Beyond the AEF
The American Expeditionary Forces were the soldiers and marines who fought on the Western Front in France and Belgium. But many other Americans served in the war.
While the United States initially remained neural, thousands of Americans crossed into Canada to join the British war effort; four American soldiers received the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for valor. Others served with the French Foreign Legion. Some Americans formed the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of aviators flying with the French air force. Others organized field hospitals and ambulance services.
"If I died, I want you to know that I have died as every man ought to die, fighting for what is right."
Kiffin Rockwell, Lafayette Escadrille, February 17, 1916
Although the Army bore the brunt of the fighting, the Navy and Coast Guard made important contributions in tough and demanding missions.
When America entered the war, German submarines were sinking one in every four ships that sailed from British ports. The Navy engaged German submarines off the east coast of the United States,
In addition to hunting submarines, the Navy and Coast Guard escorted convoys of ships that carried troops and critical supplies to the front. Of the two million U.S. troops transported across the Atlantic, only 637 were lost to German submarines. This achievement cost the Navy 431 dead and 819 wounded, while the Coast Guard lost 121 men, proportionately the greatest loss of all the U.S. armed services.
Some Army contingents fought in campaigns outside the Western Front. The 332nd Infantry Regiment serve in Italy, fighting alongside the Italian Army against against Austro-Hungarian forces in the Vittorio Veneto campaign. More than 13,000 American soldiers deployed to North Russia and Siberia between 1918 and 1920, as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian civil war. While the U.S. contingents mostly carried out defensive operations and guarded American property, American participation poisoned relations between the United States and the victorious communists, who formed the Soviet Union in 1922.
"We recognize with feelings of gratitude the debt we owe the United States .... The close cooperation between our two services has … been one of the outstanding features of the war."
Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss, Royal Navy, November 16, 1918
Erected by World War I Centennial Commission, American Battle Monuments Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • War, World I • Wars, Non-US • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Victoria Cross Recipients series list. A significant historical date for this entry is February 17, 1916.
Location. 38° 53.762′ N, 77° 1.959′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest just west of 14th Street Northwest, in the median. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The AEF in the Great War, 1917-1918 (here, next to this marker); World War I, 1914-1917 (here, next to this marker); From Homefront to Battlefront (here, next to this marker); World War I Memorial (here, next to this marker); Americans All (here, next to this marker); Armistice and Legacy (here, next to this marker); A Soldier's Journey (here, next to this marker); World War I Remembered (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.