Special Services
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Army Morale Welfare Recreation
A SPECIAL THANKS TO;
Dr. M.C. Mairena
Command Historian
Department of the Army Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Command
FOR HER ASSISTANCE IN PROVIDING THE FOLLOWING;
Revolutionary War:
Off duty diversions are "self-directed," not formally organized: .
Fife and Drum Corps, Singing, Card Games "Hazard", Gambling, Dice, Cards, Horse Races,
Plays, Skits and Practical Jokes.
1775:
Continental Army Articles of War allows sutlers to sell their wares in camps. First post funds
established.
1862 Civil War:
First canteen established, Battle of Fredericksburg 1862 Gambling on horse races, wrestling,
cockfights, and a game called "chuck-a-luck"
Sports:
Baseball-Christmas Day, Hilton Head, SC, a game played by Union troops attracts a crowd of
40,000 soldiers and civilians. Other sports; boxing, foot races, leapfrog, and broad jumping.
1862-63 Theater:
The Battalion of Washington Artillery of New Orleans performs a farce "Pocahontas, or Ye Gentle
Savage" while stationed near Fredericksburg. Longstreet and other generals attend in full dress
uniform; soldiers come from as far as 20 miles away. A large crowd travels by train from
Richmond to a performance. Minstrels, comedians, skits are also very popular,
1863-64 Music:
Informal group singing, with'both Confederate" and Union Army  soldiers joining in when in
earshot of each other
Reading:
Union troops are-better educated, read more than Confederates. popular magazines are Atlantic,
Harper's, Field and Fireside. The Bible is the most widely read book on both sides
Games:
Cards, checkers, dominoes, chess
Handicrafts:
Soldiers carve pipes from brierroot, chessmen from pine and sassafras, rings from bones and
uniform buttons. Whittling is also a popular activity.
Professional Entertainment:
Touring shows, viz., “The Lombard Brothers.”
The United States sanitary Commission provides Coffee Wagons.
1876
Congress authorizes "post traders" to replace sutlers.
Spanish-American War:
110 military post libraries are in operation; the Quartermaster is responsible for supplying them.
1895:
DA General Order 146 establishes regulations for the operation of 'post exchanges' (formerly
canteens). Earnings are to be used to fund other on post recreational programs.
1903:
Army Appropriations Act authorizes federal funds to build, operate, and maintain military
exchanges, schools, libraries, lunch/amusement rooms, and gymnasiums.
World War I:
1918:
Dr. Raymond Fosdick reports on morale condition of the American Expeditionary Forces in
Europe.
Army Morale Branch established (discontinued post WWI until 1939 due to lack of funds)
Congress appropriates money for athletics; 14 civilian athletic instructors are given direct
commissions as captains. School for physical training established at Princeton, New Jersey.
1919:
Fosdick Reports recommend that “the leisure time program of the Army of the future can best be
carried on by the Army itself."
1920:
Establishment of the Commission on Training Camp Activities (YMCA, YWCA, Knights of
Columbus, The Jewish Welfare Board, the Salvation Army, the American Library Association, and
the War Camp Community Service).
Army Motion Picture service established under the Adjutant Generalal
1921:
Army Library Service established under the Adjutant General
SGT Irving Berlin's "Yip Yip Yaphank" begins the tradition of entertainment for soldiers by
soldiers: the United States Army Soldier Show “This is the Army.”
1923:
Hostess Houses (service clubs) authorized by Congress
1920-30:
First officers messes built at Forts Benning, Sill, Knox and other old established forts.
1923-1939:
Lack of funds hampers further program development
1939-1940:
Mobilization Order drives re-establishment of Morale Division.
1941:
Sports program officially established
Army music program established -
1942:
Morale Division re-named Special Services
Arts and Crafts program established
Adjutant Genera~ authorizes 310 military slots for the Army Soldier Show "This is the Army."
Army Exchange Service established
1943-44:
War Department sends theater technicians overseas to assist the Army in meeting its own
entertainment need by allowing more active soldier participation.
1944-45:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt commissions Broadway director Josh Logan to recruit
professional civilian actresses for the Civilian Actress Technician program.
1943:
Army Recreational Service, Army & Air Force Motion Picture Service (AAFMPS), Army & Air
Force Exchange Service (AAFES) combined under Special Services Division.
1949:
AAFMPS, AAFES removed from Special Services and placed under Army Air Force Central
Welfare Board.
1950:
Headquarters DA reorganizes, places functions of Special Services under The Adjutant General.
KOREAN WAR
All Special Services programs in full operation
1955:
HQDA institutes the All Army Entertainment Contest
1956:
Secretary of the Army establishes the Irving Berlin Trophy honoring outstanding soldiers-
entertainers
VIETNAM CONFLICT
1963:
HQDA establishes procedures for obtaining copyright clearances for dramatic and/or musical
works
POSTWAR TO 1987
1968:
Youth Activities program established
1971:
Outdoor Recreation program established
1974:
Special Services redesignated "Recreation Services"
1975:
Information/Tours/Travel (ITT) first appears in AR 28-1 as a program with a separate identity
1978:
Child Development Services established.
1979:
Recreation Services redesignated "Morale Support Activities"
1982:
Golf program established as a business operation, separate from recreation/sports.
1984:
First AAFES fast food concession opens in USAREUR, Ansbach, Germany (Burger King)
United States Army Soldier Show reinstated
First theaterwide travel services (ITT) contract awarded in USAREUR (Germany).
1986:
Morale Support Activities redesignated "Community Recreation"; clubs, bowling, golf, other
"businesses" become "Community Operations."
Youth Activities moved from Community Recreation to Family Support and redesignated "Youth
Services."
For Special Services Korea
CLICK HERE
For Special Services Korea
CLICK HERE
HISTORICAL CHRONOLOGY: ARMY RECREATION/MWR PROGRAMS
AGAIN, A SPECIAL THANKS TO;
The Army Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Command and the Historian's Office
Special Services Korea
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