Category Archives: Announcement

Veteran Frances Carlsen Honors Brunswick County World War I Veterans

Fellow DAR members Frances Carlsen and Norma Eckard reviewing certificates Fran received for honoring World War I Veterans from Brunswick County, NC.

Fran is shown wearing her DAR medals representing her many patriots of the American Revolution.

Veteran Frances Carlsen was one of the first to approach Norma Eckard to honor a WWI veteran from Brunswick County. Norma, president of the non profit Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range, is leading the project to raise funds for a memorial honoring Brunswick County WWI veterans at the site of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range in Caswell Beach. “The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range provided the troops with training in marksmanship before leaving for France and that itself is a reason to preserve the historical site,” commented Fran.

Fran and her siblings are veterans. Her sister Virginia Reams served for 21 years, first in the US Army Pentagon Motor Pool and then working for the Department of Defense with large newspapers which earned her a position in New York as an information specialist.

Fran’s brother Ralph joined the Army in 1953 and was assigned to Seoul, Korea, in an Engineer Battalion.

Her own career with the military began after high school in the Women’s Army Corps for three years. Following the completion of basic training and Clerical School at Fort McCellan, AL, she was assigned to Fort Myers, VA, working in the Pentagon for Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Chief, Research and Development as an Officers records personnel specialist. “Eventually I attained a rank of SP5 (E-5) and once I served my three years I was hired as a civilian worker and remained at the Pentagon until retirement. It was a wonderful career.”

Since retirement, Fran continues to serve with her involvement in “Wreaths Across America” and as chair of the local Naturalization Ceremony held at Southport each year around July 4th.

Fran and her family are from the small town of Brookfield, Missouri. Interestingly, a close neighbor was General Pershing, the leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I.

A monument for WWI veterans not only raises awareness of WWI and the Centennial, as well as the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, but honors all veterans and their sacrifices.

“By honoring the veterans I’ve chosen from Brunswick County, I’m honoring my brother, sister, and all of those who ever served.”

Frances Jean Reams joined the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) 27 March 1957 for a three-year enlistment. After basic training and Clerical School at Fort McClellan, AL, she was assigned to Fort Myers, VA, April 1958. She worked in the Pentagon for Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Chief, Research and Development as an Officers records personnel specialist. While there her other duties were modeling the officers’ white uniform, color guard at special ceremonies, and playing the part of a civilian in the TV show “Your Serviceman in the Nation’s Capital.” Frances obtained the rank SP5 (E-5).

Ralph Lee Reams was inducted into the Army 22 January 1952. He went to Ft Leonard Wood, MO, for basic training and Engineer training. Assigned to Seoul, Korea, July 1953, to the 453d Engineer Battalion, working as the warehouse manager. Was discharged 15 December 1954. Obtained the rank of CPL (E-4).

Virginia Reams was born in Brookfield, MO, to Clarence and Daisy (Foltz) Reams. She joined the Army in March of 1951. After basic training at Fort Lee, VA, she was stationed with the US Army Pentagon Motor Pool. During this time she saw many dignitaries including Winston Churchill, General Davis, General Doolittle, and many others. During a second tour in Germany she worked for one of the 10 largest newspapers under the Dept. of Defense. After returning to the states she was trained in New York as an information specialist. After 21 years she retired from Fort Leonard Wood, MO. She received many honors including the Army Commendation Medal twice. After returning to Brookfield, MO, she was involved in researching genealogy and was well known for this throughout the community.

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Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range Receive Contribution


Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range received a $1000 contribution for the historic 1918 rifle range project from long time supporters Norman and Lois Sprinthall.

“The Centennial of World War I is here and we have a prize in our own backyard as a reminder of the men and women that served and sacrificed in that war.” ~ Norman.

Their contribution was in honor of Norman’s father, Sergeant Archie Sprinthall, who served in World War I with the 103rd Field Artillery, 26th Division.

“My father joined the war effort in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and he would have wanted me to help save this rifle range located in our residential area in Caswell Beach.”

This picture of Sergeant Sprinthall taken near Chateau-Thierry in 1918 shows a large French knife tucked in his belt given to him by the French trainers before he went into battle. Sergeant Sprinthall fought in many of the fiercest battles while in France, including the 2nd Battle of the Marne, the Liberation of Verdun and the Meuse-Argonne.

Norman has made two pilgrimages to the battlefields in France to reflect on the meaning and the effect it had on his family as well as others. Norman’s father returned from France, but many of his fellow soldiers did not.

Norman visited the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France to pay his respects at the gravesites of his father’s fallen comrades from the 26th Division.

Norman also visited the church in Belleau. The original church was destroyed by American artillery and rebuilt using funds raised by Sgt Sprinthall and other veterans from the 26th Division. It was completed and dedicated in 1929.

The plaque over the wooden door shows this inscription (in French)

This church, destroyed during the world war, has been rebuilt by the veterans of the 26th Division of the American Expeditionary Force in memory of their comrades who fell on the soil of France while fighting for a common cause.

Visiting the major battlefields where our military fought was the final homage paid to the men and women of the ‘war to end all wars’ before the Sprinthalls left for home.

Norman would like his donation to assist in the complete stabilization of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, and is looking forward to the Brunswick County World War I Memorial planned for dedication at the site of the rifle range on Armistice Day, November 11, 2018.

“What is funny, well not really funny, is that I’ve been passing the rifle range so often since we purchased our condo back in 1985 and never thought to find out what it was or what it was used for. So now that we all know that it was used to train the military to perfect their markmanship before leaving for France in World War I, why not put our heads together and make it a memorial for all residents in NC to honor, especially Caswell Beach? This historic structure tells us a story of our past going back 100 years ago.” ~ Norman

 

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Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them” – George Eliot

Honor the sacrifices of the brave men and women from Brunswick County
who served in World War I

As we continue to commemorate the Centennial of World War I, the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range have been planning to honor the sacrifices of the brave men and women from Brunswick County, North Carolina. Many of them likely trained at the Fort Caswell Rifle Range, which was built in 1918 due to the number of soldiers arriving at Fort Caswell in preparation for the US entrance into the Great War.

We need your help.

The Friends of Fort Caswell have been raising funds for many years to stabilize the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, which was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. This work is still continuing.

A memorial will be placed onsite to honor the men and women from Brunswick County who joined the military for the war effort. This memorial will be dedicated next year, Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, the Centennial of the end of World War I.

Brunswick County recruits from 1914
Courtesy of Jane B. Henry

“Honor a World War I Veteran”

  • To help us honor the veterans, this website will list the names of all men and women from Brunswick County using the North Carolina World War I Service Cards and other archived sources. Any veteran born, raised, lived, or served in Brunswick County will be included.
  • These names will be available on the website in various sorted lists such as alphabetical order, by service (Navy, Army, National Guard, etc).
  • You choose one (or more) to sponsor and send a donation.
  • A certificate will be sent via email for you to print and frame, as well as an image of the soldier’s service card.
  • Your name will be listed on the website as honoring that veteran.

We hope to have all veterans honored through your donations. Any additional funds will be added to continue the stabilization efforts of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range. Subscribe or visit the website often to follow progress throughout the year.

The Centennial year of World War I is upon us. The rifle range is the only freely accessible structure in Brunswick County that remains of the war.

This year is the perfect time to thank and honor the men and women who fought in World War I from Brunswick County.

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Historic Wilmington Foundation lists most threatened historic places for 2017

For the second year, Fort Caswell Rifle Range was chosen as one of the most threatened historic places in the Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.

For more information about the 2017 list as well as a description and picture of each, see http://www.historicwilmington.org/national-preservation-month/

Media announcing the list:

Star News Online:
Kenan House among ‘Most Threatened’ landmarks

WECT News:
New sites added to list of Most Threatened Historic Places

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Historic Wilmington Foundation lists most threatened historic places for 2016

Fort Caswell Rifle Range was chosen as one of the most threatened historic places for 2016 in the Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region. For more information, visit http://www.historicwilmington.org/national-preservation-month/

Newspaper articles announcing the list

The State Port Pilot:
Rifle pit named to list of threatened sites

Star News Online:
Historic Wilmington Foundation announces most-threatened places list

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