United States Army Depot Brigades in World War I


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About the Book

Much has been written about the exploits of the American Expeditionary Forces, the men and women sent overseas to fight during World War I, but much less is known about the two million who served in the Army without ever setting foot on foreign soil. This book examines the history of depot brigades, development battalions, U.S. Guards units, Students’ Army Training Corps, and other “forgotten” troops charged with training soldiers, guarding installations, and performing myriad other duties. It also chronicles the service of men like actor Jimmy Cagney, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, movie director Frank Capra, children’s author Ludwig Bemelmans, and the two million others who served in the United States during the war. At the time, many of these men considered themselves unfortunate cast-offs, doomed to spend the war safe at home while their friends served in combat overseas. But, in the end, it was largely because of them that America could field an effective fighting force.

About the Author(s)

Alexander F. Barnes served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard for 30 years, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer. He also served as a Department of the Army civilian until 2015 and is currently the Virginia National Guard Command Historian. The author of seven other military history books, he lives in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

Peter L. Belmonte is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He has written several books, articles, and book reviews on World War I and has won the Foreword Reviews Gold Award for the best book in the War & Military category. He lives in O’Fallon, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Alexander F. Barnes and Peter L. Belmonte
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 273
Bibliographic Info: 140 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8205-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4376-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. Building an Army 7
2. What Is a Depot Brigade? 20
3. Depot Brigades by the Numbers 40
4. Lame, Halt and Blind: The Development Battalions 86
5. Silver Chevrons Instead of Gold: The Stateside Divisions 103
6. The Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC) 138
7. The “Spare Parts” Brigades: Unique and Unusual Events 155
8. Lost in the Shadows: Women, African Americans, Patriotic Liars and the U.S. Guards 196
9. Biographies from the Hilt of the Sword 219
10. Demobilization 235
11. “When I leave the world behind…” 245
Chapter Notes 249
Bibliography 257
Index 263

Book Reviews & Awards

• “The authors have really done overdue justice to the two million or so Doughboys who never made it overseas…recommend…very valuable”—Roads to the Great War

• “Anyone who wants to learn more about the life of soldiers and the Army of World War I would benefit from reading this book…very accessible and relatable”—A Week of Genealogy.