I was recently contacted by a Dutch tourist whose son found this item on Omaha Beach in Normandy. If anyone has seen something similar or can positively identify this, please add a comment. I told the person who sent it to me that I would let them know if anyone can identify what it is.
My friend Robert M. Brown has published a new book on Captain Charles Rawn and the Frontier Infantry in Montana, published by History Press in 2016.
Bob asked me to write a foreword for the book, which I was happy to do and which can be found below. Check it out. It’s a good book!
Foreword to Captain Charles Rawn and the Frontier Infantry In Montana by Robert M. Brown
I first encountered Captain Charles Rawn on a fine spring day at the site of Fort Fizzle, scene of a confrontation in Montana’s Lolo Canyon between hundreds of Nez Perce warriors and a small contingent of U.S. Army soldiers and local civilians. Dressed in an impeccable blue uniform trimmed with gold braid, wearing a black campaign hat and armed with a single-action pistol, Captain Rawn cut an imposing figure as he described the events of the 1877 Nez Perce War to a group of local schoolchildren. They listened raptly as Rawn described his role as leader of the small force at Fort Fizzle and told of his unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a peaceful surrender with the Nez Perce leaders, including Looking Glass, White Bird, and Joseph. Most of the schoolchildren who learned the story of Fort Fizzle from Major Rawn never realized that the uniformed figure who portrayed Rawn was in fact Dr. Robert M. Brown, the Executive Director of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. Rawn was the founder and first commander of Fort Missoula, and Dr. Brown spent years researching his historic alter-ego, making him uniquely qualified to write the story of one of the little known but important figures of the frontier army. Whole bookshelves have been filled with biographies of a few prominent soldiers who fought the Indian wars, in particular Lt. Col. George A. Custer, who famously lost his entire battalion after a rash attack on a vastly superior force. On the other hand there has been little written of the everyday lives of the mid-level officers of the frontier army, those men who were focused on doing their jobs and keeping their men alive, rather than seeking fame and promotion. Rawn was raised in an upper middle class family in Pennsylvania, yet chose a career that would take him away from the comforts of civilization for years at a time. He and his family would spend most of their lives in a near lawless land where a small number of soldiers were tasked with keeping an uneasy peace between newly arrived settlers and the Native Americans who had occupied the land for millennia. It is telling that when the U.S. Army drastically downsized at the end of the Civil War, many well-regarded officers were mustered out of service. Rawn on the other hand was not only retained as an officer, but kept his war-time rank of captain while many of his peers faced major reductions in rank. Rawn’s story provides insight into the hardships experienced by those who chose a career in the post-war military, which for most officers proved a thankless job with little chance for advancement and was often characterized by a frustrating series of postings to remote forts. Who were these men who chose to serve their country for little pay or recognition? What motivated them to remain as career military officers despite harsh living conditions? In Captain Charles Rawn and the Frontier Infantry in Montana, Dr. Brown has given us a rare and long overdue insight into the day-to-day lives of the front-line officers who were the backbone of the frontier army during the last half of the Nineteenth Century. Gary Glynn, author of That Beautiful Little Post: The Story of Fort Missoula
• March 1 – All taverns, nightclubs, and places of entertainment were ordered to close at midnight to save energy.
• March 5 – Temperatures in Lewistown fell to minus 34 degrees, the coldest place in the nation.
• March 10 – The 163rd Infantry Regiment (formed from the Montana National Guard) landed on the Zamboanga peninsula of Mindanao, Philippines.
• March 18 – Memorial services were held at Browning for five Blackfeet tribal members killed in the war.
• March 22 – The Pacific Car and Foundry Co. in Billings was honored with an “E” award celebration for war production.
• March 26 – A “war-weary” veteran pilot from the Great Falls Army Air Base was arrested after repeatedly buzzing Great Falls at 2 a.m.
April 1945 in Montana (coming soon)
What others think of Montana’s Home Front During World War II
“a wealth of new information
and many never-before-seen photographs of
Montana during the 1940s. The result is a very
comprehensive, fascinating account of how the
state’s population coped with the tragedy of a worldwide military conflict.” – Judith Shafter – State of the Arts
“you’ve got to see it for yourself but any history or travel enthusiast will be very pleased with the wealth of information in this book.” – Greg Wortman, Billings Examiner
“excellent for the wealth of Montana history contained within. A fascinating snapshot of civilian life during the war” – ebay member burnafterreading