Iowa History Daily: June 18 - Uncle Sam Takes Over Camp Dodge

Iowa History Daily: On June 18, 1917, national authorities assumed control of Camp Dodge north of Des Moines to expand the training ground of the Iowa National Guard into a regional training center for World War I. Still the headquarters of the Iowa National Guard today, Iowans originally started construction on the post in 1907

The United State government quickly expanded the 78 acre site by adding over 6,300 additional acres. One of 16 training sites for the United States Army leading up to American entry into the Great War, Camp Dodge welcomed the 88th Infantry Division during 1917. Over 111,000 soldiers joined up and trained at Camp Dodge over the course of the conflict. 114,000 Iowans answered the call to serve in World War I, and 3,576 gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The 163rd Depot Brigade formed at Camp Dodge, and eventually included two African-American soldiers. Eventually reassigned to the 92nd “Buffalo Soldiers” Division, the men represent a movement of early diversity in the American Armed Forces.

After the conclusion of the war, the site reverted to state authorities. Again pulled into federal service during World War II, Camp Dodge played a smaller role in the new conflict as an induction center. Many Second World War records refer to the address of the camp as located at the town of Herrold. The base enveloped the small community, and the US Army Corps of Engineers eventually bought the town in 1990 for use as a training range.

Since the close of World War Two the camp has continued to serve as an Iowa National Guard and Reserve installation ever since. Also home to the Sustainment Training Center, Joint Forces Headquarters, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, Iowa’s emergency operations center, and other vital components of Iowa’s government, visitors can learn more about the site’s history by visiting the Gold Star Military Museum. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar



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