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Our National Guard in WW I

On 20 Sep 1917, the 26th “Yankee” Division (a National Guard unit from CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) became the first American division to arrive in Europe during WWI. More than one million American soldiers and Marines joined them by war’s end in November 1918. All 18 National Guard divisions served in France, but only 11 saw combat as intact units. Six others became “depot” divisions, serving as a source of replacements for casualties suffered by the frontline divisions. One, the 93rd Division, composed of all of the Guard’s African American units, has each of its four regiments parceled out to three different French divisions because American army leadership did not want to mix black and white soldiers together. Our nation has come a long way since those days of segregation, and we’re much better for it.

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