As much of our attention is focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the administrator of Iowa’s largest military post is urging people to learn more about another war nine decades ago and the role tens of thousands of Iowans played in it. Russ Bierl , executive director of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge, says a new exhibit is opening this weekend.
Bierl says, "World War One started for the United States in April of 1917 so this is the 90th anniversary of World War One. We have a new exhibit and it’s going to show what a young man from Iowa would expect when reporting to the mobilization station to be trained to join the National Army to fight in World War One." He says the museum has been a staple at Camp Dodge since it opened in 1971, dedicating itself to preserving Iowa’s military history and honoring the service of all Iowa veterans.
Bierl says: "We have accumulated all of these items from Iowans who have donated them to us and we’ll exhibit much of the World War One paraphernalia, items and weapons and so forth that tells the story of these young citizens going off to war. They came here to Camp Dodge and there was, at one time, 35-thousand Iowans training here." He says the display includes original uniforms, equipment, photos and other artifacts from 90 years ago.
Bierl says: "We also have the World War One service records on file here for Iowans and if they’re interested in learning about their ancestors, we may have the service record of their grandfather or great-grandfather who was drafted or enlisted or volunteered or was mobilized with the National Guard." The exhibit, "Camp Dodge: Home Away From Home," opens Saturday. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 to 4:30. Call (515) 252-4531 for details or surf to " www.iowanationalguard.com " and click on the Gold Star Museum link.