Hometown Boys from Indiana: Information and Statistics about WWI Service Members
Indiana provided more than 130,000 servicemen to the U.S. armed forces during World War I. Of these, more than 3,000 died. The 38th Division (National Guard) drew units and troops from Indiana, and many of the selected servicemen who initially made up the 84th Division came from Indiana as well. The 150th Field Artillery Regiment of the 42nd (“Rainbow”) Division was an Indiana unit. It distinguished itself in the fiercely fought Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Campaigns. Indiana natives Maj. Samuel Woodfill, serving with the 5th Division, and 2nd Lt. Aaron Fisher, serving with the African-American 366th Infantry Regiment, were among the most decorated American soldiers in World War I. Both men led effectively and gallantly, and overcame personal wounds to defeat the enemy in fierce close-quarters fighting.
Fort Benjamin Harrison, near Indianapolis, was the principal military installation in Indiana. It served as an administrative and training center and as a recruitment depot. Indiana’s agriculture and industry mobilized to support the war effort. Studebaker, for example, converted half of its plant capacity to the production of military equipment. “Hoosiers” flocked to join or support such organizations as the Red Cross or Salvation Army, participate in war bond drives, and conserve food and other critical commodities. Base Hospital 32, consisting primarily of personnel from Indiana, treated almost 10,000 patients over the course of the war.
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.