Facts of Interest
1. On May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed, requiring all men between 18 and 45 to register for the draft.
2. In a rush to serve over 40,000 Arizonans registered for the draft from a population of less than 260,000.
3. In another first for Arizona, only 20 men were
rejected for flat feet, the fewest in the country. The reason for this was thought to be that Arizonans typically wore a high heel style footwear - commonly known as the cowboy boot.
4. In August of 1917 the 1st Arizona Infantry was activated into the U.S. Army, becoming the newly designated 158th infantry regiment.
5. Captain Edward M Robison, of the 1st Arizona Infantry, was severely wounded in the attack but stayed with his battalion for two days while under a constant heavy barrage of artillery and machine gun fire. Captain Robison recovered and was awarded several medals for his extraordinary heroism on the battlefield.
6. By wars end the Arizona Red Cross had collected and sent over 4 tons of clothing to help the war ravaged civilians of Europe.
7. Construction of the USS Arizona began in early 1913.
The ship was named to celebrate Arizona’s entry into the union as the 48th state.
8. Over the span of seventeen days in September of 1918, Ace Lt. Frank Luke, shot down 18 German aircraft, second only to Ace of Aces Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker.
American Legion Post 1 in Phoenix is named for
9. On October 4, 1918, his 22nd birthday, Marine Corporal John Henry Pruitt died of wounds suffered while battling the Germans in June of that year. He was posthumously awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor, from both the Army and the Navy.
American Legion Post 68 in Tucson is named for him.
10. At wars end General John C. Greenway returned to Arizona where he was asked to represent Arizona at the first American Legion Caucus held in St Louis in 1919 and is one of the three members who wrote the preamble for the American Legion’s Constitution.
American Legion Post 1 in Phoenix named for him.
11. Private Sam Swaskegame, along with eight other members of the small Hualapai Nation, voluntarily enlisted for service in WW1. Pvt Swaskegame posthumously was awarded the unit Croix de Guerre.
American Legion Post 14 in Kingman was named for him.
12. Another Native American, Private Matthew B. Juan, was posthumously awarded a citation star for his gallantry in action and holds the distinction of being the first Arizonan and first Native American to die in combat in World War 1.
13. The United States Naval Reserve Act of 1916 recognized the need and value of women to the war effort. Yeoman 1st Class Sadie Flay was one of only a small group of Yeomanettes to serve in France during the war. She was awarded the World War 1 Victory Medal for her service and dedication to duty.
14. The U.S. Army soon followed the Navy and Ola Mae Davis, Kathryn O’Sullivan, and Margaret Lawless are a few of the brave, selfless army nurses from Arizona who served in hospitals and first aid stations along the front lines. All were awarded the World War 1 Victory Medal.
15. Lt. Ralph O’Neil was one of only three men to receive three separate Distinguished Service Crosses in World War 1, all three for extraordinary heroism in action and courage under fire.
16. Lt. Ernest A. Love from Prescott Arizona, was the only one of his flight training class to earn his wings. Lt. Ernest A Love was awarded a Purple Heart for his ultimate sacrifice in WW1.
American Legion Post 6 in Prescott is named for this brave flyer.
17. Arizonans of Mexican heritage have long been an important part of Arizona’s Military history. Corporal Elexandro B. Moisa of 158th Infantry was posthumously awarded the Citation Star, the Purple Heart, and the French Croix de Guerre.
American Legion Post 27 in Apache Junction
was named in his honor.
18. Arizona had a number of well-known and admired World War 1 era politicians. Carl Trumbull Hayden, in a patriotic move, defied an executive order forbidding members of congress from volunteering for military service. Commissioned as a Major in the United States Army he was given command of a battalion.
19. Lewis W. Douglas from Jerome Arizona, who served 4 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, volunteered for service in World War 1 in early 1917. Lt. Douglas saw action on the battlefields of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive
20. Robert L Finch of Tempe AZ was one of the most decorated Arizona politicians to serve in WW1. Lt. Finch was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and a Silver Star, and the French Croix de Guerre.
Robert Finch was also Commander of American Legion Post 2 in Tempe.
21. One of Arizona's most beloved and best known World War 1 chaplains was Father Albert Braun, better known as just Father Al, was recognized and acknowledged with the Arizona Medal of Honor, the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Award, and induction into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2001. Father Braun was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star.
American Legion Post 41 in Phoenix is named for him.
22. Another beloved and well known chaplains was the Reverend John H. Clifford, who endeared himself to Tucson by founding and supporting the first Boy Scout troop in southern Arizona.
23. At the onset of the war Doc Clifford became a YMCA chaplain. He was assigned to the 5th Marine Regiment in France where the Marines grew so fond of him and his unpretentious nature that they replaced his YMCA insignias with Marine Corp emblems on his jacket and hat. He was awarded the Croix De Guerre and The Lorraine Cross of Valor for his courage.
24. The Distinguished Service Cross was created in July of 1918 to honor extreme gallantry and risk of life in combat. Out of a United States military force of 2 million, only 6,309 Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded during World War 1.