WWI DISPATCH August 20, 2019

A newsletter from the World War One Centennial Commission.


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August 20, 2019

WWI Dispatch newsletter becomes monthly publication in September 2019

Beginning in September, this weekly World War I DISPATCH newsletter will transition to a once-a-month publication format. The first new monthly issue will arrive in the middle of September, sent to the same distribution list as the weekly publication has been for the last three years. If you’re a subscriber now, you’ll continue to be one going forward.


A hero of the Great War: North Carolina A&T instructor Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell

At N.C. A&T, like at most universities, the buildings are named for people who played important roles on campus. The original main building is named for a past A&T president. So, too, are the library, the current administration building and four academic buildings. And then there’s Campbell Hall, home of A&T’s ROTC programs since 1955. The building’s namesake, Robert Campbell, served in World War I, but that is only the beginning of his amazing story.  Click here to read more about how Campbell was ” the definition of an officer and a gentleman” and an inspiration to many with his life and service.


Middleboro, MA town square renamed to keep promise to World War I soldier

Glass Square sign

The somewhat disorienting five-way intersection located at the top of Center Street in downtown Middleboro, MA, known locally as Everett Square, is due to be redesigned in 2020, but before that, Everett Square had to be renamed, or better yet, reestablished, as John F. Glass, Jr. Square, as it was always supposed to be. Click here to read the entire story of how members of American Legion Post 64 and other local veterans fought a decade-long campaign to have the square rededicated in keeping with a 1929 Town Meeting vote which established the spot as Glass Square, in honor of the last serviceman from Middleboro to be killed in action in World War I.


100th Anniversary Transcontinental Motor Convoy reaches Iowa this week

MVPA 1918 staff car

Retired Army Sgt. Mark Ounan drives his restored 1918 Army staff car (left) as the Military Vehicle Preservation Association’s convoy of historic military vehicles made its way through northwest Ohio. Ounan noted that “Five of these cars went on the original convoy in 1919, and Eisenhower was on that trip with the Army so he probably rode in one just like it.” The convoy honoring the 1919 US Army’s Transcontinental Motor Convoy reaches Iowa this week, heading west toward San Francisco. Click here to read more about the Clinton, IA stop, and how to track the convoy’s position on its way to the West Coast.


The Definition of a ‘Boom’ Town in WWI

NItro, WV

The U.S. government put its own version of the Big Bang Theory into action during 1917 when it established the town of Nitro, West Virginia, to manufacture nitrocellulose (also known as “guncotton,” because of its explosive characteristics) to support the war effort in WWI. Click here to read more about how the government wanted the residents and plant employees there (like those pictured at left) to do a bang up job of supplying explosives to the U.S. armed forces, but also hoped that living and working in Nitro didn’t end up being too much of a blast.


WWI soldier’s grave finally gets marker

Robison grave marker

Denny Robison wasn’t sure why the grave of his grandfather — a World War I veteran — was unmarked for 45 years. Now, together with his wife, Carolyn Robison, and the Pottawattamie County, IA Veterans Affairs office, that has been corrected. Robison figured it was just an oversight that his grandfather — WWI U.S. Army veteran Dan Robison — remained buried in an unmarked grave, and that oversight was buried with time. Click here to read more about how teamworkhelped get the World War I veteran’s grave properly marked at Walnut Hill Cemetery.


Group proposes moving Springfield, MO World War I memorial after vandalism

Springfield, MO memorial

The Springfield, MO World War I memorial may soon be moved from its longtime home in Grant Beach Park following an act of vandalism in April this year. The monument was defaced when multiple people or a vehicle pushed over the top portion of the obelisk.  It wasn’t damaged, but park board spokeswoman Jenny Edwards said that was the second time in her seven years of working with the board that the monument had been pushed over.  Click here to read more about the move to a new and more secure location in Springfield for the monument erected in 1924.


2019 marks 101 years since death of pioneering aviator Louis Bennett Jr.

Louis Bennett Jr.

August 24 will mark the 101st anniversary of Louis Bennett Jr.’s death during WWI. Bennett, Jr. served in the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom. At the time of his death Bennett had flown 25 maneuvers against the Germans. He formed the West Virginia Flying Corps, which was commissioned by then WV Governor Cornwell on July 26, 1917. The U.S. Army, however, refused to accept the corps, which led Bennett Jr. to enter flight school with the British Royal Air Force in Canada. Click here to read more about Bennett’s unfortunate death in combat, and how the aviator is now honored by memorials in three nations.


From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

War in the Sky: Medal of Honor Recipient Erwin Bleckley 

Erwin Bleckley

In August 12th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 135, we reprised an earlier interview about a heroic but largely unknown American serviceman. As the Lost Battalion fought for their lives in the fall of 1918, a group of Airmen risked their lives to relocate and resupply them–the first such mission in American military history–including 2nd Lieutenant Erwin Bleckley. Click here to read his remarkable story, as told by historian Lieutenant Colonel Doug Jacobs, U.S. Army (Ret.), former command historian and curator for the Kansas National Guard Museum.

War Tech: The Interrupter Gear

Anthony Fokker

From August 12th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 135 (originally aired in Episode 68): At the beginning of World War I the airplane had yet to realize its lethal potential as a weapon of war. One major hindrance to aerial combat was the difficulty of firing a forward-mounted machine gun on a propeller plane without destroying the propeller itself. Then in 1915, a Dutch engineer named Anthony Fokker changed the world with his revolutionary “Interrupter Gear.” Click here to learn more about this deadly invention by which German planes would dominate combat in the WWI skies until mid-1916.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Doughboy Podcast Logo

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

The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay

Episode #136
Highlights: The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay.

Host – Theo Mayer

100 Years Ago: The Turning Tide – August 1918 – Host | @ 02:10

100 Years Ago: The Aftermath – August 1919 – Host | @ 07:20

Remembering Veterans: The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay –
Daniel J. Basta | @ 09:25

Commission News | @ 22:05

Spotlight on the Media: “Over There with Private Graham” –
Steve Badgley, Bruce Jarvis | @ 24:55

Articles & Posts: Weekly Dispatch – Host | @ 35:55

“Making History”: The Hello Girls Cast Album -Music Snippet | @ 42:55


Doughboy MIA for week of August 20

Doughboy MIA

Our MIA this week is a report. As we have been poring over the information we collected from the NPRC a couple of weeks ago, we have zeroed in on several targets.

First, we are working on the cases of our missing from the Russian expedition of 1918 – 1921 (the ‘Polar Bears’). In this we have approached the Polar Bear Association in Michigan for assistance, as their expertise in this theater is the first and foremost in the world. The expedition to Russia was a confusing and difficult affair and in order to insure accuracy in our determinations, we believe that the Association’s assistance will be a deciding factor. There is A LOT of information to sift through and we are painstakingly moving forward. News will be forthcoming.

Second, we are working on a small group of men buried together in July, 1918 from the 2nd Engineers during the Soissons battle who were never recovered. However, we were approached by an individual whose grandfather was one who assisted in the burials and left behind his memories of the event and his impressions. There is a possibility this information may make a difference in making a determination, or even an investigation with an eye toward a recovery effort. Much data has been gathered already, and once we have combed through it, we have two 2nd Division experts who will be assisting with additional advice. Stay tuned!

Besides those investigations, we continue working a case of a man from Montana whose name remains in doubt, and investigating the Doughboy MIA’s from Oregon at the request of their highway commission, who are dedicating a stretch of highway in honor of the state’s POW’s/MIA’s. So you can see we have many irons in the fire. And it is with that in mind that we will be forced to delay the new newsletter we have planned, ‘The Silent Sentinel’, until further notice. But fear not, it will be worth the wait, we assure you!

Lastly, do you believe you possess skills we could use here at Doughboy MIA and would you like to volunteer to help? Drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do together. Otherwise, your donations make all the difference – as you can see by the above, ONE trip to the NPRC got us this far. How far could we still go? Only time and generous donations will tell!  Visit the website at www.ww1cc.org/mia to give today. Your tax deductible donations DO make a difference and know that every dollar IS appreciated!

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Lest We Forget Book Cover

“Lest We Forget: The Great War”

World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library 

As the United States commemorates the centennial of World War I, one of the nation’s premier military history institutions pays tribute to the Americans who served and the allies they fought beside to defeat a resourceful enemy with a lavishly illustrated book.  It is an official product of the United States World War One Centennial Commission. The story of WWI is told through the memorable art it spawned―including posters from nations involved in the conflict―and a taut narrative account of the war’s signal events, its major personalities and its tragic consequences; and the timely period photographs that illustrate the awful realities of this revolutionary conflict. Most importantly, this book is a tribute to those who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and what would become the Air Force. Proceeds from the sale of this book help fund the new National WW1 Memorial in Washington, DC.

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


French cave wall carving detail

A team from Wheaton College in Norton, MA, led by Professor of Computer Science Mark Leblanc, recently returned from two days in the caves at Braye-en-Laonnois, France after capturing 3D data of the cave etchings left there by American soldiers in World War I, like those in the image above. Click here to learn how 21st Century technology is being used to capture, preserve, reproduce, and disseminate these 100 year-old memoirs of American soldiers during the Great War.


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George Franklin Rutledge

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

George Franklin Rutledge

Submitted by: Glenn Perry {great nephew}

George Franklin Rutledge was born around 1891. George Rutledge 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

George Franklin Rutledge was drafted on 30 Nov, 1917 and sent to Camp Pike in Arkansas for training. Among the first recruits to be trained there, he slept in tents until barracks were built. On 8 May, 1918, his unit departed for France from Hoboken, New Jersey on troop ship “America.” He was a member of Co M, 23rd Infantry of the U S Army 2nd Div.

By June 5, 1918, the 2nd Division’s lines had been rushed to the front and finally stabilized after several hectic days of relief and defense during the waning hours of the Aisne Defensive. In that time, the infantry and machine gun units of the division had been thrown into the line where needed as the Germans advanced and as the French slowly withdrew, fighting for every town and wood. Two battalions of the 23rd Infantry took over the line from an area named Triangle to Le Thiolet. The front was a mess of wheat fields, small towns, and woodlots, with parallel ridges facing each other. It was virgin territory, the ground as-yet unscarred by trenchlines and shell holes.

The 2nd Division had been given two missions: capture the height of Bois de Belleau and the nearby town of Vaux. The height was in the sector of the Marine Brigade while Vaux lay far to the right, nearly on the dividing line between the French and the 2nd Division. the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 23rd Infantry advanced from their positions to come just south of the road leading from Bouresches to Vaux. About two hours after advancing, the 3rd Battalion was hit with a heavy counterattack in the vicinity of Cote 192, where they suffered extreme losses. Just after midnight, both battalions were given the order to withdraw to their starting positions. They were to hold this front line position aggressively patrolling the front, sending out raids to keep the enemy off balance, digging in, and enduring tremendous enemy artillery shelling, including heavy mustard gas bombardment.

Read George Franklin Rutledge’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


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