The 77th Division represented the first division of draftees in the U.S. Army to be sent to the front lines. The raw recruits arrived in Suffolk County’s Camp Upton in August 1917, with the majority of officers and all enlisted men from New York State, and practically all of the enlisted men from the New York City metropolitan area. The Division is named the "Liberty Division,” though after the Division participated in a parade in New York City for Washington’s Birthday it was also dubbed “New York’s Own.” Its shoulder insignia is a Statue of Liberty in gold on a blue background.
The first units shipped off to France on March 27, 1918. Three months later, “New York’s Own” relieved the 42nd Division on the front lines and soon came under fire. On July 21, a 54-person patrol led by Capt. Blanton Barrett headed for enemy territory with the goal of capturing prisoners to obtain intelligence. The patrol was attacked by two enemy companies and though it successfully held them off, only 21 of the 54 men returned.
In September, the Germans fled their positions along the Vesle River, and the 77th Division advanced toward the Aisne River. The Battle of the Argonne Forest ensued for the next two months, in which time the 77th Division successfully advanced 22 kilometers; crossed the Aire River; captured the towns of Grand-Pre and St. Juvin; and established a new line north of these towns.
By the end of the war, 69 officers and 1,299 enlisted men had been killed in action. Another 198 men died of their wounds.