WWI DISPATCH April 23, 2019

A newsletter from yesterday from the World War One Centennial Commission.

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April 23, 2019

CFA Meeting April 2019

CFA approves “Soldier’s Journey” sculpture for National WWI Memorial

The new National World War I Memorial for Washington, DCcontinues to roll ahead strongly. Last week, the World War I Centennial Commission provided an update briefing to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) on a host of design concept details.  The meeting at CFA headquarters drew a number of attendees — journalists, architects, landscape designers, urban planners, art critics — to hear the latest news from the project. The Commission’s speakers were led by Commissioner Dr. Libby O’Connell, and included sculptor Sabin Howard, who brought his new scale-model maquette, as well as construction team members. Click here to read more about the CFA meeting and the outcomes from it that advance the construction of the Memorial.

Lest Sligo Forgets campaign reconnects local WWI hero with American family


Chris Isleib (bottom left), Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, reports:

“My work with the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission has given my family & me a sensitivity to those who want to remember their veteran heroes. My own family has roots in County Sligo, Ireland. When I heard that they were creating a new local WWI Memorial, we wanted to provide some support to their effort. The people at Lest Sligo Forgets accepted our support, and they assigned us a random casualty-name to sponsor. As it turns out — the random name they assigned was the name of our grandfather’s cousin!”  Click here to read a report from the Lest Sligo Forget project on this remarkable coincidence linking Chris to a County Sligo WWI casualty via his grandfather, Michael Clancy O’Hart (top left).

Hero in WWI and baseball to receive overdue honors from PA hometown

Hero in WWI and baseball to receive overdue honors from PA hometown

If Spottswood Poles had been born a century later, he would have been a superstar. Instead, most people in his hometown of Winchester, PA have no idea who he was or what he did. But that’s about to change. Poles, an African-American who became a hero on ballfields and battlefields alike, will be recognized by city officials and the local baseball team this summer with a historical marker and the naming of a road for him in. Poles was a decorated hero in the Army’s 369th Infantry Regiment — the legendary Harlem Hellfighters — during World War I, and many argue that “the black Ty Cobb’” should be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Click here to read more about Spottswood Poles’ feats as a soldier and a ballplayer, and the long-overdue recognition planned by his home town.

MLB adds poppy with “Lest We Forget” to Memorial Day game uniforms

Poppy baseball

Major League Baseball is adding a poppy to its Memorial Day uniforms — a symbol that has been used since World War I to honor those who died in war — with the phrase “Lest We Forget.” These will appear on teams’ regular uniforms. The caps will feature a special stars-and-stripes Memorial Day patch. For Memorial Day, beyond the poppies and cap patches, teams will wear their usual uniforms. On Memorial Day the individual teams will present on-field tributes featuring their own local military heroes. That includes first pitches and on-field presentations. Click here to read more about these new Memorial Day uniforms, as well as MLB’s plans for special uniforms for games on Armed Forces Day.

Virginia War Memorial event celebrates baseball in VA, sport’s mesh with WWI

Al Barnes

Baseball was an important part of the lives of soldiers involved in World War I. When millions of U.S. troops deployed to Europe, they brought with them their love of the game and promptly addressed the absence of diamonds. “They made hundreds of fields. … The French would stand around and wonder ‘What the heck are these crazy guys doing?’ ” said Al Barnes (left), author of “Play Ball! Doughboys and Baseball in the Great War,”  to an appreciative audience at the Virginia War Memorial, which hosted “Play Ball! 100 Years of Baseball in Virginia.” By the war’s end, there were more than 4,000 teams made of military personnel — including major leaguers, minor leaguers and Negro League players — competing in Europe, according to Barnes. Click here to read more about how baseball kept the Dougboys connected to home, and emerged from World War I as “America’s Pastime.”

Former Mineola resident to be a part of new World War I National Monument

Zach Libresco

Ever since the inception of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission in 2013, New York City sculptor Sabin Howard and architect Joe Weishaar have been hard at work creating Washington, D.C’s first-ever World War I memorial at Pershing Park. In order to bring the project alive, so to speak, Howard and a team of reenactors began a crucial stage of the creation process in the United Kingdom earlier this year, where the reenactors, who were dressed in WWI costume, posed in a first-of-its-kind photogrammetry rig that was composed of 160 cameras. One of those reenactors who traveled across the pond to partake in this monumental project was former Mineola resident Zach Libresco, who will be portrayed in the national memorial.  Click here to read more about how the the graduate of Mineola’s Wheatley High School grabbed a permanent role in the national World War I Memorial.

Roswell, Georgia remembers heroic story of WWI nurse Camille O’Brien

Camille O'Brien

A Roswell, GA family’s great aunt was honored with a new headstone at Greenwood Cemetery for her service and bravery during World War I as an Army nurse. Camille Louise O’Brien was a member of the Emory nursing unit during WWI and was the only Red Cross nurse from Atlanta, and the only nurse from the Emory Unit to die in France during the war. O’Brien is recognized as a hero nurse for her exemplary service and dedication to treating her soldiers. Click here to read more about O’Brien’s heroic and selfless service in World War I, and the honor paid to her a century later.

World War I veteran’s struggle after Army service led to “Shazam!”

Captain Billy

The Warner Bros. super hero film “Shazam!” currently playing around the nation is based on a character whose origins begin with an Army veteran’s little-known struggle a century ago to adjust to life after World War I. The world’s mightiest mortal was introduced by Fawcett Publications as Captain Marvel, the alter ego of kid reporter Billy Batson, in a comic published from 1940 to 1953. But before the fictional captain, there was Captain Billy, a real-life former WWI soldier and newspaper reporter whose humor magazine for World War I veterans shocked 1920s America and launched a publishing empire spanning magazines, comics and paperbacks. Click here to read the entire story of Captain Billy and his publishing legacy with its roots in World War I.

From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

Remembering Veterans:
Senator Jon Tester on the Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019

Senator John Tester

In April 12th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 118, Senator Jon Tester of Montana joined the show to discuss a new bill, S206, otherwise known as The Hello Girls Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019, that would finally give the Hello Girls the formal recognition they deserve. Click to hear Senator Tester talk about the bill, what it is, the connection to Montana, and how people can help get this properly deserved honor bestowed on these pioneering women who served so successfully and then struggled to be recognized and to receive veteran’s benefits.

WWI Remembered:
Alan Axelrod on George Creel, America’s Chief Propagandist – Part 2

George Creel

In April 12th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 118, author Alan Axelrod returned to finish an expansive interview on George Creel, the publisher of the government’s Official Bulletin and one of the most powerful war-time Americans. Allen Axelrod, the author of Selling the Great War: The Making of American Propagandajoined Theo for Part Two of their conversation about George Creel, discussing the post-armistice period, and then Creel’s later life.  Click here to read the entire transcript, and discover why the “man who sold the war” ended up as a footnote in its history.  (Did you miss Part One? Click here to read the entire transcript of that podcast program.)

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

USS San Diego

Episode #119
Highlights: The Sinking of the USS San Diego

Host – Theo Mayer

100 Years Ago This Week – Host
| @ 02:25

Germany receives the allied dictates – Mike Shuster
| @ 10:55

The Polar Bear Expedition – James Carl Nelson
| @ 14:45

War Memoirs from WWI: Charles Carrington  – Dr. Edward Lengel | @ 22:10

May 2, 2019 Memorial at Cypress Hills Nat. Cemetery – Alain Dupuis | @ 27:55

The sinking of the USS San Diego – Dr. Alexis Catsambis | @ 32:30

Minnesotan Doughboys Remembered – Susi Adler
| @ 41:25

New Education Newsletter – Host
| @ 49:55

Highlights from the Dispatch – Host
| @ 51:10

Literature in WWI This Week

Wwrite Blog Logo

The Weariness of the Thing – “The Boys Who Live in the Ground”

By Connie Ruzich

*Connie Ruizich from Behind Their Linesvisits WWrite this week!

Of the American aviators who flew over enemy lines in the war, only fifteen percent were left after the signing of the armistice. Donald S. White, one of these few survivors, served as a pilot on the Western Front with the 20th Air Squadron.

He was cited for “exceptional devotion to duty” as a bombing aviator as “he had served in a day-bombing squadron in every raid since the squadron had been called into active work during the severe fighting in the Argonne.”

For this post, Connie Ruzich shares her rare discovery exclusively with WWrite: White’s poem about his service, a poem that seeks to speak “for thousands of his fellows.” Read “The Boys Who Live in the Ground” followed by Ruzich’s analysis this week!

Doughboy MIA for week of April 22

Vance Shankle

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday’s Doughboy MIA this week is Corporal Vance Shankle, DSC. Born 03 November 1893 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He was a mill worker with the famous Cannon Company when America issued its first draft call.  Rather than wait to be called though, Shankle enlisted in September, 1917. Interestingly, his local draft board continued to list him in the newspapers among those who had failed to report for their physical as late as February, 1918 and it took a visit from his brother, Brooks, to straighten it out!

Shankle was sent to Camp Jackson for induction and then on to Camp Sevier, where he was assigned to Company K, 118thInfantry, 30th Division and with them departed for overseas service on 11 May 1918 from New York.

In France, Shankle was quickly promoted to Corporal for his fearlessness in action over the summer months of battle, and on 17 October 1918 he made a permanent mark on the history of his regiment, earning the Distinguished Service Cross:

SHANKLE, Vance (deceased) No. 1312113 Corporal, Company K, 118th Infantry. For extraordinary heroism in action near St. Martin Riviere, France, October 17, 1918. When the advance of his company was held up, he volunteered to go forward with another soldier, to reduce a machine gun emplacement. Advancing in front of our lines, these two soldiers attacked the enemy position, destroyed it, and captured three prisoners. Corporal Shankle was killed in action shortly afterwards.

Corporal Shankle’s name is among the 333 names which grace the Tablets of the Missing at the beautiful Somme American Cemetery at Bony, France.

Want to help shed some light on Corporal Shankle’s case? 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. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

tote bag

Canvas and Leather Tote

Function and style are combined in this lightweight and compact Canvas & Leather Tote. You can show your American pride while carrying this Made in the USA dark khaki tote. Plenty of room for keys, wallet, tablet and documents. A distressed “U.S.” imprint is prominently displayed on the bag and an exclusive fabric garment label commemorates the U.S. Centennial of World War One.

Tote features: Constructed of touch dyed canvas and lined with 400 denier nylon. Handles made of 6 Oz. top grain oil tanned leather, backed with 1” webbing. Handle is attached to bag with distinctive “X” tacks. Dimensions: 18.5” W (seam to seam) x 13.5”H x 5.0” T-bottom style gusset.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item will help fund the national WW1 Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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


Bill to honor WWI Minority Veterans introduced in Congress

The bipartisan World War I Medals Review Act, unveiled last Thursday, marks the latest effort to rectify the military’s history of discrimination against black soldiers and other minorities who fought and died alongside their white comrades but were shunned and often the victims of racial violence. The measure will direct the Pentagon to review the records of scores of decorated soldiers who served in World War I to determine if they were denied the nation’s highest battlefield honor because of their race or religion.  Click here to read the entire article about this legislation. To find out more about the Valor Medals Review supported by the World War I Centennial Commission, click here.

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Antonio Mastropietro

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

Antonio Mastropietro

Submitted by: Frank Mastropietro {Nephew}

Antonio Mastropietro was born in1895 in Cercepiccola, Italy. Antonio Mastropietro served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

Antonio (Peters) Mastropietro was born in Cercepiccola, Campobasso, Molise, Italy on August 22, 1895, the eldest son of Pasquale Mastropietro and Carmela Antonelli. At a young age, he and his family came to the United States and took up residence at 36 Hulin Street in Mechanicville, NY. He attended School 3 on Saratoga Avenue.

While employed as a winder at the Strang Mill, he enlisted in the Marine Corp under the name Anthony Peters on July 7, 1917. He was shipped overseas and served as a rifleman with the 8th Co., 5th Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division.

Read Antonio Mastropietro’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.

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