After Congress approved President Woodrow Wilson's April 1917 declaration of war against Germany, Secretary of War Newton C. Baker and Major Douglas McArthur devised a plan to combine National Guard units from around the country into one large division. Twenty-six states and Washington D.C. provided units for what became known as the Rainbow Division. Commanded by Colonel George E. Leach, the Minnesota 151st Field Artillery, part of the Rainbow Division, served in France from October 18, 1917, to November 11, 1918. They saw combat in Lorraine, Champagne, Chateau-Thierry, and Meuse-Argonne. On November 11, 1918 (Armistice Day), the 151st was near Sedan.
To Minnesotans, the151st Field Artillery embodied the fight for the "freedom of democracy." The state welcomed them back as heroes in the spring of 1919 with a ceremony on the steps of the state capitol building in St. Paul. Thousands of Minnesotans cheered the men of the 151st, the end of war, and the establishment of peace.