Monday, September 30, 2013

Back to Those German World War I Soldiers-- Part 2

The skeleton of a goat was also found in the shelter and believed to have been used for fresh milk. //// The London Mail ran an article about the burial with lots of photograp[hs of the tunnel shelter now that it has been cleared out. I'm sure hoping that effort will be made to preserve this piece of history, even if not in the exact same location, but even better if left where it is, enclosed and the road planned through it rerouted. //// The Mail also said that the first German soldier killed in the war who is buried at Illfurth Cemetery is Lt. Albert Mayer who was killed August 2, 1914. They also report that almost 2000 German soldiers are interred at Illfurth. /////

Back to Those German World War I Soldiers-- Part 1

Last week, I wrote about the 21 German World War I soldiers who were buried in a tunnel during the war, whose bodies were found back in 2012. While doing some more research on them, I found out that they had been buried this past July 2013. //// From July 23, 2013, Fox News "95 years later, 21 World War I soldiers laid to rest." //// The burial came 95 years after the Armistice took effect ending the war. These 21 were given a full military burial after their bodies were found near Carspach in France's Alsace region along what was World War I's Western Front. //// Their skeletons were found in a nearly perfectly preserved shelter. Archaeologist compare the find to pompeii with the bodies in the exact same positions they were in when the tunnel collpased after a direct Allied hit. //// The bodies were interred Wednesday at Illfurth Cemetery in an event attended by 150 French and German dignitaries, veterans and serving soldiers. //// Efforts were made to contact living relatives, but none of the ones contacted were able to attend. ////

The B-52s Are Still Around-- Part 3

During the B-52s Cold War heyday, there were 744 of them operating. Today, that number is down to 76. The most recent variant of the plane, built between 1960 and 1962, has undergone more than 30 major modifications. //// The plane's 185-foot wingspan and 160-footlength, however, remain. //// The plane was designed on the back of a napkin over a weekend by three Boeing employees. //// The B-52 was developed during the Korean War (1950-1953). It carpet bombed during the Vietnam War, ran crucial missions in Kosovo and the Middle East and the Air Force plans to keep them running until at least 2040. //// ---Cooter

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The B-52s Are Still Around-- Part 2

The B-52 has been around nearly a half-century and the Air Force believes that modifications and overhauls have made the planes nearly ageless. Now, engineers and technicians are working on a contract worth up to $11.9 billion for upgrades to bring the B-52 Stratofortress into the 21st century. //// Right now, the planes' computers are circa early 1980s pcs and information has to be uploaded before a flight and can't be changed en route, even if the target changes. These new changes will enable crews to send and receive information via satellite links. //// --Cooter

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Henry Hudson's Half Moon at Albany, New York

From the September 20, 2013, USA Today. //// Accompanied by a picture of the Half Moon firing a cannon at the end of a pier. //// Caption "A replica of Henry hudson's Half Moon fires a cannon as it arrives Thursday on the Hudson River in Albany, N.Y., to mark Hudson's 1609 sailing into Albany." //// This full-sized replica is actually the second one of the famous ship. The first one was made in the Netherlands in 1909 and given to the U.S. to mark the 300th anniversary of the ship's arrival at Albany in 1609. This was the first European ship to document its exploration of the Hudson River. It was destroyed by fire in 1934. ///// This replica was made in 1989. ////The SUNY System Adminstration Building in Albany has a ten-foot high and ten-foot long weathervane of it which is the biggest working one in the Americas. //// --DaCoot

The B-52s Are Still Around-- Part 1

From the August 25, 2013, Chicago Tribune "B-52, Cold Warrior that soldiers on" by W.J. Hennigan. //// "For Air Force Capt. Daniel "Swoop" Welch, flying a B-52 bomber has become family business. //// "His father, retired Lt. Col. Don Welch, was trained to drop nuclear bombs with the aircraft during the height of the Cold War. His grandfather, retired Col. Don Sprague, flew B-52 combat missions in Vietnam. //// "It is definitely a testament to the robust design of the B-52," said Welch, 28. "Getting to fly the same aircraft as my father and grandfather has been pretty cool." //// And these planes are getting ready for an overhaul that will continue their use indefinitely. //// "Off We Go Into...." --Cooter

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The German War Graves Commission

From Wikipedia. //// This organization, founded in 1919 to take care of the horrendous losses suffered by Gernmany, is responsible for the acquisition of and maintenance of German war graves in Europe. //// Today they look after 832 military cemeteries in 45 countries around the world. I wonder if there are any in the United States? German prisoners were kept here in World War II and I'm sure some must have died in captivity. //// After the Cold War ended, the Commission now has access to cemeteries in Eastern Europe. ////

German Military Cemetery- Illfurth

I'd never heard of this cemetery in my last post, so had to do some further research. From Find-A-Grave. //// The German Military Cemetery- Illfurth is near the village of Illfurth in the Alsace region of France and is built on steep hillsides. There are the graves of 539 known and 510 unknown German soldiers buried there. //// Albert Mayer of the 5th Juger zu Pferd is buried there. He was the very first German soldier killed in the war. //// An imposing statue of an eagle is at the cemetery. ////

Dead World War I German Soldiers Found-- Part 3

The remains of the soldiers were handed over to the German War Graves Commission and then given to relatives if they can be found. Otherwise, they will be buried at Illfurth. //// Underground tunnels like the one theyw ere buried in could shelter 500 men and had 16 exits for safety. The French attacked the shelter March 18, 1918, and used aerial mines that penetrated the ground and blasted in the side wall in two points. I'm presuming an aerial mine would be dropped from a plane, but not sure why they weren't referred to as bombs. I couldn't find out anything about French World War I aerial bombs. //// There are still thousands of Allied and German soldiers missing from World War I. It is estimated that over 165,000 Commonwealth (British and their colonies) personnel who are still unaccounted for from the war. ////

Monday, September 23, 2013

A World War I German Musketeer?

In the last entry, I mentioned one of the buried Germans as being Musketeer Martin Heidrich, 21. I was unfamiliar with Musketeer being used for German soldiers as late as 1918. I knew that soldiers up until the 1850s-1860s used muskets as a main personal weapon, so the term Musketeer would make sense. //// However, by the Civil War, the use of rifles became more the weapon of choice. Hence, the term rifleman. //// According to Wikipedia, the term Musketeer is the traditional designation of an infantry private. The use of Musketeer survived in the Imperial German Army until World War I, which would explain Musketeer Heidrich. However, theer was a private also buried in that tunnel. //// So Still A Bit Mixed Up. --Cooter

Dead German World War I Soldiers Found-- Part 2

Also found in the trench segment were personal possessions, boots, helmets, weapons, wine bottles and spectacles. Most items were very well-preserved. Everything collapsed within a few seconds. They never had a chance. //// Lots of photographs accompanied the article. //// The 300 foot tunnel was found 18 feet beneath the surface near the town of Carspach in the Alsace region of France. //// The names of the men are known, including Musketeer Martin Heidrich, 20; Private Harry Bierkamp, 22 and Lt. August Hutten, 37. Their names are inscribed on a nearby German war memorial. ////

Dead World War I German Soldiers Found-- Part 1

From the February 11, 2012 (U.K.) Telegraph "German soldiers preserved in World War I shelter discovered after nearly 100 years." //// Twenty-one German soldiers have been found in a perfectly preserved shelter discovered 94 years after their deaths. They were part of a total of 34 buried at the site after it took a direct hit by an Allied shell in 1918. //// Thirteen were recovered at that time, but the soil was too unsettled and dangerous to look for the others. French archaeologists stumbled across their remains while doing excavations along the lines of the former Western Front. This search was required by the French government in prepoaration for a road project. //// Many of the skeletal remains were found in exactly the spot they were in when death exploded on them. Some were sitting upright on a bench and another was lying in bed. ////

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Then, There Was Edward O'Hare, Butch's Father-- Part 2

On November 8, 1939, Butch's father, Edward O'Hare, who was president of Sportsman's Park racetrack in Stickney, was gunned down in a gangland execution. he was also frontman for Al Capone's gang syndicate. //// He had evidently double-crossed Capone. When Capone went to prison in 1932, he appointed O'Hare to run the racetrack. But five years later, while in federal prison, Capone learned that it was O'Hare who had cooperated with the government to send him to Alcatraz. //// O'Hare lived in fear for his life the last two years of his life after he learned that Capone knew. About a week before Capone was released from prison, O'Hare was killed by two shotgun blasts in a high-speed chase along Ogden Avenue. His car crashed into a lightpole just west of Rockwell Street. Eight years later, Frank Wilson, one of the federal investigators who got Capone (and later chief of the Secret Service) wrote of O'Hare: "On the inside of the gang, I had one of the best undercover men I have ever known, Eddie O'Hare." ---DaCoot

Then There Was Chicago's Edward O'Hare, Butch's Father-- Part 1

From the March 17, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback: Why JFK came to town" by Stephan Benzkofer. //// O'Hare Airport, the supposed reason for JFK's visit and the hero for which it was named, was not the first time the O'Hare name made Chicago headlines. Besides questionable politics and dangerous streets, the name Edward O'Hare, Butch O'Hare's father, is also connected with that other thing people think about when Chicago is mentioned. //// And, that would be gangs and Al Capone. //// --DaCoot

And, Who Was This Edward "Butch" O'Hare?

Since he was a World War II hero and O'Hare Airport named after him, I will write about him in my World War II blog, Tattooed On Your Soul. ---Cooter

Why JFK Came to Chicago-- Part 2

Former Cook County State's Attorney Benjamin Adamowski was hammering away at Daley's shady construction deals. The president's visit was just two weeks before the April 2nd election. /// It was also no surprise that Kennedy flew in with U.S. Reps. Roman Pucinski and John Kluczynski, two high-profile Illinois politicians who backed Daley. //// Well, it certainly helped Daley get 56% of the vote and continue as Chicago's mayor. The Daley Family Thanks JFK. ---DaCoot

When JFK Came to Chicago in 1963-- Part 1

From the March 17, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback: Why JFK came to town" by Stephan Benzkofer. /// Fifty years ago in March, President John F. Kennedy came to Chicago to dedicate O'Hare International Airport. This was not a necessary dedication as the airport had already been named after World War II's air hero Edward "Butch" O'Hare in 1949 and then again dedicated in 1955 when it opened to commercial air traffic. //// So, why did JFK really come to Chicago, some eight months before that tragic November day in Dallas? His motorcade was lined by cheering spectators and at one point, he had the limo stopped and got out to greet people at the Cumberland Avenue Exit of the Northwest Expressway, which would be renamed for him a week after his death. //// The best reason for the president's coming to Chicago would be to support his old friend (and some say reason he was elected president after certain things happened with Chicago voting), Mayor Richard J. Daley, who was in the midst of a tough re-election campaign. //// More to Come. ---Cooter

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Last Big Baseball Scandal-- Part 6

The trial finally started in 1921 and was a circus. Rothstein refused to show up, saying that the Arnold Rothstein mentioned was another Arnold Rothstein, not him. The missing confessions figured in the trial as well. The judge who had originally heard them was allowed to verbally give his memory of them. /// Charles Comsikey, team owner, went ballistic when he was accused of "contract jumping" to make a few extra bucks. /// Surprisingly, the jury found the players innocent, but newly appointed baseball commissioner Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis confirmed Comiskey's suspensions and permanently banned all the players from ever playing baseball again. /// That set off a long streak of losing and no World Series for the White Sox. With the exception of appearing in the 1959 World Series and the championship in 2005, it continues on to this day. Too bad as I still believe the Sox would have had a dynasty instead of the hated Yankees. /// The other players faded into obscurity, but Joe Jackson's supporters continued to push to clear his name, even after his death in 1951. They feel he was just a poor country boy who was duped. During the series, he hit .351 and made no errors, surely not what a player on the take would do. /// These Chicago Black Sox have been featured in the movies "Eight Men Out" and "Field of Dreams." /// Way Too Bad. --Cooter

They Tore Down Elihu's House

From the August 21, 2013, Galena (Il) Gazette "HPC approves demolition of historic home" by Betty Roliardi. /// Galena's Historic Preservation Commission on August 15th approved the demolition of an 1840 house on the east side of Galena. If you know anything about Galena, Illinois, "the town that history forgot," you know that was not a decision taken lightly. /// And, an fairly important man, Elihu Washburne lived there. I wrote about him in my Civil War blog (Saw the Elephant). He was a friend of both Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant and a big reason Grant did well in the Army, at least initially. /// Washburne lived in the house in 1840 while waiting for his mansion to be built. County records show that he still owned it in 1843 and sold it in 1847. His mansion still stands at 3rd Street and Decatur (US-20) and is open for tours. /// Since then, however, the house at 208 Van Buren Street had fallen upon hard times and it was the belief that it was beyond saving. In short, it had become an eyesore. Its basement was constantly flooded and the house as a result was fairly well rotted. /// The new owner of the house says he will try to replicate the original cottage as much as possible. /// Always sad to see something old torn down but sometimes that is the only choice. ---DaCoot

Talk Like a Pirate Day Vocab-- Part 3

Here are some advanced words to use: /// BEAUTY: The best possible address for a woman. Always preceded with the word "me" as in 'C'mere, me beauty." /// BILGE RAT: The bilge is the lowest level of a ship. It's loaded with ballast and very slimy, reeking water. A bilge rat, then, is a rat that lives in the worst place on a ship. Often used as an insult. So if a pirate calls you a bilge rat you should take offense if he means it. /// LUBBER: Or land lubber. This is a seaman's version of a land lover. A lubber is someone who does not go to sea and stays on land. Also, consider it a bit of an insult if you get called this. /// SMARTLY: Do something quickly. /// C'mon Here Me Bilge Rat!!! --Cooter

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talk Like a Pirate Day Vocab-- Part 2

Here's a quick primer for some words you can use: /// AHOY!-- "Hello." /// AVAST! "Stop and give attention." It can also mean a sense of surprise as in "Whoa, get a load of that!" /// AYE! "Yes." "I agree completely with you." /// AYE, AYE! "I'll get right on that sir." /// ARRR! Often confused with ARRGH, which, of course, is the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. Arr! can mean "yes," "I agree, "I'm happy," "My team is going to win it all," "I'm disappointed," or "That was a clever remark you or I just made." Also, many other things. /// I plan to get by with a lot of Arrghs today. /// Belaying Pin? ---DaCoot

Talk Like a Pirate Day Vocab-- Part 1

From the September 15, 2013, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus. /// Avast There Me Matey!! It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day today, September 19th. ??? This day is always held on September 19th and is the brainchild of two friends, John Baur and Mark Summers, who, according to the newspaper, came up with the idea while playing raquetball. /// However, to me, a better explanation would be in a bar over a few cocktails (perhaps grog). /// The date was selected because it is Summers' wife's birthday. /// Hey, it's something to do. /// No Lubbers 'Lowed Round Here Today. --Cooter

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Company

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina. /// I wrote about this unit's formation in 1793 and history up to the Civil War and Spanish-American War, when it officially changed its Confederate gray uniforms for United States blue before shipping out for service. /// They trained at Camp Dan Russell at Tybee Island, Georgia, but never got to Cuba. They were mustered out at Macon, Ga., 8 Feb. 1899. In 1917, FILI, went to Camp Stewart at El Paso, Texas, to defend the U.S. border from raids by Mexican leader Francisco Villa. /// During World War I, FILI served as Company F of the 119th Infantry Regiment, part of the Thirtieth Division. This is the same unit that the Goldsboro Rifles, which also served during the Civil War and Spanish-American War fought with in World War I. /// The unut was involved in the bloody fighting around Flanders. This was the last action the FILI was involved in. Since then, they have existed primarily as a fraternal organization. They maintained an armory where Fort Bragg soldiers were often entertained and they also have established a museum to house their artifacts. /// --Cooter

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Deaths: SoftSoap-- Part 2

Earlier this year, Inc. Magazine's readers ranked this move as one of the top three shrewdest business moves ever made. /// During Taylor's career, he created and sold more than a dozen businesses, including production of toothbrushes, shampoo, various kinds of soap and several very popular fragrances. One of these fragrances was Calvin Klein's Obsession. /// He grew up in Chicago. ///

Friday, September 13, 2013

Deaths: SoftSoap-- Part 1

ROBERT R. TAYLOR, 77 /// Yahoo! Obituaries and AP. /// Invented a soap dispenser that used a small pump to deliver the soap which revolutionized the way people was their hands. He was worried that a big company would steal his idea and leveraged his company's entire worth at $12 million and ordered 100 million little hand pumps from the only two U.S. companies to make them. /// This created such a backlog that those two companies could not sell to anyone else, giving his brand time enough to establish itself. In the next six months, his company sold $25 million worth of SoftSoap and an era was born. ///

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

If It's Fall, It's Football: NC Football-- Part 3

The ACC contiinues being the premier college football conference in the state and is especially noted for its basketball prowess, especially with Duke and UNC. They haven't done as well in football for the most part. Other state teams have done well at lower levels like Elon, Appalachian State (including their great win over Michigan a few years ago) and Western Carolina. /// My own personal favorite North Carolina team, the East Carolina Pirates, has been powerful since the 1960s and continues to rise. /// Most NC college teams integrated in the 1960s. /// Since the 1930s, NC colleges have produced many who went on to star in the NFL, including George McAfee, Sonny Jurgeson, Lawrence Taylor, Julius Peppers, Randy White and Bill George. /// Well, and now there is the NFL team Carolina Panthers based out of Charlotte. /// Cooter

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

If It's Fall, It's Football: NC Football-- Part 2

Trinity (Duke), Wake Forest and Guilford once banned intercollegiate football, but reinstated it. College football continues to grow in fan interest and financial terms. In short, the game brings in big money for the colleges. /// North Carolina college football became nationally prominent in 1931 with the arrival of Wallace Wade at Duke and the 1934 arrival of Carl Snavely at UNC. Duke hosted the California-based Rose Bowl on 1 Jan. 1942 because of fears of possible Japanese attack on the West Coast. /// The post-World War II exlosion nof college enrollment, thanks to the GI Loan swept thye nation and NC. The exploits of UNC halfback Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice (1946-1949) pushed the UNC program and he later played in the NFL. /// Then, Duke, UNC, Wake Forest and NC State were charter members in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953. /// --Hike!! --DaCoot

Ten Things About Harvard-- Part 1

From the September 4, 2013, Washingtime Times "The List: Top Ten facts about Harvard University" by John Sopko. /// You know me and lists. I "gotta have 'em." /// 10. Established in 1636 and named for John Harvard,n two years later after a very generous donation. /// 9. Harvard's University Library System is the third largest in the United Staes with 17 million volumes. Behind only the Library of Conress and Boston Public Library in size. /// 8. Member of the Elite Eight, the Ivy League, along with Yale, Brown, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell. /// ---Cooter

Monday, September 9, 2013

If It's Fall, It's Football Time: NC Football-- Part 1

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina "Football." /// Of course, in North Carolina, high school football is a big thing, but there is also college and professional football in the sport. /// The first colleges to field teams were Trinity College (later Duke University), UNC-Chapel Hill nand Wake Forest with the first intercollegiate football games played i8n 1888. Most of the state's football pioneers learned the sport at northern campuses. /// In the 1890s, football started at North Carolina A&M (now North Carolina State), Davidson College and others began playing. //// On December 27, 1892, Biddle Institute (now Johnson C. Smith University) and Livinstone College played in the first intercollegiate game between black colleges. /// Hut, Hut, Hut. --Cooter

Friday, September 6, 2013

Movie "War Horse" Sparks Interest in World War I

From the Feb. 18, 2012, Kansas City Star "Interest in WW sparks attendance at Kansas City museum" by Nicholas Swan. /// The movie "War Horse" has sparked an increase in World War II judging by more people visiting the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City. Attendance in 2010 was 133,355 and in 2011 climbed to 141,327. /// During the war, Boy Scouts looked for subversives. Hamburgers became Liberty Patties and frankfurters Liberty Sausages because of their German connection. /// German-Americans were locked up in prisons. /// ---Cooter

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Last Big Baseball Scandal-- Part 5

By the fall, three players: Jackson, Cicotte and Williams had confesssed on paper, but these confessions went missing. The Tribune reported that Arnold Rothstein, the New York gambler who had set up the whole scheme, had bought them for $10,000. When he saw his name was not mentioned, he offered to sell it to the Tribune which refused. /// Comiskey suspended those three and five others he felt were involved, even though the Sox were in another pennant race in which they ended up barely missing a trip to the World Series. ///

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Last Big Baseball Scandal-- Part 4: The 1919 World Series

The White Sox had won the World Series in 1917 and were heavy favorites to to defeat the challengers from the National League, the Cincinnati Reds. Some even talked of a dynasty as the Sox had it all: pitching, hitting and defense. /// But the series opened poorly for the Sox with starting pitcher Eddie Cicotte hitting the Reds' leadoff batter to signal the fix was on. The Sox lost 9-1. Game two was a 4-2 loss, but the Sox won game three. /// The fix returned in game four with a 2-0 loss. The Reds went on to win the 8th game of the nine game series and the world championship on the same day that Mrs. O'Leary's cow started the Chicago Fire 48 years earlier. /// Runors of a fix were immediate. Comsikey offered a $10,000 reward for information that the series had been thrown, but refused to pay several claimants. Everybody returned for the 1920 season and played well. /// --Cooter

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Last Big Baseball Scandal-- Part 3: Cheap Old Comiskey

The story of the Black Sox has been told in movies like "Eight Men Out" and "Field of Dreams." /// Today, part of the responsibility for the players taking the performance-enhancing drugs is their sky-high salaries and pressure to earn them. Rodriguez stands to lose $31 million. With the White Sox, it was the other way around. Players back then had meager salaries and received almost slave-like treatment from owners, especially the White Sox owner Charles Comiskey. He once even refused to pay for cleaning his players' uniforms./// Shoeless Joe Jackson received $6,000 in 1919 (nearly $81,000 today). Lefty Williams, one of baseball's best pitchers, $2,625. /// -- Cooter

Jazz Age Gangsters-- Part 2: "...Beegest an' Highest Men in the Ceety."

And, the gangsters had many powerful public men in their pocket. South Side mobster "Diamond Joe" Esposito, involved with bootlegging, prostitution and racketeering, celebrated his son's christening in 1925 with guests including two sitting judges, a former judge, the clerk of probate court and a U.S. senator. /// He bragged, "My fren's are de beegest an' highest men in the ceety." /// Three years later he was killed in a drive-by shooting while sitting on his front steps. The day he died, U.S. Senator Charles Deneen praised Esposito as a loyal and generous friend.. The day of the funeral, the senator's house was bombed. /// There are a lot more interesting stories in the article. /// -- DaCoot

Jazz Age Gangsters-- Part 1: Some Things Don't Change Much

From the August 4, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback: Chicago's Jazz Age gangsters were covered like celebrities" by Ron Grossman. /// Chicago headlines from the 1920s and 1930s like "6 Wounded in 4 Gun Affrays; Gangs Fight Running Battle" could very well still be used today what with all the shootings, drive-bys and murders in Chicago. /// I wonder what the death and wounded toll will be after this Labor Day weekend? Chicago streets are more dangerous than those in Afghanistan. And, we're fighting a war there. /// And, Chicago streets were dangerous back in the 20s and 30s, especially if you were connected with any gangster activity. Only now, we have gangs of a different sort, but still involved in illegal activities. /// The Tribune says even its reporters back then did not always report gangland activities appropriately. They would keep the public apprised of nicknames like "Mossy," "Big Steve" and "Dutch." /// How About 'The Scourge?" --RoadDog