WWI DISPATCH August 27, 2019

A newsletter from the World War One Centennial Commission


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August 27, 2019

Reminder: WWI Dispatch newsletter becomes monthly in September 2019

This issue of the World War I DISPATCH is the last weekly issue of the newsletter. The publication is transitioning to a once-a-month format. The first issue of the new monthly newsletter  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. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here to receive every issue.


WWI Dog Tag Discovered in France Returned to Soldier’s Family in KY

Clifford Fralick

At first Larry Fralick thought it was a scam call. A man with a French accent on the other end of the line was trying to convince him he found something that belonged to Fralick’s family. Turns out he was telling the truth. “He sent us a picture of the metal detector he used to find it,” Fralick said.Click here to read more about, and watch video of, the story of the mysterious caller who convinced Clifford Fralick’s descendants that the soldier left something behind in France during World War I.


Torrington, CT student returns from World War I archaeological dig in France

Lucas Rodriguez

The expedition “Digging Into History: WWI Trench Restoration” recently returned from three weeks in Seicheprey, France. This innovative experiential learning program brought fifteen Connecticut high school students entering grades 11 and 12 this fall to the site of the first German offensive against American troops, to help restore a section of trench once occupied by Connecticut’s 102d Infantry Regiment. Among the participating students was Lucas Rodriguez of Torrington, who researched a Torrington soldier with the historical society to prepare for the trip. He attends the Connecticut River Academy in East Hartford. Click here to read how, just as the Doughboys formed bonds with the village 100 years ago, the students formed friendships with their French peers as they worked to help restore the historic World War I battlefield site.


Lectures bring World War I exhibition at Knights of Columbus Museum to close

World War I: Beyond the Front Lines poster

Two lectures on September 7 at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, CT  will be the final events in the museum’s exhibition World War I: Beyond the Front Lines, which concludes September 8. War Within War: The 1918 Influenza in Americawill examine the impact of the so-called “Spanish Flu” on America and the world. The Red Baron & Military Aviation Developments in World War I will examine a key figure in the rise and impact of military aviation spawned by the world conflict. Click here to read more about these two informative lectures, and learn about the award-winning WWI exhibition at the Knights of Columbus Museum.


Minnesota Family Reunited with WWI Dog Tag After More than 80 Years

MN dog tag

Alan Carpenter often looks for buried artifacts in Cobb Cook Park in Hibbing, MN using his metal detector. It’s something he does for fun, but he and his partner Jim Kochevar also return lost items. Last spring, Carpenter made his most important discovery, a World War I dog tag found buried under at least 6 inches of frost. “At first I didn’t know what it was, I thought it was some kind of token or something until I got home and rinsed it off, then I seen the United States Marine Corps on it,” said Carpenter. With Kochevar’s help, this past Memorial Day Carpenter figured out the dog tag belonged to Anton Bernhardt, a World War I veteran, and former Hibbing police officer. Click here to read more and watch video, and find out how the family of the World War I soldier was reunited with the dog tag in August after it was lost for 80 years.


Peach pits, nut shells, and how they helped America win the Great War

Save the Pit

Writing in his “View From Swamptown” column, G. Timothy Cranston, North Kingstown, Rhode Island’s town historian, explores “the seemingly inconsequential peach pit and its equally unimportant companion – the discarded nut shell – to see what historic part they played in World War I.” Click here to read the entire column, and discover how “these common bits of food waste saved many an American Doughboy during the Big War.”


MVPA 2019 100th Anniversary Transcontinental Motor Convoy rolls across Nebraska this week

1918 truck

On Wednesday, August 28, 2019 the Military Vehicle Preservation Association 100th Anniversary Convoy will travel through Kearney, Nebraskaas they continue retracing the original 1919 US Army’s First Transcontinental Motor Convoy route, on the famed Lincoln Highway. Click here to visit the MVPA web site to learn more about the 100th Anniversary Convoy. (Click on the Convoy Button on the top of the page.) Click here to track the convoy’s position.


From the World War I Centennial News Podcast

WWI Now: Daniel Basta on the “Ghost Fleet” of Mallows Bay

Dan Basta

In August 19th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 136, host Theo Mayer interviewed Daniel J. Basta, Doughboy Foundation board member and accomplished scientist and diver. Mr. Basta sheds light on the Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay, an armada of ships scuttled by the U.S. government in Maryland after the war. Today Mallows Bay is a National Marine Sanctuary, a protected area for wildlife and human recreation–and something that connects contemporary Americans to the Great War. Click here to discover this unique and powerful outdoor destination, and the grueling process undertaken to bring the proposed sanctuary to reality.

War in the Sky:
Mark Wilkins on Pilots and PTSD

Mark Wilkins

In August 12th’s edition of the World War I Centennial News Podcast, Episode 135, (originally aired in Episode 66) we heard from writer and historian Mark Wilkins on the high incidence of shell shock, or PTSD, among WWI pilots. Held up as fearless and daring, these men cracked underneath the extraordinary danger of their occupation. In his research Wilkins uncovered many letters written by the pilots themselves that illustrate the toll aerial combat took on their psyches. Click here to learn more about PTSD and the effect it had on WWI pilots, in their own words.


WWI Centennial NEWS Podcast

Doughboy Podcast A

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.

American Legion post #43 in the 30's

Episode #137
American Legion Post #43: Revitalized and Relevant

Episode #137

Host – Theo Mayer

  • 100 Years Ago: Headlines last week of August 1919
    – Host | @ 02:15
  • Born in the Month of August
    – Dave Kramer | @ 09:05
  • Remembering Veterans: American Legion Post 43 Revitalized
    – Fernando Rivero & Lester Probst | @ 14:45
  • Articles & Posts: Dispatch Newsletter
    – Host | @ 32:55

Doughboy MIA for week of August 26

Private Pietro ‘Peter’ Pacifici.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday’s MIA this week is Private Pietro ‘Peter’ Pacifici. A native of Morello, Italy, Pietro Pacifici came to America in 1906 and settled in Jefferson County, New York. He was drafted into the service at Watertown, NY, on 22FEB1918 and sent into Company A, 308th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division, with which he trained at Camp Upton Long Island before going overseas in April, 1918. He served all through the campaign in the Vesle Valley that summer with distinction and without incident, even though Company A was frequently under fire and took considerable casualties.

In September, 1918, A/308 was assigned as one of the “point” units leading the 308th into the Argonne Forest, alongside Company D. The summer on the Vesle had been hard on the 308th as a whole, and as they were preparing to enter the Argonne, a large draft of replacements were sent forward for the regiment (1,250 of them), and Company A received their fair share. Among them was a young Private from Washington State named Lee McCollum (who would later go on to write the popular book “History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion” about his experiences in the Argonne). On the night of September 25th, 1918, as Company A was preparing to move up to the front lines for the jump off the next morning, McCollum found himself assigned to carry a heavy bag of hand grenades. Nearby was a fellow with a strange accent, complaining about the clumsy stretcher that he had been assigned to carry. It was Peter Pacifici. McCollum did not hesitate to offer to exchange loads, feeling the lighter, and far less lethal, stretcher would be a much more welcome burden. Pacifici, used to such loads as the grenades and knowing from experience how welcome they would soon be, readily agreed and the two swapped responsibilities just before the unit moved out.

About a half an hour later, as they were treading forward through the rainy, dark night with artillery flying overhead, McCollum heard an explosion up ahead. Everyone was sure it was return fire from the Germans. Then the cry came back for stretcher bearers forward and McCollum and a pal rushed up. What they found was a rude introduction to the war; Pacifici had tripped and one of the grenades in the bag he had been carrying went off, setting off the rest and blowing him and several others to bits. McCollum carried back one of the wounded.

At the time of the accident, the company was about 1 kilometer north of the hamlet of La Harazee. What remained of Pacifici was buried on 01OCT1918 next to the trench in which he was killed by Chaplain Lockhart of the 53rd Pioneer Infantry. Despite coordinates for the burial being reported at the time and the grave having initially been marked by a cross, when searchers went to locate it after the war, nothing was ever found. Pietro Pacifici remains missing on the battlefield to this day.

Want to help us make an attempt at locating Pacifici using today’s technology? Then consider making a donation to Doughboy MIA at www.usww1cc.org/mia. It takes only a moment and your tax deductible contribution will help us make a difference for Pacifici, as well as helping us make a full accounting of ALL of our US MIA’s from WW1 and keep these lost men from being forgotten. Remember: A man is only missing if he is forgotten.


Official WWI Centennial Merchandise

Mug

White Ceramic WWI Centennial Mug

Featuring the iconic Doughboy silhouette flanked by barbed wire so prevalent during WWI, you can enjoy your favorite beverage in this 15-ounce ceramic mug and honor the sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers.

Proceeds from the sale of this item will help build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

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.


Wentworth Military Academy Doughboy

After the Wentworth Military Academy and College in Missouri closed in 2017, and after a court battle between the bank and the academy, and after academy alumni agree to place the original statue at the Lafayette County Courthouse, a replica of the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” was finally unveiled on Tuesday, August 20 at the Wentworth Military Academy Museum in Lexington, MO. Click here to read more about the long journey to restore the Doughboy to its home at the historic military academy’s heritage center.


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Arthur O. McNitzky

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

Arthur O. McNitzky

Submitted by:  Dave Jahn {American Legion, Department Texas, “Arthur O. McNitzky” Post 71, Adjutant}

Arthur O. McNitzky was born around 1890. Arthur McNitzky 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

Arthur Othello McNitzky was born on March 28, 1890 in Denton, Texas to Gottfried August McNitzky and Emma Matilda Mentzel McNitzky of Germany. According to family researchers, August McNitzky left Breslau, Germany on 30 June 1874, traveled to Hamburg, then to Hartlepool, England, where he boarded a ship which arrived in Quebec, Canada on 9 July. His line of business was cobbler, but he could not make a living there because of the shoe factories already in existence. He went to Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Texas, and Mexico.

His travels cost more than the trip from Germany to Canada; his clothing and tools were stolen, and for a year and seven months he was sick (possibly malaria). He was working in Dallas and on 30 May, 1878, two banks broke in Dallas in one week and he lost $200 in the First National Bank. He said he felt like killing himself. He walked from Dallas to Denton because there was no train. He was one of the first German to come to Denton.

Read Arthur O. McNitzky’s entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family’s Story of Service here.


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