Phillip N. Pike Papers, 1917-1919
A 21-year-old carpenter, Phillip N. Pike left his home in North Adams, Massachusetts, in August of 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps. Ordered first to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for training, and then to France in December of 1917, Pike was assigned to the 78th Aero Squadron of the American Expeditionary Forces, doing construction work on bases where the squadron was stationed. In recognition of his skills, he earned promotion to corporal and then sergeant before the war's end. The squadron served primarily in Romorantin (Loir-et-Cher) and was redesignated the 490th Aero Squadron before demobilizing in late 1918. The Pike letters are a relatively voluminous and interesting set of soldier’s letters from the First World War, written from the perspective of a worker on an air base. Although he was not an aviator, Pike’s letters contain many details about life on active duty with the AEF, from the time of his entry into the service in August 1917 through the last days of the war.