Mississippi World War I Statement of Service Cards, 1917-191... Series 1731

At the urging of various state Adjutants General, Congress passed a law in 1919 that authorized the Secretary of War (for the Army) and the Secretary of the Navy (for the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard) to provide to each state statement of service cards on all service members from that state mustered into service during World War I. These cards were prepared by the two departments over the next seven years, being finally completed in 1926. The Army developed five series of cards, four for commissioned service and one for enlisted service. The four commissioned series were designed to show whether the officer entered service through the Regular Army (Form 84a), the National Guard (Form 84b), the Officer Reserve Corps (Form 84c), or the National Army (Form 84d). The enlisted series (Form 724) was designed to indicate whether a soldier had enlisted or was inducted into service. In addition, there were nine numbered causes for separation (see table below) applicable to both the commissioned series and the enlisted series. The Navy and Coast Guard cards were divided into two series, one for commissioned officers and one for enlisted personnel and were of a different format than the Army cards. The Marine cards were also divided into two series, but followed the informational format of the Army cards. For additional information see History of Furnishing Statement of Service Cards to the States, 1792-1948.

The cards were originally provided to the states to enable them to determine eligibility for state-provided veterans’ benefits. The information provided on the cards was also to be used for historical purposes, primarily by veterans’ groups and historical societies. In Mississippi’s case, the cards were originally provided to the Office of the State Adjutant General (the Military Department). In 1954, the cards were transferred to the State Veterans Affairs Board, who oversaw the state veterans’ benefits programs and provided assistance to Mississippi veterans in dealing with federal agencies. In 1997, the cards were transferred to MDAH since only a very few WWI veterans were still alive and there was no further requirement for the Veterans Affairs Board to have daily access to the information.

The Army cards are in straight alphabetical order while the Navy/Marine cards are in alphabetical order by county. Some cards are accompanied by the veteran’s World War I Victory Medal application card. A card’s reverse was scanned only if it contained information.

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