World War I service medal

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Before the war

Defense Council

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After the war



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State Archivist Seal
An exhibit by the
Oregon State Archives

Oregon at War! American soldiers marching through gas shelled French town.
On Active Service
You're in the Army now

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Inductees were given tests to determine their skills. Put yourself to the test. Nine of the ten tests include instructions. Test 1 does not. If you can figure it out, you deserve extra credit. Test 2 requires a partner.

Inductees were given tests to determine their skills. Put yourself to the test. Nine of the ten tests include instructions. Test 1 does not. If you can figure it out, you deserve extra credit. Test 2 requires a partner. Answers are not provided.
View the examination (10 page PDF).

The testing begins
Once a person was inducted into the Army, testing inevitably followed. Officials wanted to determine how to effectively use each soldier's knowledge, skills, and abilities. One examination included 10 test sections covering shapes, number sequences, word order, arithmetic story problems, current events and general knowledge, opposite words, common sense, number patterns, logic, and numerical sizes. Many of the test questions were very appropriate for the war service. The following are some examples:

delta A certain division contains 3,000 artillery, 15,000 infantry, and 1,000 cavalry. If each branch is expanded proportionately until there are in all 20,900 men, how many will be added to the artillery? (Answer: 300)

delta A first class batter now averages around .300, .900, .600, .100 (Answer: In baseball good batters averaged around .300 or three hits in every 10 at bats.)

delta bushes trees roots have and their air the in (straighten out this sentence and tell if true or false. Answer: Trees and bushes have their roots in the air - False)

delta innuendo - insinuation: Are these words the same or opposite? (Answer: Same).

delta Why is a telephone more useful than a telegraph? Because... a.) it gets a quicker answer; b.) it uses more miles of wire; c.) it is a more recent invention; d.) telephone wires can be put under ground. (Answer: a.) it gets a quicker answer.)

Carl Jones trained in Vancouver.

Carl Jones trained in Vancouver. (OSA)


The stateside daily routine
Carl W. Jones of Brookings volunteered for the Army soon after the United States declared war in April 1917. He was assigned to Company B of the 4th U.S. Engineers based just across the Columbia River at the Vancouver Barracks in Washington State. Near the end of a summer of training, Jones described a typical day:

5:45 AM - Get up and dress.

6:00 AM - Reveille [or roll call]. Dismissed. Sweep and clean around cot, wash up, and ready for mess.

ca. 6:30 AM - Mess [breakfast]. Afterwards police [clean up] around quarters.

7:00 AM - Drill call. Some mornings have 30 minutes of exercises.

8:00-11:30 AM and 1-3 PM - Engineering school and drill, building trenches, barbed wire entanglements, obstacles, and all types of bridges. Also learn map reproducing, scouting, wig wag, and semaphore signals.


Morning exercise was common in the training camps. (Image courtesy

Morning exercise was common in the training camps. (Image courtesy

3 PM - Infantry drill. Certain days have practice hikes with increasing mileage and weight.

4 PM - Shower. Change clothes.

5 PM - Mess [dinner].

5:20 PM - Retreat [evening roll call]. After roll is called and all orders are repeated by the first sergeant, salute flag while "Star Spangled Banner" or "Colors" is played.

ca. 6 PM - Dismissed.

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The larger routine
Jones went on to describe other routines at his Vancouver Barracks in a letter:

September 30, 1917

Dear Friends:

A few words from one of the Curry County boys, who enlisted on May 12.

...Saturday is weekly inspection. We line up in a battalion formation while the major looks us over. If we do not have our rifles and clothes clean and shoes polished we get extra Sunday kitchen police. After falling out we line up at the foot of our cots, all our articles are laid out on our cots, the major looking over all things to see if they are placed right.

If we are not on guard duty we have Saturday afternoon and Sunday to ourselves.

Each company of engineers has forty horses and eight pack mules for scouting and advance work. At present two soldiers and myself are detailed to shoe and take care of the horses' feet.

There are two barracks, mess house and a rear for each company, with enough room in between each cot to walk in and out.

When we do any reading, writing or studying we go to the Y.M.C.A. [Young Men's Christian Association], which has a course in French, which will be followed by other branches of education soon. Movies three times a week. Some evenings we have speakers from all over. Billy Sunday was here one day. The Home Guard girls of Portland have been giving us vocal and instrumental solos. Wednesday evenings we write home to mother, sweethearts and friends. Friday is stunt evening--sparring matches and anything else that will keep the boys in good humor. Sunday school at nine o'clock, making a study of the life of Jesus. Evening meeting at 6:30, on the same plan as the Young People's Societies.

The "Y" [YMCA], furnishes us with the equipment to play all games that men and boys like. It is helping the soldiers to live cleaner and christian lives, so that when peace has come we will be citizens worthy of your trust.

May Curry County do her share toward the upbuilding of humanity. I was not born in Oregon, but my heart will be there always. I remain a volunteer for the country which stands for liberty and right.

Pvt. Carl W. Jones.
Of Spring Brook Farm, Brookings, Oregon

(Oregon Defense Council Records, Publications and Ephemera, Box 8, Folder 3; Personal Military Service Records, World War I, Box 2, Curry County, School District No. 11)