previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
next arrow

WW1 Centennial News for Wednesday August 16, 2017 - Episode #33

Training Camp Activities. Bayonet fighting instruction by an English Sergeant Major, Camp Dick, Texas.Training Camp Activities. Bayonet fighting instruction by an
English Sergeant Major, Camp Dick, Texas.

The player below allows you to share and download the show from here as well. See buttons on the top right. Contact us if you have any questions.


  • Getting ready for training camp - War Department issues 30 lesson manifesto |@02 :00
  • RG Head on the War In The Sky - 1917 overview |@06:00
  • Richard Rubin & Jonathan Bratton on the Storyteller & The Historian on the Naval Reserve Act |@12:40
  • Mike Shuster on the war in the middle east |@18:45
  • Speaking WWI: “Thingumyjig” |@25:20
  • Anne Taylor & Ruth Edmonson Johnson on 100 Cities / 100 Memorials |@26:20
  • Professor Jeff Jakeman on Penrose Vass Stout: Aviator, architect and artist |@32:15
  • The eclipse of 1918: What comes around, comes around |@37:00
  • Susan Werbe on telling the WWI story with the voice of people |@37:50

And more…  

View the PDF transcript


Welcome to World War 1 centennial News - It’s about WW1 news 100 years ago this week  - and it’s about WW1 News NOW - news and updates about the centennial and the commemoration.

Today is August 16th, 2017.

We have a big lineup today with six guest joining us. You’ll hear from…

  • RG Head, former Air Force General, fighter pilot, author and historian  
  • The Storyteller and the Historian, Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten   
  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog,
  • Ann Taylor and Ruth Edmonson Johnson from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Jackson, California
  • Jeff Jakeman, Professor Emeritus from Auburn University
  • And Susan Werbe (WERBY), independent scholar and artist

WW1 Centennial News is brought to you by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. I’m Theo Mayer - the Chief Technologist for the Commission and your host.

World War One THEN

100 Year Ago This Week


The following section comes from the headlines and pages of the Official Bulletin - the government’s daily war gazette published by George Creel, President Wilson’s Propaganda Chief - We are republishing the daily issues on the centennial anniversary of their original publish dates at ww1cc.org/bulletin.

So for those who would like to follow the events of 100 years ago in the words and headlines of the times, as presented by the US government, we offer a unique and powerful way to follow the War That Changed the World.  We have the link in the podcast notes.

So now let’s jump into our wayback machine and take a look at one of the themes that pervaded the official bulletin 100 years ago this week.



It’s the week of August 12, 1917. Starting on the Monday of this week the Official Bulletin launches a new series of articles - 30 lessons issued by the War Department over five weeks - written for the benefit of men selected for service.

The lessons are informal in tone - and designed to “define” the image and more importantly - the “Self Image” of the American Soldier. It is philosophy, attitude, behavior, morality, personal hygiene and more…

It is a manifesto for what it means to be an American Soldier…

Listen to a few random excerpts taken from the first 6 lessons…

From Lesson 1: Your post of Honor

Quote: Other things being equal, an army made up of self-reliant, thinking men has a great advantage over a merely machine like army, and this is especially true in present-day warfare.

Quote: The American soldier fights fairly and treats even the enemy with as much humanity as his own conduct will permit. As for slaughtering or enslaving the civilian population of captured territory, attacking prisoners, or assaulting women, American soldiers would as little commit such crimes in time of war as in time of peace.

Quote: America has fought always and everywhere in defense of principles and rights—never merely for territory and for power.


From Lesson 2: Making good as a soldier:

Quote: Loyalty, obedience, and physical fitness are the three basic

qualities essential to the making of a real soldier.


Lesson 3: Soldierly qualities

Quote: Intelligence, cleanliness, cheerfulness,confidence, spirit, tenacity, strength and self-reliance are the qualities of an American Soldier


Lesson 4: Getting ready for camp

Quote: Don’t take a last fling. It may land you in the hospital. At the best, it will probably bring you into camp in an unfit condition to take up your duties!


From Lesson 5: First day at camp

Quote: As the men in the National Army, which must get ready in record-breaking time your training will be more strenuous than that of soldiers in peace. You will find there is plenty of hard work ahead of you. The average energetic young American will be glad of it.


Lesson 6: Cleanliness in camp

Quote: The good soldier is almost “fussy” in the care of his person, his clothing, his bedding, and his other belongings. Personal cleanliness includes using only your own linen, toilet articles, cup, and mess kit.

And so go the first 6 of 30 1-page lessons defining what it means to be an American Soldier for 10’s of thousands of young men, many of whom have never been away from home

One of our listeners who joined us during the live recording of this epsisode  commented that these lessons were not only “new” for the recent draftees, but new for the army at large. Bill Betten from California mentioned that, until now, The US Military consisted of a professional career soldiers whose reputation was considered, shall we say -  “a bit rough” and so this “rebranding” of what it means to be an American soldier is a seed change in the world view and self image for our military and another key example of the war that changed the world.

To learn how to join the live recording of the podcast, go to WW1CC.org/cn - charlie / nancy all lower case.


War in the Sky

Interview with RG Head

Moving to our War In The Sky segment, we are joined today by RG Head, retired Air Force Brigadier General, fighter pilot, military historian and author. RG offers us a retrospective of the past 6 months in the Great War in the Sky and a preview of what will happen over the coming months.

Welcome RG

[greet one another]

Q: RG - a lot has happened over the past months in the skies over Europe, how would you characterize it in overview?

Q: RG - we have reported a lot about the US and allied belief that overwhelming US air power could be a linchpin in hastening the end of this terrible war. How does that play out over the coming months?

Q: So your are saying that the strategy did not work out because we couldn't pull the manufacturing together - Is that right?

Q: So just before we wrap up, your book on Oswald Boelcke just came out in German… How did that happen?

Thank you RG

That was RG Head, Retired Air Force brigadier general, fighter pilot,, military historian and author. His latest book is a biography of Oswald Boelcke, often referred to as the father of combat aviation. RG Head is also the curator a comprehensive - nearly day-by-day “War in the Sky” timeline on the Commission website. We have links to the book, timeline and RG’s facebook page in the podcast notes

Link: https://www.facebook.com/rg.head/



Storyteller and the Historian

From the war in the sky to the war on the water - we are joined by the Storyteller and the Historian - Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten. Today they’re going to explore the Naval Reserve Cct - which creates an unprecedented window of opportunity for women to enlist into the military.



Thank you gentlemen! That was - the StoryTeller - Richard Rubin and The Historian - Jonathan Bratten

The Storyteller and the Historian is now a full hour long monthly podcast. Look for them on iTunes and libsyn or follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: http://storytellerandhistorian.libsyn.com


Great War Project

Next we are joined by Mike shuster, former NPR correspondent and curator for the Great War Project blog.

When thinking about WW1 - People often focus on the Western Front of France and Belgium, but this world war was truly Global. Today Mike’s post is an update on the Middle East, where the Turks found themselves in a difficult situation.

Welcome Mike!

[Mike Section]

Thank you Mike. That was Mike Shuster from the Great War Project blog.


The Great War Channel

For videos about WW1, our friend at the Great War Channel on Youtube have been producing great videos about great war since 2014..

This week’s new episodes include:


  • Despair Everywhere - The Great War Week 159
  • War weariness - the Great War Summary part 10
  • And  a hardware piece - Italian Pistols of WW1

Follow the link in the podcast notes or search for “the great war” on youtube.



And now we are going to move forward in time to the present!

World War One NOW


Welcome to WW1 Centennial News NOW  - This part of the show is not about history but how the centennial of the War that changed the world is being commemorated today.

Activities and Events

[Sound Effect]

We are going to start with Activities and Events selected from the U.S. National WW1 Centennial Events Register at WW1CC.org/events where we are compiling and recording WW1 Commemoration events from around the country.

Uniformed Women in WW1 Smithsonian

Our pick of the week is from the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. The exhibit is called: “Uniformed women in World War One”and explores the active and sometimes overlooked role played by women throughout the war. Their roles were seminal both as a part of the preparedness effort before 1917 as well as uniformed members military and civilian organizations. Even If you can’t make it to Washington DC, the Smithsonian offer a wonderfully detailed website featuring American women, their service and their uniforms. Take a virtual visit with the links in the podcast notes.

If you are involved with any WW1 centennial events, you are invited to submit them to the National WW1 Centennial Events Register. This not only promotes them to the WW1 community of interest, but also puts them into the permanent national US archival record of the centennial. Go to ww1cc.org/events. Click the big red button and fill out the form.






Newsletter Issue #8 is out

In our Education Segment, we wanted to let you know that the latest issue of the education newsletter is out - “Understanding the Great War - Issue 8 is all about “Propaganda” with lesson plans, source materials, links to youtube videos and other resources all designed to let educators create memorable learning experiences for their students. Follow the link in the podcast notes to the newsletter archives or to register to receive the semi-monthly publication.

Link to view online: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1112454519225&ca=c9cccca5-72a6-4420-bad8-038155085c7a



Speaking WW1

In our newest feature “Speaking World War 1 - Where we  explore today’s words & phrases that are rooted in world war I  --- This week’s selected  word  is “thingumyjig”. Can you spell it!?

T-H-I-N-G (thing) U (uh) M-Y (ma) J-I-G (jig) Thingumygig….

Although it appears to have existed prior to the war, it became cemented in common use during the conflict. Soldiers were confronted with many new objects, parts and things -- and so the word thingumyjig became a quick easy way for soldiers to refer to those new bits and pieces around them. Other words for “that thing I don’t know what to call” include the Canadian’s favored “hoozamakloo”!

Read more about the many ways soldiers referred to those things they couldn’t quite remember the names of, by following the link in the podcast notes.

link: https://books.google.com/books?id=Vz4uDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT142&dq=thingumyjig&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2uancqNnVAhVF4SYKHRHGDPEQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=thingumyjig&f=false

100 Cities/100 Memorials


Ann Taylor and Ruth Edmonson Johnson 100 cities

Every week we are profiling one of the many amazing projects submitted to our $200,000 matching grant giveaway to rescue ailing WW1 memorials. The program is called 100 Cities / 100 Memorials. Last week we profiled the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A. Monument in Phoenix, Arizona. This week we are heading to Jackson California to profile the Albert Harry Bode Gravesite project.

To tell us about it, we’re joined by Ann Taylor, Regent of the Sierra Amador Chapter of the NSDAR, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Ruth Edmonson Johnson, Honorary Regent and National lineage Research Chair - Southwest.

Ann and Ruth - Welcome!

[exchange greetings]

You know - what I love about the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials initiative is the range of projects it has drawn. Last week Neil Urban was with us, and he works for the state of Arizona. Today you are here from Jackson, California - a beautiful little hamlet located between Yosemite and Sacramento! And there are only 3500 of you!

I have read your grant application and you have a great story, why don’t you share it with us!


Well, you know that was one of the core objectives when we created the program - to act as a catalyst for communities to rediscover their heritage - and it sounds like project is doing exactly that in Jackson California!

That was Ann Taylor and Ruth Edmonson Johnson from the Sierra Amador Chapter of the NSDAR  telling us about Albert Bode’s military plaque and headstone restoration in Jackson, California

We will continue to profile the submitting teams and their projects on the show over the coming months. Learn more about the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program at ww1cc.org/100memorials or follow the link in the podcast notes.

Link: www.ww1cc.org/100memorials

Updates from the States



Welcome to our Updates from the States - starting with some exciting news from our friends in the Aloha State!  Hawaii Governor David Ige (EEGAY) has signed a letter, pledging state support to Hawaii's World War I Centennial Task Force. This is a great group of people that have been working diligently over the past several years to present and expose Hawaii’s role in the war that changed the world. Visit their website at ww1cc.org/hawaii all lower case - or follow the link in the podcast notes to read the story about this good news..


Interview with Jeff Jakeman

next, from Heart of Dixie -- Alabama,  we are going to be joined by Jeff Jakeman, Professor of History, Emeritus at Auburn University, to talk about a unique WWI aviator who was also quite an accomplished architect and artist - Penrose Vass Stout!  

Welcome Jeff!


Q: Jeff what can you tell us about Penrose…

Q: Jeff tell us about the exhibit at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art about Vass stout?

Jeff - Thank you so much for joining us

That was Professor Jeff Jakeman telling us about aviator, architect, artist and alumni of Auburn University - Penrose vass Stout and the exhibit - “Sketching the Skies: Penrose Vass Stout which runs through September 10th. Montgomery Museum of Fine Art

Learn more by following the link in the podcast notes.





Articles and Posts

It is time for our Articles and Posts segment - with new posts from our website at ww1cc.org -

Eclipse 99 years ago

In the news section, you’ll find an article that parallels current events with news from 99 years ago. And the subject is ------ Eclipses!

In 1918 newspapers -- across America --  tucked in among reports about U.S. regiments fighting overseas and war bond propaganda,---  were reports about the Total Eclipse casting the moon’s shadow over the country.

Just as in 2017, in 1918 the path of the eclipse started south of Japan, went across the Pacific Ocean, and then across the United States.

AND, just as in 2017, Americans were avidly interested in the amazing cosmic phenomena. Read more about it by visiting ww1cc.org/news or following the link in the podcast notes.


Spotlight on the media

Interview with Susan Werbe

For our spotlight on the media section, we are being joined by Susan Werbe (Werby),  an independent scholar and artist with a focus on -- the social and cultural history of World War One. She is the creator and executive producer of The Great War Theatre Project: Messengers of a Bitter Truth, recently performed in Boston, New York, and Letchworth in the UK.

Susan wrote about this project in a recent article on our WWrite blog,

and is here with us today to tell us more about it and about another project she has been working on. Welcome, Susan!

[exchange greetings]

[Susan, Could you give our listeners an idea of what your theater project “Messengers of a Bitter Truth” is about?]

[Now Susan, your newest project isn’t theater, it is music project called Letters You Will Not Get. What inspired this one?]

[Susan I know you haven’t recorded the music for “Letters you will not get” at this time, but you do have the libretto - can you give us a sample..?]

Thank you so much Susan!

That was Susan Werbe (Werby),  an independent scholar and creative artist with a focus on the social and cultural history of World War One --

Learn more about Susan’s work and research by following the links in the podcast notes.



The Buzz - WW1 in Social Media Posts

That brings us to the buzz - the centennial of WW1 this week in social media with Katherine Akey - Katherine - what do you have for us this week?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services commemorates the WWI Centennial with new webpages highlighting the history of immigration and naturalization.



Thank you Katherine.


And that is also IT for WW1 Centennial News for this week.

In closing, we want to thank our guests:

  • RG Head, author and historian giving us a retrospective on the War in the Sky
  • The Storyteller and the Historian, Richard Rubin and Jonathan Bratten talking to us about the Naval Reserve Act
  • Mike Shuster from the great war project blog highlighting the situation in the Middle East 100 years ago
  • Ann Taylor and Ruth Edmonson Johnson from the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials project in Jackson, California
  • Jeff Jakeman, Professor Emeritus from Auburn University talking to us about an Alabaman aviator-architect and artist Penrose Vass Stout
  • Susan Werbe (WERBY), independent scholar and artist telling us about her projects highlighting the voice of people -  both men and women - during the war
  • Katherine Akey the Commission’s social media director and also the line producer for the show.

And I am Theo Mayer - your host.

The US World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress to honor, commemorate and educate about WW1.

Our programs are to--

inspire a national conversation and awareness about WW1; This program is a part of that….

We are bringing the lessons of the 100 years ago into today's classrooms;

We are helping to restore WW1 memorials in communities of all sizes across our country;

and of course we are building America’s National WW1 Memorial in Washington DC.

If you like the work we are doing, please support it with a tax deductible donation at ww1cc.org/donate - all lower case

Or if you are on your smart phone text  the word: WW1 to 41444. that's the letters ww the number 1 texted to 41444. Any amount is appreciated.

We want to thank commission’s founding sponsor the Pritzker Military Museum and Library for their support.

The podcast can be found on our website at ww1cc.org/cn  

on  iTunes and google play ww1 Centennial News.

Our twitter and instagram handles are both @ww1cc and we are on facebook @ww1centennial.

Thanks for joining us. And don’t forget to share the stories you are hearing here with someone about the war that changed the world!


Hey Halsey - pass me that thingumyjig! Thanks.


WW1 Centennial News Video Podcast on iTunes

Weekly Dispatch Newsletter

"Pershing" Donors

$5 Million +

Founding Sponsor
PritzkerMML Logo

Starr Foundation Logo

The Lilly Endowment