Long-lost WWI soldier found and returned home

Long-lost WWI soldier found and returned home

Metal-detector hobbyist finds 1st Sgt. George Humphrey in the foothills of France

On Sept. 15, 1918, with World War I nearing an end, United States Marine George Henry Humphrey was killed by a machine gun bullet through his helmet.
Pinned down by the Germans, George's fellow soldiers hastily buried him in the woods of rural northern France.

They drew a map and later tried to explain the location to George's family, but the grave could not be found.

Until now. A hobbyist with a metal detector made the discovery last fall.
On Wednesday, George Humphrey will be reburied at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He had family roots in Wisconsin, and a couple of his relatives from our state will be present when he is lowered into his final, final resting place.

"You'd think after 92 years he'd never be found. It tells people don't give up. There's always hope for families," said John Humphrey of Oconomowoc.

John, a retired farmer, would be George's first cousin once removed. He was born two years after George died, making him 90 now. Because of health concerns, he is not making the trip to Arlington this week.

But his two sisters are going at government expense. That would be Helen Neitzel, 77, of Horicon and Frances Richter, 83, of Watertown.

Helen said she was astounded when she got the news, though she and John admit they didn't know much about George Humphrey or his sad and mysterious end. John thought maybe it was an identity scam when he first was notified...

jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/96734384.html

Stan, thank you for posting this article. It brought tears to my eyes.

I had four grand-uncles that I knew as a child and teenager, who served in the First World War, that war that was to end all wars. They, thank God, came home safely. One of the uncles served as a cook in one of the army units, because he was an "older" man. When we kids told him we thought that was a good job to have, he told us it was the saddest, because when the battles were over, his job was to bury the dead of both sides. He said he would always be haunted by how young they all were.

[quote="Peggy_in_Burien, post:2, topic:203254"]
Stan, thank you for posting this article. It brought tears to my eyes.

I had four grand-uncles that I knew as a child and teenager, who served in the First World War, that war that was to end all wars. They, thank God, came home safely. One of the uncles served as a cook in one of the army units, because he was an "older" man. When we kids told him we thought that was a good job to have, he told us it was the saddest, because when the battles were over, his job was to bury the dead of both sides. He said he would always be haunted by how young they all were.

[/quote]

Hi Peggy my Catholic sister and USAF Trooper,

I never thought about how they buried the dead in WW! I’ve been to the Battlefield of Verdun and man that was one terrible war.

At that battlefield every one square meter three artillery rounds hit there is one village that was wiped off the face of this earth.

Man the graves that are still there a lot of American hero’s. Well on all sides.

I’ve also been in those fixed underground forts the French military leadership was in the 1800’s come on fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man on that battlefield.

Patton had also had a problem early in his career a lot of officers were still stuck with horse cavalry just before WWII. He was in WWI and seen that armor and the fast attack is the way win battles on a modern battlefield.

Of course if you talk to WWII soldiers from the Big Red One, First Infantry Division they hated Patton and some of the stupid stuff Patton did in North Africa if I was with the Bloody Red One—I would have hated him too.

Like today a commander would not even think about going into battle without communications if you cannot coordinate your combat elements you lose.

Of course I’m predigest—I’m Signal Corps! :D

This op-ed from the NY Times appeared awhile ago.

Record-keeping improved with the Civil War, still the nation’s deadliest conflict. But because the conflict involved millions of men, shifting fronts and hurried burials, the percentage of soldiers who went to their graves without names is astounding. One in four were never identified.

Determined to do better, the United States fielded specialty teams to recover and identify its fallen soldiers and sailors from the Spanish-American War, bringing thousands home from Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines for burial. As a result, the percentage of unknowns plummeted. The number of total American deaths from World War I, the first conflict of truly global proportions, shocked the nation: 116,000 deaths in about 18 months of fighting.

In 1921, the unidentified remains of one of those soldiers became the first body interred at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Nevertheless, because of advances in battlefield recovery, better records and the introduction of dog tags, the number of unknowns in our first great war dropped markedly, to about 2 percent, a rate that held through World War II and the Korean conflict.

Thanks to refinements in forensic dentistry and the use of X-rays and CAT scans, the number of unknowns has continued to dwindle with each subsequent war. In 1998, Arlington’s unknown service member from the Vietnam War, who was buried in May 1984, was disinterred and identified as First Lt. Michael J. Blassie, an airman shot down in 1972. With elaborate honors, he was returned to his hometown, St. Louis. His tomb at Arlington remains empty, marking the first 20th century conflict for which there is no unknown warrior.

So far, thank God, there have been no unknowns in Iraq I & II nor in Afghanistan nor are there likely to be.

[quote="didymus, post:4, topic:203254"]
This op-ed from the NY Times appeared awhile ago.

So far, thank God, there have been no unknowns in Iraq I & II nor in Afghanistan nor are there likely to be.

[/quote]

HOOAH! :thumbsup:

Thank you for posting this article. :)

-USAF 1982-1986.

Stan, Catholic Fireman, and the Rest of You,

I’m going to take this opportunity to ask you all to remember my two blue stars in your prayers. Currently, my beloved son-in-law, Captain Matt Penhale, USAF, is serving in Iraq. He is due to come home to my daughter and the 4 little ones (as well as his mother and father) in a couple of months.

Just about the time he returns home, my younger daughter, Staff Sergeant Kitty Thorburn, USAF, will be deployed to Iraq for who knows how long.

As you may recall, when we were young, we never gave the dangers a second thought. Afterall, weren’t we invincible? Weren’t we going to live to be very old people–maybe even 50 years old?

But, now we are old troopers, airmen, and sailors, and somehow I don’t see my own kids as the intrepid warriors that we once were. They are just kids. They aren’t made of steel, and they might not live to be 50. I would gladly go back into uniform, if they’d have me, just to save my kids from going. Maybe this is just a mother thing, maybe you guys understand what I am saying. It sure is alot harder watching them go off to war to protect me, than it ever was for me to go off to protect my country, when I was 25.

My father, who served in WWII, must have felt the same way about seeing me in uniform.

Peggy,

Matt and Kitty are in my prayers. So are all who are serving and will serve in harm's way (these days....the world is harms way, but mostly Iraq and Afghanistan:

O Prince of Peace, we humbly ask Your protection for all our men
and women in military service. Give them unflinching courage to
defend with honor, dignity and devotion the rights of all who are
imperiled by injustice and evil. Guard our churches, our homes,
our schools, our hospitals, our factories, our buildings, and all
those within from harm and peril. Protect our land and its people
from enemies within and without. Grant an early peace with victory
founded upon justice. Instill in the hearts and minds of men and
women everywhere a firm purpose to live forever in peace and
good will towards all. Amen.

Thanks for posting this, Stan.

[quote="CatholicFireman, post:6, topic:203254"]
Thank you for posting this article. :)

-USAF 1982-1986.

[/quote]

Thanks for the prayers.

You were serving around the time I was, maybe we crossed paths. Between 1982 and 1986 we were Stateside, at Shaw AFB, SC; and Black Mountain Radar Site, above Atascadero, CA. In between Shaw and Black Mountain, my husband was on a short tour of Thule, Greenland.

I had been trained at Keesler AFB, Mississippi in 1978, and then off to a remote SAC radar site (Det. 4, 1CEVG SAC) outside of Ramstein AFB, outside of K-Town in West Germany.

How about you?

[quote="Peggy_in_Burien, post:10, topic:203254"]
Thanks for the prayers.

You were serving around the time I was, maybe we crossed paths. Between 1982 and 1986 we were Stateside, at Shaw AFB, SC; and Black Mountain Radar Site, above Atascadero, CA. In between Shaw and Black Mountain, my husband was on a short tour of Thule, Greenland.

I had been trained at Keesler AFB, Mississippi in 1978, and then off to a remote SAC radar site (Det. 4, 1CEVG SAC) outside of Ramstein AFB, outside of K-Town in West Germany.

How about you?

[/quote]

I was at Lowry AFB, Denver (now closed) for 3-4 months for electronics (didn't work out), Chanute AFB, IL (now closed) and Travis AFB, CA as a firefighter (as was my wife). My wife went Palace Chase and wound up retiring from the NY ANG in 2005.

May he rest in the peace of Christ for eternity.

~Liza

[quote="CatholicFireman, post:11, topic:203254"]
I was at Lowry AFB, Denver (now closed) for 3-4 months for electronics (didn't work out), Chanute AFB, IL (now closed) and Travis AFB, CA as a firefighter (as was my wife). My wife went Palace Chase and wound up retiring from the NY ANG in 2005.

[/quote]

Gee, I didn't know Lowry and Chanute were closed! Once I had kids, I kind of lost track of a lot of things (not the kids, though). My young cousin (well, he's in his late 30s now) was a fireman in the Air Force, after I got out.

[quote="Peggy_in_Burien, post:13, topic:203254"]
Gee, I didn't know Lowry and Chanute were closed! Once I had kids, I kind of lost track of a lot of things (not the kids, though). My young cousin (well, he's in his late 30s now) was a fireman in the Air Force, after I got out.

[/quote]

Yeah they closed in the 90's. Sad, but Chanute has a website. They have a museum there now.
aeromuseum.org/aircraft_f111a.html

I always say the Air Force is the job that got me the job that got me this job. :D

Yet another WW I soldier is laid to rest:

washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071204936.html?wprss=rss_metro/dc

[quote="CatholicFireman, post:15, topic:203254"]
Yet another WW I soldier is laid to rest:

washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071204936.html?wprss=rss_metro/dc

[/quote]

:signofcross:

[quote="didymus, post:4, topic:203254"]
So far, thank God, there have been no unknowns in Iraq I & II nor in Afghanistan nor are there likely to be.

[/quote]

Thank forensic science. Remains today can be identified through any number of sophisticated techniques; besides, we bring back our dead immediately after a battle, and have never had to abandon bodies in makeshift graves to suffer such a fate.

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