Ability not age is the dominating factor in promotions over there. Major Bishop of the Canadian aviation corps, the most brilliant aviator in the British army is 18 years old. There is a brigadier general in the British army who is 28. This general enlisted from civil life as a private and worked his way to the top.
This war has proven that only young men and those of good physical ability can stand the strain of battle. Look at the order of General Pershing sending home all brigadier generals over 45 years of age.
(Pittman’s speech, Ellensburg Daily Record, 23 Jan 1918, 1)
Bernard Cleveland Pittman was born on 21 March 1887 in Independence, Missouri. In late 1915, the young National Guardsman travelled to Winnipeg to join the 101st Battalion and offered to raise an all-American company. After the formation of the 97th American Legion he went to Toronto to became the battalion junior major. When a regional American battalion was formed in the west, Pittman headed back to Winnipeg to take command of the 212nd.