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Texas and the Great War

On April 2, 1917 President Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany and on April 6, 1917 war was declared. This week we will be highlighting aspects of the Texas Military Forces in the “Great War” as we begin this Centennial year. Check back daily as we add further details to this blog post.

Tuesday:

In February 1917 Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston, commanding general of the Southern District, died in San Antonio, and facilities at the Leon Springs Reservation were named Camp Funston in his honor. Another camp in Kansas was also named Funston, and since Funston was a native of Kansas, the Leon Springs Camp was redesignated Camp Stanley, after Brig. Gen. David S. Stanley, former commander of the Department of Texas. On May 8, 1917, the First Officers Training Camp was established just north of Anderson Hill at Camp Funston. The purpose of the FOTC was to provide in ninety days most of the junior officers for newly formed divisions. The trainees became known as “ninety-day wonders.” In the spring of 1917 a remount station was established at Leon Springs to process and maintain horses used by the mounted arms of the military services. From the TSHA Handbook of Texas History

Pictures of our Texas National Guard soldiers at Leon Springs in the Spring of 1917


Monday

World War I was a turning point for the United States, and for Texas. Even before the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, Texas was mobilized and already significantly engaged in war preparations and supplying the Allies. San Antonio was already touted as Military City USA . The Texas National Guard had been called out for the Punitive Expedition to pursue Pancho Villa in 1916-17. Texas businesses supplied oil, cattle, horses, cotton, and lumber to Europe. Many Texans had volunteered to come to the aid of the Allies (and some German Texans to the Axis) between 1914 and 1917. The British Royal Flying Corps had even operated three flying schools to train Canadian pilots at Camp Taliaferro in Fort Worth.
The earliest unit of the Texas National Guard which was mobilized for WWI was the 117th Supply Train which was attached to the 42nd Rainbow Division. This picture is of Corporal Walter Tips who served with the unit. His family were well known Austinites and the Tips building downtown is named for his grandfather.


Don’t forget to come by our first Mabry Mixer this Wednesday and learn more about America’s entry into WWI.

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Cataloging Stories

We haven’t done a blog post in awhile and today while cataloging documents and artifacts from the WWI collection of Sgt. Levi Cox we came across an interesting story.

Sgt. Cox served with Company H, 142nd Infantry Regiment during the “Great War”, which later became known as WWI. Among the items from Sgt. Cox was a ship’s paper  from his journey home in May 1919 aboard the USS Pueblo.  This small booklet was given out to the soldiers on May 25, 1919. It includes the church schedule,  small inspirational paragraphs and the following story:


These two soldiers from the 142nd Infantry Regiment who had survived training, the flu epidemic, combat, and 8 months of occupation had perished on their way home. In searching through our WWI service cards there were a couple of interesting parallels between the soldiers:

  • both men were older, 32 for Hovey and 30 for Strong
  • both men had no immediate next of kin listed. Hovey had a friend and Strong had his brother-in-law

Harry Hovey had been born in Brownsville and was living in Mansfield in Tarrant County when he was drafted. Joseph Strong was born in Paris, Tx and was living in Brice in Hall County when he enlisted.

Levi Cox survived the war and kept letters written to his future wife and a small number of other souvenirs to remember his time spent in the “Great War”, a gas mask ( he was gassed during the war, his jacket, his discharge papers,his identification card, a pass to Paris to see the 36th Division play in the football final, and a souvenir map. That he saved this particular ships booklet which mentions the death of a likely friend ( Pvt. Strong who was in the same Company) indicates that the war, and the death of his comrades had impacted his life.

The T-Patch on his jacket is very interesting and likely made by an older French woman he was housed with during the occupation.

Levi Cox during training:

This is just one of many thousands of stories of Texas soldiers who served their county during WWI. As we approach the Centennial of the US involvement in the Great War we hope to bring you more of anecdotes.

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Thank You

Thank you to our Dance Sponsors and those who contributed to our Silent Auction.

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Thanksgiving Hours

The museum will be closed on Thanksgiving day but open regular hours 10-4 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Bring your family and friends to visit and work off some of the holiday meal. swiftthanksgivingmenu

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2017 -“As Time Goes By” 1940s Supper Club/Sweetheart Dinner Dance

SOLD OUT

 

It is time again for “As Time Goes By”- a 1940’s themed Supper Club/Sweetheart Dinner Dance. The event will take place at the museum on February 11, 2017 starting at 6:30 pm. As always we will feature the talented Sentimental Journey Orchestra under the direction of Ted Connerly and featuring the Memphis Belles  singers. A family style dinner will be provided by Austin Catering, in addition to a photo booth and souvenir glass. Our outstanding silent action will feature items like a ride in the Sherman Tank or WWII bayonets, themed baskets and much, much more.

Tickets are $85 and can be purchased at our events page, by phone or at the museum. Seating is limited to 300.

We look forward to having you join us for this wonderful unique event hosted by the Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation which supports the Texas Military Forces Museum.

Dance-Auction Program



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36th ID Mini Figure

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SOLD OUT

The second batch of the Texas Military Forces Museum  custom  Minifigs made with the 36th ID T-Patch are SOLD OUT. Once we receive new ones we will repost the links.

This WWII style soldier features an M1 helmet, M1 Garand,  fighting knife and  M1936 cartridge belt. He also has the iconic T-Patch, symbol of the 36th Infantry Division on his shoulder. These minifigs stand just over 1 and 1/2 inches tall and will come in custom packaging. Cost will be $18 each, shipping is included, or you can pay $15 and pick up at the museum use the donate buttons below to place your order. If you need more than one minifig please email us at txmilmuseum@gmail.com with the amount you need or call 512-782-5659.

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Summer 2016 Newsletter

The latest edition of the Texas Military Forces Newsletter is now available at this link: TMFM Newsletter Summer 2016

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Hands On History

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Come see and handle some of the most famous weapons in military history. The Texas Military forces Museum will be opening it’s gun vault up for one night- July 16, 2016 from 6pm to 9 pm.

Climb inside a M4A3 Sherman tank, a German Hetzer, WWII and post war era jeeps, a Kiowa and Raven helicopter, US and German halftracks and M113 and more.

Weapons from the Civil War through the War on Terror will be available to touch and pick up. Including all the standard infantry weapons and anti tank weapons: items like the M1863 Springfield, Krag-Jorgenson,Japanese type 99, BAR, German MP 40, Russian AK-47’s,M1-D sniper rifle, and many, many more. Uniformed reenactors will also be available to discuss the history of each weapon.

Tickets are $5 at the door ( children under 6 are free) – All money benefits the Texas Military Forces Museum and its programs. cash or credit card accepted

For more information 512-782-5394

Our thanks to Wells Fargo who will be bringing their stagecoach and giving rides Stagecoach Ride

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Hands on History 2016

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Volunteers Needed

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Looking to volunteer? Are you interested in Texas history or military history? Like talking with people? Do you have at least 4 hours a week of time to donate? Then the Texas Military Forces Museum is for you.

The Museum is looking for docents who can work at our front desk greeting visitors. We need people who can work one day a week ( Tuesday through Friday) anytime between 9:30 am to 4 pm. There is no previous experience required. Please contact the museum at txmilmuseum@gmail.com or 512- 782-5559 for more information.

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Camp Mabry Open House/Muster Day

 

Muster Day traces it’s roots back to when Texas was still a republic. In the early days, on an annual basis, the troops were ‘mustered’ or called to report.  Over the years, the mustering of the troops became obsolete. However, the Texas Military Forces Museum as part of the Texas Military Forces  yearly Open House at Camp Mabry, holds a Muster Day where reenactors of all periods from the Texas Revolution  through current times can display their historical uniforms, weapons and equipment and show them to the general public. There is a large WWII battle reenactment each day. These battles feature  200 Allied and German soldiers recreating a WWII battle using original equipment, tanks, and weapons from the time period. This includes a fly over by AT-6 Texans as part of the battle. The museum will be open Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Gates open at 8 am each day .As well as the museum events, there will be displays by the Texas Military Forces, helicopter demos, First Reponders, children’s activities, Vietnam Wall Memorial, and much, much more.

 

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