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Doughboy MIA News

Welcome to Doughboy MIA, and thanks for stopping by. We hope you will check back with us often and make our site a regular stop as you surf the web. Here on our news feed you can meet the team and find all the latest updates, news, special announcements and articles on Doughboy MIA related subjects. Check back often to keep up with what's going on, special offers and volunteer opportunities.

Who runs Doughboy MIA?

Doughboy MIA is run by Robert J. Laplander and his wife, Trinie. Robert is best known for his work with the famous Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in WW1 and his book, Finding the Lost Battalion: Beyond the Rumors, Myths and Legends of America's Famous WW1 Epic, is considered to be the 'bible' of that action.  He has appeared in numerous print, radio, and television outlets for his work concerning the First World War, most recently being featured in the 6-hour, 3-part PBS television event 'The Great War'; part of the American Experience series. Trinie Laplander is an educator with over 20 years experience and holds a Masters of Education degree in Instructional Technology. Together they have explored the history of America's missing soldiers of WW1 for nearly 15 years now and have been on the battlefields in Europe five times. Additionally, Robert leads tours in the Meuse-Argonne area and regularly consults on burial and remains retrieval by the GRS in WW1. They live in Waterford, Wisconsin with their three children and a tall, skinny dog.

Rob Trinie






The overseas arm of Doughboy MIA is staffed by Mr. Sjoerd 'Red' Van der Ven and Mr. Peter Wever, both from the Netherlands. 

 Peter Wever is the team's medical/anatomical director. He is a medical doctor working as a clinical microbiologist in a general hospital in the Netherlands. He became interested in WWI after his parents-in-law permanently moved to the Meuse Department in Northern France. In 2010, he and his friends took their first guided battlefield tour, after which they regularly set out for the former trenches themselves. This sparked further interest, particularly in the activities of the U.S. Army Medical Department during WWI, which resulted in a collection of medical items from the war currently on display in an exhibition called “Wounds, Disease and Medical Care in the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive” at the private museum “Meuse-Argonne 1918” in Nantillois, France.His interest in WWI has led to several published articles on medical aspects of WWI, focusing on the infectious diseases that were abundantly present during the war, as well as a treatise on the missing in action doughboys. He is currently writing a book on U.S. Army base hospitals which will be published by the U.S. Army Medical Department. On invitation, he speaks about medical aspects of WWI for service clubs and other institutions.

Sjoerd 'Red' Van der Ven, aka 'the Dutch Doughboy', is the team's battleground topographical expert. He was just 4 weeks old when he first visited the Meuse-Argonne. His parents bought a house "over there" and he grew up on the old battlefield as he went every vacation he had in his youth. As a kid he spent most of the time out in the woods and he started to find items from the Great War and learned how to 'read' the scars in the landscape which are still visible today. This started a passion that persists to this day. In 2014 he bought his first US uniform and educated the public of the Romagne 14-18 museum via his impression and at other events. His expertise is the 89th Division sector and he has much knowledge of the US involvement in World War 1 and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Peter and Red








Our chief associate researcher is Mrs. Nancy Schaff of Maryland. Nancy Schaff is dedicated to honoring the sacrifices of her grandfather, CPL John Blazosky, and all the doughboys who fought in WWI.  She is President of the Descendants & Friends of the 314th Infantry, 79th Division A.E.F., an organization that has held an annual Memorial Service for the past 99 years.  She also serves as a Commissioner on the Maryland WWI Centennial Commission, has written a series of WWI Maker activities for youth, and co-leads the Maryland WWI Network.







Mrs. Jana Churchwell-Scott is the team's genealogical expertJana Churchwell Scott is a professional genealogist whose work focuses specifically in military service and records research. Inspired by the loss of her cousins and uncle in both WWI & WWII, several whose status is MIA, she has dedicated her career and time to the memory of these men and their families. Specializing in both combat and non-combat missing, she has worked tirelessly to research, document, locate, and reach out to the families of our lost soldiers. Her research involves such projects as indexing of Unknown soldier burial file information and organizing families in private support groups for military missing. She performs family investigations for U.S. military casualty offices, for aviation archaeology interest groups, and for multiple MIA non-profit organizations. She is proud to assist and be a part of the research team at Doughboy-MIA.







Our air service expert is Mr. Daniel C. Williamson. Mr. Williamson is a retired Lieutenant Colonel with over 34 years of service in the United States Army Military Police Corps. Over his career Williamson served as Provost Marshal in the Republic of Panama, an Investigator, a Military History Instructor/Assistant Professor of Military Science and an Assistance Adjunct Professor at the University of California Davis, and served two tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final assignments included commanding the California Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion, and as a Strategic Planner and Operations Officer within National Guard Bureau’s Installations and Environmental Directorate in Arlington, Virginia. Mr. Williamson is married to his wife Cheryl, a 28 a year Army veteran and retired Sergeant Major and they have two children, Mark who is currently serving in the USAF for over thirteen years, and Ashley who is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Aeronautical Engineering.

Williamson Photo


Monday's MIA for June 11th 

Monday’s MIA for June 11th, 2018 is 1st LT Leonard Charles Aitken

Born in Reno, Nevada on 10 June 1897, Leonard Aitken grew up in Califonia, where he joined the California National Guard at 18 years of age. When the trouble broke out with Mexico, he reported for duty in June, 1916 and served along the border with the hospital corps, attending elements of what would, a year later, become the 160th Infantry, 40th Division. Following America’s declaration of war on Germany, on 7 April 1917, Aitken reported to the Officers Training School at San Diego and upon graduation shipped to France in August, 1918 as a 2nd lieutenant with the 158th Infantry, 40th Division. There, on 20 October 1918, he was sent as a replacement officer to the 372nd Infantry, 93rd Division, then holding a section of the line in the Alsace sector near Hill 607.

On 7 November, while leading a squad of men on a night patrol, they captured several prisoners but unknowingly walked into the line of fire of a German machine gun nest, which opened up on them, killing or capturing all but two enlisted men of the patrol and freeing the prisoners. However, without hesitation Lieutenant Aitken immediately advanced against the position with the intent of eliminating it but was shot twice in the chest and killed in the endeavor. His date of death is given as 8 November 1918. Following the Armistice, it was learned that German officers had seen that Aitkens was buried with full military honors in the church yard of the tiny hamlet of La Paive, some 40 miles east of Epinal, France. Nothing further is known at this time.

Would you like to help solve Lt. Aitken’s case? Why not give ‘Ten for Them’? Your ten dollar donation can help us make a full accounting of the 4,223 missing US servicemen from WW1, like Charles Aitkens. Make your tax deductible donation today with our thanks!

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Leonard Aitkens

Monday's MIA for June 4th 

Monday’s MIA for June 4th, 2018 is Pvt. Aubrey Woolsey

Private Aubrey Woolsey was born on 26 May 1890 in Linn Creek, Missouri. He was inducted into the army on 11 December 1917 and trained as a member of Company K, 354th Infantry, 89th Division. He shipped to France on 24 April 1918 as member of a casual detachment of the 3rd Division and once ‘Over There’ was assigned to combat duty with Company G, 16th Infantry, 1st Division. During actions at Soissons, on 20 July 1918 Private Woolsey was killed in action by rifle fire. He was first interred in a shell hole grave that same day. Doughboy MIA did an investigation into Private Woolsey’s case in November, 2017 and discovered that on 16 August 1918 his remains were moved from that battlefield grave to Temporary Cemetery #36, and following that his remains were moved at least two more times. During one of these moves – almost certainly the third one – the identification of his remains was lost and Private Woolsey now lies in a grave marked as ‘Unknown’ at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau Wood, his name commemorated on the Wall of the Missing there.

How did we get this far with Private Woolsey’s case? Investigation! But that kind of investigation takes funding. Would you like to help us solve cases? Then consider giving ‘Ten for Them’; a tax deductible donation of ten bucks to Doughboy MIA. We are non-profit and committed to making a full accounting of the 4,423 missing American servicemen from WW1. Give today, and remember:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Woolsey Aubrey2

Monday's MIA for May 28th

Memorial Day – Monday’s MIA for May 28th, 2018 is Private Verne Blythe

Today we have a special MIA: Born in Marshall, Indiana today (May 28th) in 1892, we celebrate the life of Verne Blythe. Private Blythe was working as a telegraph operator in Danville, Illinois before the war for what would eventually become AT&T, when he enlisted in early June, 1917. He received his training at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas before embarking for overseas duty on February 19th, 1918 as a member of Company C, 5th Field Signal Battalion which was part of the 3rd Division. During the second battle of the Marne – where the 3rd would gain everlasting fame as the ‘Rock of the Marne Division’ – Private Blythe was severely wounded by artillery fire on July 15th, 1918, and died soon thereafter. Little more of his story known at this time, but it is currently believed that he may have later been buried as an Unknown.

Would you like to help us solve Private Blythe’s case? Can you spare ten dollars? Why not give ‘Ten For Them’ and help Doughboy MIA make a full accounting of America’s missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible contribution and earn our everlasting thanks.

Remember: A Man Is Only Missing If He Is Forgotten

Verne Blythe

Monday's MIA for May 21st

Monday’s MIA for May 21st, 2018 is Corporal Howard Dailey.

Born June 10th, 1894 in Scottsburg, Indiana, Corporal Howard Jackson Dailey was a farmer before joining the pre-war army seeking to be part of the ‘adventure’ of chasing Poncho Villa down on the border. He enlisted August 5th, 1916 and trained at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Assigned to Company M, 16th Infantry Regiment, he got something of his wish and his first duty station was at Eagle Pass, Texas. Following the declaration of war he cooled his heels in Texas while waiting for orders. Eventually sent to New York, he embarked for overseas duty in November, 1917. Once in France he was transferred to Company C of the 30th Infantry (3rd Division) and was killed in action on July 20th, 1918 in the heavy fighting at Soissons. He was buried near the Paris-Soissons road, but his remains were never located.

Would you like to help us solve Private Dailey’s case? Can you spare ten dollars? Why not give ‘Ten For Them’ and help Doughboy MIA make a full accounting of America’s missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible contribution and earn our everlasting thanks.

Remember: A Man Is Only Missing If He Is Forgotten.

Howard Dailey

Monday's MIA for May 14th

Monday’s MIA for May 14th, 2018 is Private James L. Corey, USMC

Born December 16th, 1894, James Lowell Corey received his education at the Virginia Military Academy and in the cadet program at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Prior to the war he was working for the Western Union Telegraph Company in Louisville, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on November 29th, 1917. He received his training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and went overseas in March of 1918. There he was assigned to the 83rd Company of the 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Division and saw much action in the heavy fighting that summer at Belleau Wood, and the Chateau Thierry sector, where he was killed on July 19th, 1918 near the village of Vierzy. His battlefield grave was never found. The American Legion Post in Argos, Indiana is named in his honor.

Would you like to help us solve Private Corey’s case? Can you spare ten dollars? Why not give ‘Ten For Them’ and help Doughboy MIA make a full accounting of America’s missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible contribution and earn our everlasting thanks.

A Man Is Only Missing If He Is Forgotten

James Corey

Monday's MIA for May 7th

Monday’s MIA for May 7th, 2018 is Private Harry M. Bohannon

Private Harry Miller Bohannon enlisted on May 8th, 1917 at his home of Logansport, Indiana. He trained at Fort Thomas, Kentucky and then Camp Greene, North Carolina, where he was assigned to the assembling 3rd Division. Designated a rifleman, he was sent to Company L, 38th Infantry, and embarked with them for overseas duty on March 30th, 1918. That summer, the 3rd Division stopped the German advance on Paris at the Marne River. The engagement spilled back and forth onto both banks of the river and in the heavy fighting Private Bohannon was severely wounded in action on July 1st, 1918 while trying to cross back over the river to the bank held by his regiment. In the process he drowned. It is unclear whether one of the bodies later pulled from the river was his or not. (Doughboy MIA has begun preliminary plans to launch a deeper investigation into this case.) The American Legion Post in Delphi, Indiana is named in his honor.

Would you like to help us solve Private Bohannon’s case? Can you spare ten dollars? Why not give ‘Ten For Them’ and help Doughboy MIA make a full accounting of America’s missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductable contribution now and earn our everlasting thanks.

Remember: A Man Is Only Missing If He Is Forgotten

Harry Bohannon

Monday's MIA for April 23rd

Monday’s MIA for April 23rd, 2018 is 2nd Lt. Otho B. Place.

Otho Bradford Place was born March 27th, 1893 in Bremen, Indiana and served as a lieutenant in Company G/305th Infantry/77th Division. During an attack along the Agron River about a kilometer north of St. Juvin on November 1st, 1918, Lt. Place was killed instantly by machine gun fire to the head. His soldiers buried him along a hedge, marking his grave with his cane. One of his dog tags was affixed to the cane, while the other was left around his neck. When GRS searchers went to look for him following the war, they were unable to locate a grave based on the information provided. However, a recommendation was made to examine a certain set of remains recovered by the French in the general vicinity and reburied in a local cemetery, where they had been recovered by GRS and were then at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery; the circumstances of initial recovery and basic physical evidence of which seemed to point toward being those of Lt. Place. There is no evidence that has been found to this point which indicates that this recommendation was ever followed up on, therefore Doughboy MIA has classified this case as open/in suspension pending the location of additional paperwork. 
In August, 1931, Lt. Place’s mother went on a Gold Star Pilgrimage to see her sons name on the Walls of the Missing at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery at Romage-sous- Montfaucon. American Legion Post 191 in Bremen, Indiana is known as the Otho B. Place Post.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

Place 23 April

Monday's MIA for April 16th

Monday’s MIA for 16APR2018 is Lt. John McGavock Grider

Probably the most well known American MIA of the war, John McGavock Grider was a fighter pilot and the supposed author behind the best-selling book ‘War Birds: Diary of an Unknown Aviator’, published by the famous American fighter ace Elliot White Springs in 1926. In truth, the book was only loosely based on Grider’s diaries from the war and highly embellished by Springs with his own experiences. Yet it is probably one of the most authentic illustrations of the American pilot experience to come out of the war and remains popular to this day.

Born in Arkansas on May 28th, 1892, John Grider was a hard core southerner who enlisted in the Army Signal Corps in June, 1917 to be an aviator. Sent to England and trained by the British, afterwards he served with No. 85 Squadron of the RAF under the Canadian ace ‘Billy’ Bishop until America could field a large enough air service to accommodate all its flyers. Grider was the victor in at least four aerial combats before he disappeared near Houplines, France coming back from a patrol with Elliot Springs on June 18th, 1918. Despite some speculation, no one has ever positively found out exactly what happened to him. What is known is that he was buried by the Germans behind their lines. Following the war, the (then) British Imperial War Graves Commission recovered his remains and transferred them to the British military cemetery known as Motor Car Cemetery, but speculation exists as to whether the grave had been properly identified. When America set up the permanent Flanders Fields American Cemetery at Waregem, Belgium, it is believed that Grider’s remains were transferred there from Motor Car Cemetery along with several other Americans, but his identity was never confirmed and therefore he lies in one of the 21 ‘Unknown’ graves at Waregem and is commemorated on the Wall to the Missing there.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.


Monday's MIA for April 2nd

A man is only missing if he is forgotten. For the next four weeks we will remember Indiana men.

Monday's MIA for April 2nd, 2018 is  Private Edwin C. Kitterman of New Middletown. He entered the army in September, 1917, and went to Camp Taylor, Kentucky for training. Following his training, he was sent to Company K/120th Infantry/30th Division at Cap Sevier, South Carolina, with who he went to France in May of 1918. In France, the 30th Division was brigaded with the British Expeditionary Force up in the Somme River sector (along with the US 27th Division). Private Kitterman was killed in action at Bellecourt, France on September 29th, 1918 and had been initially buried in US Temporary Cemetery #636 at Bony, Department of the Aisne, France. What happened to him following is still a mystery. Doughboy MIA is awaiting paperwork to begin an investigation.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

(Photo is currently unavailable)

Monday's MIA for March 19th

A man is only missing if he is forgotten. For the next four weeks we will remember Indiana men.

Monday's MIA for March 19th, 2018 is Private Francis William Neidlinger, of Indianapolis. He enlisted in the regular army on August 7th, 1917 and served with the Ambulance Service before being reassigned to the 342nd Infantry/86th Division, with whom he went to France in September, 1918. Once in France, the 86th was skeletonized and sent its men to combat divisions as replacements. Neidlinger was sent to the 56th Infantry/7th Division. He is known to have been killed in action on November 7th, 1918 at Preney Ridge near the Moselle River. He left behind a wife, Hazel.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

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Monday's MIA for March 12th

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday's MIA this week is Private Curtis Dye, Company B, 313th Machine Gun Battalion, 79th Division.
Private Dye was killed in battle on October 6th, 1918. He was buried on the battlefield with another soldier of his unit in a shellhole grave. When GRS later went to recover his remains, they encountered some difficulty in locating the exact position. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the graves may have already been excavated and that Private Dye could be among the Unknowns buried in France, although there is much room to speculate that his remains were not, in fact, recovered and he still lies on the battlefield. Doughboy MIA has launched an investigation into this case to attempt a determination and believes his remains were NOT recovered.
(Thanks to volunteer team member Ben Woodard for the picture of Private Dye!)

Do you wish you could help in Private Dye's case? You can! Give 'Ten For Them' - ten bucks is all it takes for YOU to have a hand in our work. Make your tax deductable donation now with our thanks.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Curtis Dye 1

Monday's MIA for March 5th

Monday’s MIA for 3/5/2018 is Battalion Sergeant-Major George P. Storm. 

Born in September 1879, George Storm enlisted at Allentown, Pennsylvania on December 6, 1898, served through several enlistment periods and was a professional soldier. In August, 1917, he was assigned to the 16th Infantry and with them went to France. On 4 October, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne campaign, when his battalion had made an advance outside Exermont, Sergeant-Major Storm stayed behind to wrap up activities at the battalion’s old post of command. Once his duties were complete there, he set out through violent shellfire to the new PC position. However, shortly after setting out from the old PC, he was killed by shellfire. At the time of his death, he was just two months from retirement. Buried by the unit chaplain in a short stretch of trench near where he died, his grave had been well marked and noted at headquarters. However, when GRS searched for the grave location post war they were unable to locate it. Despite a second search, Sergeant-Major Storm remains missing to this day. In 2015, Mr. Jay Perkins of the 1st Division Museum at Wheaton, Illinois brought the case to Doughboy MIA. Since then we have dug into it extensively and believe that the recovery of Battalion-Sergeant Major Storm’s remains are entirely possible using today's technology, and plans are in the works to attempt a retrieval.

A man is only missing if he’s forgotten.

Help us with this case – give ‘Ten for Them’. For just $10.00 you can have a hand in helping solve this and other cases. Make your tax deductible donation with our thanks. You CAN make a difference!

George P. Storm

Monday's MIA for February 26th:

Monday's MIA for February 26th, 2018 is Ensign John B. Ahern, US Navy. Assigned to the USS Ticonderoga, Ensign Ahern was among the 112 sailors and US Army artillerymen replacements that went down on their way to France when the ship was torpedoed the morning of September 30th, 1918. Part of a 6-ship convoy element, the Ticonderoga developed engine trouble on the night of the 29th, fell further and further behind the rest of the convoy, and found itself all but isolated as the sun rose on the 30th. Just as the last of the main element of the convoy slipped from sight, a German U-boat surfaced and began to engage the ship with her deck guns around 5:35 am, setting the Ticonderoga afire and killing 50% of the ships compliment right off. What remained of the men aboard tried to arrest the flames and partially succeeded, but the cost in life was heavy. Nevertheless, by 8:00 am it was all over and just a handful of survivors in the few undamaged lifeboats watched the 6,000 ton ship slide stern first under the waves. Ensign John B. Ahern was not among them.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1. Donate your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

AHERN John B big

Monday's MIA for February 19th:

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.
Monday's MIA this week is Corporal Edward James Malone, ASN1706748, Company K/307th Infantry/77th Division.
Corporal Malone was hit in the neck by machine gun fire on September 9th, 1918 during an advance in the Vesle sector and died in the arms of his best friend, Private Harold Cronin, a few minutes later. Malone was buried on the battlefield by his squad with a marked grave and identification was included with the remains, but when GRS went to find him following the war, they were unable to locate him. Doughboy MIA has recently opened a fresh investigation on Corporal Malone's case.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1.  Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

Edward James Malone Portrait











This just in from Marvin Barrash, who is THE guy concerning the USS Cyclops, which disappeared without a trace in 1918 with 309 men aboard her. (His 2010 book, 'USS Cyclops', is the most comprehensive ever written on the disaster. Doughboy MIA notes that there is no known memorial to these 309 men - they are not listed as war casualties as they were not in a war zone when they disappeared. We're going to be working on that in the future.)

"As part of my efforts to bring awareness of the 100th anniversary of the tragic loss of the 309 and their ship, I've been in contact with some media outlets. As a result, two radio stations, thus far, have shown interest in the subject; Norfolk (home post of the ship) and Annapolis (U.S. Naval Academy). I do not know how long the interviews will run. Both radio stations have links for distant listeners."

February 28, 2018 at 7:30 a.m. (Eastern) On air and streamed WNIS 790 kHz Norfolk, VA

March 2, 2018 at 8:35 a.m. (Eastern) On air and streamed WNAV Radio, 1430 kHz Annapolis, MD

Make sure you catch these broadcasts and show support for the Cyclops 309! Thanks for letting us know Marvin!

 Monday's MIA - 12FEB2018

A man is only missing if he is forgotten.

Monday's MIA this week is PFC Grant S. Norton, Co. B/308th Inf./77th Div. PFC Norton was inducted at Westfield, New York on 25FEB1918 and arrived in France on 06APR1918. He served in the Baccarat sector, the Vesle sector, and finally in the Argonne Forest where he was among the member sof the famous 'Lost Battalion'. During that action, PFC Norton lost his life to enemy shrapnel on October 5th, 1918. His remains were never identified.

Can you spare just ten dollars? Give 'Ten For Them' to Doughboy MIA and help us make a full accounting of the 4,423 American service personnel still listed as missing in action from WW1.  Make your tax deductible donation now, with our thanks.

 Grant S. Norton photo


It's been a while since this page has seen any updated. With the centennial of America's entry into the war in April, 2017, Mr. Laplander was kept very busy with duties associated with the 3-part, 6-hour PBS American Experience series 'The Great War', in which he was one of the 'talking heads'. For several weeks leading up to the airing of the special, Doughboy MIA took a necessary back seat to promotional work for the series and for the release of the 100th anniversary edition of his book Finding the Lost Battalion, which occurred in March. Your patience has been appreciated.

However the big news is that also in March, Dr. Stephen Gehnrich of Salisbury University in Maryland contacted us concerning a sailor from Baltimore who was listed as the first Marylander to die in the war (May 22nd, 1917) and was Lost at Sea. He was listed in the Maryland casualty database and in his county war history, but was found to NOT be included on the Doughboy MIA database. We immediately launched an investigation and found that the sailor - Seaman Herbert Hammond Renshaw - was not only not listed on our database, but was also not listed with the ABMC and as such not commemorated on any of the Wall to the Missing at any US Military cemetery as he should have been. Doughboy MIA spent a month building a case for Renshaw and double checking facts before submitting a report on the nearly one hundred year old omission to the ABMC on April 25th.

On April 28th we received the official letter from the ABMC stating that they had reviewed and approved the case based on the good work of Doughboy MIA and had thus approved Seaman Renshaw's name to be engraved alongside the other US service personnel listed as Lost at Sea on the Wall to the Missing at Brookwood American Military Cemetery in England. This report and the authorization letter will be posted in the next couple of days for public consumption. We have had our first major success in making sure that a lost American serviceman from the Great War is not forgotten!

Between May 18th and May 21st, Mr. Laplander has been busy speaking to almost a dozen news outlets on the story, including ABC, NBC, CBS, and the Wall Street Journal. Many of these stories are to run on Monday, May 22nd, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Seaman Renshaw's loss. Keep an eye and ear out for these. Links for all, when possible, will be posted here as soon as possible. With out first success under our belt, we look with enthusiasm to the next!

Doughboy MIA also welcomes Sjoerd Van der Ven and Peter Wever to the team as leads to our new overseas research arm!


Update for week ending 03AUG2016:

We have had two small expeditions down to College Park NARA and spoken with the Army Records manager and some people at Mortuary Affairs this summer, looking for what we need and spreading the word of our work. We had a few possible leads, but so far nothing has panned out. Nevertheless, each step leads us closer to the goal. We are now focusing our efforts on the National Personnel Records Center at St. Louis. We will be heading down with a small team Sunday afternoon for a Monday research day and so far have been extended every courtesy and assistance in the planning stage.

We also have been in touch with the director of the Army Quartermaster Corps Museum and he's combing files on his end and has offered to provide as much information as we might need concerning the temporary cemeteries from the time. This is a very valuable resource and we cannot thank them enough.


Update for week ending 30MAY2016:

We have had several updates placed in the Active Cases section, including a new one assigned Case #9 which is a Marine found on Hill 142 in 1988. We are proud to note that COL William Anderson, USMC (Ret.) has joined us on this case and has pretty much provided all the starting research. Thanks a million Colonel! Be sure to check that case out.

The former Case #9 (Ambulance Man) has been reassigned to Case #16. It was discovered they were one in the same.

New information in Case #18 may prove to be beneficial for a minor breakthrough in that case, but the missing paperwork for the Unknowns must be found to make definitive identification.

General Research Appeal: We are working every angle possible that we can think of to find the missing paperwork for the Unknowns (see the Active Cases section for an explanation of just what it is we need), but we believe that it'll be found faster through networking. Pass along our website and contact info to ANYONE you know who might have an idea where to search. Bear in mind that we've been at this for a dozen years now, so looking under the obvious rocks has been done more than once. We believe that the paperwork may still be in the hands of the army, but this is only an educated guess. Even then, we need inside contacts - older former serving people who may have seen this paperwork in their careers at one time or another. I can email examples of exactly what it is we are after to anyone who needs to see it. 

We are also in need of 'benefactors' to help us move forward. Researching these men is something my wife and I do in our own time, but copies of the BCF's and other official paperwork and trips to paperwork sites (or the independent researchers to do the looking if we cannot go) costs money. Thus far we have funded the project out of pocket, but it's getting to be far bigger than we can afford with three kids to feed. To that end we are looking for someone who can help us set Doughboy MIA up as a non-profit and then someone willing to give us money, to put it plainly. It's not a huge amount we seek, but it is substantially more than we can afford on our own. If you can help, please contact me.


Update for week ending 01MAY2016:

I teased it last week, now here is the straight dope: As we continue to work our way through the great information we gathered from NARA-College Park, MD, we are pleased to announce that one mystery is solved, that of Case #10, PVT Thomas P. McDonald, USMC and KIA 03OCT1918. This name appears twice on the ABMC's searchable database - once from Iowa and once from Idaho - and the question was, were the two names actually the same man? That has been proven to be indeed the case and the Doughboy MIA report on this has been handed in to the WW1 Centennial Commission for review. Once they are satisfied with the results, the report will then begin moving along the path to getting this situation fixed. When it is cleared for public consumption, the report will be posted here.

We are also working on updating the MIA Database. It has been noted that somewhere along the line the file corrupted and some things are not where they should be on it. This is being fixed and updates are being entered from a ten page report that team members Nancy and Lauren Schaff found at the Archives last trip detailing all army personnel buried at sea. Great work you two!

 Nancy and Lauren also brought out copies of reports and letters dealing with interments from the two expeditions to Russia a decade after the war to bring out bodies. This information, along with copies of all the burial cards from the N.R.A.E.F. during the war is bringing more clarity to a somewhat murky situation. Eventually, we will be copying everything we found at NARA and donating the copies to the Polar Bear Society (who are dedicated to remembering the men of the N.R.A.E.F.) in Michigan.


National Archives Research Notes - Trip #2:

Wow – what a week it was for Doughboy MIA! A second expedition went down to NARA/College Park last Wednesday and Thursday consisting of team members Nancy Schaff and her daughter Lauren. This time it was to paw through the files of the ABMC (American Battle Monuments Commission – the entity that has administered to the US cemeteries overseas since 1934). Boy did they strike silver here! We now have a complete list of all army burials at sea during the war, as well as more on the expeditions to Russia to recover remains of MIA’s in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. There was also information in there concerning the recoveries in the 1930’s. And all that is just at first glance! I’ll be posting more updates as we work our way through all that they found. Way to go Nancy and Lauren – you struck a fine vein of info! Doughboy salute!

We are still looking for the form 16-A disinterment and reburial forms for the Unknowns though. That is the true ‘Golden Egg’ folks (as team member Mitch Yokelson puts it). With those files we can make some real in-roads into tying some of the Unknown graves to some of our MIA Doughboys. So the search continues.

We are also close to making a breakthrough concerning another case. I know that’s just a tease, but a few more things need to come together before any official announcements can be made.

Also, you will be invited to check back on Doughboy MIA here on the WW1 Centennial Commission website every Monday from now on for the weekly update.

More soon!


National Archives Research Notes - Trip #1:

4/1/16                                                                                                                                              We wrapped it all up today. While we may not have located the burial cards themselves, we did catalogue and collect much useful information, as well as a plat of the original cemetery lay out. This alone may be worth its weight in gold. Tune in again for more updates as we have a chance to sort through all the information gathered in the coming weeks.

Note that today we uncovered the burial cards of the men from the NRAEF who were interred in Russian cemeteries! As time permits we will be comparing these records with those provided by the 'Polar Bears' in Detroit (the remembrance society for the NRAEF). We are also going to gift a full copy of these cards to the Polar Bears.


3/31/16research files cart
Another day in the records mine! Today we were joined by an honor guard soldier, Joshua Wesnidge. We are looking through the last couple of CPS boxes now. Trinie scanned the burial case files for Americans buried in Russian cemeteries. We also located two boxes worth of Lost Batallion information as well as other 77th division information that may give us some new answers. 

3/30/16Argonne Cemetery Map
Working in the map room. They couldn't make a copy of the map as it was too damaged, so Robert took tons of pics instead. Thank you to Nancy Schaff for joining us today. With her help, we cleared the majority of the rest of what was in the Graves Registration files. No burial cards of the type we need. BUT, we did get to see that original map of the Meuse-Argonne Argonne cemetery from 1920, which may yield clues. Lots to do when we get back in that direction.

research team 3/29/16

Covered lots of ground today with a team of five local assistants, but have yet to locate the necessary cards. Thank you to Mike Rauer, Angelo DeCecco, Nancy Schaff, and Kurt Schwarz & Patsy Keenan. We made many interesting and useful discoveries though, and Trinie has been carefully cataloging everything. What the box says is in the box isn't always what's in there, so the records we are keeping will help in the future. Plenty left to explore and dive into today. 

closeup of diary entry

Did the initial pull at the Archives this afternoon. Despite being exhausted from the drive I just couldn't wait and so worked through some of the less likely spots. Found the KIA card for our man and the WIA card for the Lost Battalion guy whose diary I checked out earlier today. Got my pull slips started for tomorrow so we can hit the ground running right off.

Doughboy MIA


The Doughboy MIA Mission:

“To commemorate for all time the U.S. Missing in Action of the Great War; to assemble and make public the most complete and accurate accounting of the U.S. Missing in Action of the Great War; to attempt to gather back ground information and photographs of all of the U.S. Missing in Action of the Great War; to attempt when and where possible to locate and identify the final resting place of the U.S. Missing in Action of the Great War and to petition those, when appropriate, for the ways and means necessary to recognize and officially identify recovered U.S. Missing in Action remains or grave locations from the Great War, or to otherwise commemorate discovered or identified U.S. Missing in Action of the Great War.”

Help Us Find Them

Doughboy MIA is an ongoing program of the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars. A volunteer team, including both American and European members, has performed extensive research in a variety of archives and resources to assemble more accurate and refined lists of Americans missing during the war. Doughboy MIA research has already eliminated duplicate names, and identified known individual service members who have been left off of memorials or otherwise not acknowledged. Doughboy MIA researchers have also analyzed possible battlefield recovery cases that could be pursued if resources were available. Your donation to the Foundation to support Doughboy MIA will help this work continue and expand.

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