World War I, often called The Great War, broke out in Europe in
August 1914. For three years the ground war became a stalemate
between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers, while the United
States attempted to remain neutral. On January 31, 1917 German
declared unrestricted submarine warfare, and on March 18 three American
merchantmen were sunk by U-Boats.
On April 6 the Congress could remain neutral no
longer and passed a declaration of war. Over the following year,
nearly two million soldiers were marshaled and transported by ship to
Europe for combat duty. Though the first major ground combat
action would not occur until the spring of 1918, in that year of
preparation the men of the U.S. Navy faced challenges at sea.
Before the first Medal of Honor was earned on the ground during the
battle of Chateau-Thierry more than a year after war was declared, by
that time eleven sailors had earned Medals for their heroism on the high