Hometown Boys from Idaho: Information and Statistics about WWI Service Members

Idaho provided over 19,000 to the U.S. Armed Forces during World War I. Of these 782 died overseas. The 41st Division (National Guard) drew units and troops from Idaho. Draftees from Idaho provided manpower to the 91st Division, the “Wild West Division”, as it stood up and organized. The 91st attacked in the first wave of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and seized Very, Épinonville and Éclisfontaine in fierce fighting. Later the 91st redeployed to Belgium, captured Audenarde and forced the Scheldt River in the Ypres-Lys Offensive. Idaho soldiers served in other units as well. Pvt. Joseph Smith of Weiser, Idaho, served in the 1st Division and lost his life in the Battle of Cantigny, May 29, 1918. He is buried at Somme American Cemetery, in Bony, France.

Boise Barracks was the principal military installation in Idaho, and was used as an administrative center and recruiting depot. The University of Idaho was home to a Student Army Training Corps detachment. Demand for Idaho’s agricultural and forest products increased considerably, and both were mobilized for the war effort. Idaho’s citizens planted “Liberty Gardens” to assist in the war effort, conserved food and other commodities, volunteered for field work to assist with wartime labor shortages, participated in war bond drives, and served in numerous other capacities as volunteers or civil servants

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.