Tester to play Daily Taps at National World War I Memorial
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, right, and Kevin Paul of the Doughboy Foundation play historic World War I trench bugles as Hello Girls bugler Christina Alegre looks on. Photo courtesy Doughboy Foundation

Tester to play Daily Taps at National World War I Memorial

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and descendants of the U.S. Army “Hello Girls” will participate in a special Daily Taps ceremony on Monday at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

Hosted by the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and the Doughboy Foundation, the event will honor the legendary female telephone operators, nicknamed the Hello Girls, of World War I -- the first women to officially serve in the U.S. Army. 

Daily Taps is sounded every day at 5 p.m., rain or shine, at the National World War I Memorial. However, this performance will be unique, as it will be co-played by Tester, who is a skilled musician, and by a female bugler, Amy McCabe, who will be dressed in the uniform of a Hello Girl. Like all Daily Taps, this dual performance can be viewed live online at doughboy.org

In 1917, the Army needed people to serve as telephone operators for newly arriving American Expeditionary Force troops in France, so they recruited some 240 American women, for their skills in the budding telephone technology and fluency in the French language. They deployed in March 1918 and served through the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. 

These operators played a critical communication role in the war, patching through some 26 million calls. Yet they were denied veteran status and benefits by the U.S. government after they returned home -- and for 70 years after their service -- simply because they were women. This issue was eventually corrected by Congress in 1977, after 23 legislative attempts.

Tester is an original co-sponsor of the bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Hello Girls. The legislation has the support of some 45 co-sponsors in the Senate and 76 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, as well as The American Legion.

“I learned about service and sacrifice playing taps at the funerals of World War I and World War II veterans in Montana as a kid, and I’m honored to play it again with advocates from the Doughboy Foundation, a group that honors those who served during World War I, including the ‘Hello Girls’ of the U.S. Army Signal Corps,” said Tester, who serves as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The Hello Girls risked their lives protecting our nation and helped our allied forces win the war, blazing a new path for women in the military. I’m proud to sponsor the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act to honor their service and fight for recognition.”

In 2019, Tester received The American Legion’s Distinguished Public Service Medal for his “commitment to the welfare of America’s veterans and their families, by ensuring maintenance of a strong and robust VA, supporting education programs to improve America’s workforce, and safeguarding the benefits our country’s heroes have earned.”

The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission was established by Congress in 2013, to create public awareness regarding America's involvement, and sacrifice, in World War I. The commission was also authorized by Congress to create the National World War I Memorial in the nation’s capital.

The Doughboy Foundation is a nonprofit partner to the World War One Centennial Commission, with the mission to enhance the World War I Memorial experience. The foundation does this through various ways, including Daily Taps at the memorial, expanding access to the memorial via mobile apps, organizing signature events and presenting Stories of Service to encourage learning about America’s pivotal role in the “war that changed the world.”