Thursday, April 06, 2017

DC Dog First in Germany in WWI

"True Sons of Freedom." by Charles Gustrine, 1918.
The U.S. entered WWI on this day in 1917.

More than 350,000 African Americans served in segregated units during World War I, seeing action alongside French soldiers fighting against the Germans. 171 African Americans were awarded the French Legion of Honor, and over six hundred African Americans were commissioned as captains and first and second lieutenants.

Front page of Washington Times on March 10th, 1919

One of the folks who enlisted was private James M. White who served in the 372nd Infantry Regiment of the 93rd Infantry, an African American division serving alongside the French Army in World War I.

James White brought a puppy with him.  Named "Sergeant Helen Kaiser," she deployed with her owner to Europe, and was the first dog to enter enemy territory, having already survived a mustard gas attack and shrapnel injuries, and been awarded two Croix de Guerre for her service.

Sergeant Helen Kaiser and owner survived it all, and returned to live a peaceful life back in Washington, D.C. at 1525 Marion St. N.W. in the Shaw neighborhood.

Member of the 372nd Infantry Regiment of the 93rd Infantry

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