America entered the war two-and-a-half years after it began. The nations involved had already experience much devastation and death. New technologies such as long range guns and cannons and machine guns produced massive devastation across Europe. The development of trench warfare combined with wet weather meant that soldiers were constantly muddy and cold. The preconceived notion of war as glorious and a means of proving one’s honor led many young men, some in their early teens, to volunteer. The realities of the war were much less romantic than the stories they had heard, however.
Many Gonzaga students heard the call to arms. President James Brogan, S.J. and the Department of War established a Students Army Training Corps (SATC) at Gonzaga that began in the fall of 1918. The program allowed students to continue their schooling while preparing themselves for the nation’s service. 350 students joined and received the rank and pay of a private. The program was disbanded in December 1918 after the armistice ended the war.