A look at Iowa's contribution to the Great War.



News Stand




20 March 1917


A telegram received by the Mayor Smith from Adjutant General Logan late last evening says: "Mustering out of Second Infantry indefinitely postponed." This cancels all preparations of a homecoming for Co. K
this week and probably means that the Iowa guardsman are being held for service in the war with Germany which yesterday's dispatches declare is inevitable and drawing near.





New and Aggressive Action Will Be Taken To Protect American Shipping As
a Result of Sinking Unarmed Merchantmen

A Des Moines dispatch in last night's Sioux City Tribune says:

"Major Sturdevant, in charge of mustering out of the Second Iowa regiment at Fort Des Moines received an order from the war department late Sunday directing that the regiment be held until further orders."

The order came as bitter disappointment to the men, who had served eight months on the Mexican border, and were within two days of home. The work of mustering out was practically completed, and the men were to have left for home stations on special trains Tuesday afternoon.

Gossip at the fort is to the effect that the other Iowa regiments will be called back in service within a week.

Even thought the order is countermanded within a day or two, it will require another week to muster the men out since everything has been checked up to Tuesday night and all the paper work based on the
supposition that the men would leave for home on that day.

Last night's papers declare war with Germany seems inevitable and that United States is preparing for aggressive action by striking at German submarines which sunk three American vessels Sunday. The dispatches  say:

"New and aggressive action to protect American shipping against German submarines appears certain as a result of yesterday's sinking of three unarmed merchantmen, with possible loss of American lives."

Calling of congress in extra session before April 16, loomed as the strongest possibility, although President Wilson was understood to have other courses under consideration.

With American ships already being armed, the most probably step would be an active campaign to clear submarines out of the shipping lanes. There appears to be no plan to have the United States enter the war in the sense that the European nations have entered it.

The fact that some American ships are on the other side of the ocean unarmed is a factor in the situation, and as large warships are ineffective against submarines, the problem for the government is to get small submarine chasers. Most of the American fleet is needed at home to guard against operation of German submarines in American waters.



Obligation of Guardsman Under the Federal Law

Webster City Journal: Owing to the many misinterpretations placed on late laws dealing with the national guard, many people, and especially the guardsmen themselves are at a loss to explain definitely the exact
status of the troops after mustering out. Thorough information obtained from acts of congress, enables the Journal to publish the facts concerning the matters most under debate.

All national guardsmen are subject to a call of the president, to defend the nation, until their enlistments expire. This applies to all men, whether under the federal oath or not. In case of war, every man, civilian or military, would of course, be subject to a call for volunteers, but the guard units would be called first, and would go as a unit wherever the president sent them.

The take of the federal oath known to army men as the "dual oath" places men under federal jurisdiction, and they participate in federal pay, which is more than the state pays. Under this oath a man pledges himself to three years active service and three years in the militia reserve. Those not taking the oath are not in the reserve, except those who enlisted after the June movement of the militia. These men, enlisting after the movements, are automatically under the dual oath, by virtue of the law going into effect at that time.

The dual oath does not, as its enemies have claimed, prescribe any great amount of responsibility onto the civilian soldiers. They are subject to special calls of the president, while those not taking the oath are
not. Special calls, however, involve only duty for defensive purposes, and in such event it is very improbably that the federal oath men would be called before any other guard unit. An advantage of the dual oath is that when under jurisdiction of the federal government the pay is much more, and the men are not subject to call to put down strikes and riots of local natures. The state troops are subject to such calls.

In case of another call those companies declining the dual oath would be compelled on the first call to go through the red tape of another mustering into federal service, the same procedure which took up so much time at the call to the Mexican border.

-source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel newspaper, LeMars, Plymouth Co., Iowa; Friday, 20 Mar 1917


-Submitted by Linda Ziemann
Iowa GenWeb County Coordinator, Plymouth, Monona, Sioux counties http://www.iagenweb.org
Iowa Old Press IAGenWeb Special Project Co-coordinator http://www.iowaoldpress.com/index.html