Monday, March 20, 2017
The Wyoming Tribune for March 20, 1917. Colorado Cavalry at Ft. Russell. Lack of coat lethal?
Wyoming was contemplating adding cavalry to its National Guard, but Colorado had it.
Colorado cavalrymen were disembarking at Ft. D. A. Russell. They were demobilizing late in comparison to the Wyoming National Guard.
And one Wyoming National Guardsmen wouldn't be called back up for World War One. He'd died of pneumonia.
Pvt. Charles Schmidt of Company B, Lander Wyoming, had become ill after having to turn in his overcoat at Ft. D. A. Russell. Apparently a lot of men were sick, and that likely explains the delay we recently read about in discharging from active service the men from Laramie, who made up the medical company.
March in Wyoming is cold and these papers have had stories of a cold spell being in the works in this time frame. It seems a lot of men were sick and frankly viruses going through troops is a pretty common thing in military units. Overcoats were an item of equipment, not a uniform item, which may sound odd to readers who have no military experience, but that's exactly how field jackets were viewed when my father served in the Air Force during the Korean War and how they were viewed when I was in the National Guard in the 1980s. The National Guard had denied that it was taking the coats from the men when the story broke, but obviously there was some truth to the story for some units.
Would an overcoat have kept Pvt. Schmidt alive? It sure couldn't have hurt.