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WE WANT YOU!

Uncle Sam POSTER

The Brazos County World War I Centennial Committee is seeking photographs, memorabilia, artifacts, correspondence, uniform items, etc. from anyone who was a veteran of World War I AND was:

  1. Living in Brazos County at the time of their enlistment
  2. Born in Brazos County
  3. Attending Texas A&M
  4. Working at Texas A&M
  5. Buried in Brazos County

We hope to preserve and commemorate the service of your loved one by photographing these items and have plans to exhibit those photographs to educate our community on the contributions Brazos County made to the war effort.  Please contact us at brazoscountyww1@gmail.com if you are interested.  Thank you!

Two Airplanes Wrecked at A&M

 

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Tuska and Kelley’s Curtis JN-4 “Jenny” bi-plane shortly after it had landed on campus.
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Tuska and Kelley’s crashed “Jenny” bi-plane shortly after takeoff for its return flight to Ellington Field in Houston. 

 

On April 18, 1918, two airplanes arrived on the Texas A&M campus after flying up from Ellington Field in Houston.  The planes had brought a load of radio apparatus to support the growing U.S. Army Signal Corps School for Radio Mechanics that had been established at the College the previous spring.  Radio mechanics were being trained through the Electrical Engineering Department to meet the need of this specialized skill in the U.S. Army.  As more soldiers arrived to receive training, more equipment was needed for the men to train with.  As a result, Signal Corps officers stationed at the College requested this additional equipment.

The radio equipment was arranged to be sent up from Ellington Field, which had been created by the U.S. Government in 1917 to become an advanced flight training base. Lt. C.D. Tuska and Lt. S.F. Kelley flew in one plane while Lt. E.N. Pickerill and Lt. B.J. Tooher flew in the second.  After landing on the Drill Field the apparatus was unloaded and by that afternoon the two planes were scheduled to return to Ellington Field.  As Tuska and Kelley’s plane attempted to take off, the plane clipped treetops at the edge of the Drill Field and was completely wrecked.  Luckily Tuska and Kelley escaped without injury.  The remnants of the plane were loaded on a train and shipped back to Houston. This caused the delay of Pickerill and Tooher’s planned return to Houston until the following morning.  On the morning of April 19 Pickerill and Tooher took off from campus without incident but just about a mile southwest of campus they experienced motor trouble and their plane was wrecked.  Miraculously Pickerill and Tooher also escaped the crash without injury.

 

Signal Corps Arrives at Texas AMC

In the spring of 1917 Texas A&M College was selected as one of six colleges in the United States by the Council of National Defense to train a unit of the US Army’s Signal Corp.

On December 8, 1917 Detachment Depot Company K, Land Division of the Signal Corps under the command of Lieutenant M. C. Funston arrived at the train depot.  The men were assigned to Goodwin Hall as their barracks.  Two days later the initial 107 men began their twenty-two week specialized training under the supervision of Professor F.C. Bolton, Head of Department of Electrical Engineering, with courses being taught in the Electrical Engineering Building (Bolton Hall).  Besides the military training of soldier in individual, squad and, company; the men received instruction in elementary electrical engineering, telegraphy, radio work, induction sets, pack sets, field work, visual signaling (day and night), telephony, dry and storage batteries, outside wiring, inside wiring, switch boards, construction of lance pole and tripod lines.

By the end of January the ranks of the company had swelled to 125 men, with as many as 45 of them being former students of the College.  In March a change occurred, and the courses were reduced to be eleven weeks, from the original twenty-two.  The designation was also changed to Signal Corps School for Radio Mechanics and was attached to the Air Division.  Later a third change was made back to the Land Division with the designation as the 32nd Service Company, Land Division of the Signal Corp.

On April 10, 1918 the War Department created the Committee on Education and Special Training which in time would expand the use of colleges and universities for specialized training of men for the military.  In early July at the request of the Signal Corps, the Committee took over the operations of the schools that had been established in 1917.  All programs under the Committee of Education and Special Training were designated the National Army Training Detachments.

Eventually the Texas A&M College would see three lines of intensive military training.  Two of the lines were from the Land Division of the Signal Corp, and the third a Training Detachment of Mechanics and Technicians, with an estimated 4000 soldiers receiving specialized training.

“CAMP AGGIE” moves to Brazos County Administration Building

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The Brazos County Administration Building, located at 200 Texas Avenue in Bryan, Texas, is the new home to the Camp Aggie: Texas A&M as an Army Training Base in World War I.  With the opening of the Women of Resilience exhibit at the Museum of the American G.I. in College Station, the photographs and information about Texas A&M’s role in training Army troops in the use of radio, meteorology, aircraft and vehicle mechanics were removed and transferred to this new location for free public viewing.

Camp Aggie at County Annex

The exhibit is located on the first floor in the hallway opposite the From Brazos County to Belleau Wood display.

Exhibit opens for 242nd Birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps

From Brazos County to Belleau Wood, now open in the Brazos County Administration Building, features the stories of seventeen residents and Aggies who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and fought at this historic battle.  These stories are complimented with official records contained within the service files of these men.  The exhibit also contains a tactical map of France illustrating the topographical features and exact location of the Bois de Belleau.  And, there is a list of every Marine from Brazos County who served during the First World War.

[on the left] The biographical sketch of Thomas Reed Brailsford, Texas Aggie Class of 1917 is accompanied by a heartfelt letter from his wife following his death.  [on the right] is the story of Eric Albert Goldbeck, who began his studies at A&M with the Class of 1919.  There are several transcripts of letters written by Goldbeck on display along with a letter from his father containing a photo of Eric while he was in England.

The exhibit is opposite Camp Aggie on the first floor.