Soldiers take bayonet practice at Camp Bradley during World War I. From April 1918 to January 1919, soldiers studied manual arts and horology at Bradley. Optics were important to the war effort, and soldiers learned to grind and polish lenses. There was also great demand for automobile and tractor mechanics. (Photo courtesy Bradley University Special Collections)

Seven Branches of the “University In Khaki” Established (1919)

(The Camp Bragg News, September 11. 1919) Home stations have now been definitely selected, to which the Regular army divisions that served abroad are being returned for discharge of emergency enlisted men who desire it, recruitment and reorganization on peace basis. These home stations are:

  • First Division, Camp Taylor, near Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Second Division, Camp Travis, near San Antonio, Texas.
  • Third Division, Camp Pike, Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Fourth Division, Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Fifth Division, Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Sixth Division, Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois.
  • Seventh Division Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas.

By the last of October, the process of actual demobilization will be practically completed insofar as combatant troops are concerned. There will be many details of care and disposition of surplus property, completing permanent records, looking after the population of the hospitals, that will continue to require the time and attention of many officers and men. But the units of the mobile army which have been overseas will be busied with plans for the future.

Our collection, America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers, addresses a topic and period that continues to be of the widest interest and importance to scholars, students, and the general public – America in the World War I Era. Camp newspapers make important original source material—much of it written by soldiers for soldiers—readily available for research.

In these divisional camps and in the permanent camps in the Southeastern Department and elsewhere, the whole new programme of helping the soldier to become a more efficient and useful citizen by reason of his enlistment in the army will be put into play. Each one of these divisional camps will be a branch of the “university in khaki” as will every other station of a Regular army unit. As fine a type of young American manhood is now enlisting in the Regular Army as ever wore the American uniform. They are going to get out of their enlistment, we hope, practical benefit that they can turn to use all the rest of their lives. Enlistments for the Regular army now reach nearly 100,000, and the rate continues at about 5,000 a week.

“In this work,” Secretary Baker said. “I ask the cooperation of the communities where the Regular army units are stationed. In the days before the war, we had rather fallen into the habit of taking the Regular Army for granted as a permanent fixture that stood about until trouble happened. We had lost sight, we civilians outside the uniform, of the tremendous potential value of the army as an educational institution for training young men to become, not accomplished soldiers, but citizens able to earn more and be more, after their terms in the army were finished.

“We used to want to persuade all men who enlisted, to continue to re-enlist and become professional fighting men. There must always be the permanent group of re-enlisted men, of course, just as there are always instructors and professors at college. But now, while retaining the training group to graduate the majority of the missioned officers and making their life and pay worth while, we want this group to graduate the majority of the men who enlist back into civil life so much bettered by their service that they can no longer afford to be private soldiers.

“In this work, we need the cooperation of the civilian communities, the constant mindfulness and helpfulness of the whole citizenship. It is not too much to ask these cities and towns where the Regulars are domiciled, to regard the divisional or the regimental camp and the soldier inhabitants, as Cambridge regards Harvard, or New Haven regards Yale, or Berkeley regards the University of California and as all of these college towns regard the students.

“These young soldiers will be away from their home, soldier-students who have pledged their services and if need be their lives, in behalf of their country, in return for a pledge of helpful instruction. These communities, even though the high period of war emotion has passed, should make these young soldiers feel that they are remembered and thought for and of, even in these days of peace. They should be welcomed just as the men who came forward for service in 1917 and 1918. The spirit with which they are accepted into these communities will largely shape the spirit of these new wearers of the uniform.

“The Nation’s debt to those splendid units of the Regular army can never be paid. Each one of them has traditions that should be inspirational in their effect upon the young men who belong to them working for high standards of service and sound Americanism in the army and out of it. Let us realize this and show our gratitude by our helpfulness.

“What I have said about the communities where the units of mobile army are to be, applies equally to those communities where other soldiers are going about the irksome tasks of closing up the business of the war that is over,” said Secretary Baker. “These soldiers, certainly, have the most difficult part to take. Let us not forget them. Let’s keep them in mind cordially and helpfully, through to the end.

“I would like the citizens in these various communities, through their proper organizations, to take up practically and in consultation with the commanding officers some workable plan of peace time relation and friendship. Conditions ought to be so arranged that the men who serve in these camps and stations will be glad their training is near such good people and in such kindly surroundings.”

Top Image: Soldiers take bayonet practice at Camp Bradley during World War I. From April 1918 to January 1919, soldiers studied manual arts and horology at Bradley. Optics were important to the war effort, and soldiers learned to grind and polish lenses. There was also great demand for automobile and tractor mechanics. (Photo courtesy Bradley University Special Collections)

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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