America’s Fighting Army In Need of Men and Supplies

Westbrook Pegler

Salina Daily Union/August 31, 1917

The army behind America’s fighting army needs men and supplies. It is tackling the stupendous job of supplying the fighting forces with scanty doles of labor and material.

Throughout a trip along the “line of communications” concluded today, the most frequent assertion encountered from army men was:

“Someone is asleep at home. The army needs masses of labor—especially carpenters and joiners—and vast supplies of all descriptions. Now is the time to send them, when transport of troops is not occupying the bulk of the tonnage.” 

After six months, the rear organization of the American army is a mere framework. 

The United Press correspondent has lived for a month with the American troops in the training camp. The men are physically and mentally almost ready to fight. But a tour of hundreds of miles of the American bases gives the striking impression that the rear organizations are far behind their combatant brothers. 

For instance, a certain base bakery is of makeshift appearance. It shows a couple of rows of field ovens. The bakers until a few days ago lived in tents. The flour supply looks big to the casual observer but the lowering flour sacks dwindle into molehills in comparison with the amount every army officer knows must be constantly forthcoming. 

A hard-working reserve captain showed me over the food magazine—from which he is constantly drawing. The building is only fair sized and yet it is less than half filled. 

French female labor is doing stevedore work for this American army in the rear, trundling crates of canned food and supplies, because of the shortage of American military labor. 

The American medical base is apparently the only one which has benefited to the fullest possibilities since the war. They have sufficient supplies and forces to cope with extraordinary casualties and illness for three months. However, shortage and cramping even here is causing the storage of a big portion of valuable medical supplies in unwalled and un-floored sheds. 

I found the aviation center grimly amusing to leisurely German prisoners thereabouts. Scores of patriotic alert young Americans are training at French air schools hoping to obtain repatriation and join the American forces when they attain proficiency in the air.

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