been before.”

The Factors That Led The U.S. To Join The Allies In 1917

Doughboys marching in Perth, scotland

For all its length and ferocity, World War I would probably have ended quite differently had it not been for America’s entry into the war on behalf of the Allies in 1917. Up until then, under President Woodrow Wilson, America had pursued a policy of neutrality that reflected its traditional isolationism. Nonetheless, political, economic, military, and humanitarian factors drew it out of this position and into partnership with Britain, France, and Russia against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. These factors are important for any understanding of why America got involved in WWI beyond itself. Read the entire article to understand many political, economic, ideological, and humanitarian factors that led to the United States’ decision to join the Allies in 1917.

97-Year-Old Marine Shares Memories Of His Famed Father Lt. Gen. Keller Rockey

Rockey father and son

His Marine Corps father served with distinction in World War I, ascending to second in command in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, and lead the famed Fifth Division into the Battle of Iwo Jima. Now retired Marine Colonel Bill Rockey, the nearly 100-year-old son of famed Lt. General Keller Rockey, is sharing a lifetime of memories and a treasure trove of artifacts to help share his father's legacy of heroism and humanity. Read how Rockey is helping author Tim Heck to write the book about the iconic 5th Division of the Marines and their Commanding General Keller Rockey, who was placed in history’s path time and again.

How World War I Soldiers Enjoyed Their Time Off Compared To Soldiers Today

Doughboy helmet on box

Soldiers need breaks to relieve the stress they experience on the battlefield, whether Doughboys 100 years ago in World War I, or modern members of the military services in 21st Century conflicts. This article explores the similarities and differences between how World War I soldiers spent their time off ,and the activities available to the modern infantry. We’ll look at how technology and military support have changed what our fighting men do to relax. Read the whole article and explore how soldiers who in WWI and modern times are creative in their use of free time to take their minds off the pressures of war.

The Pedersen Device: World War I Doughboy’s Secret Weapon

John Douglas Pedersen

Marching fire, also known as walking fire, is a military tactic—a form of suppressive fire used during an infantry assault or combined arms assault. When the U.S. entered WWI, the Army began training our soldiers to use the tactic but our army was almost bereft of machine guns. John D. Pedersen, an engineer for the Remington Arms Company, had  the solution: a device that replaced the bolt of the M1903 rifle, turning it into a semiauto rifle with a 40-round magazine. Read more about Pedersen's invention, and how it demonstrated that in war, as in designing firearms, timing turns out to be everything.

Combat-Related Mental Health Issues From World War I To Today

Shellshock victim

Throughout history, countless soldiers have developed mental health disorders directly linked to their wartime experiences. But until the 20th century, few documented and categorized this mental health issue. It gained significant attention during World War I, as many soldiers, including the US Army men who joined the war in 1917, suffered from what was then called “shell shock,” characterized by severe anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, and anger. This condition later evolved into what we now know as PTSD. Read more about how the initial characterization of shell shock in WWI led to significant advancement in treating combat-related mental health issues today.

Honoring The ‘Hello Girls’ – Jodie Grenier, Foundation For Women Warriors

Foundation for Women Warriors logo

Jodie Grenier, CEO of the Foundation for Women Warriors (FFWW), recently appeared on PBS Montana television's "To The Contrary" program to discuss the “Hello Girls,” a group of American female switchboard operators who served in WWI. Despite their service, these women were not recognized as veterans and were ignored and forgotten for decades until 1977. Today, Grenier and FFWW are advocating for the Hello Girls to be honored with a Congressional Gold Medal in 2024. Watch the entire video to learn more about the mission of FFWW, and why they have taken up the cause of the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal.

Michael Santoro:

William Arthur Dietz – Tanker Of The Argonne & First Commander Of The First American Legion Post In The US

William Arthur Dietz

Tanks are, and have been for over 100 years, an integral tool of warfare. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, they had no tanks of their own. When the first U.S. tank battalions were authorized, they were supplied with French Light tanks, and the Doughboys assigned to the job of becoming mechanized warriors had a very steep learning curve to climb in a short time. Learn how New York City native William Arthur Dietz "witnessed the power & stature of the tank in the ever-evolving hellscape of the First World War," and how after the war he took a leadership role in the first American Legion post to be chartered in the United States.

World War I News Digest June 2024

Daily Taps snip

World War I was The War That Changed The World, and its impact on the United States continues to be felt over a century later, as people across the nation learn more about and remember those who served in the Great War. Here's a collection of news items from the last month related to World War I and America.

Bugler Plays Taps 1,000th Time At National WWI Memorial

20 Brave Men Celebrated By WWI Monument In GA

Is WWI Aviator Captain Eddie Rickenbacker Overrated?

WWI Vet Stormed Normandy With Just  A Cane And A Pistol

Connecticut World War I Soldier Awarded Purple Heart

The Boys Of Yarmouth In World War I

11 Objects Carried By World War I Infantrymen

Doughboy MIA for June 2024

Colonel Raynal Cawthorne Bolling

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is Colonel Raynal Cawthorne Bolling. Over one hundred years have passed since one the most influential American figures in the history of American air power, went missing in action between two small communes in France’s Somme region. On 26 March 1918, while conducting a tour of British combat air operations east of Amiens, Colonel Raynal Cawthorne Bolling, the Assistant Chief of Staff of the United States Air Service, and his driver, Private Paul Holder, found themselves in the center of the German Army’s surprisingly aggressive Operation Michael. Traveling east along the Romerstrasse (Roman Road) in a Fiat staff car, toward the withdrawing British front lines, the two out of place Americans unknowingly passed through the British front lines and fired upon by a machinegun position of advancing German Storm Troopers. Colonel Bolling died in a small gun battle while Private Holder became a prisoner of war. 

Read Col. Bolling's Whole Story

Would you like to be involved with solving the case of Colonel Raynal Cawthorne Bolling, 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

Summertime is here! With all that free time on your hands over the next couple of months, spend some quality time in the shade reading one of the outstanding World War I books available now from the Doughboy Foundation Shop.

Lest We Forget Book Cover

Lest We Forget: The Great War World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. One of the nation’s premier military history institutions pays tribute to the Americans who served and the allies they fought beside to defeat a resourceful enemy with a lavishly illustrated book.  It is an official product of the United States World War One Centennial Commission and is a tribute to those who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and what would become the Air Force. It serves as a lasting reminder that our world ignores the history of World War I (and the ensuing WWII) at its peril―lest we forget

Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather's World War I Diary 300

Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather's World War I Diary is a stunning presentation of contemporary photographs taken by the author that are paired with diary entries written by his grandfather, George A. Carlson, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Jeff Lowdermilk followed his grandfather's path through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and returned with these meticulously crafted photographs and his own engaging stories that bring the diary to life for contemporary readers. Lowdermilk's passion for World War I and military history began as a young boy when he listened to his grandfather tell his stories about serving as an infantryman-- a "Doughboy"--in Europe during the Great War.

In The Centennial Footsteps vertical gang

In the Centennial Footsteps of the Great War 

This notable 2-volume work has been included in the Doughboy Shop for awareness. $2 from every copy sold in the United States will go to the Doughboy Foundation. 

The Memorial will be officially dedicated in September, 2024 after the main sculpture, A Soldier’s Journey, is installed. Learn more and purchase here: Greatwarbook.com/us/

  • 1st volume (April 2022) / 2nd volume (September 2023)
  • Author / Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy

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

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

Irving Alexander Slicklen

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

Irving Alexander Slicklen

Submitted by: Gayle Reynolds {great-niece}

Irving Slicklen served in World War I with the the United States Coast Guard. His enlistment was in 1918 and his service was completed the same year.

Story Of Service

Irving was said to be tall and looked older than his actual age, so, being very patriotic, he decided he'd try to enlist after school one day. He obviously pulled the wool over the eyes of those in the recruitment office and found himself an instant member of the Coast Guard.

Puffed out with pride, he went home and told his mother. Great-Grandma Slicklen was so appalled that a 15-year old could have been signed up for war that she grabbed her coat and dashed out of the house, forgetting she was wearing her bedroom slippers. She ran all the way to the recruitment office, where she breathlessly begged for Irving to be released from service. Unfortunately, she was told that he had signed the official papers, which were already being processed, and there was no way he could be released from active duty.

His father, an attorney, was then called home from his office and put his argumentative skills to work to no avail. Since Irving felt so honored to be part of the Coast Guard, giving a better argument for his service than his father had against it, he was reluctantly granted his parents' blessings. The date was 1 March 1918. Irving attended the Coast Guard Academy and was eventually assigned to the USS Tampa. On 2 September 1918, the Tampa was torpedoed: all hands, plus civilian passengers, were lost. No bodies were ever recovered.

Several family photos show Irving preferred wearing sailor shirts from the time he was very young. Apparently being a sailor was his lifelong dream. In his honor, many of the nephews he never met joined the Navy during WWII.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.