Veteran & Military Collectibles Research

Explore the Records Available for Researching Military Collectibles

Thomas Barthel was born on March 4, 1893 in Detroit, MI. Barthel served aboard the USS Arkansas during the Mexican Expedition in 1914. He was a member of the shore landing party and one of the few sailors that took part in the combat operations with the 3rd Regiment of the 3rd Naval Brigade. Barthel participated in the capture of Vera Cruz and occupation of the city from April through September of 1914. His Mexican Campaign medal is engraved with his name and vessel commemorating his service during the operations at Vera Cruz. Barthel was discharged in 1915 and went on to work as a civilian in the Brooklyn Navy Yard after separating from the USN. Explore his Navy military service records to learn more about his time in the service. 

Ralph A. Peio was born on May 23rd, 1898 in Oakfield, NY. He enlisted at Buffalo, New York on February 4th 1918 and served with D Company (67th Co), 5th Marine Regiment during combat operations in France. Mr. Peio was wounded in action near Chateau Thierry on 15 June, 1918 after taking bullet fragments and artillery shrapnel to his leg and ankle. He was hospitalized for his wounds until February of 1919, left the service briefly to work as a machinist and then re-enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1921. He served in San Domingo for about a year and a half before receiving his discharge in 1924. Explore his USMC WWI service records to learn more about his civilian life and military service in the Great War. 

John Fordyce was born on June 1, 1893 and he worked as an attorney in his civilian life before joining the Army as an officer in 1917. No doubt he felt a sense of patriotic duty to serve in the military during the Great War. It is likely that Fordyce was one of the first Americans to actually drive an armored vehicle in battle. He started out with the 331st Tank Battalion but was transferred to B Company, 345th Tank Battalion during combat operations in France. He was wounded in action on September 28, 1918 while serving with the 345th (under a young George Patton). His Purple Heart shown above is engraved with his name and the rim number falls within the correct range for a 1930’s award of the medal. Special thanks to Clinton Foster of Medal Mulisha for his assistance with this grouping. If anyone has a photo of Mr. Fordyce please contact us!

Albert Garinger served with B Company of the 1st Nebraska Infantry during the Philippine War and he participated in all of the battles and skirmishes of the 1st Infantry in the Philippines (a total of twenty-three engagements with the enemy). He also served as a Signal Corps officer during the Great War in Europe. His medals spanning his lengthy time in the service are numbered and trace out to him covering his combat and occupation service. An extensive grouping to a hard fighting veteran of the 1st Nebraska Infantry. Browse Garinger’s military service records above to learn more about his time in the service. 

John B. Kittrell was born in Greenville, NC on April 25th, 1892. His date of entry into the US Army shows as November 27th, 1917 although unit muster rolls for the 56th Infantry Regiment indicate that he was part of the reserves prior to the unit being federalized. Kittrell was an officer of M Company, 56th Infantry Regiment and only briefly saw combat service at the front in France during WWI. Because the 7th Division was in a defensive position along the Moselle River near Metz when the armistice was signed in 1918, very few of the men in the 56th Infantry Regiment actually saw action. Kitrell is unique in this sense because he was wounded in action on October 14th during the Meuse-Argonne campaign. His military service records were lost in the fire and thus alternate records were necessary to reconstruct details on where and when he was wounded. His wartime photographs were donated to East Carolina University and one of the pictures actually shows him wearing this helmet! 

Harry Cunningham was born on July 9, 1890 in West Virginia. He worked as an upholsterer prior to enlisting in the USMC as a recruit on January 22, 1912. After his enlistment, Cunningham was assigned to the USS Prairie as part of the 1st Expeditionary Marine Regiment. He went ashore in Nicaragua on August 13th, 1912, engaging in minor skirmishes with rebels on the 15th and 19th of September. He also participated in the capture of Coyotepe Hill on October 4, 1912. In April of 1914 he participated in the assault and capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico. Cunningham also saw service in Hati in 1915 prior to his discharge from the Marine Corps in 1916. His photograph was located on a passport application from November 1916 providing us with a glimpse of his appearance at the time of his military service

Michael Duggan was born in Tralaa, Ireland on April 2, 1882. Duggan enlisted in 1902 serving with the coastal artillery and National Guard until 1914 when he was assigned to A Company, 28th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division. Duggan remained with the 28th Infantry Regiment from 1914 through 1916, acting as a non-commissioned officer. for much of his career. His military personnel file is unique in that it survived the 1973 fire allowing us a complete look at his lifelong service in the US Army which spanned more than three decades. Duggan was recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for gallantry in action at Cantigny during WWI. When all of the officers of his unit were killed or wounded he managed to take control of his company thereby successfully repelling a German attack. It is unclear why he was not awarded the DSC and his award was instead downgraded to the Silver Star. His complete military service record can be viewed above. 

Minor Crickenberger was born on January 22, 1895 in Staunton, VA. He enlisted in the ND National Guard on July 11th, 1917. His Infantry Company was redesignated to a trench mortar battery when the unit was federalized just days after his enlistment. Since his military service records were lost in the 1973 archives fire it was necessary to use alternate records to detail his military career in the US Army. It does not appear that his unit saw combat in France as he is listed as an instructor with the 41st Infantry Division Trench Mortar School. It is believed that the sand texture added to the paint mixture (to reduce glare) on the helmet is a post war feature so it is likely that his helmet was thrown into a surplus pile after the war. His name is still faintly legible on the brodie helmet chinstrap.

John Gagg was born on March 24, 1885. He enlisted in the USMC as a basic recruit on August 10, 1911. Gagg served with the 1st Marine Regiment at Nicaragua, coming ashore from the USS Justin at Corinto on August 14, 1912. From August to October, Gagg participated in action against the revolutionary forces in Nicaragua while also guarding the railway lines leading back to the coast. In July of 1914, Gagg was sent ashore in Mexico during the occupation of Vera Cruz. After returning to Panama he was tried and convicted for being drunk while on guard duty and eventually separated from the service with a bad conduct discharge. While he was eligible for the Mexican Campaign badge (in addition to the Nicaragua Campaign medal pictured above) his bad conduct discharge likely prevented the award of any further insignia. His photograph was obtained from the OMPF service file at the National Archives.

William Ferguson was born July 25, 1898 in Cleveland, OH. He enlisted in the USMC on April 19, 1917 and was assigned to 17th Co of the 5th Marine Regiment, 2nd Division. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery in action at Belleau Wood on June 10, 1918. On November 10, 1918 Ferguson and another marine went ahead of the battalion near Villemontry, France and silenced a German machine gun emplacement that was holding up the advance of their unit. Ferguson was awarded the Navy Cross for this action. His numbered Good Conduct Medal is shown above. This medal may have been separated from the original ribbon at some point and placed on a watch fob. The ribbon is believed to be a replacement. Ferguson’s photograph is preserved from his personnel file at the National Archives.

Roscoe R. Leach was born in Benegap, IL on November 30, 1894. He enlisted as a recruit on August 5, 1917 and was assigned to the Marine Corps Aviation Wing. At this early phase of military aviation Leach was one of the first enlisted USMC veterans authorized to fly an aircraft. He served overseas with the 1st MAW from August 1918 and returned to the USA in December 1918. It is likely that he served as a mechanic (not in aerial combat) and was required to test aircraft during the course of maintenance work. His garrison cap and good conduct medal are both featured here. He was discharged from the USMC in August of 1919. After the war, Leach went on to become a high school teacher. His photo (above) is from a high school year book and dated 1939. Please contact us if you have an earlier photo of Roscoe! 

Charlie Griffith was born on September 24, 1889. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 14, 1911 and he served aboard the USS Ohio in 1912 (occupation duty at Cuba). He also served with the 3rd Marine Regiment at Vera Cruz during the Mexican Campaign in 1914 (dispatched from the USS Morro Castle). He remained on occupation duty in Mexico until November of 1914. Griffith was discharged in 1915 but reenlisted in 1917 when the US entered the First World War. He served with the Northern Bombing Squadron in France until shipping back to the US in December of 1918. View his military service records above to learn more about his service in the US Marine Corps. 

Roman Gronowski was born on August 11, 1894. He enlisted in the Army on July 15, 1917 and was assigned to HQ Company, 127th Infantry Regiment. His helmet is the British made variety of the Brodie helmet, showing his name is penciled on the chinstrap. Gronowski was shell shocked (and possibly gassed) on August 2, 1918 according to his XC Claim Pension File. His military service records were lost in the 1973 fire so the XC claim benefits file stand in place of the service file that was lost. He was hospitalized from August to December for his injuries (although there is no indication that he received the Purple Heart). It is very common to find XC files of individual WWI participants describing chemical weapons exposure during the war. The fact that his name appears inside of the British manufactured brodie may mean that this was the very helmet he was wearing during the intense shelling that knocked him out of combat. Note the incredible level of family history related details that can be useful for genealogy researchers using the XC file. These records are essential for anyone researching a military veteran whose records were lost in the 1973 fire. 

Mathias Smrekar was born in Ely, MN on May 6, 1895. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 8, 1918 and was shipped to France as a replacement in September of 1918 where he joined the 16th Company of the 5th Marine Regiment. He was wounded in action at Mont Blanc on October 4, 1918 when he was struck in the hand by machine-gun fire. He was treated for his wounds and returned to the US in August of 1919. His pension WWI XC File details information about his family, death and burial after his time in the service. These files can provide a treasure trove for military veteran genealogy research.

Fred Hoyt was born on August 16, 1876 in New Haven, CT. He enlisted as a USMC recruit on September 8, 1903 at Buffalo, NY. During his fist two enlistments he served overseas, primarily with the 1st Marine Regiment in Cuba and the Philippines. On September 4, 1912 he was part of the USS Prairie landing force at Corinto, Nicaragua. During operations in Nicaragua he served as a guard at the railway lines between Managua and Granada. In October of 1912 he took part in the bombardment and capture of the fortifications at Coyotepe and Barranca near Masaya, Nicaragua. Hoyt later landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico on April 22, 1914 and participated in the capture of the city by US Naval forces. Hoyt was commissioned as a USMC officer in March of 1918 and shipped out to the Dominican Republic with the 15th Marine Regiment in February of 1919. He was wounded in action during a skirmish with rebels near Palmal, DR on April 17, 1919. Hoyt retired as a Captain in 1927. Enjoy learning more about Hoyt by perusing his USMC military personnel records above.

Elwell Cook was born on October 19, 1898. He enlisted in the US Army on July 15, 1917 and was assigned to C Company of the 126th Infantry Regiment (part of the 32nd Infantry Division). Cook’s military personnel file was lost in the 1973 archives fire and thus documentation on his service had to be obtained from alternate sources including muster rolls and daily reports of changes and casualties. He arrived in France in February 1918 and participated in action with the 32nd Division until he was wounded by machine gun fire on August 1, 1918. He was dropped from the rolls at that time. His helmet is inscribed with his serial number and name and the entire  shell is painted in a ‘fall camouflage’ pattern. Cook’s photograph was obtained from the unit history which has numerous images of the soldiers who served with the 32nd Division in WWI. 

Axel Enholm was born on April 15, 1893 in New Jersey. He enlisted in the USMC on May 1, 1914 and was assigned to the 19th Company of the 1st Marine Regiment. Enholm fought in Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic between 1914 and 1916 . During WWI he served with the 6th Machine Gun Battalion in France where was wounded in action on June 5th, 1918 at Belleau Wood. He was discharged in 1919 but reentered the service in 1942 (his photograph was scanned from his WWII period service records) to take part in the US effort in the Second World War. His numbered Dominican Campaign Medal is shown here and whereabouts of his other medals are not known. Explore his WWI and WWII personnel records above to learn more about his career in the Marine Corps and civilian life. 

Harry Lee was born on November 14, 1901 at Helena, MT. He enlisted as a USMC recruit March 11, 1930 and was shipped to China via the USS Henderson in May of 1930. Lee was assigned to Company I of the 4th Marine Regiment stationed at Shanghai. He spent three years in China, taking part in the defense of the International Settlement during the Sino-Japanese unrest from January-June 1932. He was discharged in 1934 as a Private. Enjoy browsing his USMC military personnel from NARA, which includes a period photograph of Lee in uniform at the time of his marine corps enlistment.

William . Thompson was born on April 11, 1896. He enlisted in the US Army on August 4, 1917 and was assigned to American Red Cross Ambulance Company #18  upon his enlistment. His unit was mobilized in 16 September, 1917 and transferred to Camp Grant where he continued training. He was assigned to the 103rd Field Hospital, 101st Sanitary Train (26th Infantry Division) on April 9, 1918 and he served with the 26th Infantry Division as part of the mobile hospital staff until the end of the war. Thompson transferred out for discharge in April of 1919. His painted helmet bears the insignia of the 101st Sanitary Train and his name is recorded inside of the steel brodie helmet. Notice that some of his OMPF military service records, primarily medical in nature survived the 1973 fire. 

Daniel Erb was born on June 7, 1886 in Emaus, PA. He enlisted in the US Army on September 19, 1917 and was assigned to D Company, 11th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Infantry Division. Note that his helmet bears the 5th Division insignia in the shape of a red diamond shape. Erb participated in combat operations with the 11th Infantry Regiment throughout the Great War. On 5 November, 1918 he distinguished himself in combat by capturing a German machine-gun nest singlehandedly. Taking the captured Germans to a nearby dugout he discovered another 48 German soldiers that he also took as prisoners. Erb was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in combat for his actions on that day. Included in his research papers are the citation for his DSC, muster rolls of the 11th Infantry Regiment showing his dates in combat and his Veterans Bureau XC pension file obtained from the VA. 

Earle Sherman was born on August 19, 1892 in Williamstown, MA. He served with D Company, 60th Infantry Regiment during WWI as a platoon leader. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry exhibited in action on 17 September, 1918. He demonstrated coolness under fire as he directed his platoon while under heavy artillery fire in the Bois de Bonvaux. Although he as seriously wounded in action he attempted to rejoin his men but had to be hospitalized. Sherman survived the war… his photo was located on a post-war passport application! He was also awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action. Sherman’s helmet is beautifully decorated and the colors well preserved. 

Ople Waggoner was born on July 13, 1898. He enlisted in the USMC on May 15, 1917 and was assigned to the 78th Company of the 6th Marine Regiment. Waggoner was a highly decorated sniper who was awarded the Silver Star and Croix de Guerre for silencing opposing German snipers who were holding up the advance of his regiment at Belleau Wood on 7 and 8 June, 1918. On June 14, 1918 he was struck in the face by artillery shrapnel and suffered wounds from mustard gas inhalation. He returned to his unit in September of 1918 to fight in the Battle of St. Mihiel where he was once again hit by enemy artillery shrapnel on 12 September, 1918. After returning to his unit post-war, he had to be hospitalized yet again when a car door fell on his foot while en route to the docks on the way back to the USA. A fascinating career of a legendary marine and a beautifully painted helmet with insignia of the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines in the Great War.  

Erick Smith was a Finnish immigrant who worked as a quartz miner in Colorado prior to enlisting in the Army during WWI. He served honorably with I Company of the 354th Infantry Regiment, seeing combat at St. Mihiel and in the Argonne. After the war he returned to Telluride where he continued working as a miner in the Tomboy mines. Smith was subsequently murdered in what became the most sensationalized murder case in Colorado history to that date. Masked men entered the Montana Mine of the Tomboy Gold Mine Company on 10 September 1919 and opened fire on the workers there. Smith and four other miners were killed in the incident. It is believed that the murders were motivated by anti-immigrant fervor. No conviction was ever handed down in what became famously known as the ‘Tomboy Murders’. We have included some articles here describing the crime, apprehension, and release of the suspects. Smith’s helmet is beautifully preserved and must have been stored away when he was killed only a year after his service. His name is penciled in the leather helmet liner. No photo of Smith has been located, however a photograph of his funeral and some war buddies was located by a Finnish researcher who shared them with us. Smith’s WWI military service records partially survived the 1973 archives fire allowing us a detailed glimpse of his military service. 

James Schwing was born in Spartanburg, SC and worked as a postman before shipping out to France as an officer with F Company of the 118th Infantry Regiment. The 118th Infantry was composed in large part of National Guardsmen from his hometown. Schwing was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star for actions on October 8, 1918 when he led four men of his company in an attack on a German machine-gun emplacement containing four guns and about forty Germans. By the use of grenades and automatic rifles Schwing and his men were able to expel the Germans allowing his company to advance. Days later, on October 17th Schwing was wounded by an artillery blast and evacuated from the front lines. After the war, he returned to Spartansburg where he returned to his life as a postman until his retirement. His helmet is beautifully painted and inscribed with his name. Also, a commemorative booklet made locally for the men of F Company is pictured here. 

Simeon Clukey was born on May 4, 1900 in Dexter, Maine. He was drafted into federal service in August of 1917 just after his seventeenth birthday! Clukey was assigned to A Company, 103rd Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division as an infantryman. According to his XC File Pension claim he was shot through the ankle on 26 September, 1918 near Raiville, France while serving at the front. Clukey also claims to have been gassed several times during the Great War. He was discharged in April of 1919 after recovering from his wounds. Although his Army service records were lost in the 1973 fire we can still follow his path using WWI Army muster rolls and casualty reports. In the 1920’s Clukey briefly served in the Coast Guard. His US Coast Guard military service records are featured here. The photo of Clukey is from his enlistment in the Marine Corps during World War II when he served as a guard stateside in the US. Clukey’s name is very faintly legible on the chinstrap of his WWI brodie helmet. 

George Bragdon served in the NY 10th Infantry from 1899 through 1917 when the National Guard unit was federalized as part of the 27th US Infantry Divsion. The 107th Infantry Regiment (Bragdon commanded both E Company and then M Company in combat) served with the British during WWI and Bragdon distinguished himself as an officer of M Company in the Somme Offensive. At one point he commanded the entire 3rd Battalion of the 107th Infantry Regiment while the unit was in the line. Bragdon was popular with his men who referred to him as ‘Big Chief’. His helmet is decorated with the insignia of the 27th Division and his name is clearly visible under the rim of the brodie helmet. 

Edward Corcoran was born in Buffalo, New York on February 8, 1894. He operated as the leader of the regimental mortar platoon with HQ Company, 101st Infantry Regiment while the unit was campaigning in France. Corcoran was promoted to 1st Lt. shortly after the armistice was signed.  He was discharged shortly after returning to the US in April of 1919. His helmet bears the insignia of the 101st Infantry Regiment with his name still faintly visible under the rim of the brodie helmet. 

Arthur Harding was promoted to 1st Lt. in 1899 prior to his assignment on occupation duty in the Philippines. When US interests were threatened by the uprising in China Harding set sail with a battalion of marines dispatched to defend against the Boxers (he was serving as Major Waller’s adjutant at this time). Harding commanded part of the assault and capture of the arsenal at Tientsin in July of 1900. Harding, risked his life to rescue a wounded marine who had been left behind (Smedley Butler assisted in the rescue). For this act Harding and Butler were both breveted for bravery. This was done in lieu of the award of the Medal of Honor which both men would have been awarded had it not been against USMC regulation for officers to receive the award. Harding also participated in the capture of Vera Cruz in 1914, apparently commanding a battalion that consisted of men drawn from various naval prisons. He committed suicide in 1915 shortly after getting married. Research on Mr. Harding is still ongoing.

Edward Cullen was born on March 23, 1885 in Toldeo, OH. He enlisted in the USMC in June of 1906 and was assigned to the USMC contingent aboard the USS Newark. As a member of the 3rd Expeditionary Battalion he took part in the occupation of Cuba in the fall of 1906. On October 5, 1906 Cullen was involved in a standoff with several hundred Cuban rebels at Camaguey, preventing their entry into the city. His unit was commended for their bravery by the commanding officer on this date. Cullen remained on occupation duty at Havana through 1909. He re-einlisted in 1910 but deserted from the USS Maine in 1911 ending his time in the service.

Martin Kyne was born on November 9, 1891 in Headford, Ireland. He was working as a laborer in San Francisco when he enlisted as a recruit in the USMC on May 12, 1913. Kyne was assigned to constabulary duties for much of his service (in the late 1920’s he served briefly as a prison warden). He received a commendation for his work as a patrol sergeant at Olangapo, PI during occupation duties in 1920. He also saw service at Hong Kong and Shanghai between 1925 and 1928. During the First World War Kyne was stationed in Hawaii and he retired from the USMC as a gunnery sergeant in 1937. Explore his service records (above) in more detail to learn more about his life and military career.