West Virginia mustered roughly 58,000 soldiers to fight in World War I, and an estimated 5,000 died in service from either the influenza epidemic or in battle. Many West Virginia soldiers are buried in France, and Arlington National Cemetery. No Medals of Honor were awarded to West Virginia Soldiers; however, several won the French Croix de Guerre. West Virginia has a strong link to war service ranging from World War I & II, Korea, and Vietnam. World War I memorials may be seen at Welch, Logan, Martinsburg, and at the West Virginia Veterans Memorial in Charleston. The War Memorial in Kimball was the first building in the country erected to honor African-Americans who fought in World War I. (Leatherwood)
Of the 58,000 West Virginians that served in World War I, roughly 11,000 African American men fought while African American women served as nurses, telephone operators or clerks. Historian Jenifer Keene notes that “over 96 percent of the 367,710 blacks who served during the war were conscripted. African Americans formed 13 percent of the wartime army, even though they only represented 10 percent of the civilian population.” Whether or conscripted or volunteered, West Virginians honorably served in World War I.