Not Just Soldiers

While the purpose of Camp Zachary Taylor was to train soldiers, it also included a school for bakers and cooks, as well as a school for chaplains. It was also necessary for a camp the size of a small city to have the amenities and support staff of a city.

Camp Zachary Taylor Fire Department photograph, ca. 1917-1919

Fire department (Durrett Lane) at Camp Zachary Taylor, circa 1917-1919

Fire Department

The Camp had its own fire department, led by a Fire Marshall's Office, with six fire stations and multiple trucks. In 1917, Edward McJenkins, a first lieutenant in the Army, commanded a force of 24 soldiers for the Camp Zachary Taylor fire department.

Chaplain School

The school for chaplains opened at Camp Zachary Taylor in April 1918, training an average of 250 clergymen during each five-week session. The men entered as privates, and upon successful completion of the program, were commissioned first lieutenants. The school taught more than chaplain duties - the men also received instruction on sanitation, first aid, military and international law, and horsemanship. In a letter in the Solomon Freehoff collection at the Rodef Shalom Congregation Archives, Rabbi Freehoff comments on his riding lessons. "I had never touched (literally) a horse before & the very first thing without an introductory word was 'Go into the stables and bring out your horses.' The exercise is very difficult for me." Freehoff lists the other rabbis in his class as "Hershberg, Lazaron, Heller, Fredman (a seminary graduate from Philadelphia)."

Camp Zachary Taylor Bakers photograph, ca. 1918-1919

Bakers stand behind pallet of bread that would be delivered to mess halls all over the camp. Camp Zachary Taylor Field Unit, Quartermaster Corps, ca. 1918-1919

Cooks and Bakers School

Frank Raymond Lane of Milan, Indiana, signed up for the Cooks and Bakers School to receive extra pay. On August 21, 1918 he wrote to Nellie Rahe, his future wife:

“You asked what I did, well we get up at half past 3 in the morning when I am on duty, help get breakfast then serve it, and just as soon as breakfast is over we get the table ready, also scrub the floor, clean out the ice box, also the store room, and the bread box. Then the meat comes and we have meat class. Now it is time to get dinner and we proceed to put on potatoes, beans, make cornbread or whatever is to be done.”

Women Volunteers and Servicemembers

While women were not active combat participants during the war, some contributed in war zones through nursing and Red Cross volunteer work, although most participated on the home front. Camp Zachary Taylor saw women performing roles in social and recreational services, nursing, and rehabilitation work.

Army Nursing Staff, Camp Zachary Taylor Base Hospital photograph, 18 December 1918

Army Nursing Staff, Base Hospital, First Lieutenant A. N. Henson Commanding, 18 December 1918

Not Just Soldiers