Hometown Boys from Kentucky: Information and Statistics about WWI Service Members

Kentucky provided over 84,000 to serve in the U.S. armed forces during World War I. Of these, 2,418 died. The 38th (National Guard) Division drew units and troops from Kentucky, and the 84th Division drew many selected servicemen from Kentucky as well. The 38th and 84th Divisions served as replacement divisions once they arrived in France. This meant that most Kentuckians who served overseas served with other units. Sgt. Willie Sandlin, for example, won the Medal of Honor while serving with the 33rd Division.

Camp Zachary Taylor, near Louisville, became a major training center for troops drawn from throughout the Midwest. Over 150,000 soldiers trained here. Kentucky’s mining, agriculture and industry mobilized for the war effort. Coal proved particularly crucial, both for domestic and mobilization consumption and for use overseas by the United States and its Allies. Tobacco was a valued crop in much demand, and Kentucky’s contributions to the food supply were valued as well. Kentuckians conserved food and other commodities, volunteered for field work to assist with wartime labor shortages, participated in war bond drives, and served in numerous other capacities as volunteers or civil servants.

Editor's Note: This ongoing series will feature information and statistics about World War I service members from every state. You can also find this information in our new Chateau-Thierry Visitor Center that will be opening later this year.