Today in Michigan History

July 3, 1919

The first veterans of the Polar Bear expedition return to Michigan.

The 339th Infantry Regiment, made up of men from Michigan and the Midwest, returned after serving on the Murmask front in northern Russia. Under European command, they continued to fight the Bolsheviks after World War I ended in November 1918 and soldiers from the western European front started coming home. Petitions by family members, appeals by newspaper editors and pleas to Congress, the war department and the president had kept the “Polar Bear” soldiers in the public’s attention and eventually helped bring them home.

Thank you Michigan History Magazine for this glimpse into our past.  See more at