Did you know that WWI may have created your Army unit?
(Photo: Library of Congress)

By Shannon Collins, DoD News

On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson, with the help of a Senate vote of 82 to 6, declared war against imperial Germany and the U.S. entered World War I.

During the centennial commemoration of our entry into World War I, the Army, which supplied more than 4 million of the 4.8 million Americans involved in the Great War, will host a variety of activities and events throughout the U.S. and overseas, culminating in the opening of the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., in November 2018.

Charles R. Bowery Jr., the executive director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, said World War I had an impact on those who have served in the Army since then. Here’s how:

  • Of the 99 Army divisions established for Army Gen. John Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces, 28 exist in some form in today’s force structure in the active component, Army National Guard or Army Reserve.
  • Those 28 units have been represented by combat patches.
  • Soldiers who have served at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Dix, New Jersey; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; or Fort Lee, Virginia, have served at one of 87 camps and installations built by the Army in 1917 or 1918 as part of wartime mobilization.
  • Fort Meade, Maryland, was established in 1917. The post trained more than 40,000 soldiers for World War I, including the men of three infantry divisions.
  • Fort Meade also held the Army’s horse and mule remount facility during World War I, processing more than 22,000 animals for service in France.
  • The Army Signal Corps used Fort Meade to train the “Hello Girls,” the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit. These bilingual women volunteered as telephone switchboard operators in France with the American Expeditionary Forces.
  • For soldiers who serve in the armor, aviation or chemical branch military occupational specialty, these roles were created in World War I.
  • For soldiers serving in the intelligence community, its functional area was also created in World War I.