One Man's Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page and Copyright
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As an author you sometimes are granted the privilege of ensuring that some of our priceless history is not lost. Such is the case with Frederick W. Zinn. It is a story of how our nation treats its honored dead. How our military helps families come to terms with their loss speaks volumes about who we are as a people. The quest to locate and bring h...
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Captain Frederick Zinn entered the area between the French villages of Tronville and Puxieux, and it was eerily reminiscent of what he had seen since his time in the French Foreign Legion in 1914; once quaint French villages were torn and battered by the ravages of war. Even though the Great War had been over for four months, it was still too early...
Chapter 1: The Zinns of Galesburg . . .
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Galesburg, Michigan, was an unremarkable wide spot on the railroad line between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo in 1892. If not for the railroad, it probably wouldn’t have existed at all. The railroad was an important link between Chicago and Detroit, where many of the goods and foods...
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Alvin Hill Treadwell came from a well-to-do family. His father Aaron was originally from Redding, Connecticut, the son of a farmer. Aaron went to college and became a professor, teaching ‹rst in Ohio and then settling at the prestigious Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where...
Chapter 2: Number 5626
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It was called the “Great War” until September of 1939, when it earned the moniker of “World War I.” While World War II eclipsed the death and destruction, for those veterans of the Great War it would always be seen as a more horri‹c confrontation. It brought about an incredible...
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Gatton was born in Iowa, but his family moved to Bozeman, Montana, in 1908. He was a star athlete at Gallatin County High School and held the state high jump record. Cy was a pure athlete, leading his high school football and track teams to championships during his years...
Chapter 3: Zinn of the Foreign Legion
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Fred was wrapping himself in the bohemian lifestyle of a member of the Foreign Legion. He grew a broad mustache and dressed the full part of a legionnaire. Fred found life in the legion trying, but like most men he found friends among his American comrades. The Americans in the Foreign...
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Roswell “Roz” Hayes Fuller was an energetic go-getter, exactly the kind of man that the U.S. Army Air Service wanted. His family line had a history of service to the country; one of his relatives was the Revolutionary War hero, Sidney Breese. As a young boy he enjoyed wearing a uniform,...
Chapter 4: Zinn of the French Air Service
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Almost from the start of the war Americans in France had an interest in serving in the French Air Service. There were a lot of reasons for this. Death in the trenches was random; mortar or artillery shells rained down constantly and randomly snuffed out the lives of men huddled in...
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Lester Harter came from a family in the heartland of America. He was born on the family farm in Stockham, Nebraska, on January 9, 1890. His parents, Jacob and Ester, had ten children, and Lester was the youngest. He graduated from Aurora High School in 1911 and for a short time...
Chapter 5: Zinn of the U.S. Army Air Service
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America had been resisting joining the ‹ghting in Europe since the start of the Great War. One chief reason is that it was pro‹ting from the war without the risks of being involved in the fighting. As a neutral power, the United States sold munitions and weapons to any government that...
Phillip E. Hassinger
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At six foot ‹ve and a quarter, Phillip “Phil” Hassinger was tall by the standards of the U.S. Army Air Service. He lived on Broadway in New York City. He enlisted in August of 1917, ‹ve months after the United States declared war on Germany. First Lieutenant Hassinger was assigned...
Chapter 6: Zinn the Searcher
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Captain Zinn’s appointment to the Berlin Commission at the end of the war was an open-ended assignment. His proposal had been worded vaguely enough to give him a great deal of latitude. He proposed that the two hundred missing American airmen could be found and that he...
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Many of the early aviators in France served in the French Air Service as Fred Zinn had, training either in French units or as part of the Lafayette Flying Corps. Others were attached to service in the Royal Flying Corps or worked in conjunction with the British forces. Such was the case of...
Chapter 7: Citizen Zinn
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Battle Creek and Galesburg’s most famous soldier and airman returned with no pomp and circumstance. The parades for the returning soldiers at Camp Custer and in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo had passed months earlier. Americans did what they have done after so many wars; they put...
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It was February 1919 when Fred Zinn received the notice from American infantry roaming the already decaying battle‹elds that they had come across the burial site of an airman that was buried near Chaumont just north of Verdun. When Fred saw the name of the airman that was allegedly...
Chapter 8: Zinn the Patriot
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Not everyone was on the isolationist bandwagon. This was especially true of those men that had fought for France during the Great War. The former members of the Foreign Legion and Lafayette Flying Corps saw the war as something that could not be ignored. While most hoped that...
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Raymond Parker was born in Champaign, Illinois, on April 29, 1893. The son of a traveling salesman, he came from a small family with only one sibling, his sister Cora. His fascination with electricity led him to enroll in the University of Illinois to study electrical engineering. He was a...
Chapter 9: Zinn the Spy
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Frederick Zinn’s journey into the world of counterespionage started out with good intentions. Fred had been a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, but the army offered him a chance to come in as a major attached to the OSS. Fred turned down the offer. Instead Fred proposed coming in as a...
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William Kelly Hester had a promising aviation career until August of 1943. He was a graduate, with honors, of the Oklahoma Military Academy— referred to often as the “West Point of the West.” In 1941, months before the United States was drawn into the con›ict, he had earned his...
Chapter 10: Zinn the Veteran
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Fred’s son, Richard “Bud” Zinn, was in Europe at the same time as his father. At twenty years of age, Bud was not involved with aviation despite his piloting license and the family history. Instead he was a private ‹rst class attached to Company E of the 129th Tank Destroyers based out of...
Emile Jack Selig Jr.
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Emile Jack Selig Jr. was a short, stocky, brown-haired young man from Louisiana. His father was a successful local businessman and Jack, as he was known, was highly energetic and personable. He graduated from Neville High School in Monroe City, Louisiana, and Northeast Junior...
Chapter 11: Zinn the Politician
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Frank Zinn, Fred’s brother, had borne a burden far different from Fred’s travels abroad. During the Great War he and brother Donald had been left behind with their father August to manage the mill operations in Galesburg and Battle Creek. Frank witnessed the horrible strain and...
John F. Merrill
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First Lieutenant John Franklin Merrill of the 28th Aero Squadron was leading the dawn patrol, rolling out of the aerodrome at 6:15. Merrill was an ordinary man, a face that easily blended in with a crowd, with dark, almost black hair. His parents were divorced, with his father living...
Chapter 12: Zinn into the Twilight
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Still somewhat stinging from his political defeat, Fred Zinn faced 1957 with some degree of trepidation. His father, August, had died during the previous year at the age of ninety-one. Up until the last two weeks of his life he worked out of the Battle Creek of‹ces of the Transit Warehouse...
Howard I. Kinne and John N. McElroy
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Captain Lyle S. Powell, the commanding officer of the 99th Aero Squadron, had time on his hands in April of 1919. With the war over his squadron had suddenly found itself in peacetime Europe. They were an observation squadron with no observation that was necessary. The sudden...
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This book has told the story of a number of airmen from two world wars. Their stories did not end with the ‹nding of their remains or their personal possessions. Many of them had stories that live on today. These ‹nal fates are meant to show the lasting impact of some of these men, as...
The Zinn Records
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The contents of the National Museum of the United States Air Force’s collection on Frederick W. Zinn are a treasure trove for researchers of World War I aviators. The documents contain detailed information on some men, whereas others are mentioned in only a line or two....
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This book would not have been possible without the help of Jean Armstrong of the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. Jean is a relentless researcher and helped uncover some wonderful articles and sources that normally would never have been located and included in this book....
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Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2011