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A near-capacity crowd of about 275 people watched the premiere of “Dawn of the Red Arrow,” an 80-minute documentary about the origin of the 32nd Division in 1917 and its World War I exploits, May 14, 2019 at the Milwaukee War Memorial as part of Milwaukee Armed Forces Week. The documentary will premiere on YouTube this week and is also available for download. Wisconsin National Guard file photo

“Dawn of the Red Arrow,” the feature-length documentary profiling the formation of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division in World War I, will be publicly released at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16 on the Wisconsin National Guard’s YouTube channel. That date coincides with the 32nd Division headquarters arriving in Brest, France in 1918.

A live chat with the documentary’s production staff will begin at the conclusion of the YouTube premiere.

This documentary is the capstone of a multi-year effort commemorating the centennial of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division. As told by its Soldiers, “Dawn of the Red Arrow” follows the story of 15,000 Wisconsin National Guard and 8,000 Michigan National Guard Soldiers as they trained in Texas and went on to make a name and forge a legacy for themselves on the battlefields of France. The documentary’s public premiere was May 14, 2019 at the Milwaukee War Memorial. Additional public showings around the state continued over the next six months.

“We were so honored to work with the Wisconsin National Guard to host a public screening of ‘Dawn of the Red Arrow,’” Tracy Behrendt of the Waupaca Historical Society wrote. Waupaca, Wisconsin was home to Company C of the 4th Infantry Regiment before the unit became part of the 32nd Division in 1917. “The film was a great way to remind people of this legacy and the pride all of Wisconsin should feel in the Wisconsin National Guard and our veterans.”

“The screening brought the veterans and history lovers in our community together and heightened our awareness of our region’s role in building the 32nd ‘Red Arrow’ Division,” wrote Erik Flesch, director of The Mining and Rollo Jamison Museums in Platteville, Wisconsin. “All who attended gained an appreciation for the unique virtues of the Red Arrow Division and their important victories in France in World War I.”

The “Dawn of the Red Arrow” campaign also included a Facebook page with compelling posts and short videos detailing the first two years of the division’s history, a website and an anthology publication.

The National Guard proved its importance to the nation’s warfighting effort in World War I, and today remains the first military responder for states and territories, as well as America’s primary combat reserve. The heritage of the “Red Arrow” division continues today in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

After the YouTube premiere, “Dawn of the Red Arrow can be downloaded here: