New exhibit shows Fort Sill's importance during WWI - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

New exhibit shows Fort Sill's importance during WWI

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) - Tuesday, a new museum exhibit that aims to show how important Fort Sill was during WWI opened on post.

The exhibit features a wide variety of war artifacts, including guns, uniforms worn by soldiers at Fort Sill, and a wall full of WWI posters.

It paints the picture of Fort Sill's impact on the war, which museum specialists said most people in our area were unaware of or don't fully understand. Thousands of soldiers trained at Fort Sill before being sent overseas and several of the most important doctrines of the war were written by soldiers on post before being disseminated to the rest of the Army.

The doctrines written here served as guidelines for how the United States Army would operate in combat and covered topics from hand-to-hand fighting, hand grenades and chemical warfare.

"We had been watching WWI unfold in Europe and watched as they gassed each other and realized that we as the Army weren't prepared for that,” said Museum Specialist Correy Twilley. “So, what happened was they got together six medical officers and basically told them you're going to write the doctrine."

Twilley said those six officers pulled together information on how our allies were using chemical warfare, and at Fort Sill made the decision about how our Army should handle it.

"When you stop and think about the number of lives that were impacted by that. I mean, pretty much every Army soldier that went into France during WWI faced those things and they were all at least a little more prepared for it just because of what was written here,” Twilley said.

Thousands of soldiers from surrounding states also came to Fort Sill to receive significant training before heading overseas. They were stationed at Camp Doniphan, which was located within the confines of Fort Sill and served as temporary housing for the extra soldiers.

All of that is covered in the exhibit, which Twilley said he hopes will remind people of the importance of WWI.

"WWI sets the tone for a lot of things that are happening through Europe, a lot of changes,” Twilley said. “People coming into power, leaving power, and you see the world stage is setting up in Europe in WWI and at the end of WWI for a lot bigger things to come."

Twilley said he hopes this exhibit serves as a teaching tool.

"Most people don't know about WWI anymore, it's one of those wars that kind of gets glossed over in a lot of the history books. You maybe spend a chapter, a couple of pages talking about it and that's it,” Twilley said. “Our job, our entire existence here at this museum is to educate not only the soldiers but the people from this region and to tell them about what the Army did, what the Army continues to do and give them the full Army story."

The exhibit will run for the next two years, ending on the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. It is in building 435 on post, at the Museum Visitor Center. It's open every Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit is free but you will need a visitor's pass to go to it.

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