WWI DISPATCH February 2023

update subscription preferences

View this in your browser

Header 10292020

February 2023

Marguerite Martin and Felix Lovera

A Love. A War. A Citizen.

"What drives people to join the military? Patriotism? Poverty? Fear? Honor? Glory? Citizenship? The draft? Love?
"The reasons are many and, in many cases, more than one reason applies.
"This is the true story of Marguerite Martin and Felix Lovera, two young lovers who served in the United States Army in France during World War I."

So begins Patrick Lundquist's remarkable story of two immigrant Americans whose love survived World War I, and whose marriage, paradoxically, was made possible by the war. Click here to read the just-made-for-Valentine's Day story of Felix, a Sergeant in Bakery Company 324, and Marguerite, one of the Army's "Hello Girls" in France, and the ultimate victory of their love against all odds.

F-22 That Took Down China's Spy Balloon Honored Heroic WWI American Pilot

Frank Luke Jr.

A US Air Force F-22 fighter jet using the callsign “FRANK 01” shot down a high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon on Saturday, February 4, sending debris plummeting into the ocean off the coast of South Carolina, and calling attention to a famous World War I pilot. Frank Luke received the Medal of Honor after shooting down over a dozen aircraft, including 10 spy balloons, in just eight days. Click here to read more about Luke, and learn "how fitting is it that Frank 01 took down this balloon in sovereign air space of the United States of America within our territorial waters.

Dr. Frank Boston: World War I Soldier, Emergency Medicine Innovator

Dr. Frank Boston

Dr. Frank Erdman Boston (1890-1960), WWI Veteran, Doctor, Surgeon, First Responder, graduate of Fort Des Moines, who served in France with the 92nd Division (Buffalo soldiers) and returned to accomplish incredible feats, will be the subject of a live presentation at the Fort Des Moines Museum. Click here to learn more about the presentation, and how to attend. After his WWI service, Major Frank Boston, came home to be an inspiring leader in other ways. Click here to read more, and learn how in addition to being the first African American to start both a hospital and an ambulance service, he may also be the pioneer of modern emergency medical services as we know them today.

Kimball, WV World War I Memorial Shows Black Veterans’ Fight For Democracy

Kimball World War I Memorial Shows Black Veterans’ Fight For Democracy

The Kimball World War I Memorial in McDowell County, WV is the only American memorial in the country kept in honor of black WWI veterans, the National Coal Heritage Area group reported. The three-story building, set on a hillside in McDowell County, was built in 1928, as local veterans returned from foreign battlefields. Click here to read more about how the memorial has "as much relevance and a similar message in 2023 as it did when black veterans went to the McDowell County commission to say they wanted their government to honor Black contributions to American democracy many years ago."

Harlem Hellfighters: Who Were They?

369th Infantry logo

The 369th Infantry, whose members called themselves Harlem’s Rattlers, became the most famous all-black regiment to fight during World War I. By the end of the war, 171 of the regiment’s men received individual Croix de Guerre medals for their valor. It was a New York Army National Guard infantry unit and one of the first few U.S. Army regiments to have African American officers in addition to an all-African American enlisted corps. Click here to read more about this storied unit, one of a few black American combat units during World War I. 

How Valiant Hearts: Coming Home Honors the Harlem Hellfighters

Valiant Hearts: Coming Home snip

Valiant Hearts: Coming Home, the sequel to the award-winning Valiant Hearts: The Great War, is available now exclusively for Netflix members on the Netflix mobile app. The game tells the stories of four ordinary people dealing with the overwhelming nature of war, including James, a member of the Harlem Hellfighters, the first mainly African American infantry unit to fight during World War I. Though the game’s characters are fictional, they are inspired by true events. Click here to read more, and learn what was done to ensure that the stories told in Valiant Hearts: Coming Home were "respectful and historically accurate." 

Put that thing down and back slowly away: how WWI can become uncomfortably close...

WWI Anti-ship shell found in Florida

Pawn shops have a reputation for buying the darnedest things, but military projectiles aren’t on the list, even if they’re antiques. A customer learned that the hard way when he walked into a pawn shop in North Port, Florida, with a WWI “anti-ship” round (left) and asked how much it was worth. Click here to read more, and learn how the "bang-for-the-buck" principle (fortunately) didn't apply here. Meanwhile, and elsewhere, a first-time UK metal detectorist was metal detecting with his teenage son and friends when they found what they originally thought was a bottle, but turned out to be quite something else. Click here to read more, and learn how the detectorist "thought we might find a coin. The first thing that comes up when we use the machine is a bomb."

Florence Standish – Early 20th Century Asheville, VA Nurse Served in WWI

Florence Standish

The History of the Asheville Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) is a complex and fascinating one spanning over a century of care. Research continues to uncover connections, placing the people of this historic hospital site into better view.  The latest of these discoveries involves a photograph, simply captioned: “Unidentified woman, half-length portrait, wearing nurses uniform.” So who was this "unidentified" nurse. Click here to read the whole story, and find out how some creative sleuthing to uncover her identify revealed that U.S. Army Hospital # 19’s first Chief Nurse, Florence Standish, had a remarkable life story.

New Book Explores How World War I First Helped Form, Then Destroy Yugoslavia

Daniel J. Basta

Among Honest Communists – Slovenia and Yugoslavia 1973 – 1975, by Daniel J. Basta (Dorrance Publishing, 2022) describes how the “Great War” that emerged in the Balkans changed forever the political and social character of that troubled region. Basta describes that the Yugoslavia in which he arrived in 1973 was a direct result of the Great War and was still wrestling with the arbitrary decisions of the 1919 Versailles Treaty. Click here to read more, and learn how "the very same pressures which the Treaty sought to resolve are in 1973 still smoldering beneath the surface," and would ultimately tear apart the nation fabricated at Versailles.

Mesa, AZ Resident, Veteran Pens New World War I Aviation Fiction Thriller

J.B. Rivard

At age 92, Navy veteran J.B. Rivard uses cinematic storytelling for his newest book that almost went up in smoke. Low on Gas – High on Sky,” about record-setting aviator Nick Mamer, partly inspired Rivard’s new novel that debuted on Feb. 7. His “Dead Heat to Destiny” follows the lives and loves of three people imperiled in the cataclysm of WWI. But both books almost never happened due in part to the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center outside St. Louis, MO that destroyed 22 million veterans’ personal records. Click here to read more, and learn how a family's "trunk full of memorabilia" both inspired and informed the new novel, which offers readers a front row seat to the early 20th century’s most compelling events.

A Family Tie To U.S. Navy's Cyclops Led To Three Books About The WWI Mystery Ship

Marvin Barrash

While he was growing up in Baltimore, Marvin Barrash never heard much about the U.S. Navy's ship Cyclops, lost in World War I, but from his father he learned that his great uncle Lawrence Merkel has been aboard the vessel. But after "a family history homework assignment inspired my interest in genealogy," he went searching for his great uncle. That search has led to three books that form the definitive understanding of the story and fate of the Navy's WWI mystery ship. Click here to read more, and learn how Barrash, even after some 26 years of research and writing, is still looking for "more about the ship, the men and information that will lead to discovery of the Cyclops’ wreckage."

Book Explores The Controversial Truth Behind A Modern Military Legend

James P. Gregory, Jr.

As machine gun fire pinned down their comrades, a squad of doughboys – including Acting Cpl. Alvin York – successfully seized and eradicated a threat ten times their number. Historian James P. Gregory, Jr. in his new book, "Unraveling the Myth of Sgt. Alvin York", explores the little-known story of the other sixteen soldiers who took part in one of the most famous battles in World War I. Click here to read more, and learn how his book "recovers the story of these other men and the part they played alongside York while revealing the process of mythmaking in twentieth-century America."

American Citizenship For Conscientious Objectors In The Wake Of World War I

Duane Stoltzfus

In the wake of World War I, the U.S. Bureau of Naturalization inserted a new question into the application for prospective citizens: “If necessary, are you willing to take up arms in defense of country?” Dr. Duane Stoltzfus, professor of communication at Goshen College, discussed the immediate impact the question had on pacifists during “Love of Country Distilled to a Question: When Pacifism Becomes a Litmus Test for Citizenship.” Click here to read more about the presentation, and learn how the question of this question was fought over for over two decades before finally being answered by the Supreme Court.

Relatives Shocked By Identification Of World War I Soldier A Century After Being Reported Missing

Cpl. Percy Howarth

The family of a man who fought and died in the First World War say they thought they were being scammed at first when they got the call asking for a DNA sample to identify their distant relative. Cpl. Percy Howarth was just 23 when he was reported missing as his battalion, the 7th Canadian Infantry British Columbia, stormed Hill 70.Howarth’s remains were found in 2011, but it took experts more than a decade to identify the soldier. Click here to read the whole story, and learn how “The fact that they managed to identify him with DNA found basically in a mass grave is truly wondrous,

How World War I Changed How And What Americans Eat At Mealtimes

Food Will Win The War sign

When German immigrants came to America, they brought the traditional staples of the German dinner table with them. Beer, sausages, and sauerkraut became almost overnight sensations. Then came World War I, and although Americans weren’t ready to completely give up these delicacies from across the River Rhine, they were going to give them a name change. Click here to read more, and learn how, unwilling to actually stop eating German food, Americans simply changed the names of the most common foods so they sounded more patriotic.

Lumber From World War I Research At The Forest Products Laboratory Helps Repair The U.S. Capitol Building

WWI-era Lumber at USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

The United States Capitol building was breached on January 6, 2021. Historically significant materials, many made of wood, were stolen, damaged, or destroyed. To the rescue came the USDA Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory, with a stock of antique mahogany lumber. The wood, stored for over a century, was originally part of a study conducted by the War Department in World War I. Click here to read more, and learn how the legacy of a century-old effort to use mahogany for WWI aircraft propellers in France was prime lumber used to repair the Capitol.

Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial

Honoring Sgt. Leonard C. Purkey, USA

During the week of January 16, 2023, Daily Taps at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC was sounded in honor of WWI veteran William Matthews, namesake for Washington VFW post 1585.

When the U.S. entered WWI, William could have received a deferral due to his work on the family farm. Matthews chose to support his country & enlisted in the Army Dec. 10th, 1917. He became a member of Co. F, 6th Battalion (Forestry) 20th Engineers & sailed for France Jan. 24th, 1918 aboard the SS Tuscania. On Feb. 5th, the Tuscania was struck by a torpedo from a German submarine & sank in the Irish Sea. Approx. 210 soldiers were lost, including Matthews.

William Matthews

The Daily Taps program of the Doughboy Foundation provides a unique opportunity to dedicate a livestreamed sounding of Taps in honor of a special person of your choice while supporting the important work of the Doughboy Foundation. Choose a day, or even establish this honor in perpetuity. Click here for more information on how to honor a loved veteran with the sounding of Taps.

Doughboy MIA for February 2023

First Lieutenant Philip Edward Hassinger

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Our Doughboy MIA this month is First Lieutenant Philip Edward Hassinger of the 22nd Aero Squadron. “Phil”, as his friends called him, was born on 1 Nov 1893 in New York City, New York to Dr. Jacob “Joseph” P. Hassinger DDS and Mellie Karns Hassinger. He was the eldest child of three to first generation American parents. Phil Hassinger attended New York City’s Morris High School and, like his father, attended Columbia University in New York. Philip Hassinger was prominent in school activities as President of The Columbia Players, a theater club, and Manager for Columbia’s Varsity Hockey Team. He was a member of Theta Psi fraternity and after graduating in 1914 he was elected the permanent Secretary for the Class of 1914 alumni.

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in advertising, Philip Hassinger began working in the Kerr Steamship Company Advertising Department until the Mexican Border Crisis in 1916, when he enlisted as a Private in the 1st Motorized Battery of the New York National Guard. The battery was never mobilized into active service and in June Hassinger was released from duty and returned to his job.

But the crisis in Europe would lead him away again for military service. In 1917 Hassinger attended the Officer Training Course at Plattsburg, New York and while there was accepted into the Army Signal Corps Aviation Service and sent to Ground School for Aviators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 14 August 1917 to 1 October 1917. Hassinger then went on to complete basic flight school at Mineola, New York, graduating on 26 December 1917. On 12 January 1918 he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army as a Reserve Aviator.

Less than three weeks later Hassinger departed for Europe on 31 January 1918 as part of the 185th Aero Squadron. After two weeks crossing the Atlantic, Hassinger arrived in France and was sent for Advanced Flight and Gunnery training before being assigned to the newly formed 22nd Pursuit Squadron as a fighter pilot flying the French built SPAD XIII on 27 August 1918. He flew his first combat mission on 2 September 1918.


The 22nd Aero Squadron would fly patrols during the St. Mihiel Offensive between 12 September 1918 and 15 September 1918. On 14 September, at 2:18 pm the 22nd’s commander, Captain Ray C. Bridgeman, led a patrol of nine aircraft on a high protection mission to cover two Salmson 2A2 aircraft performing photographic reconnaissance. While on patrol the nine unsuspecting SPADs were jumped by twelve enemy Fokker DVIIs, which broke up the formation. It would prove to be First Lieutenant Phil Hassinger’s final mission.

“Lt. Hassinger failed to return” is simply how Captain Bridgeman ended his combat report after he returned to Toul. The squadron history, written by First Lieutenant Arthur Raymond Brooks, one of the nine aviators in combat that day, would state “Lieut. Hassinger disappeared entirely from the fight at its beginning, and it is practically certain that he fought a glorious fight against large odds.” But the details of Hassinger’s final fate were a mystery.

Searchers looking into Hassinger's case after the war had to wade through plenty of misinformation. Early in 1919 the International Red Cross stated that Lieutenant Hassinger was seen alive as a prisoner of war, which turned out to be erroneous. It was then determined that Hassinger’s aircraft exploded in the air over a large lake near Lachaussee, which is east of Mars-la-Tour. However, searchers could not find anyone that could confirm it was Lieutenant Hassinger’s aircraft.

A report from the Chaplain of the 103rd Engineers stated he buried an aviator’s body near that area later in the war, but these remains turned out to be of a pilot from the 95th Aero Squadron.

German records indicated Lieutenant Hassinger was shot down by Leutnant Hantelmann of Jasta 15 over St Benoit-en-Woevre. This could not be the correct location however as the town was in the American Army’s control the morning of 13 September 1918. However, Leutnant Hantelmann was also given credit for shooting down a SPAD near Lachaussee. Leutnant Hantelmann later recalled that he had seen the SPAD he was chasing explode in the air and fall in pieces to the ground between Mars La Tour and Lachausssee. At the time German ace thought the aircraft was hit by an artillery shell. This information agrees with some of the American pilots on the mission that day. Lieutenant Hassinger was the only member of the patrol to not return that day.


Hassinger’s fate would become further muddled when, after the war, his family would receive a notice that their son was found and buried in an American Cemetery at Fere-en-Tardenois, France. But these remains were found over 130 miles away from where Hassinger was flying. The family identified this problem to the War Department and the information found its way to air service searchers who, along with Hassinger’s brother, dug up the grave and discovered the remains were that of a Private in D Battery, 16th Field Artillery. Incredibly this soldier’s name was Phillip F. Hassinger as well, and he was from a family known to Lieutenant Hassinger’s parents! The mystery of Lieutenant Hassinger’s fate would continue to confound investigators until 1934 when the U.S. Government announced they ceased search operations for America’s MIA’s.

Sadly, in November of 1934 Lieutenant Hassinger’s brother received a letter from a German soldier stating he was present on the ground when Lieutenant Hassinger fell to earth. This man stated he had seen his brother’s aircraft shot down by artillery fire after observing the SPAD coming from the direction of Mars-la-Tour at a high altitude when fired upon. “Suddenly one part of a wing came loose, and the plane came down after several complete turns,” he wrote. He speculated that just after his plane was hit, Hassinger “jumped or fell from the machine.” Rushing to the scene, the aircraft wreckage was on fire and the body of Lieutenant Hassinger lay 80 meters away. Hassinger was “killed instantly upon hitting the ground.” The soldier said he knew it was Hassinger as he had seen the lieutenant’s identity papers and he had kept his belt as a souvenir.

Unfortunately, the soldier could not provide information as to where Lieutenant Hassinger’s body was buried. He stated in the letter, “a superior officer unknown to me joined us, took the wallet, identification paper, etc., and ordered some soldiers to take the body along.” Then the group came under artillery fire and dispersed. In his letter he drew a map of where it all had happened, but investigators found no grave nearby.

Doughboy MIA has an Aviation Team dedicated to locating missing in action American Aviators of World War One. First Lieutenant Hassinger’s MIA case is actively being researched by this team with the goal of finding and repatriating his remains if possible.

Want to help? Go to www.doughboymia.org and make a donation today! YOU can be part of the recovery efforts!

Merchandise From The Official
Doughboy Foundation WWI Store

Books --Lest We Forget & Honoring the Doughboys

Lest We Forget: The Great War World War I Prints from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. 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 and is a tribute to those who served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and what would become the Air Force. It serves as a lasting reminder that our world ignores the history of World War I (and the ensuing WWII) at its peril―lest we forget. 

Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather's World War I Diary is a stunning presentation of contemporary photographs taken by the author that are paired with diary entries written by his grandfather, George A. Carlson, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Jeff Lowdermilk followed his grandfather's path through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and returned with these meticulously crafted photographs and his own engaging stories that bring the diary to life for contemporary readers. Lowdermilk's passion for World War I and military history began as a young boy when he listened to his grandfather tell his stories about serving as an infantryman-- a "Doughboy"--in Europe during the Great War.

Proceeds from the sale of these books will help complete the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.

This and many other items are available as Official Merchandise of the Doughboy Foundation.

Lee Jensen

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

Lee Jensen

Submitted by: K.C.Picard-Krone {World War 1 historian}

Lee Jensen was born around 1895. Lee Jensen served in World War 1 with the United States Army Air Corps. The enlistment was in 1918 and the service was completed in 1918.

Story of Service

With all the best intentions of serving his country in the Great War, twenty-two year old Lee Jensen, of Montpelier, Idaho enlisted in February 1918 with the Aviation section of the Army Signal Corps. He was ordered to take the train to Vancouver Barracks in Washington State to report for training.

Jensen came from a large farming family, like the rest of the residents in Montpelier. He was born in Brigham City, Utah on the 5th of December 1895 as the fifth son in a family of 15 and he was in pretty good health. Yet four and a half weeks after he had settled in with his bunk mates in April 1918, Jensen was running a fever. Over the course of four days it progressed to a dry hacking cough together with a runny nose and red splotches all over his body... all the symptoms of measles.

The tragedy was that World War 1 recruits like Jensen were vulnerable in their isolated living. Country living did not confer on the new recruits the immunities built up by a lifetime of urban exposure to other kinds of germs and viruses like mumps and measles. Young soldiers like Jensen were in danger of dying from bullets and poison gas when they made it over to the Western Front. The newly minted soldiers who were suddenly thrown into close living quarters in the training camps, barracks, and even the densely packed troop ship transports were also dying from diseases picked up on the home front before they even left the country.

Read Lee Jensen's entire Story of Service here.

Submit your family's Story of Service here.

Honor the Stories of Service of ALL Who Served.

Do Your Bit to Help Build the new National World War I Memorial.

Fundraising thermometer 09062022