Iowa National Guard Activities
First Infantry First On Duty
On March 26, 1917, the Governor
received an order from the Secretary of War placing on duty
the First Infantry, Iowa National Guard, for the purposes
of "preventing interference with postal, commercial and
military channels and instrumentalities" in Iowa. This
telegraphic order was as follows:
Washington, D. C., March 25, 1917.
To The Honorable
William L. Harding,
Governor of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa.
in view the necessity of affording a more
perfect protection against possible
interference with postal, commercial and
military channels and instrumentalities
of the United States in the state of
Iowa, and being unable with the regular
troops available at his command to insure
the faithful execution of the union in
this regard, the President has thought
proper to exercise the authority
vested in him by the constitution and
laws to call out the National Guard
necessary for the purpose. I am, in
consequence, instructed by the president
to call in to the service of the United
States forthwith, through you, the
following units of the National Guard of
the State of Iowa, which the President
desires shall be assembled at the places
to be designated to you by the Commanding
General, Central Department, Chicago,
Illinois, and which said Commanding
General has been directed to communicate
to you: First Regiment, Iowa Infantry,
Baker, Secretary of
The units of the regiment were promptly assembled at their
company stations and mustered into Federal service and
within two weeks were assigned to duty guarding bridges,
government property and designated manufacturing plants at
the following points:
Headquarters Company, Supply Company, Machine Gun
Company, Companies B and G at Fort Des Moines,
Iowa guarding government property and bridges and
other points at Des Moines.
||at Sabula; three
squads at Aiken, Ill., guarding tunnel.
||at Charles City
||1 platoon at Yetter,
1 platoon at Fort Dodge
||1 platoon at Boone,
1 platoon at Jefferson, 1 platoon at Madrid
||at Burlington; 1
platoon at Media, Ill.
||at Fort Madison; 1
platoon at Dumas, Mo.
||at stations named
No other Iowa Guard troops were called to duty until June 20,
1917, when the Secretary of War directed that Company A, Iowa
Engineers, be assembled and mustered into Federal Service. The
company was ordered to Fort Des Moines and a few days later
ordered to Camp Dodge where it was on duty making maps of the
encampment, drawing plans for roadways, water systems, etc.
and directing certain construction work
Company B, Council Bluffs and Company C, Des Moines were
ordered organized by the War Department on June 11 and the
organization completed by July 15. The companies were mustered
and ordered to Camp Cody, Deming, N. M. where they were joined
by Company A, and a battalion organization effected, Major
Anson Marston of Ames, in command.
On June 22, 1917 the
first battalion of Field Artillery Iowa National Guard, was
ordered into Federal service mustered, and sent to Fort Des
Moines, and later ordered to Fort Logan H. Root, Little Root,
Arkansas, still later going to Camp Cody, Deming, N. M. The
other three batteries in the regiment were soon organized at
Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport and sent direct to Camp
Cody, after being mustered into Federal Service.
On June 11 the Chief
of the Militia Bureau, War Department authorized the
organization of an ambulance company, and outpost Signal
company. These organizations were soon completed, mustered,
and sent to Camp Cody, Deming, N. M.
The last organization
in the National Guard to be completed was the Ammunition Train
(motor), which was organized between July 13 and July 18,
1917, principally in the larger cities of the state, and
mobilized at the State Fair grounds, Des Moines, where the
officers and men were given intensive training, and acted as
guards during the fair and were later sent to Camp Cody,
Deming, New Mexico.
A field hospital had
been authorized by the War Department and was federally
recognized on May 17, 1917. This was located at Sioux City and
was known as Field Hospital No. 2.
On June 25, 1917 an
order was issued from the office of the Adjutant General
authorizing all organization commanders to place on duty for a
period of intensive military training beginning July 1, 1917
all recruits who have not had previous military service in
some branches of the Army and Navy. Camps were established in
the home stations either in the armories or under tentage.
commander and one commissioned officer were detailed for duty
as instructors and enlisting officers. From the enlisted
personnel the following men were detailed from those who had
had previous service to assist in the care and instruction of
One sergeant for each
21 recruits or major fraction thereof.
One corporal for each
7 recruits or major fraction thereof.
One cook for the first
forty enlisted men on duty and one additional if company
exceeds forty enlisted men on duty.
One bugler for each
organization authorization to have buglers.
All officers and
enlisted men received the pay of their grade during this time.
On July 3, 1917, the
President issued a proclamation calling the National Guard
into Federal service on July 15th. This proclamation in part
is as follows:
|"Whereas, The United
States of America and the Imperial German Government
are now at war, and having in view the consequent
danger of aggression by a foreign enemy upon the
territory of the United States and the necessity for
proper protection against possible interference with
the execution of the laws of the Union by agents of
the enemy, I, WOODROW WILSON, President of the United
States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by
the Constitution and the laws of the United States
and through the governors of the respective States,
call into the service of the United States as of and
from the dates hereinafter respectively indicated all
members of the National Guard and all enlisted
members of the National Guard Reserve of the
following States, who are not now in the service of
the United States, except members of staff corps and
departments not included in the personnel of tactical
organizations, and except such officers of the
National Guard as have been or may be specially
notified by my authority that they will not be
affected by this call."
response to this proclamation, transmitted to organization
commanders, the following units responded by assembling at
their home stations for muster:
|First Separate Company of Infantry
|First Squadron Iowa Cavalry
|Field Hospital No. 1
|Field Hospital No. 2
|Ambulance Company No. 1
|Ambulance Company No. 2
|Outpost Company, Signal Corps
|Companies B and C Engineers
|Second Battalion, Field Artillery
Colonel A. Thayer, 2nd U. S. Cavalry, reported as
mustering officer for Iowa early in July , and on July 20th
issued an order designating certain Iowa Guard officers as
assistant mustering officers and directing them to proceed to
the home stations of Guard units and muster the officers and
men into Federal Service. This was soon accomplished.
At this time each Infantry organization had rifle companies of
150 men each. Early in August the War Department
specified that each rifle company should consist of 250 men.
At this time the Rainbow or 42nd Division was being formed for
immediate service in France. To quickly fill the ranks of the
Third Infantry assigned to this division, Colonel Thayer on
August 15, 1917, issued an order direction the transfer of 1,
653 men from the First and Second Infantry regiments to the
Third Infantry regiment later renamed the 168th Infantry,
which was under orders to mobilize at the State Fair grounds,
As this order made the Third Iowa which later made a brilliant
record in the fighting in France, a composite regiment, with
men from all parts of the state, the order of Colonel Thayer,
is published in part.