Over There

When the U.S. entered World War I, the war in Europe was at a stalemate. The thought was that the Yankees coming over would take care of things. To a certain extent they did.

To express that sentiment, songs like “Over There” expressed the sentiment of a nation. The 1917 hit song by George M. Cohen helped to galvanize young men to enlist in the fight against the “Hun” in both World Wars.

Why were WWI Soldiers called Doughboys?

We’re not talking about Pillsbury.

Doughboy was a terms used to describe members of the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, most often use for members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. While origins of the term are unclear it was initially sued in the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. There are other uses throughout history.

While World War I began in 1914, the United States didn’t enter the conflict until 1917, in part due to the American sentiment that we didn’t go fight wars for other people.

Because of the later entrance into the war, one of the jokes surrounding the term was that the doughboys were “kneaded” in 1914, but didn’t “rise” until 1917.

But for the script I’m working on, it’s a term of endearment used for my grandfather and his buddies. These doughboys came from the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountain and traveled to a far land to fight for their country. Many didn’t return.

All who did return were changed.

This Week in 1918

After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. Alvin C. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machinegun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machinegun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.

York (12/13/1887 – 9/2/1964) was one of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of Word War I. York was drafted during World War I; he initially claimed conscientious objector status on the grounds that his denomination forbade violence. Persuaded that his religion was not incompatible with military service, York joined the 82nd Division as an infantry private, and went to France in 1918.

Read more about the Medal of Honor citation for SGT York at the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

The 1941 movie, Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper is available from Amazon.

Not likely to be made into a movie, the work on my script Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy continues. Stay tuned for updates.