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Captain Gerry B. Dudley


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



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World War I


dudley portraitCaptain Gerry B. Dudley opened his medical practice in Charleston, Illinois in 1906. Even though Captain Dudley remained a prominent, well-loved family physician and community member, he decided to answer the patriotic call in 1917 by voluntarily enlisting in the United States Army. Despite Captain Dudley's age, his good physical condition and quick wit enabled him to become a captain.

After his acceptance, Captain Dudley participated in military training from August to December in 1917 at Fort Riley, Kansas. In addition to the physical training, soldiers also learned various military etiquette. Captain Dudley's voyage across the Atlantic began by train on December 17, 1917, departing from Kansas. His ship left from Halifax on December 28, 1917, and did not arrive in Europe until January 8, 1918.

At the beginning of his service in France, Captain Dudley worked in America's first evacuation hospital, Evacuation Hospital No. 1. Although not on the front lines or a base hospital, this station remained close to dangerous conflicts. Captain Dudley was a part of the St. Miheil Defensive Sector during the St. Miheil offensive between September 12th and 16th in 1918. However, his experience at this location ended soon after the offensive.

In late September 1918, Captain Dudley's relocated to the 165th Infantry, (known as the famous Rainbow Division) serving as a doctor on the front lines. Similar to the St. Miheil offensive, Captain Dudley's participation in the Meuse-Argonne offensive (September 26, 1918 to November 11, 1918) revealed his commitment and heroic effort.

After the war ended, Captain Dudley became part of the Army of Occupation in Germany until his voyage home in April 1919. Although officially receiving an honorable discharge on May 30, 1919, Captain Dudley's patriotic duties did not end. He resumed his fulfilling civilian life with his family, and assisted as an examining physician during World War II, which awarded him further military recognition. Overall, Captain Dudley's profound medical knowledge, voluntary service in World War I,  medals he earned, and his help during World War II illustrates his deep dedication and unique experience.

Click Below to obtain further insight into Captain Dudley's experiences.


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Created by Christa Christensen, Historical Administration, Eastern Illinois University, 2001