2018 Veterans Day WWI Centennial Commemoration and Dedication

Caswell Beach Mayor Deborah Ahlers poses in front of the WWI Monument after receiving the WWI Centennial Memorial Certificate

Approximately 130 people attended the Veterans Day WWI Centennial Commemoration and Dedication on a cold Sunday morning on November 11, 2018.

At 11:00am, the time the Armistice went into effect 100 years ago, Norma Eckard, president of Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range began the program.

The program and script is available here for display or download: 2018 Veterans Day Ceremony Program and Transcript. An updated copy will be available soon.

Thank you for those who attended and the marvelous supporters and donors!

 

The Roll Calls

The Roll Calls were assembled using the names of veterans who have been honored with a donation. Roll Calls will continue during future ceremonies. Following the completion of the calling of those veterans who have been honored, the remaining veterans will be called.

Photos courtesy of Jane Schepker, Christine Urick, and Phyllis Wilson. More photos will be loaded soon!

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WWI Profile: David Lafayette Dosher 1893-1919

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: findagrave
David Lafayette Dosher
Toledo, OH
US Army
Cook

Served:
October 4, 1917 – February 9, 1919
Overseas:
August 26, 1918 – February 9, 1919
Died of Disease: February 9, 1919

David Lafayette Dosher was born and raised in Southport, Brunswick County, NC. One brother, Charles Edward Dosher also served in WWI.

David was listed in the 1916 Toledo City Directory. [Source: Ancestry]

David’s WWI Draft Registration from 1917 shows he was single, living in Toledo, OH, and working at The Doehler Die Casting Company, which had relocated from NYC to Toledo in 1914. (There is also a “David Dosher” listed in the 1914 Sandusky, Ohio, City Directory, but it is unknown whether this is the same David Dosher.)

David was ordered to report for duty and was inducted into the Army on October 4, 1917. On November 12, 1917, Private Dosher was assigned to Company M, 348th Infantry, 87th Division. He became Cook on December 18, 1917. [Source: Ohio WWI Service Cards, Ancestry]

He boarded Honorata in Brooklyn on August 26, 1918. [Source: Ancestry]

During the fall of 1918 the commander of the Services of Supply, Maj. Gen. James G. Harbord, requested personnel from three combat divisions for labor units in his command. On September 17, Pershing’s headquarters reassigned three divisions scheduled to arrive from the United States to Maj. General Harbord. One of these divisions was the 87th. It was broken up for laborers in the Services of Supply.

The division did not lose its identity as a combat unit. When the Armistice was signed, it was under orders for service at the front. However, the division never served in combat during the war.

Details of the 348th Infantry could not be found. What is known is that on February 9, 1919, David Lafayette Dosher died of influenza and broncho pneumonia. When his Company departed Bordeaux on February 25, 1919, his name was not typed and crossed out on the passenger list, which would provide more information on his last days.

On March 6, 1919, The Wilmington Morning Star published the following story on page 3:

Southport’s First Sacrifice in War
David L. Dosher So Far as Known Is Only Southport Man to Give His Life

Southport, March 5. — Cook David L. Dosher, whose name recently appeared in a casualty list as having died of disease in France, is a son of Jesse Dosher, of this place. As far as is known, he is the first Southport young man to have lost his life in the big adventure. Southport furnished Uncle Sam with a large number of sailors and soldiers, but they were fortunate in being spared.

In 1929, David’s mother, Mrs. W.J. (Margaret Ann) Dosher, was given the opportunity to take a Mother’s Pilgrimage to visit his gravesite. All three mothers listed from Brunswick County declined. More information can be found in Claudie Hall McCall’s WWI Profile.

Source: Sewell, Patricia and Cecilia Palin, eds.. U.S. World War I Mothers’ Pilgrimage, 1929 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

David was laid to rest in Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in France (no photo is available). A memorial flat marker is also in place at Toledo Memorial Park, as shown above.

Note: David’s Ohio WWI Service Card is not linked from this post but is available in Ancestry.

If you would like to help us honor David Lafayette Dosher or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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Reminder: WWI Memorial Dedication tomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 11) at 11:00am

Please join us tomorrow (Sunday, November 11 at 11:00am)  at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range for the dedication of the Brunswick County WWI Monument and the National WWI Centennial Memorial: 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

For more information, please read the posted Invitation and download the program: Veterans Day 2018 WWI Centennial Commemoration

A few requests:

★ Please park only in condo parking lots.

★ Do not park along the road.

★ Arrive early for parking.

★ Dress warmly. Metal chairs will be very cold due to low temperatures tomorrow morning.

Thank you to the community for joining to honor the sacrifices of the World War I veterans of Brunswick County and the wonderful support in achieving national memorial status for the rifle range!

The Fort Caswell Rifle Range is located inside the Caswell Dunes subdivision, Caswell Beach, next to Oak Island Golf Course.

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Installing the Brunswick County WWI Monument

Cyrus McAlister and Rashid Johnson from Cole Monument Works in Whiteville returned today to place the monument on the base.

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Installing the base for the Brunswick County World War I Monument

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WWI Profile: Walter Stephen Brock 1895-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: Soldiers of the Great War, Vol. II
Walter Stephen Brock
Wrightsville, New Hanover County, NC
Regular Army
Private, First Class
Served:
July 16, 1914 – November 10, 1918
Overseas:
May 22, 1918 – November 10, 1918
KIA: November 10, 1918

Walter Stephen Brock was born and raised in New Hanover County, NC.

In 1914, when he was 18 years old, he enlisted in the Regular Army at Fort Caswell.

Source: North Carolina Collection: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

According to Walter Brock’s NC WWI Service Card:

    • He enlisted in the Regular Army at Fort Caswell, Brunswick County, NC, on July 16, 1914.
    • He served in the 31st Company Coastal Artillery Corps (CAC) until November 2, 1917.
    • He was then assigned to Company A, 7th Engineers (5th Division) until March 25, 1918,
    • then Company F, 116th Engineers (41st Division) until June 21, 1918,
    • and finally Company B, 2nd Engineers (2nd Division) until his death, KIA, on November 10, 1918.

This information conflicts with information from other sources as shown below. The initial formation of the 2nd Engineers left for France in September 1917 and spent most of their time constructing everything necessary to support a 2,000,000+ strong military force. It appears likely that engineers arriving from the US would be moved into any engineering regiment requiring more personnel.

Other documents from the period show this sequence of events for Private Brock.

Private Brock boarded Leviathan on May 22, 1918. The passenger list shows him in Company A, 7th Engineers (5th Division). [Source: Ancestry]

The Unit History for the 2nd Engineers (2nd Division – source listed at bottom) shows Pvt Brock in the roster. It lists him as having participated in every battle from Chateau Thierry (May 31, 1918) to the Argonne, which ended the war. The “K” before “Argonne” indicates he died during the battle in the Argonne. The “Rhine” is missing in the list because he died before he could join The Army of Occupation.

Yet the newspaper articles shown below state his family received news that he was previously wounded in June, followed by a letter from him in October that stated he was expecting to get back into action soon. There is no record of him being wounded. It was never reported on casualty lists published in newspapers. There is no record of him dying of wounds. The roster above shows him KIA, the newspaper reports in March show him as KIA, as well as the book Soldiers of the Great War, the source of his photo above.

It is typical to find mistakes in historical records. The experience of finding errors was shared in a previous post. In the case of the 2nd Division, their record of hard fighting throughout the war makes it even easier to imagine errors in record keeping.

The 2nd Division lost more men, gained more ground, captured more guns and prisoners, and won more medals than any other American Division. The 2nd Engineers fought every battle with the 2nd Division and fought an additional one without them while the infantry was recuperating. Because of the intensity of the battles of the 2nd Division, the engineers joined the infantry during most of them. It was the 2nd Engineers who inspired the quote seen in a previous post about engineers:

Boy, they dig trenches and mend roads all night, and they fight all day!'”

– Lt. Col. John Thomason, referring to engineers

Whether Pvt Brock died of wounds or was KIA, the result was the same: he gave his life for his country.

His death was not reported to his parents. For five months, they were unaware. Then on March 6, 1919, his name appeared on the casualty lists published in newspapers across the country. He was reported to have been KIA.

About a week later, on March 14, 1919, The Wilmington Morning Star published this on page 5.

WALTER C. BROCK DIED IN FRANCE IN NOVEMBER
Was Son of Mr. and Mrs. S.E. Brock, of Seagate – Wounded Last June

Official notification of the death of their son, Private Walter S. Brock, has just been received by Mr. and Mrs. S.E. Brock, of Seagate, in the form of a statement from France, that he died November 10, and offering condolences to the bereaved parents and relatives.

Mr. Brock, who was in the city yesterday, said he did not understand the cause of his son’s death, as he had no information prior to the receipt of the notice, except that his son’s name appeared in the list of dead in The Star several days ago. He stated he had wired the department at Washington for further information and for verification of the report immediately upon reading of it in the paper, but had had no reply other than that it was being investigated. The announcement from France came in yesterday.

As no information was given as to the cause of death, the parents don’t know whether he died of disease or in battle. They know he was wounded in action last June, but do not know the date, nor the battle, and were never notified as to the extent of his wounds. Since then they have had one letter from him, dated October 19, which indicated that he was well and expecting to get back into action soon.

Private Brock was 23 years old and was a member of Company B, Second engineers, regular army. He enlisted in 1912 at Fort Caswell and had done eight months’ service in Mexico. He went to France early in 1918. He is survived, beside his parents, by two brothers, William and Russell, both residing at Seagate; three sisters, Mrs. Lucian D. Bishop, 215 South Thirteenth street; Mrs. Strange Pridgen, Seagate, and Mrs. Alfred Flowers, of the city.

The remains were interred at Cummune de Beaumont, France.

Private Brock’s remains were returned on USAT Somme on March 14, 1921.

On April 9, 1921, The Wilmington Morning Star published this on page 3.

BODY OF VETERAN IS HERE FOR INTERMENT
Remains Private Walter Brock to Be Interred Today

Remains of Private Walter S. Brock, of Wrightsville sound, who died in France during the world war, will arrive in the city this morning at 10 o’clock and will be immediately taken to Wrightsville sound cemetery for interment. A large number of legionmen of the Wilmington post will attend the last rites.

Relatives of the dead soldier have just been notified that the remains were in New York. They were shipped there Friday. Although the funeral is not to be military it will be largely attended by friends, relatives and members of the local post of the American Legion. The funeral service will be held as soon as the remains can be conveyed from the union station to the sound.

Adjutant H.A. Church, of the local post, announced last night that legionmen of the city who attend the funeral will meet at Front and Princess streets shortly before 10 o’clock and board a suburban car for Wrightsville. Commander J.R. Hollis is very anxious to have a large number of legionmen attend the funeral.

Private Brock was a native of the Wrightsville sound section. During the world war he went to France as a member of Company B, second engineers. After several months of service he was injured and as a result died in an army hospital. He was well known in Wilmington.

On April 10, 1921, The Wilmington Morning Star published this on page 11.

HOLD FUNERAL TODAY OF PRIVATE WALTER S. BROCK

Funeral services of Private Walter S. Brock, who died in France during the world war, will be held this morning at Sea Gate and the interment will be made in Wrightsville Sound cemetery. The remains of the soldier arrived in Wilmington yesterday morning in a metal casket, having just arrived from the battlefields of Europe a few days ago.

There will be a large number of legionmen of the Wilmington post to attend the funeral services. They will leave the city on the 10 o’clock suburban car for Sea Gate. From there they will accompany the remains to the Wrightsville burying grounds.

Commander E.S. Addison, of the coast guard Seminole, will send a firing squad of sailors to fire the regulation salute over the grave and a bugler to sound taps.

Private Brock went to France as a member of company B, second United States engineers. He died of injuries in an army hospital.

On April 11, 1921, The Wilmington Morning Star published this on page 10.

PRIVATE BROCK LAID TO REST WITH COMRADES IN ATTENDANCE

Last rites over the remains of Private Walter S. Brock, who died in France during the war, were held at 11 o’clock Sunday morning at Sea Gate Baptist church. The interment was made in Giles’ cemetery, Wrightsville sound.

There were twenty-odd members of the local post of the American legion present at the funeral to do honor to this American boy who gave up his life that democracy might be preserved. The active pallbearers consisted entirely of Wilmington legionmen.

Upon the completion of the graveside service a squad of sailors in charge of Petty Officer Ginburg, of the coast guard cutter Seminole, fired the regulation salute. Taps was then sounded by a bugler.

The pallbearers were: Honorary Charlie Summerlin, A.M. Williamson, G.C. Baltzegar, Z.A. Sneeden, J.W. Walton and R.W. Butler; active, Legionmen S. Freeman Yopp, J.J. Neur, J.J. Quinlivan, J.W. McIntire, John C. Moylan, A.E. Wingle and A.E. Werkheiser.

At the church services the building was filled to capacity. The floral offerings were beautiful and many, attesting to the esteem in which the young man held.

Source: findagrace
Private Walter Stephen Brock was laid to rest in Mount Lebanon Chapel Cemetery in Airlie, New Hanover County, NC.

The writing under his date of birth and death is unclear. If they can be identified in the future, this post will be updated.

Source:
The Regimental HQ, 2nd Engineers (1920) The official history of the Second Regiment of Engineers and Second Engineer Train, United States Army, in the world war. San Antonio: San Antonio printing co.

If you would like to help us honor Walter Stephen Brock or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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WWI Centennial Commemoration program available

The Dedication of the WWI Monument
and the
Dedication of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range World War I Memorial

Sunday, Veterans Day, November 11, 2018
11:00am

Click here to view the program:
Veterans Day 2018 WWI Centennial Commemoration

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WWI Profile: Jimmie Griffin 1899-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: findagrave
Jimmie Griffin
Lillington, Harnett County, NC
Regular Army
Private
Served:
January 5, 1918 – September 11, 1918
Overseas:
May 29, 1918 – September 11, 1918
Shot by Sentry: September 11, 1918

Jimmie Griffin was born in Dunn, Harnett County, NC, in May 1899, according to the 1900 Census, and the youngest of seven living children.

The 1910 Census shows him in Harnett County. The family worked on the family farm. Jimmie (Young J) was 10 years old.

Jimmie had four known brothers; two served in WWI.

Pvt Rufus A Griffin enlisted in 1916, served in the 120th Infantry, and was severely injured on October 20, 1918, in the days after he helped break the Hindenburg Line. This was the same operation that injured Brunswick County veterans 1st Sgt Van Grissett Mintz of the 119th Infantry and Pvt Jesse James Leonard from the 120th Infantry.

Pvt Charlie D Griffin (WWI Draft Registration) was called to duty in May 1918, and served overseas in the 168th Infantry with the 42nd “Rainbow” Division.

William Edgar Griffin (WWI Draft Registration)  and Oscar E Griffin (WWI Draft Registration) were never called to duty.

On January 3, 1918, when Jimmie was 18 1/2 years old, he enlisted in the Regular Army at Fort Caswell, Brunswick County, NC.

Source: North Carolina Collection: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

He served in 1st Company Coastal Artillery Corps (CAC) until February 15, 1918, when his unit became Battery B, 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion (2nd Division). (Because The Fort Caswell Rifle Range was not completed until May 20, 1918, Private Griffin never used it for training.)

The Coast Artillery provided units for heavy artillery, railway artillery, and anti-aircraft artillery.  [Poster, 1917. Source: Library of Congress]

Jimmie boarded Cardiganshire on May 29, 1918, with the rest of the soldiers from the roster shown below, except Pvt Cecil Smith Pierce, who had already passed away, and Cook Frank R. Proffitt, who did not join them until November 1918.

2nd Division, 2nd Trench Mortar Battery

Name Btry
PVT Walter C Bennett C
PVT Paul W Cable C
PVT Jimmie Griffin B KIA 09/11/1918
PVT Charles S Haithcock C
PFC Eugene B Howard B
CPL George P McKeithan B
PVT Cecil Smith Pierce B DD 03/05/1918
Cook Frank R Proffitt D
SGT Charles F Rich C
CPL Archie F Thompson B
PFC Daniel R Walker C

 

The 2nd Division lost more men, gained more ground, captured more guns and prisoners, and won more medals than any other American Division. The division was commanded by US Marine Corps generals twice during WWI, the only time in US military history when Marine Corps officers commanded an Army division. (The history of the division is not available online. It was not published until 2007: see source below.)

The 2nd Division Summary of Operations:
June 1-5: Aisne Defensive
June 6-July 16: Chateau-Thierry Sector
July 18-20: Aisne-Marne Offensive
August 6-17: Marbache Sector
September 9-11: Limey Sector
September 12-16: St. Mihiel Offensive
September 29-October 14: Meuse-Argonne (Champagne) Offensive
October 24-November 11: Meuse-Argonne Offensive
November 12-August 1919: Army of Occupation

While the 2nd Division was in the Limey Sector (Lorraine), preparing for the St. Mihiel Offensive, Pvt Jimmie Griffin was shot by sentry. The Division had just completed the move to the sector the day before, September 10, 1918.

The front line of this sector on the south face of the St-Mihiel salient extends from 1/2 km southeast of Remenauville to 1 km north of Limey; 5th Div on right, 89th Div (IV Corps) on left. Sept 12, the Limey sector occupation merges into the St-Mihiel Operation.

These terrain photographs and maps show the area where Pvt Griffin was shot by sentry. Additional photographs may be found in The American Battle Monuments Commission source below.

The view behind their location:

The view to the east:

The view to the north. The Division would be marching toward Bois du Four.

Private Jimmie Griffin was laid to rest in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France. He was 19 years old.

Sources:
The Regimental HQ, 2nd Engineers (1920) The official history of the Second Regiment of Engineers and Second Engineer Train, United States Army, in the world war. San Antonio: San Antonio printing co.

Center of Military History of the United States Army (1931) Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War, American Expeditionary Forces: Divisions, Volume 2. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.

The American Battle Monuments Commission (2016) 2nd Division, Limey Sector, September 9-11, 1918, St. Mihiel Offensive, September 12-16, 1918. Washington, D.C. : American Battle Monuments Commission.

Additional Sources:
Clark, George B. (2007). The Second Infantry Division in World War I: a history of the American Expeditionary Force regulars, 1917-1919, Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

If you would like to help us honor Jimmie Griffin or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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Invitation to the Dedication of the WWI Monument on Veterans Day 2018

Please join us

in Commemorating the Centennial of the end of WW I
with the dedication of the

Brunswick County World War I Monument

at 11:00 am on Sunday
Veterans Day, November 11, 2018
at the site of the

National WWI Centennial Memorial:
1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range

in Caswell Beach, NC.

The program will be available soon and will include these special presentations:

  • Roll Call of the 23 Brunswick County men who sacrificed their lives during World War I.
  • The firing of Southport Historical Society’s cannon “Thor.”
  • Roll Call of 150 Brunswick County WWI veterans, a continuation of the list of 724 that began at the April 6, 2018 recitation commemorating the start of the war.

Special Guests will include descendants of Pvt Harvey T. Chadwick, one of the men from Brunswick County who made the ultimate sacrifice during WWI while breaking the famous Hindenburg Line on September 29, 1918.

Priceless heirlooms from the Chadwick family will be available for viewing, including the American flag that draped his coffin when his remains were returned in December 1921, and the Certificate of Appreciation for his sacrifice.

If you are a descendant of a Brunswick County WWI veteran and would like to be recognized or share WWI photographs or artifacts, please contact Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

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WWI Profile: Cecil Smith Pierce 1896-1918

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Source: findagrave
Cecil Smith Pierce
Hallsboro, Columbus County, NC
Regular Army
Private
Served:
January 23, 1918 – March 5, 1918
Died of Disease: March 5, 1918

Cecil Smith Pierce was born in Hallsboro, Columbus County, NC. His parents, Jonathan Smith Pierce and Jeanette Council Pierce died several months after his birth, in 1897, cause unknown.

The 1900 Census shows he and his brother Lonnie Middleton Pierce, living with their grandparents in Columbus County. His grandfather died that year.

The 1910 Census shows Cecil and his grandmother living with an uncle, Albert Sidney Pierce and his family. His brother Lonnie lived next door with another uncle, Alvah Willis Pierce. Both worked on the family farms.

Cecil was not yet 21 in 1917 when men were required to register for the WWI draft. His brother Lonnie’s draft registration shows he was single and working as a clerk at Pierce & Co, a general store in Hallsboro. Lonnie was eventually called to service on July 6, 1918, and served at Camp Greenleaf, GA, in the medical department until January 1920.

On January 23, 1918, when Cecil was 21 years old, he enlisted at Fort Caswell, Brunswick County, NC. He served in 5th Company Coastal Artillery Corps (CAC) until February 12, 1918, when his unit became Battery B, 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion (2nd Division). (The Fort Caswell Rifle Range was not completed until May 20, 1918, which means Private Pierce never used it for training.)

Source: North Carolina Collection: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Private Pierce trained less than two months at Fort Caswell before his death of pulmonary tuberculosis on March 5, 1918. His death certificate indicates his tuberculosis was active and affected both lungs. The attending physician stated that he attended Private Pierce from February 10 to his death on March 5.

A previous post gave details on the Army’s approach to tuberculosis. It was not an automatic disqualification for service because of the lack of knowledge of the disease.

The following was published on the front page of The Wilmington Morning Star on March 8, 1918.

DIED AT FORT CASWELL.
Death Claims Cecil S. Pierce, Soldier From Hallsboro.

The remains of Cecil S. Pierce of Hallsboro, who died at Fort Caswell, were brought to the city yesterday under military escort and this morning were taken to his home at Hallsboro where the funeral will be held today.

Private Cecil Smith Pierce was laid to rest in Elbow-Pierce Cemetery in Hallsboro, Columbus County, NC.

If you would like to help us honor Cecil Smith Pierce or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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