Othel Kendall

1894 - 1970

Mexico Border WarWWIWWII

Their Story

Othel Kendall was born September 28, 1894 in Blue Island, Illinois, to Edwin and Alvina Kendall. He joined the Iowa Army National Guard in 1915, at age 21.  Enlisting in Battery B, First Regiment, First Field Artillery, he had his first field training at Camp Robinson, Sparta, Wisconsin. The following year he spent six months on the Mexican border at Brownsville, Texas, as a gunner with the rank of corporal. 

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson mobilized the entire National Guard and sent troops to preserve order along the Mexican border, and if possible, apprehend the Mexican revolutionary/bandit, Poncho Villa, who had been leading raids into United States territory. The Iowa troops that accompanied this force never saw battle, but spent many hours of training and obtained experience that would be beneficial in one very short year.

In Europe, the war, which had started in 1914, was still raging. In 1917, the United States entered into the fight. The call was answered by thousands of Iowans, many having served on the Mexican border. Othel Kendall was one of those men.

In 1917, Kendall was transferred to Battery D, First Regiment, First Field Artillery and went with that unit to Camp Cody near Deming, New Mexico. In January of 1918 he was picked as a candidate for officers’ training school at Leon Springs, Texas. He passed through the school with flying colors, and was sent to Samur, France, before the school closed to receive a promotion to second lieutenant. He was assigned to the 158th Artillery Brigade, 83rd Division. On October 14, 1918, he went into the battle of Argonne in charge of a light artillery unit, serving until the armistice with the 29th Division in the great drive that put the Kaiser out of business. After that time, he was on various assignments, and for several months was in charge of issuing equipment to embarking troops at St. Nazaire, France.  

Lt. Kendall returned to the United States on July 23, 1919, landing in Hoboken, New Jersey. He took a 15-day furlough at that time and returned to Davenport, Iowa. Lt. Kendall married Mary Duncan Putnam April 24, 1922, in Davenport. where they made their home. Mrs. Kendall was very active in clubs and organizations in the area. 

During the 1920s and 1930s, Othel Kendall served in the 123rd Field Artillery in Rock Island, Illinois, as the Battery Commander. The 123rd F.A. was part of the Illinois National Guard. In 1935 he was employed as an Ordnance Engineer at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.

In February 1941, then Captain Kendal was in Command of Battery C, 123rd Field Artillery in Rock Island, Illinois.  He was ordered to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, for three months of training. From there he was ordered to Washington D. C. and was promoted to Major.  He served during World War II in the Ordnance Department at the Pentagon. 

After the war Othel returned to Davenport, Iowa, and to his work at Rock Island Arsenal.

Major Kendall retired from the National Guard in 1955, and from Rock Island Arsenal in 1964.

He was known to his family as a quiet, gentle man. He was always very distinguished and dressed to show it.  He passed on July 31, 1970, after an extended illness.

Othel Kendall 1919

Obituary for KENDALL SERVICES (Aged 75) – Newspapers.com



CW2 David Snook/Iowa National Guard Historian State of Iowa 1918, Report of the Adjutant General of Iowa, for the Biennial Period Ended June 30, 1918

Obituary for KENDALL SERVICES (Aged 75) – Newspapers.com United States   Iowa Davenport  Quad-City Times  1970  Aug  02  Page 14  Obituary for KENDALL

Find a Grave, database and images Othel Kendall (1894-1970) – Find a Grave Memorial  (accessed 27 March 2022),

“Iowa, Armed Forces Grave Registrations, ca. 1835-1998,” database, FamilySearch  Othel Kendall, “Iowa, Armed Forces Grave Registrations, ca. 1835-1998” • FamilySearch (11 February 2019), Othel Kendall, 31 Jul 1970; citing Davenport, Scott, Iowa, United States, The State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines.; FHL microfilm 2,194,329.

United States Iowa Davenport Quad-City Times 1919 Jul 30 Page 14

From  Othel Kendall returns from Frances – Newspapers.com