|"Iowa Goes Over the Top." Illustration by Francis Webster, from "Somewhere Over There: The Letters, Diary, and Artwork of a World War I Corporal." Note mentions of the Iowa National Guard's 168th Infantry Regiment, and of the American Expeditionary Forces.|
On Sat., April 1, volunteers and staff at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, located on Camp Dodge in the Des Moines-area suburb of Johnston, Iowa, will offer a series of special presentations commemorating the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I, The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. All galleries are open. The Camp Dodge military installation is open to the public via the main N.W. 70th Avenue entrance. Note that photo identification at the gate is required for adults (a driver’s license is acceptable).
"This program honors the centennial of the United States entry into World War I," according to a museum news release. "WWI began with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, in Sarajevo, on July 28, 1914. While the U.S. was initially a neutral state, continuing German attacks on American vessels in the Atlantic Ocean led President Woodrow Wilson to declare war on Germany on April 6, 1917."
Special presentations are scheduled from 10:20 a.m. to 2:15. The schedule includes:
- 10:20 a.m.: Welcome and introductions
- 10:30 a.m.: Tom Clegg, living historian/re-enactor: "The Common Soldier in WWI"
- 11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.: Mike Vogt, Iowa Gold Star Military Museum curator, presents "Camp Dodge during WWI"
- 12:30–1:15 p.m.: Author/historian Darrek Orwig presents on Cpl. Francis Webster. Webster, trained as an illustrator under Des Moines Register political cartoonist Jay "Ding" Darling, captured the daily life of Iowans serving overseas in WWI with the Iowa National Guard. Webster was killed in action during the war.
- 1:30-2:15 p.m.: Greg VanWyngarden presents "James Norman Hall: An Iowan serving under three flags." Born in Colfax, Iowa, Hall served in the British Army during World War I, then became a pilot for France's flying force, Lafayette Escadrille. Taken prisoner by Germany and later honored as a war hero, Hall wrote "Mutiny on the Bounty," "Men Against the Sea," and "Pitcairn Island."
42nd Infantry "Rainbow" Division, were assigned to the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI. The 42nd Division was comprised of soldiers from many states, including the Iowa National Guard’s 168th Infantry Regiment from southwest Iowa. The 168th Infantry was commanded by Col. Ernest Bennett and later, by Col. Matthew Tinley. During U.S. participation in WWI, the 42nd Division was credited with 164 days of actual combat. While 42nd Division casualties included 2,810 killed and 11,873 wounded, the 168th Infantry suffered more than 700 Soldiers killed and 3,100 wounded.
For more information about these commemorative events, contact Mike Musel or Mike Vogt at 515.252.4531.
Established in 1985, the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is the only federally recognized repository for military artifacts in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is twofold: to preserve Iowa’s military history and honor the military service of all Iowans.
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum’s permanent exhibits tell the stories of Iowans who have served in defense of their state and nation, beginning in the early settlement of the state in the 1840s, through the Global War on Terror. An extensive exhibit honors the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division, which holds the distinction of serving the most continuous days in combat of any division in the European Theater of Operation during World War II. The museum also contains one of the finest military small arms collections in the Midwest. Additionally, an exhibit detailing the history of the Iowa State Patrol is also on display.