Benton, Thomas Hart, S1c

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Seaman 1st Class
Last Primary NEC
S1c-0000-Seaman 1st Class
Last Rating/NEC Group
Illustrator Draftsman
Primary Unit
1918-1919, S1c-0000, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), Portsmouth, VA
Service Years
1918 - 1919
DM-Illustrator Draftsman
Seaman 1st Class

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Missouri
Missouri
Year of Birth
1889
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Benton, Thomas Hart (Tom), S1c.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Neosho, Newton County, MO
Last Address
He was cremated and his ashes scattered over Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Date of Passing
Jan 19, 1975
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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Last Known Activity
Thomas Hart Benton, USNRF
WWI navy illustrator draftsmen and ship camouflage designer (camoufleur)

During World War I, at the age of 29, Tom served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia. His war-related work had an enduring effect on his style. He was directed to make drawings and illustrations of shipyard work and life, and this requirement for realistic documentation strongly affected his later style. Later in the war, classified as a "camoufleur," Benton drew the camouflaged ships that entered Norfolk harbor. His work was required for several reasons: to ensure that U.S. ship painters were correctly applying the camouflage schemes, to aid in identifying U.S. ships that might later be lost, and to have records of the ship camouflage of other Allied navies. Benton later said that his work for the Navy "was the most important thing, so far, I had ever done for myself as an artist."

Benton was hired in 1940, along with eight other prominent American artists, to document dramatic scenes and characters during the production of the film The Long Voyage Home, a cinematic adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's plays.

During World War II, Benton was commissioned by the navy and created a series titled The Year of Peril, which portrayed the threat to American ideals by fascism and Nazism. The prints were widely distributed. Following the war, Regionalism fell from favor, eclipsed by the rise of Abstract Expressionism. Benton remained active for another 30 years, but his work included less contemporary social commentary and portrayed pre-industrial farmlands.  

Thomas Hart Benton (April 15, 1889 - January 19, 1975) was an American painter and muralist. Along with Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, he was at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement. His fluid, sculpted figures in his paintings showed everyday people in scenes of life in the United States. Though his work is strongly associated with the Midwestern United States, he studied in Paris, lived in New York City for more than 20 years and painted scores of works there, summered for 50 years on Martha's Vineyard off the New England coast, and also painted scenes of the American South and West.

Thomas Hart Benton was also an accomplished harmonica musician, recording an album for Decca Records in 1942 titled "Saturday Night at Tom Benton's". Benton died in 1975 at work in his studio, as he completed his final mural, "The Sources of Country Music", for the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. He was cremated and his ashes scattered over Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
   
Other Comments:
During World War I, Benton was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as an architectural draftsman and painted camouflage for the Navy. In his free time he read American history and sketched local scenes of shipyard life. The Navy's requirement for artistic realism and documentation strongly impacted on his later style. Up until this time he had struggled to find an artistic identity. It was his turn to depictions of everyday life of American and its people in a representational style that announced Benton's emergence as a mature artist. Because of his interest in American history and his family's deep roots in Missouri, Benton soon chose the American Historical Epic as a theme; his elongated figuration showing the influence of El Greco.

   
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World War I
Start Year
1917
End Year
1918

Description
The United States of America declared war on the German Empire on April 6, 1917. The U.S. was an independent power and did not officially join the Allies. It closely cooperated with them militarily but acted alone in diplomacy. The U.S. made its major contributions in terms of supplies, raw material and money, starting in 1917. American soldiers under General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), arrived in large numbers on the Western Front in the summer of 1918. They played a major role until victory was achieved on November 11, 1918. Before entering the war, the U.S had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to Great Britain and the other Allied powers. During the war, the U.S mobilized over 4 million military personnel and suffered 110,000 deaths, including 43,000 due to the influenza pandemic. The war saw a dramatic expansion of the United States government in an effort to harness the war effort and a significant increase in the size of the U.S. military. After a slow start in mobilising the economy and labour force, by spring 1918 the nation was poised to play a role in the conflict. Under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson, the war represented the climax of the Progressive Era as it sought to bring reform and democracy to the world, although there was substantial public opposition to United States entry into the war.

Although the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, it did not initially declare war on the other Central Powers, a state of affairs that Woodrow Wilson described as an "embarrassing obstacle" in his State of the Union speech. Congress declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire on December 17, 1917, but never made declarations of war against the other Central Powers, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire or the various Co-belligerents allied with the central powers, thus the United States remained uninvolved in the military campaigns in central, eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

The United States as late as 1917 maintained only a small army, smaller than thirteen of the nations and empires already active in the war. After the passage of the Selective Service Act in 1917, it drafted 2.8 million men into military service. By the summer of 1918 about a million U.S. soldiers had arrived in France, about half of whom eventually saw front-line service; by the Armistice of November 11 approximately 10,000 fresh soldiers were arriving in France daily. In 1917 Congress gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans when they were drafted to participate in World War I, as part of the Jones Act. In the end Germany miscalculated the United States' influence on the outcome of the conflict, believing it would be many more months before U.S. troops would arrive and overestimating the effectiveness of U-boats in slowing the American buildup.

The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland and submarines to help guard convoys. Several regiments of Marines were also dispatched to France. The British and French wanted U.S. units used to reinforce their troops already on the battle lines and not to waste scarce shipping on bringing over supplies. The U.S. rejected the first proposition and accepted the second. General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) commander, refused to break up U.S. units to serve as mere reinforcements for British Empire and French units. As an exception, he did allow African-American combat regiments to fight in French divisions. The Harlem Hellfighters fought as part of the French 16th Division, earning a unit Croix de Guerre for their actions at Château-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and Séchault.

Impact of US forces on the war
On the battlefields of France in spring 1918, the war-weary Allied armies enthusiastically welcomed the fresh American troops. They arrived at the rate of 10,000 a day, at a time when the Germans were unable to replace their losses. After British Empire, French and Portuguese forces had defeated and turned back the powerful final German offensive (Spring Offensive of March to July, 1918), the Americans played a role in the Allied final offensive (Hundred Days Offensive of August to November). However, many American commanders used the same flawed tactics which the British, French, Germans and others had abandoned early in the war, and so many American offensives were not particularly effective. Pershing continued to commit troops to these full- frontal attacks, resulting in high casualties against experienced veteran German and Austrian-Hungarian units. Nevertheless, the infusion of new and fresh U.S. troops greatly strengthened the Allies' strategic position and boosted morale. The Allies achieved victory over Germany on November 11, 1918 after German morale had collapsed both at home and on the battlefield.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1918
To Year
1918
 
Last Updated:
Nov 4, 2017
   
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  544 Also There at This Battle:
  • Alvarez, Percy Joseph, ENS, (1918-1918)
  • Bagby, Oliver Walton, LCDR, (1908-1925)
  • Barkalow, Laird Holmes, S1c, (1917-1921)
  • Bennett, Floyd, Mach., (1917-1928)
  • Brady, John Joseph (ChC), RDML, (1914-1934)
  • Brown, Kendal Harold, CPO, (1915-1944)
  • Burke, Edward, CPO, (1898-1920)
  • Carroll, William, F1c, (1917-1919)
  • Chambers, Irving Reynolds, CAPT, (1910-1946)
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