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Lieutenant Ben S. Rhodes
McLean County, Illinois
[McLean County, Illinois, in the World War, 1917-1918; by Edward E. Pierson & Jacob Louis Hasbrouck c 1921]
(Transcribed by: Teri Moncelle Colglazier)
On September 5, 1917, the first contingent of drafted men from McLean county set out from Bloomington at 5 o'clock in the morning. They were eight in number, and one of them was Ben S. Rhodes, who prior to his induction into the service, was assistant to the county judge. He had graduated from the Wesleyan law school a couple of years previous.
Ben Rhodes and his seven fellows went to Camp Dodge, near DesMoines, which was one of the first army cantonments which the government had completed for training quarters for the new national army. Rhodes remained at Camp Dodge for many months going thru the usual training in the elemental part of the soldier's life.
He displayed energy and efficiency in the work and won promotions first to the non-commissioned grades of corporal on October 1, 1917 and sergeant November 20, 1917.
In the summer of 1918, he was transferred with a contingent of other men to Camp Pike, Arkansas, and after a short time of service there he was selected to take the course at the officers' training camp. In due time he received his commission as lieutenant, and was sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, May 23, 1918.
He continued at that camp until the signing of the armistice, being engaged as instructor for many contingents of men who were constantly passing thru the camp. He was assigned to Co. A, Fourth Battalion and was promoted to First Lieutenant September 26, 1918.
On December 30, 1918, a few weeks after the signing of the armistice, Lieut. Rhodes secured his discharge from the service, and returned to the walks of civil life in Bloomington.
On the death of Dwight Frink, clerk of the city election commission, Rhodes was appointed to that position, which he held until his later appointment as private secretary for Hon. Frank H. Funk, member of the Illinois State Utilities commission.
Lieut. Rhodes was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Bloomington post of the American Legion, and was one of its delegates to the first national convention of the Legion, which met at Minneapolis in October, 1919.
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