West Virginia Facts
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Spanish American War (1898)
- At President Mckinley’s request, two regiments from West Virginia were called to duty and many mountaineers volunteered…In fact, more volunteered than could be taken. Governor George Atkinson decided to select the volunteers from the state’s National Guard. Roughly 3,000 West Virginians were picked.
- After the war ended with an American victory, many West Virginians continued to serve in the military in Cuba or the Philippines (which the US gained control of after the war).
WORLD WAR I (1914-1919)
- At the beginning of the war, West Virginia’s two regiments of The National Guard were called to duty.
- All men between 18 and 45 registered for the draft (compulsory enrollment for military service). In the second call-up of people during the war, WV had a greater percentage of men registered and found physically fit than any other state in the nation.
- It was estimated that 58,053 WV military personnel served the nation between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918.
- 759 West Virginian’s were killed in action or died of wounds they received on the battlefield.
- 2,548 were wounded.
World War II (1939-1945)
- Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack (Dec. 17, 1941), the greenbrier resort became a detention center for foreign diplomats and their families expelled from Washington, DC. The Greenbrier hosted a total of 1,697 persons representing 5 different nations, including Japan.
- After the departure of the diplomats, the Greenbrier was condemned under under the War Powers Act. The military took control of the facility for a hospital andrecuperation center. They renamed Ashford General Hospital.. The hospital closed on June 30, 1946.
- During 1943 and 1944, West Virginia’s mountainous terrain was used as a training ground for troops to be sent to the mountains of German-held northern Italy.
- A total of 233,985 West Virginians served in the armed forces during the war, including 66,716 volunteers.
- An estimated 4,691 died in action, while 11,777 were wounded.
- 11 West Virginiansreceived the Medal of Honor.
The Korean War (1950-1953)
- In June 1950, the war began with the United States supplying most of the troops.
- The fighting lasted until a cease-fire was signed on July 27, 1953.
The Vietnam War (1958-1975)
- Approximately 36,578 West Virginians served in Vietnam.
- 711 were killed in the conflict
- 4,282 were wounded
- West Virginia had the largest number of deaths per 100,000 state residents that any other state in the nation.
Desert Storm (1990-1991)
- Admiral T. Joseph Lopez from Powelton in Fayette county played a huge role in the gulf war.
- 12,000 West Virginians were in the Persian Gulf.
- 5 lost their lives in fighting.
Operation Enduring Freedom (2001)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003)
- Five months after the first US troop engaged in battle, approximately 1,100 West Virginians had been deployed.
- The Martinsburg-based 167 airlift wing flew missions in Afghanistan that included transporting war detainees as well as the bodies of US servicemen killed in action.
- In 2002, two training centers were established to address potential threats, such as airplane hijacking. One of these centers is at the National Guard’s camp Dawson near Kingwood in Preston County
- West Virginia University began to improve skills involving weapons of mass destruction to the fields of medical, fire, and police training.
- The US defense department opened a biometrics lab at the Bridgeport airport.
- The West Virginia turnpikes abandoned memorial tunnel is used to test site focusing on ways to improve ventilation in tunnels, to control fires, and reduce injuries. Findings from these tests were used by designers of the Channel connecting England and France.