Hometown Boys from Georgia: Information and Statistics about WWI Service Members
Georgia contributed more than 100,000 men and women to the U.S. armed forces and their auxiliaries during World War I. The 31st Division (National Guard) drew troops and units from Georgia. The 82nd Division drew many of its selected servicemen from Georgia. The 82nd Division fought in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. Most notably, it attacked up the Aire River into the flank of Germans holding the Argonne Forest and forced them to withdraw. The subsequent American advance penetrated critical German defenses and seized the heights around St. Juvin.
Georgia was home to five major military installations when the war began, and added even more as the war progressed. The 7th Division organized and trained at Camp Forrest near Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 28th Division at Camp Hancock near Augusta, the 31st Division at Camp Wheeler near Macon, and the 82nd Division at Camp Gordon near Atlanta. African-Americans trained at Camp Gordon and served in segregated units, in keeping with official Army policy. Savannah served as a major port. Souther Field, near Americus, trained almost 2,000 military pilots. Georgia’s farms, textile mills and railroads mobilized for the war effort. Private citizens established “Victory Gardens” to assist with the food supply. Volunteers joined the Red Cross, sewing circles, war bond drives and other agencies and initiatives. Georgians figured prominently in efforts to assist wounded soldiers and memorialize the fallen. Moina B. Michael, for example, initiated sales of paper and actual poppies that raised millions for rehabilitative care and continued for decades.
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.