Category Archives: Announcement

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.

Comments Off on Memorial Day 2018: Graveside Honors

Filed under Announcement, Graveside Honors, Honor a Veteran

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.

Comments Off on Fort Caswell Rifle Range Centennial: May 20, 2018

Filed under Announcement

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.

Comments Off on DAR Community Service Award presented to Norma and Ronald Eckard

Filed under Announcement

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.

Comments Off on Giving Thanks

Filed under Announcement

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

Comments Off on WWI CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL: 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran

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.

Comments Off on Eagle Scout Service Project scheduled this month

Filed under Announcement

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.

Comments Off on Army/Marine unit names and dates served have been collected

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran

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.

Comments Off on Veteran Frances Carlsen Honors Brunswick County World War I Veterans

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran

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

 

Comments Off on Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range Receive Contribution

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran

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.

Click here to find out how.

Comments Off on Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

Filed under Announcement, Honor a Veteran