VANDALIA – Mr. David Schmidt, from Wright State University, spoke at the Oct. 13 dinner meeting of the Vandalia Lions Club. His topic was Dayton during World War I, and is related to the European & U. S. centennial programs currently underway. He noted that WW I was the first to feature motorized vehicles such as trucks and tanks, technology, machine guns, and aircraft. Dayton firms contributed in all of those areas plus many troops trained and deployed from here.
The Wright Bros. Aircraft Co. built 400 Training planes and equipped 4,000 English-designed planes with the American Liberty Engine; McCook Field was opened in December 1917; NCR devoted 75% of their business to military items; Maxwell Motor Co. built small French tanks; Davis Sewing Machine Co. made various military support items; the Green Cracker Co. provided “hard bread”; and the Metropolitan Co. manufactured uniforms. The Kettering Aerial Torpedo, which never made it into combat, was tested at the South Field Deeds Farm, which was what is now in the West Stroop Rd. Area.
The small French Tank was unknown to the local population until a post-war parade. It was one well-kept secret.