• "Marines drilling for war service at Navy Yard. Marines at Charlestown Navy Yard going through gun exercises," Boston, Massachusetts, 1917. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Marines drilling for war service at Navy Yard. Marines at Charlestown Navy Yard going through gun exercises.
    • Date
    • 1917
    • Creator
    • Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
    • Description
    • Title and date from information provided by Leslie Jones or the Boston Public Library on the negative or negative sleeve.
    • Rights
    • Copyright (c) Leslie Jones. All rights reserved.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • "Soldiers trying out their gas masks in every possible way. Putting the respirator to good use while peeling onions. 40th Division, Camp Kearny, San Diego, California," 1918. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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    Soldiers trying out their gas masks in every possible way. Putting the respirator to good use while peeling onions. 40th Division, Camp Kearny, San Diego, California.
    • Creator
    • Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. U.S. Army Audiovisual Center. ca. 1974-5/15/1984.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures

  • "Rifleman in tall grass during training at Fort Devens," Massachusetts, 1917- 1918. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Rifleman in tall grass during training at Fort Devens
    • Date
    • 1917-1918
    • Creator
    • Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
    • Description
    • Title and date from information provided by Leslie Jones or the Boston Public Library on the negative or negative sleeve.
    • Rights
    • Copyright (c) Leslie Jones. All rights reserved.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • "Staff at base hospital in Lawrence, Massachusetts, during the epidemic of influenza in 1918," Courtesy of the Lawrence History Center via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Staff at base hospital in Lawrence, MA during the epidemic of influenza in 1918
    • Date
    • 1918
    • Description
    • Title from item. Date from item.
    • Rights
    • The rights to this image may be restricted. Contact the Lawrence History Center for more information. Contact host institution for more information.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Lawrence History Center

At university-affiliated training centers and training camps across the country, the United States military declared a four-month training process “sufficient” for entry into their ranks. The African Americans who were drafted in disproportionately high numbers were also included in training programs, although they were as segregated here as they were at every level and division of the military. Future soldiers were taught to specialize in a role, such as a gunner, rifleman, medical specialist, or clerk. The level of training that each soldier received varied greatly; some soldiers made it overseas to France without ever having fired a gun.

Outbreaks of the influenza pandemic of 1918 claimed the lives of many of the men residing in close quarters within the military camps. The pandemic would kill 50 million people worldwidea staggering number when compared to the already horrific nine million who lost their lives in World War I.