Twenty-two year old Clark Bruster of Waverly, New York, arrived at Fort Riley, Kansas on June 21, 1917, for training with the 20th Cavalry. Construction was just beginning on Camp Funston, one of 16 divisional cantonment training camps constructed during World War I. It was named for the famous Major General Frederick Funston, of Iola, Kansas, who died unexpectedly right before the U.S. entered the war.
Where did it originate?
The Spanish Influenza outbreak started, not in Spain like the name would lead you to believe, but was traced to Camp Funston, Kansas. The Spanish Flu started in March 1918 and continued through June 1920. More than 25 percent of the US population became sick, and some 675,000 Americans died during the pandemic. If we take every combat casualty since the American Revolution to the Gulf War it would still not total the number of Americans killed by the Spanish Influenza pandemic. The flu spread to all corners of the world from the United States, Europe, Asia, Pacific Islands, and even the Arctic. Many sources refer to this viral infection as an epidemic, but generally an epidemic is slightly more infectious than predicted in a single region. This outbreak was officially a pandemic because the outbreak occurred in several regions across the world. It is becoming easier for epidemics to become pandemics due to globalization. The research of Spanish Flu has been beneficial to scientists, historians, and governments to develop a response to the threat of pandemics globally.