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The WWI dispatch bring you pointers to full articles about WWI history, Stories of Service, events, commemorations, memorials, exhibits, museums, books, film, social impacts and much more...

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August 2021

Taps Pershing Birthday 09132021

Special events at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC on Monday, September 13 will honor General of the Armies John “Blackjack” Pershing on the date of his 161st birthday. At 5:00 p.m., Daily Taps will be played as usual by a bugler in World War I “Doughboy” uniform. At 6:00 p.m. there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of General Pershing in honor of his birth on September 13, 1860 in Laclede, Missouri. After the wreath ceremony, “echoing taps” will be sounded in succession by three buglers in World War I “Doughboy” uniforms. At 6:30 p.m. at the Memorial (weather permitting), the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will present a concert created to honor the legacy of General Pershing. The musical selections will focus on influential military music during WWI, as well as music that Pershing may have heard in France that inspired the creation of "Pershing's Own". The program features works by James Reese Europe (Gen. Pershing’s favorite band leader and composer), John Philip Sousa, Astor Piazzolla, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The National World War I Memorial is located on Pennsylvania Ave. and 15th Street in Washington, DC.

Virtual App for schools

National WWI Memorial and World War I History Come to U.S. Schools this Fall Through New Technology

The Doughboy Foundation is bringing the new National WWI Memorial from Washington, D.C. to schools and homes all over America with a new release of the award-winning Augmented Reality App called The WWI Memorial "Virtual Explorer". The "Virtual Explorer" app brings a walk-around-inside-it digital 3D model of the National WWI Memorial to students and educators utilizing iOS or Android tablets, available in many K-12 schools, or the smartphone already in nearly every pocket. Students, teachers, or anyone who cannot come to Washington, D.C. can take a virtual field trip to the National WWI Memorial. More than that, the WWI Memorial "Virtual Explorer" App is filled with interactive and experiential WWI history. Click here to read more, and learn how your school can take advantage of all the great educational resources the updated app offers.


Congressional Gold Medal approved for 369th Infantry "Harlem Hellfighters"

Harlem Hellfighters

The tough-as-nails Black infantrymen that gave America’s enemies hell in World War I will be awarded Congress’s highest honor posthumously under a new law passed by Congress and signed by the President. The 369th Infantry Regiment, a New York National Guard unit known more commonly as the Harlem Hellfighters, will receive the Congressional Gold Medal under the law — more than 100 years after waging brutal trench warfare in Europe for 191 straight days.  Click here to read more about how the long-delayed honor was finally approved for the unit.


Rep. Cleaver Re-Introduces Bipartisan Bill Awarding Congressional Gold Medal to the “Hello Girls” of World War I

Representative Cleaver

U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) announced the introduction of H.R. 4949, a bipartisan bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress—to over 220 American women who served as telephone operators with the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I. The “Hello Girls” were the first female soldiers to be deployed to a combat zone and were instrumental in the war effort in France throughout WWI. Their efforts to connect American and French forces on the front lines of battle by helping to translate and communicate command orders were an integral component to the eventual victory for the Allied Powers. Click here to read more, and learn how essential the Hello Girls were to the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. 


Giant clay soldiers charge into battle as WWI memorial sculpture takes shape

sculpture work

The mammoth clay sculpture that included figures #13 and #14 weighed 300 pounds, and because of its weight, sculptor Sabin Howard called it “the monster.” It depicted two American soldiers, one wounded, charging into battle during World War I. And it was going to require Howard and four other men to lift it off its metal stand, wrestle it about 20 feet to a display wall and fix it in place. Howard was worried. It would be a disaster if it fell. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s just do it.”  Click here to read the entire Washington Post feature story about the ongoing creation of the monumental sculpture for the national World War I Memorial.


Worth the visit: Our time at the World War I Memorial in Washington, DC

Dr. Frank E. Boston

Writing on the Veterans of Foreign Wars Pennsylvania Department web site, George Whitehair and Leigh Ferrier described their visit to the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC this summer, while in the city for meetings and collaborations to continue their push for national recognition for an American hero and WWI veteran, Dr. Frank Erdman Boston (left). Click here to read the entire article, and learn why the authors think that "Dr. Boston would be proud of the memorial built to honor those that served and those that made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I."


The Spot Where World War I for the US Finally Ended...in New Jersey

New Jersey treaty signing memorial

Mere steps away from the Burger King in Bridgewater, NJ, you’ll notice a strangely landscaped, infrequently visited slice of history. Though the Somerville Circle is traversed by thousands each day, few realize how close they are to the place where World War I officially ended in the United States, on July 2, 1921. Click here to read the whole story, and learn how. in an now-obscure corner of the Garden State, the Great War to an official end.


A High Stakes Game of Cat and House: How America Hunted Subs During WWI

U.S. sub hunters WWI

When Congress voted on April 6, 1917, to declare war on Imperial Germany, the task before the U.S. Navy was clear: it needed to transport and supply over a million men across the Atlantic despite the Imperial German Navy’s ferocious U-Boat campaign, which reached its peak that month, sinking over 874,000 tons of shipping.  Indeed, Germany’s decision to recommence unrestricted submarine warfare in February was one of the decisive factors driving the United States, into finally joining “the war to end all wars.” Click here to read more, and learn how the Navy worked out the countermeasures and weapons need to get American Doughboys across the Atlantic safely, and help bring the Great War to an earlier end.


World War I Was Much More Than Trenches in France

Soldiers over the top

"It’s clear the Great War still casts a long cultural shadow," writes James Holmes in The National Interest, but "A partial or garbled understanding of history means any guidance we distill from it is partial or garbled as well." To this end, he warns that "it’s crucial to remember that entrenched combat in the West is far from the whole story of the Great War." Click here to read the entire article, and learn why "False lessons of history could beget bad decisions in the here and now, while wise lessons bolster our chances to excel.


The Mystery of the Missing Page of
Ellen La Motte’s The Backwash of War

Ellen N. La Motte

"It was late in my process of researching Ellen N. La Motte’s extraordinary wartime book, The Backwash of War, that I made a fascinating discovery about its contents. Or, more accurately, I made a fascinating discovery about what is absent from its contents. I realized a key page is missing. And that missing page speaks volumes." Thus author and scholar Cynthia Wachtell describes the beginning of a tantalizing mystery that she later solved in the creation of a new, expanded version of La Motte's groundbreaking book. Click here to learn the whole story of how the century-old riddle was answered, and what Wachtell learned in the process about La Motte and WWI America.  


U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division presents awards to WWI Veterans’s Family

3rd ID snip

The U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, presented a long-awaited Purple Heart Medal and World War I Victory Medal to the granddaughter and extended family of one of their own, 103 years after he was killed in action in France. “It’s overwhelming. It’s beyond belief. It’s really a miracle it happened,” said Kay Beasley Toups, Beasley’s granddaughter and his closest living relative. Click here to read the entire article, and see photos of the inspiring presentation ceremony.


Town Seeks to Match Grant Funds for Repair of WWI & Other War Memorials

Franklin Doughboy Memorial snip

The Franklin, MA Town Common has 11 war memorials, “and most of them need a little bit of work – some need major work,” says Dale Kurtz, Franklin Veterans Services officer. At the end of April, Franklin received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of $18,338 for the monuments, but that’s under half of what it will need to complete the whole project. Click here to read more, and learn how the town plans to raise the matching funds to complete the work on the WWI and other war memorials.


The Aftermath of Wisconsin’s Experience as the “Traitor State”

Leslie Bellais

"As I began a new job as a curator, mainly in charge of clothing and textiles, at the Wisconsin Historical Society in the early 1990s, I had no idea that it would lead me to an abiding interest, almost a passion, regarding the history of Wisconsin’s home front during World War I," writes Leslie Bellais. Where the new-found passion led her was a Ph.D. dissertation, which in turn led to an important chapter in the new book Home Front in the American Heartland: Local Experiences and Legacies of WWI.  Click here to read more about Leslie's work, and the lessons she has drawn from her research into World War I.


The War Nurse: Bringing to Life the Brave Nurses of World War I

Tracey Enerson Wood

Coming from a multi-generational military family, novelist Tracey Enerson Wood "thought it was time to explore a woman who served in war time."  The result: her new book The War Nurse, the story of Julia Stimson, an American nurse asked to recruit sixty-five other nurses to relieve those of the battle-worn British, months before American troops are ready to be deployed.  Click here to read more, and learn how the research for her novel and its writing taught the author a lot about WWI changed the world, and continues to affect it even today.


Doughboy MIA for August 2021

Edward M. Beneker

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is Private Edward M. Beneker. The son of Henry and Kathrine Beneker, Edward was a farmer born in South Gate, Indiana on September 20th, 1895. He entered military service on March 28th, 1918, and trained at Camp Taylor, Kentucky before being assigned to Company D, 115th Infantry, 29th Division at Camp McClellan, Alabama. With them he sailed overseas in June 1918 and saw action that summer.

Reported WIA on October 23rd, 1918, his status was later changed to KIA, though his grave was never located. Nothing else is known at this time.

Want to help us find Private Beneker and others like him? Please consider a donation today. Doughboy MIA is a non-profit, tax-deductible organization--every dime of your money goes toward finding the answers surrounding these boys. Visit www.ww1cc.ord/mia today and be part of the solution!

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

And remember:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.


Merchandise from the Official Doughboy Foundation World War I Store

Poppy Mask

"Remember them" Poppy Face Mask

  • A Doughboy.shop exclusive!
  • High quality, dual-layer, machine washable fabric
  • Outer: 100% Cotton jersey knit
  • Inner: Polyester 135gsm with Anti-Microbial protection
  • Adjustable elastic ear straps for a comfortable fit
  • Flexible wire frame over the nose for secure fit
  • Width: 9.5” / 24cm x Height: 6” /15.5cm
  • Screen printed poppy design “Remember Them” inscription
  • One size – fits most adults

Proceeds from the sale of these masks 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.



Paul & Stanley Wikarski

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

 

Paul & Stanley Wikarski

Submitted by: Kent Wikarski {nephew}

Paul Wikarski (r) was born around 1887, Stanley Wikarski was born around 1891. Paul & Stanley Wikarski served in World War 1 with the United States Navy and United States Army, respectively.

Story of Service

Brothers Paul & Stanley Wikarski children of Polish immigrants were born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Paul the older of the two lied about his age and entered the Navy when he was only sixteen and a half years old. Paul served as a Chief Gunners Mate aboard the U.S.S. Ohio as part of the Atlantic Fleet during WW!. Just four years earlier, in 1914, he took part in the invasion of Veracruz while serving on the U.S.S. New Hampshire. Paul died of accidental drowning during his 5th enlistment period in 1922 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Stanley enlisted in the Army and completed basic training at Fort Custer, Michigan as a member of 85th Infantry. Because of his contractor experience, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 310th Engineers, a divisional support regiment later assigned to the V Army Corps 1st Army under General Pershing. Records show that the 310th Engineers deployed in support of the Division at various battles. At some, point Stanley was exposed to a poison gas attack. Like many men, he died prematurely due to post war afflictions. He died at the National Home for Disabled & Solders in Milwaukee in 1932.

Both Paul and Stanley are buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Detroit Michigan.  The Photo was probably taken in 1919/1920 while Paul was on leave.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.


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