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Doors to the Past

World War I


In the early part of June, 1916, the National Guard of the several states was ordered into Federal service and sent to the Mexican Border ostensibly to be prepared for conditions that might arise in Mexico but more likely in anticipation of the United States entering the World War and to give the guard a period of preliminary training. Four companies from Huntington, viz.: G, H, and I of the 2d Infantry, and a machine gun company responded to the call on June 10, 1916, and served on the Mexican Border until early in the following spring when they returned home. After they had been home only a few weeks the governor called out the National Guard on April 2, 1917, and it continued in State service until its officers and men were drafted on the 5th day of August, 1917, into the Federal service in the same rank and grade that they held in the State service. The Huntington companies went to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and became a part of the 150th Infantry, 75th Brigade, 38th Division, and sailed for overseas late in September, 1918, arriving in France in the early part of October. There it was broken up and its units sent to the 78th Division as replacements and its officers sent to various divisions.

Officers from Huntington with these units were:

Herbert C. McMillen
Heber H. Rice.
The latter was discharged from service before going overseas.

Ira J. Barbour, Company I
Valkey W. Midkiff, Com­pany G
Austin M. Sikes, Company H

First lieutenants:
August C. Reinwald
C. Foster Templeton
Albert H. Peyton,
Delbert Fisher.
Lieutenant Templeton did not go overseas.

Second lieutenants:
R. Starr Thornburg,
John Eskew.

These men were in addition to Cabell County's quota to the National Army.

Just after the United States entered the World War. Governor John J. Cornwell summoned George S. Wallace of Huntington to Charles­ton and laid before him the confidential communication from Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, in which the secretary stated that the proposed selective service act would probably pass Congress and outlined the plan to put selective service into effect. Governor Corn-well offered George S. Wallace the position of draft executive for the State which he accepted and agreed to. He reported at Charleston on the Monday following, April 25, 1917, to take up his duties.


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