James E. Rieger was instrumental in the establishment and training of a National Guard company in Kirksville. He first served under General John J. Pershing in 1916 when deployed to the Laredo District of Texas during the Mexican Border Campaign.
Rieger was later lauded a hero in World War I after leading a charge to capture a critical hill during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, earning a Distinguished Service Medal and the nickname “Hero of the Argonne.”
In the years after the war, he served as an attorney in Kirksville, as a city clerk and volunteered on the local school. Board. The Armory in Kirksville was later named in his honor.