Feb. 27, 1917 - A War Department clerk made an error, confusing Washington, D.C. with the State of Washington. The 3rd Infantry Regiment, D.C. National Guard receives orders assigning portions of the Regiment to the 161st, 162nd, 163rd and 164th Infantry, all part of the 41st Division. A such, the 41st and members of the 3rd Infantry Regiment D.C. National Guard, embarked for Europe as part of the American Expeditionary Force, commanded by General John J. Pershing. The association remains until the 41st’s demobilization in 1919.
Mar. 20, 1917 - Fearing espionage, the D.C. National Guard Commanding General, Brigadier General William E. Harvey, on order by the President, activates the 1st Separate Battalion to Federal service 17 days before the U.S. officially entered WWI. Their orders were to protect government buildings, railroads and bridge approaches into Washington and the several power plants and six reservoirs in the city. City officials felt that they could trust the Guard for this duty, knowing that the men and women were from the communities they would protect.
Jan. 1, 1918 - The D.C. National Guard’s all African-American 1st Separate Battalion is incorporated into the 372nd Infantry.
Feb. 22, 2918 – On this day in history, until March 23 the 42nd division, affiliated with the French 128th, 14th and 164th Divisions, participated in the occupation of the Luneville Sector. The 117th Sanitary Train, a D.C. National Guard unit, supported the 42nd throughout the campaign until June 21. (Photo: 2nd Infantry Division, 117th Sanitary Train, Ambulance Co 166).
Mar. 30, 1918 – The 372nd Infantry embarks on an Army transport for Europe in service of WWI.
Apr. 14, 1918 - The 372nd Infantry arrive in France and is brought under French control and is attached to the French army’s 157th “Red Hand” Division, bringing the division to full strength. The French 157th Division, wears the “Red Hand” insignia, the same insignia the Soldiers of the D.C. National Guard’s 372nd Military Police Company wear to this day.
May 26, 1918 - Regiment joins the French 63d Division in the Aire Sector on the Meuse-Argonne front as they prepare to move into the front line
Jun. 7, 1918 - The 372nd enters WWI when it took over the Argonne-Ouest subsector on the Meuse-Argonne Front. Except for brief period of reorganization and recuperation in reserve trenches behind the front lines, the 372nd Infantry continued action until the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918.
Jul. 16, 1918 - From Jul. 16 until Sept. 14, 1918, the men of the 372nd participated in the occupation of the Verdun Sector before moving to Hans, near Somme-Bionne, prior to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive with the French Fourth Army.
Sept. 28, 1918 - The allies begin the final push of WWI with a massive attack by the French Fourth Army on the Meuse-Argone (Champagne) Front. The 372nd remains in close contact with the enemy until Oct. 7, when the French 157th Division is finally relived. During the series of battles between Sep. 28 and Oct. 7, 1918, the 372nd Infantry lost 81 killed in action and 467 wounded. This was about a third of the regiment’s total strength. In return, it had captured over 100 German prisoners, 26 machine guns, and three artillery pieces.
Oct. 8, 1918 - The 372nd received notice that the regiment had been recommended for citation in the general orders of the French Army.
Nov. 11, 1918 - On this day in history, the Armistice is signed at 5am on Marshal Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch train in the forest of Rethondes. The Armistice comes into effect at 11 o'clock, ending WWI. However, while the Armistice has been signed, between Nov. 11, and early Dec. 1918, the 372nd Infantry would run patrols across “No-man’s Land” in the Bad-de-Laveline subsector, the area of land between the two enemy trench systems, where the 372nd would also recuperate from its losses.
Dec. 20, 1918 - The French 157th Division is broken up and the 372nd reverts from French to American command.
Jan. 2019 - American forces were preparing to leave Europe for home. With the permission of the French government, the men of the 372nd Infantry Regiment decided to erect a monument to mark the ground on which so many of their comrades had fallen in battle. The Regimental Commander wrote to General Goybet, commander of the French 157th Infantry Division, asking him to be the trustee for $10,744 francs (that would be about $54,500 today) contributed by all ranks for the erection and maintenance of a monument. Within a year the plain shaft of granite was in place about nine miles from Monthois (Ardennes), France. The bronze plaque reads, "In Memory of the Members of the 372nd U.S. Infantry, Killed in Action September 26, 1918, to October 7, 1918.
Jan. 19, 1919 - The Soldiers of the 372nd Infantry performed with distinction in Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine and Alsace, where they were ceremonially awarded the Croix de Guerre—one of the highest honors of the French military. In an impressive ceremony in Brest, the medal is pinned to the regimental colors.
Feb. 3, 1919 - The 372nd Infantry sets sail from Brest, France to Hoboken, New Jersey. The D.C. National Guard is finally leaving Europe.
Feb. 11, 1919 - Soldiers of the 372nd arrive in Hoboken, N.J. after fighting more than a year in Europe.
Feb. 27, 1919 – The 372nd composed partly of old 1st Separate Battalion, Washington, returning from France, passes through Cleveland, Ohio on their way to Camp Sherman.
Apr. 5, 2019 - The 42nd Division moved to Brest, France for their return to the United States. The various units, including the D.C. National Guard 117th Sanitary Train, sailed from Brest and St. Nazaire during the month of April, the last member’s arriving at Newport News, Va. on May 1, 1919. For the D.C. National Guard this ends their involvement in WWI.