CREAM OF PERSHING'S REGULAR ARMY PREPARE TO SAIL TO WAR FRONT
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago this evening, May 18, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson issued orders to send the first American expeditionary force to the war front in France.
The force, described as "the cream of regulars," numbered 28,000 men under the leadership of Major General John J. Pershing*. The War Department issued the following statement...
"The president has directed an expeditionary force of approximately one division of regular troops...to proceed to France at as early a date as practicable."
The men selected, all military veterans, would receive extensive training in trench warfare by British and French officers.
*John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing (1860-1948) was born in Laciede, Missouri & graduated from West Point in 1886. He served in the New Mexico territory before becoming an instructor at the US Military Academy. JJP served in the Spanish-American War & pursued Pancho Villa in 1916. He commanded the American Expeditionary Force in WWI.
"Pershing Army To France, Wilson Picks 28,000 Men To Sail Soon," by Arthur Sears Henning, The Chicago Daily Tribune, May 19, 1917.