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Unknown Soldier arrival Washington Navy YardThe return of the World War I Unknown Soldier: the USS Olympia (Cruiser #6) arrives with the of body of The Unknown Soldier, at the Washington Navy Yard, November 9, 1921.

USS Olympia and the World War I Unknown Soldier 

By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, United States World War One Centennial Commission

2021 is the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In an April 3 lunchtime lecture at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society in Washington, DC,  John Brady, president of the board of directors, Flagship Olympia Foundation, will share information about the USS Olympia‘s role in transporting the Unknown Soldier home from Europe and his subsequent lying in state at the U.S. Capitol prior to being buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Brady will talk about the USS Olympia's service as Admiral Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila; her service at the USNA training ship in early 1900's; and the Navy personnel who served aboard her during WWI. These men included Charles Bolden, son of jazz founder Buddy Bolden, and Albert Nicholas and Zutty Singleton, African-American sailors who became famous jazz musicians after the war.

Brady will also talk about General Erskine who as a young Marine led the Honor Guard that accompanied the Unknown Soldier. Two decades later, General Erskine led the invasion of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Lastly, Brady will talk about the new Sig Sauer pistols that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Sentinels are carrying. These pistols are inlaid with wood from the USS Olympia.

Click here for more information and find out how to register to attend this U.S. Capitol Historical Society event.


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