Category Archives: Announcement

Podcast interview: WWI Centennial News

Last week, Theo Mayer interviewed the Eckards for the weekly podcast “WW1 Centennial News for September 07, 2018 – Episode #88.” These podcasts are held to educate the nation about World War I during the two years leading up to the Centennial Commemoration.

The 100 Cities/100 Memorials segment includes interviews with those behind the rescue of WWI memorials which have been awarded the official designation of National World War I Centennial Memorial, which the rifle range was awarded in May.

 

Listen to the podcast here: WW1 Centennial News for September 07, 2018 – Episode #88

Click here to view the transcript of the interview: Transcript of 100C_100M podcast episode 88

The WWI Centennial Commission was established by the World War One Centennial Commission Act, passed by the 112th Congress and signed by the President on January 16, 2013. The WWI Centennial Commission Act gave the Commission, among other things, the authority to designate memorials to the service of members of the United States Armed Forces in World War I.

Read the announcement posted on the website in May: WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL: 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

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WWI Centennial Memorial plaque and certificate

The plaque and certificate showing the designation of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range Memorial as an Official United States World War I Centennial Memorial have arrived.

The plaque will be installed on the monument which will be dedicated during the ceremony on November 11, 2018, the 100th Anniversary of the end of the Great War.

Another view of the bas relief image (sculpted bronze image). The Doughboy comes alive!

The certificate will be presented to the town of Caswell Beach at a later date.

Click here to read about the official United States designation:
WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL: 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range

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Memorial Day 2018: Graveside Honors

Memorial Day is next week.
Many set aside the day to honor veterans at their graveside.

724 World War I veterans have been identified as born, raised, lived, or served in Brunswick County. We encourage you to include the WWI Brunswick County veterans in your Memorial Day plans or throughout the year.

If you take a photograph of yourself alongside a gravesite, the photo will be posted on the website.

A new webpage has been created to help assist in graveside honors.

Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran: Cemeteries contains two lists:

  • The 24 Brunswick County WWI veterans who gave their lives.
  • All known gravesites to date, sorted by location (Ash, Bolivia, Holden Beach, etc.)

Many of their final resting places have not been identified.

Would you like to help?

A book is planned to honor the Brunswick County WWI veterans. Cemetery locations should be included for all of the veterans.

To identify which veterans have unknown gravesites, use the Brunswick County WWI Veterans page. The blue button on the right side at the top of the website can also be used.

If there is no “Date of Death” then no gravesite has been identified.

  • If you find one of these graves, send the findagrave information to ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com and the list will be updated.

Even if the gravesite has already been identified, there may be no photo. If there is a “?” after “Date of Death” then there is no photo of the headstone/flat marker.

  • Take photos of the headstone and/or military flat marker and send to ftcaswellriflerange@gmail.com

Please help us create a complete list of cemetery locations for the WWI veterans of Brunswick County.

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Fort Caswell Rifle Range Centennial: May 20, 2018

The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range is 100 years old today.
MAY 20TH 1918

Date on south wall

On January 21, 1918, the United States War Department proposed the construction of a rifle range adjacent to Fort Caswell, NC, for small arms training of soldiers “in view of the immediate necessity for instruction of men destined for over-seas duty” in World War I.

Continue reading and view the documents in the History section of the website.

Please consider contributing to the Fort Caswell Rifle Range stabilization fund to ensure many more years.

Click the green “How to make a donation” button on the right or click here.

Read about the stabilization efforts in the Stabilization section of the website.

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DAR Community Service Award presented to Norma and Ronald Eckard

During the Brunswick Town DAR May meeting, a Community Service Award was presented to Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range president, Norma Eckard, along with her husband and Administrator, Ronald Eckard.

The DAR Community Service Award is presented on local, state, and national levels to individuals and groups who have contributed to their communities in an outstanding voluntary, heroic, civil, or benevolent manner, or who have participated in or organized community activities. The award is presented twice/year by the Brunswick Town DAR.

Norma and Ronald began the effort to save the historic rifle range in 2011, and have continued working hard for seven years and counting. See the Stabilization section of the website for a journal detailing the years of work.

Congratulations, Norma and Ron!

DAR member Mary Willetts Earp gave a touching speech at the same meeting about her family and involvement in the Honor a World War I Veteran program for the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range Memorial. Mary and the Friends are working to create a dedicated story to honor her family and thank them for their donation. This will be posted in the near future.

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Giving Thanks

Now that the whirlwind of preparations and the actual Derby fundraiser is complete, it’s time to give thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Thank you to everyone who attended and added to the fun, bid on the baskets, donated their winnings, and gave their support just by being there.

Thank you to all who made the fundraiser possible. It’s difficult not to make mistakes when listing names. Please forgive any omissions.

♥ Barbara and David Ash ♥ Russ and Ann Barlowe ♥ Victor Cash ♥ Mike and Joyce Crabtree ♥ Norma, Ron, Lorraine, and Amy Eckard and Sam Allison ♥ Christy Fox ♥ Mary Lou and Gene Green ♥ Barbara and Jim Griffin ♥ Ken and Lynda Grymala ♥ Marvin and Betsy Hamer ♥ Connie Hendrix ♥ Joe Higgenbottham ♥ Lee Hinnant ♥ Dee Hunsucker ♥ Carol Jutte ♥ Tommy and Gloria Lewis ♥ Lucia Bland and Allen Lister ♥ Gary McDaniel ♥ Jody McCann ♥ Ruth Ann McLellan ♥ Leddy and Richard Polity ♥ Helen and Bob Radcliffe ♥ Jayne and Bill Rankin ♥ Mary Snead ♥ Lois and Norm Sprinthall ♥ Patricia Steele ♥ Stephani Thompson ♥ Trudy Wells ♥ Darby and Judy Whitlow ♥

Thank you to the individuals who donated to the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range for the Stabilization effort. The link to view the names is always shown beside the thermometer on the right side of the website.

Thank you to those who honored the sacrifices of the brave men and women from Brunswick County who served in World War I by participating in the “Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran” program. The link to view veteran names and the donor honoring them is also shown beside the thermometer.

Thank you to those who sent photographs of ancestors who served in World War I. These can be found on the World War I Wall of Honor.

Thank you to the businesses that donated items for the fundraiser. The business names and links to the website/Facebook are also listed on the Contributors webpage. We ♥ our local businesses!

One unique item was donated by the Friends of Oak Island Lighthouse (FOIL), which was included in one of the themed baskets.
A plaque with an original piece of the Oak Island Lighthouse Emergency Beacon Tower support system mounted on it, including a Certificate of Authenticity.

There are currently 300 of these available for $60 each. The price will increase to $75 in the fall. Contact oakislandlighthouse@gmail.com for more information.

Thank you to all!

As always, thanks for the support of our local media. See the News section to read years of published stories.

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WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL: 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range

The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range was designated today as one of 100 official World War I Centennial Memorials in the United States.

With the selection, the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range receives a matching grant of up to $2,000 and more important, the national designation of the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range as an official “National World War I Centennial Memorial”.

Read the announcement from the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library website or the press release. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) has also been posted in a later post, May 1, 2018.

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range is grateful that the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range was honored as one of only two memorials in North Carolina awarded the designation, and one of 100 in the United States.

The journey to save this World War I structure in the common area of our Caswell Dunes neighborhood began in 2011, when the Landscape/Grounds Committee of Caswell Dunes looked at the deteriorating condition, with weeds overgrown, trees pushing on the sides, and cracked doorways, and recognized they were at a turning point in the life of the historical structure.

Seven years later, the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range has received the national recognition needed to make us confident that it has been saved.

To read more about the seven year journey, click here or on the Stabilization section of the website.

As stated in the press release

More important, the program is designed to raise community awareness of those who served, and provides a tangible connection to the profound impact this war had on local towns and cities, securing an important place in military history.

Join us tomorrow, Friday, April 6, 2018, as we commemorate the 101st Anniversary of the United States entry in World War I.

By saving the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range, we are honoring the sacrifices of the brave World War I veterans of Brunswick County.

If you would like to help us honor Brunswick County WWI veterans, 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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Eagle Scout Service Project scheduled this month

For several months, Ethan Pannkuk, an Eagle Scout Candidate from Troop 210 in Carolina Beach, has been researching and planning his Eagle Scout Service Project to assist in the stabilization of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

The Eagle Scout Service Project planning and approval process is a long one. There are several levels of approval needed: unit, district and council. The project must be approved by officials, in this case a structural engineer from Andrew Consulting Engineers, PC; and a  member of the State Historic Preservation Office, which has offered guidance and advice to Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range for many years.

Ethan was required to justify the project; obtain the materials, supplies, and tools; provide transportation; raise funds; and take steps to ensure safety at all times.

The planning and approval process with the Boy Scouts of America is complete, and is now scheduled to be performed at the end of March.

Thank you to Ethan Pannkuk for choosing the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range for his Eagle Scout Project!

Note: To read about the stabilization milestones, go to the Stabilization section or click here.

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Army/Marine unit names and dates served have been collected

The Brunswick County WWI veteran spreadsheets now have all of the unit names and dates served, including overseas, for those who served in the Army or Marines. At this time, only some of the Navy and Coast Guard information has been collected.

Due to the number of people unfamiliar with spreadsheets, a webpage was created with this information. You can click on the new blue button “Army/Marine Units/Dates” on the right side of almost every webpage, or click here.

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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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