Latest Posts


2769658878_c3873224c5_b[1] LLano County

Organizing World War I Centennial activities in your organization or municipality? Take the survey at The Texas World War I Centennial Commemoration previously organized initial coordination and planning meetings in North Texas and South Texas. Now it’s time for a state-wide meeting to discuss our communication, coordination, and commemoration plans. The meeting will be set for late July or August, in either College Station or Austin. You can help decide the final details by taking the 10-question survey.

In addition to your date, time and place preferences, help us understand what information will be most important to you (question 8):

What topics would most interest you at the conference? (rate 1-15)

Developing and growing a grassroots network; outreach ideas and methods.
How to use existing ideas for use in my region, county, municipality or organization.
Getting The Word Out: Managing communication and effectively publicizing WWI centennial commemoration events or activities.
Unique Options for the WWI Centennial: Brainstorming and developing new Centennial Commemoration ideas activities for 2017-19.
Education outreach and commemoration activities.
Hosting an academic symposium
Forming a speakers bureau.
WWI commemoration arts collaboration in your community (art, film, photography, theater, literature, poetry, etc.)
Conducting outreach and organizing volunteers in my community for WWI ..



The Winds and Words of War: WWI Propaganda Prints from the San Antonio Public Library Texana Collection opens Thursday in San Antonio. The Airman Heritage Museum at Lackland AFB will hosting the WWI Centennial Traveling Exhibit through 31 July, it’s final U.S. venue before traveling to Europe. The exhibit features 40 original (vintage) WWI posters to include the iconic “Uncle Sam Wants You” poster designed by noted American illustrator James Montgomery Flagg. The grand opening of the exhibit will be held on Thursday, June 16 at 3 p.m. when noted art historian Allison Hays Lane will be the featured guest speaker discussing the historical relevance of the poster art on display. The collection belongs to the San Antonio Public Library which acquired it from the Hertzberg estate of the multimillionaire owner and founder of the now defunct Herzberg Circus Museum. Hertzberg was a serious collector of early American illustration art. The WWI posters on display are valued at $40,000.

Augmenting the exhibition will be WWI artifacts and WWI reenactors providing living history vignettes. Ms. Lane will also speak in a scheduled lecture on the posters at the Airman Heritage Museum on Thursday, June 30 from 3-5 p.m. The public is invited to attend this ..


Fix Boyonets cover

Looking for that summer read? Here’s our annotated bibliography of books by Texans and about Texas in the Great War. Have another you recommend? Send your favorite reads about Texas and Texans in WWI to us at
They Called Them Solider Boys: A Texas Infantry Regiment in World War I. By Gregory W. Ball. University of North Texas Press, 2013.
They Called Them Soldier Boys (War and the Southwest Series) offers an in-depth study of soldier of the Texas National Guard’s Seventh Texas Infantry Regiment in World War I, through their recruitment, training, journey to France, combat, and their return home. Gregory W. Ball focuses on the fourteen counties in North, Northwest, and West Texas where officers recruited the regiment’s soldiers in the summer of 1917, and how those counties compared with the rest of the state in terms of political, social, and economic attitudes.

In September 1917 the “Soldier Boys” trained at Camp Bowie, near Fort Worth, Texas, until the War Department combined the Seventh Texas with the First Oklahoma Infantry to form the 142d Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division. In early October 1918, the 142d Infantry, including more than 600 original members of the Seventh Texas, was assigned to the French Fourth Army in the Champagne region ..


St Marys logo

St. Mary’s University students in San Antonio are producing a variety of short videos on Texas during the Great War. As part of the university’s Public History program, Dr. Teresa Van Hoy’s students have created “microdocumentaries,” each 5-8 minutes in length on various subjects including Texas WWI training camps, San Antonio during WWI, and the persecution of German-Americans during the war period. One student film is narrated in French and documents the role of the 36th Infantry Division, an American division that fought in the Meuse Argonne offensive attached to the French Fifth Army. These videos have received official endorsement by the National Commission and bear the WWICC logo. For more information on Public History at St. Mary’s, please contact the History Department, 210 436-3704 or Dr. Van Hoy, Click through to read the full story and access the hyperlinks to these videos.




H. Clyde Balsley was among the American volunteers who joined the Lafayette Escadrille. Authorized by the French, the Escadrille Américaine (Escadrille N.124) was deployed as an operational flying squadron on April 20, 1916 in Luxeuil-les-Bains, France. On June 18, 1916 Balsley would have the distinction of being the first American flyer to be shot down in World War I.

After leaving his job working in his Mother’s bakery in San Antonio, Balsley travelled to France and originally served as a volunteer ambulance driver. He captured his initial enthusiasm about serving in his diary:

     “Many strange thoughts have been coming in my head all day. … How strange it was for me to be there. I, who a little more than a year ago never even dreamed of France. I was in a lecture room full of officers and soldiers participating in this war and I was one of them. That is the wonderful part of it, that I should be there as one of France’s soldiers.” (San Diego Air & Space Museum Blog, accessed 4/14/16)

Balsley’s initial training was typical of young pilots in the war. He received flight orientation and had flown practice missions behind the front. On June 18, ..


John "Mac" McCarthy, Vce President of Facilities & Infrastructure for Brooks City Base, speaks at the renovation ceremony March 29, 2016

Brooks City Base in San Antonio started construction on a $2.8 million rehabilitation and restoration project of the historic Hangar 9 building here on March 29, 2016. The building is the oldest wooden aircraft hangar of is kind still standing. Hangar 9 is a San Antonio Historic Landmark, listed in the Texas State Historical Survey, the National Register of Historic Places, and is a National Historic Landmark. 

Brooks Field, named for Sidney j. Brooks, Jr. – the first San Antonio native to die in a WWI aviation-related accident – was a WWI training airfield established in 1917. The base later became Brooks Air Force Base and was ultimately returned to the San Antonio community as Brooks City Base as part of the base closer and realignment program in 2012.

A ceremony marking the start of the renovation work was held outside the hangar. Dignitaries attending included officials from Brooks City Base, the City of San Antonio, The National Park Service, and the Texas Historical Commission. Work is scheduled to be completed by late 2016 or early 2017. Hangar 9 will serve as a venue for business and public gatherings.



Sgt Mac Letters

By William F. Haenn

December 1916 saw the very last submission of the “Post Return”, a monthly report of vital statistics submitted by every post, camp and station in the U.S. Army for over 110 years. Historians have been frustrated ever since to find any single source which duplicates the essential data found in the post returns. It takes considerable digging, patience, and an element of luck in order to pick-up the story of Fort Clark after 1916.

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany. Wilson cited Germany’s violation of its pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as well as its attempts to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States, as his reasons for declaring war. On April 4, 1917, the U.S. Senate voted in support of the measure to declare war on Germany. The House concurred two days later. Before entering the war, the U.S. had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to Great Britain and other Allied powers. When the United States entered the World War it had been raging since August 1914.

The ..


Maj.Gen. Alfred Valenzuela, WWICC Commissioner, addresses South Texas planning meeting guests

The South Texas WWI Centennial Commemoration coordination meeting was held at the Army Medical Museum at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio on March 3, with over 25 people in attendance at both the morning and afternoon sessions. If you missed the meeting, you can find the presentation and other resources on the Texas World War I Centennial Commemoration shared documents site (Google Drive;

The program focused on identifying projects that are in development for Texas, highlighting resources available, and to brainstorming new ideas. The “grassroots” nature of the Centennial commemoration effort was an underlying theme. The WWI Centennial is unfunded and attendees were encouraged to “make it happen” in their communities and organizations by identifying partners and local sponsors for commemoration projects. Attendees also brainstormed ideas for new initiatives. Some of the most innovative ideas included a mobile trench systems (mounted on a commercial trailer) and a WWI food festival (leveraging both renditions of rations eaten in the war zones and “home front” foods of the era).  Large scale speculative projects were also identified, such as establishment of WWI monuments to the 36th andn90th Divisions in France and a proposal to organize a battalion of WWI doughboy reenactors (possibly ..


Artist and American Field Service ambulance driver Waldo Peirce sketching on the side of his ambulance during World War I. Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs.

Before the United States entered the War, some Texans had already joined the fight in Europe as volunteers. The American Field Service has created a free downloadable curriculum, lesson plans, and a teacher toolkit focused on this period of the war available on the AFS website ( Educating young Texans is a key part our mission. If you know an educator, tell them about the World War I Centennial Commemoration effort and the resources available to them.

Army Medical Department Museum Hosts WWI Centennial Planning Meeting

WWIExhibits_lg (AMEDD)

The U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Museum at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio will host the first South Texas coordination meeting for the Texas World War I Centennial Commemoration on March 3, 2016. The Museum will host two identical meeting sessions (9am-11am and 1pm-3pm) in the Museum Auditorium. The meetings are open to organizations and individuals interested in helping commemorate the role of Texas and Texans in The Great War. For more information on attending, contact

In addition to hosting the meeting, the Museum features a significant exhibit of WWI military medical artifacts, photographs and documents. This includes to early military ambulances dating to the War. See more about the AMEDD Museum at