When America entered World War I, Georgia entered a new era in which the military began to loom large in our state.
In 1917, Georgia already had five major federal military installations: Fort McPherson, south of Atlanta; Fort Oglethorpe near the Tennessee border; Augusta’s arsenal and Camp Hancock, and Fort Screven on Tybee Island. The War Department opened Camp Gordon in Chamblee, the training site of the famous 82nd All-American Division, and Camp Benning in Columbus, eventual home to the U.S. Infantry. Souther Field near Americus prepared almost 2,000 pilots for European combat and Georgia’s National Guard trained at Augusta’s Camp Hancock and Camp Wheeler in Macon.
Beyond battlefield losses, 130 Georgians were killed in September 1918 when the Otranto, a British transport ship, went down in a storm in the Irish Sea.
Georgia was home to more training camps than any other state and 100,000 Georgia men and women contributed to the “War to End All Wars” after American entry on April 17, 1917, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.