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NEWS | Feb. 27, 2018

District of Columbia National Guard commemorates World War I throughout 2018

District of Columbia

During the centennial of the end of World War I, the District of Columbia National Guard will host a series of special activities, programs, and events to commemorate the end to the first war. Approximately 400,000 National Guard Soldiers served in the Great War, among them were 2,000 Guardsmen from the District of Columbia.

"As we mark 100 years of the end of World War I, we reflect back on the many contribution and sacrifices made by the Soldiers of the District of Columbia National Guard; citizen-Soldiers who answered the call to protect the Capital and defend the nation in time of great need," said Brig. Gen. William J. Walker, acting commanding general, District of Columbia National Guard.

Highlights of the District of Columbia National Guard's activities are below. See the official District of Columbia National Guard Facebook for upcoming event details.

#ThisDayInHistory Throughout 2018, the District of Columbia National Guard will specifically honor all those D.C. Soldiers who served, died and were affected by the war both at home and overseas, as part of their social media #ThisDayInHistory #DCHistory as a lead up to the centennial of the Armistice that brought the conflict to an end on Nov. 11, 1918. Individuals are asked to share their stories, photos and comments about WWI on the District of Columbia National Guard's Facebook page. Join the conversation on Facebook at using the hashtags #ThisDayInHistory, #DCHistory and #WWI.

Summer concert in the park series The 257th Army Band, "The Band of the Nation's Capital," a unit of the District of Columbia Army National Guard, will kick off its 2018 summer Concert in the Park series on Aug. 3 at Mark Square in Alexandria, Va. The band will hold seven concerts throughout August across the National Capital Region, with each concert featuring a musical score composed during World War I and dedicated to the end of the War in Europe. Don't miss these FREE concerts open to the public.

August 3, 7:00 p.m. Market Square 202 King Street, Alexandria, Va.

August 4, 7:00 p.m. LaPlata Town Hall 305 Queen Anne Street, LaPlata, Md.

August 5, 7:00 p.m. National Harbor 165 Waterfront Street, Oxen Hill, Md.

August 6, 3:00 p.m. Harris Pavilion 9201 Center Street, Manassas, Va.

August 7, 6:15 p.m. Hagerstown Community College 11400 Robinwood Drive, Hagerstown, Md.

August 8, 7:00 p.m. Featuring Capital Sound and Brigadier Brass John Carlyle Square Park 300 John Carlyle Street Alexandria, Va.

August 9, 7:00 p.m. Lincoln Park Lincoln Park East Capitol Street, Capitol Hill Washington, D.C.

D.C. War Memorial Commemoration The District of Columbia National Guard in partnership with the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of D.C. will hold a World War I commemoration event at the D.C. War Memorial on the National Mall, Nov. 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Activities include an honor guard, band, tribute and wreath laying and reading of names. The names of 499 men and women from the District of Columbia who gave their lives in World War I are inscribed on the memorial as a perpetual record of their patriotic service to their country. Of the names inscribed on the memorial, 49 are District of Columbia National Guardsmen. The event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, visit


District of Columbia National Guard Involvement in World War I

Protecting the Nation's Capital

Fearing espionage, the D.C. National Guard, activated the 1st Separate Regiment 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 National Guard for this duty, knowing that the citizen-Soldiers were from the communities they would protect.

Serving with distinction-earning the "Red Hand"

The 1st Separate Regiment, D.C. National Guard was renamed the 372nd Infantry and attached to the French army's 157th "Red Hand" Division in World War I. The Soldiers fought in Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine and Alsace, where they were awarded the Croix de Guerre-one of the highest honors of the French military. The unit was given the "Red Hand" name as an honor, which the 372nd Military Police Battalion, D.C. National Guard still uses today.

Serving in France

A War Department clerk made an error, confusing Washington, D.C. with the State of Washington in 1917. As a result, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, D.C. National Guard received orders assigning portions of the Regiment to the 161st, 162nd, 163rd and 164th Infantry, all part of the 41st Infantry Division. 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 remained until the 41st Infantry Division demobilized in 1919.

Keeping our troops alive

The 117th Sanitary Train, a D.C. National Guard medical unit, supported the 42nd Infantry Division during WWI. The role of the 117th Sanitary Train was to provide medical care for the entire division through its ambulance and field hospital sections and camp infirmaries.

For more information contact Maj. Byron Coward, D.C. National Guard Public Affairs Officer at 202-821-7181 or 202-685-9862 or

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