Hometown Boys from Illinois: Information and Statistics about WWI Service Members
According to records compiled by the Office of the Adjutant General, 351,153 men from Illinois served in the U.S. Army and Navy during World War I. Over 5,000 died in service. The 33rd Division originated in Illinois, as did the 370th Infantry Regiment of the African-American 93rd Division. Draftees from Illinois provided much of the original manpower for the 84th, 86th and 88th Divisions. The 33rd Division held the right flank of the U.S. First Army during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and won important victories at Forges and along the Marne River. Maj. Gen. George Bell Jr., commanded the 33rd Division throughout the war as it served under British, French and American operational command. The 370th Infantry Regiment fought under French command, and was decorated for actions in the Oise-Aisne Offensive and in Lorraine.
Illinois was home to the major training installation of Camp Grant, near Rockford, the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, and Chanute and Scott Army Air Fields. In addition, Rock Island Arsenal produced and coordinated the production of war materials. Illinois factories converted to produce munitions and equipment. The Illinois farm crop of 1918, one of the largest in value yet produced by a state, was harnessed to the war effort. Illinois became an important source of funding for the government, producing $1,300,000,000 in war loans from its citizens.
Editor's Note: This ongoing series will feature information and statistics about World War I service members from every state. You can also find this information in our new Chateau-Thierry Visitor Center that will be opening later this year.