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DISPATCH: August 6, 2019

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August 6, 2019

World War I documentary project wins National History Day First Prize

Sebastian Pizzini

Every year, thousands of students and teachers gather to share their passion for history in the National History Day Contest, which places students and their research projects into a friendly competition. Hosted by National History Day (NHD), a non-profit educational organization, students compete at the local and state level, where finally the top students then advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. This year, Sebastian Pizzini from Puerto Rico, placed first in the Senior Division: Individual Documentary category with his original work, Heroes: African Americans in World War I. US World War I Centennial Commission intern Joshua Baker interviewed Sebastian to find out how he became interested in WWI, how he settled on his winning project, and what the NHD competition was like.

"One can only wonder what would have happened if these US equines had not contributed to the war efforts." 

Brooke USA

Since 2017, the Brooke USA organization has put the spotlight on the services of American horses and Mules in World War I through their very popular Horse Heroes site here on the United States World War I Centennial Commission web site. As the commemoration period for the centennial of World War I winds down, we wanted to follow up with the Brooke team to review everything the organization has done to put a well-deserved spotlight on the horses and mules that supported the war effort of the United States and its Allies a century ago, and also talk about the Brooke mission to support the 21st Century Horse Heroes that make life better for people in the developing world.  Brooke USA Executive Director Emily Dulin, and Brooke USA's Horse Heroes Special Project Volunteer Jo Ellen Hayden, took the time to answer a few questions for us.

View the Match: Solving the Mystery of a Doughboy Grandfather, and Celebrating a Family Reunion

Erwin Heibel

"In April of 2017, I received a message through my genealogical service account from a man I didn’t know named Johannes Heibel. I immediately noted the highlighted link below the message that read “View the match.” Needless to say, I was intrigued to have been contacted by a relative whose name I did not recognize. However, the message I was about to read would lead to a family reunion that I never would have imagined." From that intriguing beginning, David Harstin maps out a trans-Atlantic detective story, 100 years in the making, that ends up connecting a German boy born in 1920 with an American family in Tennessee. Click here to read the entire story of how 21st Century genealogical sleuthing solved a World War I family mystery a century later.

Centennial anniversary of a World War I black veterans group deserves attention

Victory Monument, at 35th & King Drive in Chicago

The American Legion George L. Giles Post #87 will celebrate its 100-year anniversary Aug. 17 and 18 in Chicago. For 93 of those years, the post has kept this important history alive by leading an annual Veterans Day parade to the Victory Monument. That sculpture (above) was built in 1927 to honor the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard — an African American unit. “At the time we formed the post in 1919, this was the only place that we were allowed to meet and discuss what had happened in our life,” said Cmdr. Ashley Shine Jr., 73. “This 100-year anniversary is quite a celebration.” Click here to read the full store of the Post's hero namesake George Giles, and how his best friend Earl B. Dickerson — a man who went on to break important racial barriers — founded the George L. Giles Post #87, making sure his friend’s name would never be forgotten.

Veterans mark World War I milestone in Hiawatha, Kansas

Homer White

A week of events honoring the hometown hero of Hiawatha, Kansas, came to a close on August 3 with a procession through downtown Hiawatha led by the Homer White American Legion Post No. 66. Homer White week honors the World War I fallen soldier killed in action in Germany and laid to rest on Aug. 3, 1919, following the end of the war in late 1918. The 100th anniversary of his funeral and the recent 100th anniversary of the end of hostilities in the Great War, which raged from July 1914 to November 1918, makes this an especially meaningful time for the Hiawatha legionnaires, who strive to memorialize the conflict in a world where no World War I veterans still live. Click here to read more about this centennial observance, and how today's veterans feel connected to those of a war one century ago.

Flag reaches final resting place, in memory of Maine World War I soldier 

Maine flag donated

When Alison Jones Webb and her husband went off to see the movies at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland, Maine, they weren't particularly thinking about World War I. But the movie was “The Big Parade,” a 1925 war drama that was one of the most successful movies of the silent era. As she watched the movie, Webb found myself thinking about Garth Wise, her maternal grandmother’s half brother, who fought in World War I, and a certain America flag that "doesn’t belong in my basement any longer." Click here to read the entire story of Garth Wise, the 48-star flag that once draped his coffin, and the "sense of responsibility to honor his memory as a soldier" that found a new home for the flag.

WWI changed how Quincy residents ate

Quincy, IL grocer

Wars profoundly change a nation's relationships with other governments and often its own domestic way of life. Far from the battlefields, the First World War incidentally affected what Americans ate and how they thought about food. After the US entered the war in April 1917, a massive national conservation effort began on the home front to save the most substantial and nutritious food for troops fighting in Europe. Voluntary programs with pledge cards distributed to families initiated "Meatless Mondays," "Wheatless Wednesdays" and other programs. Writing in the Quincy, IL Herald-Whig newspaper, Joseph Newkirk looks at how the large scale national efforts to provide food for American soldiers fighting in trenches and fields of Europe affected the people of small town America when they sat down for dinner.

Community Celebrates New World War I Memorial in Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth Memorial detail

The City of Duluth hosted a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 3 to celebrate the new World War I memorial at Memorial Park. The memorial was originally made in 1928 for the 22 West Duluthians who served and died in the war. At the time, there were 23 ash trees planted with small plaques that were engraved with the name of each soldier. They were placed on the foot of each tree. The 23rd marker was for the unknown war veteran who died. After many years, the memorial had damage. Local leaders and community members said it was time for an upgrade. In May, construction was started to renovate the memorial. Click here to read about (and watch video of)  the upgraded Memorial that honors the names of the 22 soldiers who died in line of duty during the war along with Duluth’s 167 Gold Star men and women.

World War I monument being updated at Craven County, NC Courthouse

Craven County NC memorial

The American Legion, The New Bern Historical Society, and the Craven County Department of Recreation and Parks have partnered to update the World War I Monument at the Craven County Courthouse. The New Bern Historical Society says the goal is to update the WWI monument that has stood on the courthouse grounds since 1944. The update has two parts: to clean the 75-year-old obelisk and to add the names of Craven County residents who were not originally listed. The updated monument will be unveiled to the public in September. Click here to read more about this North Carolina memorial restoration project that coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion.

Family is reunited with missing flag from their World War I veteran ancestor

Marcellus Herod

On July 17, a folded flag was found in the middle of the road in Prince George's, inside of a shattered glass display case. Navy veteran Tom Jarrett picked the flag up, knowing it had to mean something to someone. Washington, DC television station ABC7 ran his story in an attempt to help find the owner. And the right person was watching: William Holley's oldest daughter. She immediately called her dad. 79-year-old Holley had inherited the flag after the death of his wife's uncle, WWI veteran Marcellus Herod, in the early 1980s. It was the memorial flag from Herod's casket. Click here to read more about how the military treasure was lost, and watch moving video of the military ceremony reuniting the flag with the World War I veteran's family.

Descendants of RI Italian World War I vet span five generations at reunion

Michael Tudino

Michael Tudino led an adventurous life that took him from the small Italian town of Sant'Ambrogio sul Garigliano to the jungles of Brazil, the textile factories of Industrial New England, and the front lines of World War I. On a warm summer weekend last month in Warwick, Rhode Island, roots that the man probably never imagined to have planted culminated in a family reunion that spanned five generations and included as many as 70 members of the family that came to be because of Tudino’s marriage to Teresa Bianco. Click here to read more about the interesting life that Tudino led, his harrowing experiences in World War I, and how his legacy was felt in the gathering of so many people who owe their very lives to his own.

Major General George Owen Squier nominated to Aviation Hall of Fame by Michigan WW1 Centennial Commission

Major General George O. Squier

The Michigan WW1 Centennial Commission has nominated Major General George O. Squier the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Squier made a tremendous impact on early military aviation. He was the pioneer in military aviation, making the U.S. Army leaders in this field until the World War 1. He also established Langley Field which served as a research facility for civilian and military aviation and eventually space travel. Click here to read the full story of this World War I hero and scientist whose work in and after the war continues to affect what you hear and see every day.

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Remembering Veterans:
Dr. Nancy Gentile Ford on Foreign-Born Soldiers in the WWI American Army 

Nancy Gentile Ford

In August 4th's edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 134, host Theo Mayer spoke with Dr. Nancy Gentile Ford. She is the author of the book Americans All! Foreign-born Soldiers in World War I. Using the voluminous original research materials for that book which she has accumulated, Dr. Ford, a professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where she teaches 20th century American military cultural and political history, created the Americans All! web site on the U.S. World War I centennial Commission web site.  Click here to read the entire interview, and find out how the book came to be written, how the web site came to be built, and the lessons about WWI and America that came out of all of her research.

WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Podcast Logo New

The WW1 Centennial News Podcast is about WW1 THEN: 100 years ago this week, and it's about WW1 NOW: News and updates about the centennial and the commemoration. 

Available on our web siteiTunesGoogle Play, PodbeanTuneInStitcher Radio on Demand.  Spotify  listen on Youtube. New - Comment and ask questions via twitter @TheWW1podcast

John D. Rockefeller

Episode #134
Highlights:American Philanthropy & WWI

Host - Theo Mayer
100 Years Ago: American Philanthropy and WWI - Host | @ 02:00

A Century of the Rockefeller Foundation - David Rockefeller Jr. | @ 09:20

Commission News: Focus on the Memorial - Host | @ 17:00

Remembering Veterans: Americans All - Nancy Gentile Ford | @ 19:10

Articles & Posts: Weekly Dispatch - Host | @ 30:40

Doughboy MIA for week of August 5

William E. Babinger

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday's MIA this week is Corporal William E. Babinger. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 9, 1891, William Edward Babinger was one of 4 children born to Lucy and Charles Babinger, who later moved the family to Detroit, Michigan. It was there, while working as a day laborer, that the brown hair and brown eyed William registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. Upon receiving his call, he was inducted on October 2, 1917 and sent to Camp Custer to train with the 85th Division of the ‘national’ (draft) army, where he was assigned to the 339th Infantry regiment. Dreaming of service in France, the 339th was nevertheless destined for something much more divertive – service in Russia as part of the allied effort at helping hold the ‘white Russian’ line against the Soviet Russians.

A Corporal with Headquarters Company at the time of his death, he was at first listed as being wounded and having died October 2, 1918, then as accidentally killed on that date. However, further inquiries ascertained that he and three others of his unit (who also remain MIA) were in fact killed on September 29, 1918 near the town of Obozerskaya and buried in temporary graves nearby. They remained unrecovered when the 339th left Russia in June, 1919.

A 1929 expedition by the VFW, though resulting in the return of 86 sets of remains, did not turn up Babinger or the other three from his regiment. However, a 1934 return expedition (organized after then President Roosevelt officially recognized the Soviet government), resulted in several sets of remains being brought in by the Russians from known American graves. Two of these sets, recovered on August 8, 1934 from Obozerskaya, were brought in from a spot of logged over land opposite the local railway station water tower and some 100 yards east of it, to be compared with dental profiles of the four missing men from HQ CO/339th Infantry. None were a match.

The story doesn’t end there – over the next three weeks we will be taking a look at the cases of the three other men to gain a better perspective of this particular situation, at which time we will be better able to make a determination as to dispositions.

And how did we come about this much detail concerning Corporal Babinger’s case? Through the valued donations made by YOU! This past week saw us back in St, Louis digging through the paperwork needed to make determinations in these 100 year old ‘cold cases’; a trip that was made possible by contributions that continue to come in by individuals with enough care and concern for our missing Doughboys. Time doesn’t dim their deeds – only failing memories. Want to help us keep those memories alive? Consider making a donation to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. It takes only a moment and your tax deductible contribution can be as large as you want or as small as $10.00 on our ‘Ten for Them’ program. Your contribution will help us make a full accounting of all 4,523 US MIA’s from WW1 and keeps these lost men from being forgotten. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.  Remember: A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

US Victory Lapel Pin

U.S. WWI Victory
lapel pin

Proudly wearing the World War 1 U.S. Victory lapel pin is a meaningful way to honor the contributions made for our country one hundred years ago. Soldiers received Victory buttons upon their discharge from service in “the Great War”. Hand cast in jeweler’s alloy and hand finished in a satin bronze patina, the design features the star, symbolizing victory, honor and glory; a wreath of evergreen laurel leaves symbolizing triumph over death; and the U.S. insignia, clearly identifying the country served. Measures 1” diameter.

 A portion of proceeds from the sale of this item goes towards funding the building of the national World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C. A Certificate of Authenticity as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial is included. 

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the United States World War One Centennial.

Louis McCahill

A Story of Service from the Stories of Service section of ww1cc.org


Louis McCahill

Submitted by: Colonel B. Wayne Quist {American Legion Post 110 Historian}

Louis McCahill was born around 1896. Louis McCahill served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

Corporal Louis McCahill, American Legion Post 110, Lake City, Minnesota

American Legion Post 110 in Lake City, Minnesota was named in honor of World War I veteran Corporal Louis McCahill. He died in France on November 5, 1918 less than a week before the Armistice that ended “The Great War.” Corporal McCahill served in many engagements with the 412th Motor Truck Company 426 during the conflict. He is buried in Suresnes American Cemetery in Paris, France: Plot A, Row 4, Grave 5.

Lake City American Post 110 was named in honor of Corporal Louis McCahill on February 7, 1921. In addition, Lake City, MN named McCahill Memorial Park on Lakeshore Drive and McCahill Ballpark on Jewell Ave for Corporal Louis McCahill.

Read Louis McCahill's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

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