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NYC-heavy 77th Division mustered for WWI duty a century ago

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(AP Photo). FILE in this undated file photo, composer Irving Berlin plays the piano.  A U.S. Army division that included Berlin among its ranks started mustering on Long Island a century ago this weekend during World War I. The New York state Division ... (AP Photo). FILE in this undated file photo, composer Irving Berlin plays the piano. A U.S. Army division that included Berlin among its ranks started mustering on Long Island a century ago this weekend during World War I. The New York state Division ...

NEW YORK (AP) - A U.S. Army division that included songwriter Irving Berlin among its ranks started mustering on Long Island a century ago this weekend during World War I.

The New York state Division of Military and Naval Affairs says the first 2,000 soldiers assigned to the newly created 77th Division arrived on Sept. 10, 1917, at its headquarters at Camp Upton. It was at the present-day site of the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The division would grow to 28,000 men, mostly draftees from New York City, along with soldiers from New Jersey and Connecticut. Dubbed the Metropolitan Division, the unit had a shoulder patch featuring the Statue of Liberty.

Some 25 different nationalities were represented in the ranks.

The 77th fought in France and suffered more than 10,000 casualties.

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