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Showing posts from June, 2018

My Two Marines

I'd like to tell you a little about the two Marines I'm researching. Staff Sergeant Bruce Mathewson, Jr. was a native of southeastern Pennsylvania. I was tasked with identifying a serviceman who died in Korea, was from Pennsylvania, and buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, otherwise known as the Punchbowl. Only six men fit those criteria, so I went with the one who identified a home, New Britain, closest to where I live and work. Mathewson enlisted in the Marines in 1936 and re-upped three more times before his death in 1950. In addition to Korea he saw action in China before Pearl Harbor and in Guam and Iwo Jima during World War II. He earned a Navy Cross posthumously for the actions that resulted in his death in November 1950. Mathewson was killed in action in the battle for the Chosin Reservoir. He was a married father of three, and two of the children are still living, though my attempts to reach out to the one who lives in the area have been un

My Second Trip

It's my privilege to travel for a second straight summer on a trip that involves research. In the winter I was accepted to a program underwritten by the National Cemeteries Association (which is part of the Veterans Affairs Administration) that involves research on the Korean War. That it's the Korean War, not World War II, is one difference between this summer's work and last summers. Additionally . . . I'm learning about two servicemen, not just one. There are no students. The no students thing is a bit disheartening. I came to adore the fifteen young men and young women on last year's trip. However, it's nice that I get to do the researching. But I'll see many familiar faces on this trip: Paul, Amy, Lynne . . . Paul was my roommate last year. We're rooming again this year in Hawaii.  And I'll have the chance to eulogize a fallen hero, and to immerse myself in a period of history. And I'll have the chance to bring


The family of the student I accompanied to Normandy in 2017 was gracious enough to invite us to her graduation party this weekend. Lauren and I came to know one another so well, we even got one another toys (for me a game, for her a Lego rendition of the Arc de Triomphe). I was also able to get her a copy of her superb paper for 2018 NHD that surprised her a bit. Lauren was surprised that the published version of her paper was just that, rather than a published copy of this blog.  Years later I'll look at this picture and smile. One of the best from my career.  Lauren mentioned something at the party, though, that made me just a bit jealous. She asked me if I was following the happenings of the 2018 Normandy Institute crew. My answer was, no (my passivity with Facebook has recently become outright laziness). Then she admitted that she was a little jealous seeing new people in our places from last year. And now, so am I. I guess it's time, finally, to complete my