Matthew Barker 1Matthew Barker

Daily Taps at the National WWI Memorial in Washington, DC

Matthew Barker, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Member: "Nothing is more humbling than playing Taps.”

By Kathy Abbott
Staff Writer 

This month, Matthew Barker, who prefers to be called Matt, shares his unique story with us as one of the buglers who sounds Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial, “Rain or Shine.”

Says Matt, “I grew up in Houston, Texas, and currently live in Columbia, MD. I'm a full-time member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra trumpet section; I won that position in 2016.

"A trumpeter friend of mine who is the main bugler at the WW1 memorial graciously asked me to play Taps on occasion, as my schedule allows.

"I personally haven't had the honor of serving in the military, although my grandfather, Dewey Higginbotham briefly served in the Army, and my sister-in-law serves as a clarinetist in the US Air Force Academy Band in Colorado Springs, CO. I had a cousin named Kody Archer who was a Marine, and a few years younger than me, who tragically passed away recently in a gun accident - I was able to honor his life and service by personally dedicating one of my Taps calls to him.

"Growing up as an Eagle Scout, I knew, and eventually taught all of the bugle calls. These calls help maintain the pride and foster a greater sense of community on U.S. Army installations around the world. They offer soldiers and family members the chance to unite several times a day and honor the colors they are fighting to protect.

"No call is more retrospective and impactful as Taps. Taps is a call to remember those who gave their lives in the service of the United States. When Taps is played, everyone knows to stop what they are doing and reflect on the freedoms and rights that have been protected by the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces throughout the years.

The Doughboy Foundation has partnered with Verizon to bring the WWI Memorial "Virtual Explorer" AR App to K-12 educators

The Doughboy Foundation and Verizon have executed a Partnership Agreement to bring the award-winning WWI Memorial “Virtual Explorer” App and other supporting WWI Educational materials to Verizon Innovative Learning HQ .

verizon image teacherstudent with padThe Verizon Innovative Learning HQ education portal focuses on delivering free Next-Gen learning for all. Aimed at K-12 students and teachers, the portal offers innovative augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps, tailored lesson plans and professional development resources that make learning contemporary, engaging, and immersive. The initiative is part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan to help move the world forward for all, and a key driver to providing 10 million students with digital skills training by 2030.

The Doughboy Foundation will be making available its WWI Memorial Apps, WWI lesson planning and other resources through the Verizon portal for the start of the 2022-23 school year.

 

Charles Hobday "Chip" Forbes IV, 1958 - 2022 

via the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper (VA) web site

(Editor's Note: Chip Forbes was a long-time friend and supporter of the Doughboy Foundation and the United States World War One Centennial Commission)

FORBES, Charles "Chip" Hobday, IV, 63, of Manakin-Sabot, Va. went to be with his Lord and Savior on May 28, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. Chip had an unwavering faith that guided all endeavors of his life. He was at peace with God, especially while fighting cancer.

Chip was born in Williamsburg, Va. on September 1, 1958, to Charles "Sonny" H. Forbes III and the late Shelley Forbes. Growing up, Chip spent his summers in Virginia Beach working for the family candy business. He cherished the time he spent there with his grandparents and cousins. Virginia Beach always held a special place in his heart.

A graduate of Virginia Tech, Chip achieved success in the specialty promotions industry. In the summer of 1998, in the basement of his Richmond home, Chip founded his own small business, C. Forbes, Inc. C. Forbes, Inc. was privileged to work with five presidential administrations, numerous national historical societies and hundreds of organizations across the country. He derived a tremendous amount of joy in the creative process required for designing the perfect mementos for life's achievements. But even more so, Chip cherished the friendships he formed over the length of his career.

Chip was always active in witnessing for his Lord Jesus Christ. From serving as a Young Life leader, to being a part-time Youth Minister and a 15-year Sunday school teacher at Second Baptist Church, he was always looking for ways to share the story of Jesus Christ and His message of grace and love. Chip's creative personality led him to publish several Christian children's books and a YouTube channel, "Plain Spoken Grace." He was an outdoorsman, a gardener, a lover of Labrador Retrievers and his John Deer tractor.

 

robert holster code talkersRobert Holster worked over 30 hours on the artwork honoring the Choctaw Code Talkers on the nose if this F-15 fighter.

Robert Holster and Oregon Air National Guard pay tribute to Choctaw Code Talkers with aircraft art 

By Christian Toews
via the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma web site

The Oregon Air National Guard held a ceremony on April 14, 2022, to dedicate the nosecone of one of their F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft with artwork that honors the Choctaw Code Talkers who served in WWI.

Chief Gary Batton and Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr. attended the event, and Batton addressed the audience in the Choctaw language during the ceremony.

Staff Sergeant Robert Holster is the Dedicated Crew Chief for the decorated jet. Holster designed the artwork and said that he was inspired by Choctaw artist Gwen Coleman Lester’s work.

“I drew the arrowhead because it’s significant to the original code talkers. It was part of the original artwork when the code talkers were called The Telephone Warriors,” said Holster.

According to Holster, the artwork took over 30 hours to design and draw.

Holster would spend any downtime working on the art using mostly applications on his phone. After the artwork design was complete, he had help from other colleagues on his base to enlarge the art and prepare it for placement on the nose of the aircraft.

He said the idea for the nose art came from learning the history of the Choctaw Code Talkers from WWI. Their bravery inspired him. He hopes the nose art honors their service and helps educate people about the code talkers who served in World War I.

“Honoring and continuing to honor our code talkers is important to me. I feel like they are honored, and they are proud to look down on us. I can tell other crew members about the history of it. I just hope that people remember that piece of history,” said Holster.

 

Mare Island devasted by explosionDevastation is all that remains of the gunpowder magazine at the Mare Island Naval Ammunition Depot in California. Amid a rash of such stateside incidents attendant to the U.S. entry into World War I, it clearly appeared to be the work of a German sabotage network. Sometimes, however, the most obvious suspect is not the answer. . . .

Who Really Blew Up Mare Island in World War I? 

By Stephen C. Ruder
via the U.S. Naval Institute's Naval History magazine web site 

Early on 9 July 1917, the gunpowder magazine at the Naval Ammunition Depot on Mare Island, California, exploded, flattening several nearby buildings and killing six. Immediately, U.S. Navy officials blamed German sabotage, but the investigation proved inconclusive.

A century later, German responsibility, first assumed in 1918 and republicized in 1937, has become regarded as fact, with a dozen books and papers repeating the claim. A close examination of the historical record, however, reveals the claim to be false—and suggests an entirely different explanation.

German Agents Afoot in America

n early 1916, 34-year-old German-American private detective and former U.S. Marine Kurt Jahnke walked into the San Francisco office of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation and declared that a German-American was planning an attack on Mare Island.1 Allegations of German espionage at Mare Island had broken in the press earlier that day, and news stories about German sabotage in New York had been circulating for several months.

 

 

Sculptor Sabin Howard Previews Work for WWI Memorial: A Soldier’s Journey


 

 

The US Army Harlem Hellfighters on the Western Front 1918 Q69943Troops of the American 369th Infantry Regiment (the Harlem Hellfighters/Black Rattlers), 93rd Infantry Division, Maffrecourt.  

The Harlem Hellfighters of World War I 

By SOFREP
via the SOFREP Media Group web site 

At the time of World War I, the American military was heavily segregated, with prejudice that African American men would not do well in defending the country. Those African Americans who wanted to enlist and fight for their country had to go through so much before they were finally allowed to register and serve. The military and the federal workforce had been desegregated to a certain extent, especially in the navy which had black enlisted sailors going back to the American Revolution, but the election of Woodrow Wilson(D) in 1912 reimposed strict segregation on the military and federal employees, reversing many of the gains made since the end of the Civil War.

At the beginning of WWI, the United States under President Woodrow Wilson declared that their country would remain neutral. However, this changed when the German U-boat began to attack passenger ships and ocean liners, including the British Lusitania. The breaking point was when they found out that the Germans were proposing an alliance with Mexico to include Mexico invading the United States to capture California, New Mexico, and other western states. And so, when the US declared war on Germany in 1917, the War Department decided to accept black Americans in the draft as they needed a lot of troops. With that, the registration was flooded with 2 million new recruits.

Backbreaker Support Services

Of those new recruits, 375,000 were African Americans. Although 200,000 of them were transported overseas in the war, the majority of them did not see active combat duty. Instead, they worked in labor duties of support roles like unloading ships, constructing roads, buildings, and erecting latrines. They were barred from the Marines and could only serve in menial roles in the Navy, and none of them were ever allowed in the aviation units.

The government did not also provide military training for black officers. Soon, segregated training camps were created for that purpose. The dishearted black Americans protested against the unbelievable discrimination they were receiving, even though they only wanted to be part of those who stood for their country. Regardless, Fort Des Moines in Iowa still became one of the segregated camps where 600 blacks were commissioned as captains and lieutenants at the camp.

It was not until early 1918 when a regiment of African-American combat troops arrived to help the French Army, the 369th Infantry Regiment.

 

 Corry PA veterans day 2022 ceremonyBrett Salsgiver, post commander for Corry American Legion Post 365, climbs down a ladder after unveiling a historical marker memorializing Charles P. Keating, a Corry native and WWI vet who played a key role in selecting and transporting America’s first unknown soldier. The service took place on Monday, Memorial Day, in front of Winger Suites & Williams Place on North Center Street.

Corry, PA commemorates World War I vet for special service to nation

By Rebekah Wallace
via the Corry Journal newspaper (PA) web site

Members of the Corry community gathered on a warm and sunny Memorial Day afternoon to honor WWI veteran and Corry native Charles P. Keating, not only for his service in the war, but for the key role he played in selecting and bringing home America’s first unknown soldier, now buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

A historical marker recognizing Keating’s service was unveiled in front of Winger Suites & Williams Place store, 117 N. Center St., where Keating and a partner operated the Alexander-Keating Funeral Home in the 1920s and early 30s. Keating, who was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army when WWI ended, was born in Corry in 1879 and died here in 1959. He was 79 years old.

Present at Monday’s ceremony were Steve Bishop, project historian and former Corry Higher Education Council executive director; Charles Gray, executive director for Impact Corry; representatives of Corry American Legion Post 365 and VFW Post 264, including their respective commanders, Brett Salsgiver and Steve Tinko; Corry Mayor Mike Baker, and former mayor Dave Mitchell.

Opening remarks were given by Gray.

“When I heard [Keating’s] story, I was moved,” she said. “It’s a testament to all of our service people.”

Gray then introduced Bishop, who provided background on Keating’s story and explained the process behind establishing the historical marker. A state-approved marker was originally applied for in 2018, but rejected, though Bishop didn’t say why.

“I really thought it was a given it would be approved, but surprisingly, at least to me, the marker was turned down by the state,” Bishop said.

Still, he felt strongly that this man deserved to be memorialized, who had, along with others in the U.S. Army’s Graves Registration Service, braved shellfire and mustard gas to retrieve and identify fallen American soldiers, and without whom the nation likely would not have recovered its first unknown soldier.

 

 ww1 first soldier maine die poor gun 1 1Soldiers pose in front of a large gun circa 1917 at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. Pvt. John Poor died in a shootout at the fort that year while guarding two 12-inch guns. Credit: Courtesy of Collections of Maine Historical Society, courtesy of MaineMemory.net

The 1st American serviceman killed in World War I died in Maine, but who killed him is a mystery 

By Troy R. Bennett
via The Bangor Daily News newspaper (ME) web site

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — On Saturday morning, March 24, 1917, a telegram messenger shouted the awful news from the front gate, across the Poor family’s Illinois front yard and into their windows.

Their son was dead.

Pvt. John Poor was killed the previous day in a midnight shootout at Fort Williams, far away, on the coast of Maine.

German spies were thought to be responsible.

Though the country didn’t officially enter WWI for another 10 days, Poor’s death while guarding the seaside battery in Cape Elizabeth, likely made him the first serviceman to die in the line of duty while serving in the United States’ armed forces during the “War to End All Wars.”

A tiny, one paragraph, page four item in the March 28 edition of the Ellsworth American newspaper predicted it.

“Future historians may record that the first soldier killed in the performance of his duty in the war between the United States and Germany was John Poor,” the unattributed piece said. “The incident brings home to Maine the fact that the war is serious business and is getting near home.”

Congress declared war on Germany four days after the newspaper’s prophetic statement.

By then, WWI had already ravaged Europe for three years. The United States entered the fray for a variety of reasons, including Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic Ocean and its alliance overtures to Mexico.

Though German submarines never sank a ship directly off the Maine coast, tensions were high. A U.S. Navy recruitment officer told one newspaper that an “attack on the Maine coast was by no means unlikely.” Islands in Casco Bay bristled with manned gun emplacements. At the mouth of Portland Harbor, Fort Williams had two, large 12-inch guns capable of firing out to sea.

Poor was guarding those guns when he died.

 

Dans Papers imagePeople visit the National World War I Memorial in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2021. REUTERS/Al Drago 

Memorial Day: The True Reason for the Season 

By Staff
via the Dan’s Papers (Long Island, NY) web site

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it comes the return of the weekly eastbound exodus from New York City, beach season and dress-your-best summer soirées.

That said, the reason for this weekend is Memorial Day itself. One of the nation’s oldest military-related holidays, it was first known as Decoration Day. Unlike Veterans Day (November 11) that celebrates those who served and survived, Memorial Day is a day to pause and remember our fellow citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice with their very lives in defense of our nation.

This day of remembrance first occurred after the end of our Civil War, a conflict that resulted in more American deaths than any other, as it was a war that pitted Americans against each other. Because of the vast number killed, it was also the war that motivated the creation of America’s first national cemeteries.

The exact origin of Memorial/Decoration Day is at best vague, it seemed to begin in the late 1860s as random towns and villages across the nation simultaneously set aside a day in spring to remember the locals lost shortly after the end of the Civil War. There is some historical speculation that the very first celebration was actually organized in Charleston, South Carolina by formerly enslaved Black people within a month after the Confederacy’s surrender in 1865.

In 1966, the federal government named Waterloo, NY as the birthplace of Memorial Day due to the town’s May 5, 1866 celebration that included the closing of businesses and schools, and the local residents decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers and flags.

 

Over there: rethinking American First World War literature and culture 

By Alice Kelly
via the Taylor & Francis Group (UK) web site

This Special Issue of First World War Studies considers the specifically American literary and cultural production of the First World War and what distinguishes it from other national war literatures and cultures. Together the articles seek to assess how we should characterize, theorize and categorize American First World War cultural production. Despite the many memorials and memory sites to American participation, and the impact of the recent centenary, public memory of the conflict in the US remains minimal, overshadowed by the Civil War on one side and the Second World War and the Vietnam War on the other. The Eurocentric focus of the key works of First World War cultural criticism – by Paul Fussell, Samuel Hynes, Modris Eksteins and Jay Winter – is perhaps due to what Hazel Hutchison notes as the strange place of the war in American cultural memory, as a war which ‘has never quite captured the public imagination’ (The War That Used Up Words: American Writers and the First World War, 2015). Instead it is usually focused through the ‘lost generation’ writers of the 1920s: Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, et al.

First World War Studies coverBringing together a range of scholars and drawing predominantly on literature and film by male and female non-combatants as well as participants, the case studies here consider American First World War novels, poetry, political papers, film, and screenplays. Interdisciplinary readings allow the contributors to find generic tropes and connections across different media. In this way we seek to contribute to an ongoing conversation about American First World War cultural production, and a critical field that is very much still in the process of formation and consolidation.

Hidden in plain sight

Beinecke Plaza, or Memorial Plaza, at the centre of the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut, right next to the dining hall where students eat their meals, is hard to miss. Its white Beaux-Arts colonnades which frame the plaza include the names of the First World War battles in which the American Expeditionary Force were engaged, now forgotten by most Americans: Cambrai, Argonne, Somme, Château-Thierry, Ypres, St Mihiel and Marne. The cenotaph which sits beneath these names was constructed by alumni in 1926–1927 and features the inscription: ‘In Memory of the Men of Yale who true to Her Traditions gave their Lives that Freedom might not perish from the Earth. 1914 Anno Domini 1918’. It makes sense that the then all-male Ivy League universities would mark the contribution of their students to this conflict in some way: the Soldiers Memorial Gate at Brown (1921), the War Shrine and Memorial at Cornell (1931), the Memorial Church at Harvard (1932), the Memorial Tablet at Pershing Hall at Princeton (1930), as well as the practice at Princeton from 1920 onwards of putting bronze stars on the dormitory window sills of those who had been killed, which continued until the Vietnam War. Dartmouth Memorial Field, a football stadium, was built at the college in 1923, and included a tribute plaque from the forty-seven Civil War veterans and Dartmouth alumni for the over three thousand Dartmouth students who served in the First World War. 

It’s not just the colleges though: there are a myriad other First World War statues and memorials across America. These memorials, the majority constructed in the 1920s and early 1930s, are in most US cities, peppered across the landscape. There are the large-scale ones intended to create national remembrance. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, where the soldier was interred on Armistice Day 1921, is perhaps the most successful: the site for national war memory of all wars, which is woven into the fabric of US political life (all Presidents pay their respects here immediately after their Inauguration). The Liberty Memorial – designated and renamed the National World War I Memorial and Museum in 2004 – initially opened in 1926 in Kansas City as a result of the efforts of the Liberty Memorial Association, which raised more than $2.5 million in ten days in 1919 to honour Kansas Citians who had served.1 The ceremony in 1921 was witnessed by 200,000 people and five Allied leaders; the opening ceremony and dedication on Armistice Day 1926 was attended by President Calvin Coolidge and 150,000 spectators.2 Not in the nation’s capital or on either coast, but almost smack in the middle, the Liberty Memorial includes a gigantic, fantastically phallic 66-metre memorial tower: a paean to military might as much as it is to military memory. Five years later on 11 November 1931, President Herbert Hoover opened the District of Columbia War Memorial off Independence Avenue in Washington, DC, for the nearly 500 DC citizens who died in the war: an unusual – and the only – local memorial which sits on the National Mall. Like the Liberty Memorial built in a combination of the fashionable Beaux-Arts style and Egyptian Revival style, the DC war memorial was built as a domed Roman style temple with Doric columns: both attempts to reflect their sombre subject with appropriately historical architectural styles. Of course, there are also the original, idiosyncratic memorials drawing on even older architectural forms. My personal favourite is the mock Stonehenge memorial made from reinforced concrete and erected by millionaire Sam Hill in Maryhill in rural Washington State, in memory of soldiers from Klickitat County, Washington, who had died in the war. It is claimed to be the first American monument commemorating the First World War, commissioned in 1918 although ultimately not completed until 1929, long after many of the others.3

 

Introduction to the Choctaw Code Talkers recognizes the Choctaw veterans of WWI 

via The Museum of Native American History (AR) web site 

MONAH is proud to partner with the Choctaw Nation to bring this presentation of the Choctaw Code Talkers to you for Memorial Day. This 30-minute introduction to the Choctaw Code Talkers recognizes the Choctaw veterans of WWI and discusses their history and lives as telephone warriors.

On Saturday, May 28th, and Monday, May 30th, MONAH is hosting a viewing of Judy Allen’s presentation on the Choctaw Code Talkers in respect of Memorial Day Weekend. We will be screening this video for our visitors all day. It will be continuously running in the Great Room and open to the public.

The Choctaw Code Talker Association has a goal of funding a life-size statue at the Choctaw Cultural Center in Durant. Choctaw Artist Gwen Coleman-Lester allows the use of her art on t-shirts to be sold to raise money for this effort. Shirts, patches, and Code Talker books are available at ChoctawStore.com or call 580.924.8280

For more information on Choctaw Code Talkers or to support the effort to share their history, contact Judy Allen (judy.allen@choctawnation.com)

 

 

This is how Eddie Rickenbacker earned 7 service crosses and the Medal of Honor

By James Elphick
via the We Are the Mighty web site 

Once America entered World War I some of the first forces it sent to France were those of the newly-formed Air Service. Among those troops was a relatively famous racecar driver and mechanic who would become America’s ‘Ace of Aces’ during the war: Eddie Rickenbacker.

When Rickenbacker enlisted in the Army, he had dreams of flying but was shipped to France as a driver for the General Staff due to his experience as a racecar driver. His advanced age (27 at the time) and lack of a college degree also disqualified him for flight training – but he was undeterred.

Assigned as the driver for Col. William ‘Billy’ Mitchell, Rickenbacker took the opportunity to bother him until the Colonel finally allowed him to attend pilot training. Rickenbacker still had to claim he was only 25 though.

Eddie completed pilot training in just 17 days and received his commission. However, Rickenbacker’s superior mechanical abilities from his days as a racecar driver sidetracked his flying career and got him assigned as the engineering officer at the Air Service Pursuit Training facility.

After finding a replacement, Rickenbacker was finally assigned to a combat flying unit – the 94th Aero Squadron – in March 1918. The squadron began flying combat missions in early April, and Rickenbacker wasted no time getting in on the action. On April 29th, Rickenbacker scored his first aerial victory and also his first Distinguished Service Cross for a vigorous fight and pursuit of a plane into enemy territory to shoot it down.

During May 1918 Lt. Rickenbacker downed five more German airplanes while earning an additional four Distinguished Service Crosses, each time attacking and dispersing larger formations of enemy planes.

Rickenbacker, through a lucky streak that seemed to last his entire life, also gained a reputation for surviving close calls and crash landings. In July 1918 in a particularly harrowing incident, “he barely made it back from one battle with a fuselage full of bullet holes, half a propeller, and a scorched streak on his helmet where an enemy bullet had nearly found its mark.”