This book is an attempt to present a detailed, comprehensive account of the 36th Division in World War I. Formed of the Texas and Oklahoma National Guards in 1917, the 36th was organized and trained at Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas. Sent overseas in the summer of 1918, the division (less its artillery, which saw no action, and its engineers, which served in the Meuse-Argonne) fought during the latter stages of the war with the French Fourth Army in the Champagne. In less than one month at the front, it won for itself a high reputation as a combat division. In 1919, after the Armistice and several months of marking time in France, the division was brought home and demobilized. Its history may be considered as fairly typical of the National Guard divisions that served in World War I. Soon after the war, the 36th as a divisional designation became the prized property of the Texas National Guard.
However full the reader may find the narrative herein, this study is not envisioned as the final word on the subject. Rather, it is hoped that it will open the way for more in-depth investigations of units, events, activities, battles, and individuals. My own interest in the 36th was sparked initially by a modest collection of World War I items bequeathed to me by my father, the late John A. White, who served as a private first class in Company K, 142nd Infantry. It was not, however, until my search for additional reading matter revealed that the topic had been neglected by professional historians that I decided to examine the role of the 36th in the great war and to fill what I perceived as a notable gap in the military history of the States of Texas and Oklahoma.
Grateful acknowledgment is hereby made to the following persons and institutions for their assistance in the preparation of the manuscript: Timothy K. Nenninger and Dale E. Floyd, Military Archives Division, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.; Paul Campbell, Southwest and Genealogy Department, Fort Worth Public Library; Michael Q. Hooks and David Murrah, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University, Lubbock; Richard J. Sommers, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; Ralph Elder, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas, Austin; Harry L. Krenek, Western Texas College, Snyder; Carol Finney, Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin; Louis J. Scotti, Adjutant Generals Department, State of Texas, Austin; Edward M. Coffman, Department of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Lary C. Rampp, Hyattsville, Maryland; Shelley Arlen, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman; Mary A. Clemons, Special Collections, Joint Universities Libraries, Nashville, Tennessee; and Deborah Brackstone, Interlibrary Loan, Brister Library, Memphis State University, Memphis, Tennessee. I am especially obligated to Brigadier General Jay A. Matthews, Jr., editor and publisher of Military History of Texas and the Southwest, who encouraged me to undertake the study and kindly allowed me to use his World War I collection. I am, most of all, indebted to my wife, Nancy, who assisted with the typing and proof-reading and patiently endured while I struggled to bring this book to fruition.