My grandniece, Jadyn Mortensen has just completed her first year of college at the University of Wyoming, where she is studying mechanical engineering. Jadyn was given a full scholarship as part of the University of Wyoming Barrel Racing Team, and she has really been enjoying college. She missed her family, of course. Jadyn is very close to her parents, Amanda Reed and Sean Mortensen, and the family does just about everything together whenever they can, but this year at college, while hard work due to a heavy load, was also an amazing learning and personal growth experience for Jadyn.
With the school year behind her, Jadyn came home to Rawlins for the summer, and found a seasonal job with KC Harvey. She and her team partner were tasked with the job of spraying properties in the area. On their first day, Jadyn and her partner had a little bit of trouble in the form of a flat tire. They were not in the best place for that to happen, but Jadyn told her partner that she could change the tire, if they had a spare tire. As it turned out, they did, and before long Jadyn had the tire changed and they were back to work. At the end of the workday, their boss asked them how many properties they had finished. The girls told him they only finished ten properties. The boss said, “Let me get this straight. You sprayed only ten properties.” The girls cringed thinking their boss was upset with them. Then he said that most teams finished only 5 properties, and here the girls had finished ten properties and they had also changed their own flat tire. He told them, “That’s amazing!! I’m very pleased with you both!!” These girls got the bosses praise on their very first day!! Most people have no idea what to do on their first day…much less get it right!!!!
Jaydn has about four years of college left, but I’m quite certain that her summer jobs will be secure for as long as she wants to work at . Not bad for a young lady of just 19 years, but then Jadyn was raised by parents who taught her to be independent, and a dad who taught her to know her way around a vehicle. Jadyn is a tough young lady, even though she is very much a lady. She is as at home on a horse, snowmobile, motorcycle, jet ski, as she is in a pickup. And when she dresses up, she always looks simply stunning. She’s quite a lady. Today is Jadyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Jadyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
While my husband, Bob and I were in the Black Hills last week, we were having breakfast at the Hill City Cafe, when we overheard a waitress telling another table the story of how the Hill City High School came to have Smokey Bear as their mascot and be renamed the Hill City Rangers. I had no idea that anyone used Smokey Bear as their mascot, nor did I know that no other school was allowed to do so. That caught my interest, so we listened to the story, and then I had to research it further to get the whole story. And quite a story it is.
It all started around noon on July 10, 1939, with one of the worst forest fires in the history of the Black Hills. It was located just ten miles northwest of Hill City, and that’s too close for any wildfire to be to a city. Overnight, the fire burned through six of those ten miles, jumped the Mystic Road, the C.B. and Q. Railway, and was headed directly for Hill City. These are areas my husband, Bob and I have hiked, and hearing about the fire raging through them really hits home for me. The C.B. and Q Railway (Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad) was later abandoned and became the Mickelson Trail, which I have hiked from end to end, twice!! Not in one trip, but over about 10 years, one section at a time. The whole area is a place I love, and to think of it burning…well, it tears at my heart.
By noon on July 11, 1939, the fire was within three miles of town. That was when the wind changed and carried the fire further North and East. Still, Hill City and other towns were not safe, winds shift all the time, and the fire had to be stopped. The weather that year had been hot and very dry, unlike this year, plus a high wind repeatedly “crowned” the fire. The firefighters were in constant danger. They had already called in all of the Civilian Conservation Corps boys in the area, who had been immediately put on the fire, and now the forest rangers called for more help. You know that the situation is desperate, when they call for untrained volunteers. Shockingly, one of the first crews to respond was a group of 25 schoolboys from Hill City. These were high school kids…kids!! The crew of 25 included the entire basketball squad, one eighth grader, and several boys who had recently attended or graduated from the Hill City High School. Their foreman was Charles Hare, President of the Board of Education. This whole story of bravery and selflessness brings tears to my eyes and puts a lump in my throat.
The inferno raged throughout July 11th and into July 12th and utilized over four thousand firefighters, laboring together to bring the fire under control. The fire often isolated the crews, who went without food and water for a number of hours. Heat, smoke, and the danger of being trapped hampered the firefighters, but the blaze was brought under control on July 12th. The people of Hill City had spent many anxious hours watching the smoke and direction of the fire. Many had packed their belongings and were ready to move, but the order to abandon the town was never given. The schoolboys crew from Hill City was at the fire every day. The US Forest Service was so grateful to them that they were later recognized by officials as one of the best crews!! The McVey Fire burned over 20,000 acres.
To get back to the story the waitress was so proudly telling, “The name ‘Rangers’ was given to them in honor of their good record. Because of the work of these schoolboys back in 1939, Hill City Schools became the ONLY school district in the United States to have the privilege of using ‘Smokey Bear’ as its mascot. The school colors are Green and Gold which also represent the National Forest Service Theme, and Hill City is the ONLY school with the honorable privilege of having their graduation ceremonies held at Mount Rushmore. The staff, students and teams representing Hill City Schools hope to continue the traditions of the splendid group of men that our boys so ably assisted, The United States Forest Rangers.” It’s a proud tradition to own, and an awesome goal to reach for. I’m sure they will be able to achieve their goal, and as an annual “tourist” in the area, who loves the Black Hills, I want to thank all the brave firefighters in the Black Hills-Hill City area…past, present, and future (one of which was my niece, Lindsay Moore, for a summer) for all their hard work keeping the area safe, and mostly for their bravery.
As I was sitting in church yesterday morning, waiting for the service to begin, I looked around me at the people in the room. Most of them I have known for years…them and their parents. Then, I realized how many of the parents are no longer with us. It has happened over time…one here and one there, until suddenly, my generation was the new patriarch and matriarch generation in the church…the elders if you will.
I felt a wave of sadness, as I thought about my parents, and the parents of so many others who have gone home. Of course, the sadness was accompanied by the joy for each of them, who were now living every day in the presence of God. How glorious that must be!! They left this Earth, as well as their children and grandchildren, hoping that they had given us the training we would need to go forward in life and follow God in the way we had been trained. They left this Earth standing on the promise in Proverbs 22:6, that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The people around me had all come up the way I had…going to church with our parents, and so the promise held true.
While I was happy that the people around me, were there to carry on their parents’ legacy of raising their own children in the church, I was sorry that so many of our parents and mentors were no longer there with us. Nevertheless, while we aren’t all queens like Esther was, the verse in Esther, 4:14 holds true, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” It occurred to me that while our parents were no longer with us, the truth was that this wasn’t their time in life…it is ours. We were born for this era, and it is up to us to carry on now. It is up to us to make our parents proud of the people we have become, the people they raised. I left church after the service, feeling a little melancholy, but also a little encouraged, because the people around me, who are carrying on with what their parents taught them, are making their parents proud…we all are. And while this era will have its own issues, the fact remains that each era has its own troubles, as the Bible clearly states in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Our parents carried their day, and now it is up to each of us to carry ours, until our era is up, and then, prayerfully, we have trained up the next generation of warriors to take up the tasks of carrying their day.
In December of 2006, some 10,000 US researchers signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process. In other words, the politicians were manipulating the scientific outcomes of research in order to sell their own agenda to the people. The statement, which included the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demanded a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy. These scientists were tired of being forced to have their research line up with the outcome that the government wanted. According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, their research data is being misrepresented for political reasons. The statement claims that scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives. Basically, these scientists are whistle blowers, who stand to lose their funding because they won’t play ball anymore, but science whose outcome is manipulated by politics isn’t science anymore anyway, is it.
In the statement the Union released, it included an “A to Z” guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education. When Congress won’t stand up for scientific integrity, it left the door open for the White House to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security said, “It’s very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it’s even harder to make good public policy with bad science. In the last several years, we’ve seen an increase in both the misuse of science, and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources.”
The statement released at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting…the annual gathering of Earth scientists, triggered a major row when a discussion resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen claimed that he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues. Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views. Halpern said, “This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop.” With the statement of objection, the Union expressed a hopefulness that the new Congress taking office that January would show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process. Unfortunately, I don’t think that has been the case with that Congress, nor with any others. Manipulating science to control the population seems to be the political way of doing things.
Today is a very important day. It is not about having a three-day weekend, a barbecue, picnic, or even a holiday camping trip. It’s not that these things are bad, or even wrong. It’s really just a matter of remembering and showing respect for those men and women who went to war and didn’t come home alive. Those men and women gave their all, their very lives to keep us and so many others around the world safe. They could have stayed home. There isn’t a draft anymore, although many were drafted, because in a war the likes of the world wars, and others, the men and women were dying so fast that the volunteers couldn’t keep up. So, they held a draft, and those men, because at that time women weren’t drafted, did their duty, and went to fight the war, many losing their lives in the process.
I happened to watch a movie the other night, called “The Lost Battalion.” It was a true event from World War I. It was called “The Lost Battalion” because of the heavy losses incurred by the nine companies of the US 77th Division of roughly 554 men, who were isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Of the 554 men, roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before the 194 remaining men were rescued. These men were not lost. The US Army knew where they were…pretty much, but they were lost, because it was expected that all would be lost, and that was almost the case. During the battle, the men had to leave the trenches and run, almost completely unprotected at the Germans entrenched on the other side of the hill. The battle was gruesome, and the movie was quite graphic. I’m sure many people would say that they shouldn’t have shown so much blood and mutilation, but if they “sugar coat” it, do we really understand how horrible war is?
The battalion was led by Major Charles W Whittlesey who survived the attack, but refused to be transported out ahead of his men, choosing instead to walk out with them. When the attack began in the Argonne, the 77th Division was under the belief that French forces were supporting their left flank and two American units including the 92nd Infantry Division were supporting their right. Within the 77th sector, some units, including Whittlesey’s 308th Infantry, were making significant headway, but unbeknownst to Whittlesey’s unit, the units to their left and right had been stalled, and actually retreated. Without this knowledge, the 77th Battalion moved beyond the rest of the Allied line and found themselves surrounded by German forces. As I watched the movie, my first thought was, why don’t they stay and fight from the trenches? Of course, I quickly realized that you can’t take the hill from the trench. These men had to dig deep within themselves, and leave the safety of the trench, knowing that they would most likely die right there, if the Allies were to have the victory. That is giving your all!! That is what Memorial Day is really all about…the men and women who charged the enemy, accepting their fate of almost certain death, to win the war and protect our freedoms. These men and so many like them are the heroes of this day…a fact that we must never forget. I thank every fallen soldier this day, because you gave your all…selflessly and willingly, and you will never be forgotten!!
These days, we expect that our president will be familiar with the internet, texting, Facebook, and many other forms of technological advances, but we think of presidents in our past as having to deal with the ancient “technology” of the past, and we even find ourselves almost giggling when we use the term “technology” when speaking about such presidents as Abraham Lincoln. Nevertheless, Abraham Lincoln was a “techy” president…maybe not in the way we use the term today, but since technology often advances at the speed of light, he was quite advanced for his era.
Lincoln had always been a “cutting edge” kind of man, but during the Civil War, his “techy” prowess really came to light. Lincoln was quite taken with the new technology, which he called lightning messages. The federal government had been slow to adopt the telegraph after Samuel Morse’s first successful test message in 1844. Prior to the Civil War, even the federal employees who had to send a telegram from the nation’s capital, had to wait in line with the rest of the public at the city’s central telegraph office. Then, after the outbreak of the Civil War, the newly created US Military Telegraph Corps undertook the dangerous work of laying more than 15,000 miles of telegraph wire across battlefields, at Lincoln’s orders, so he could transmit news nearly instantaneously from the front lines to the new telegraph office that had been established inside the old library of the War Department building adjacent to the White House in March 1862. He was so interested in the telegraph, in fact, that he sometimes slept on a cot in the telegraph office during major battles. Of course, his main objective was to be able to get information to and from his generals as quickly as possible, but another major objective, that was just as important, was to be out ahead of his Confederate counterpart, Jefferson Davis, who didn’t have the same kind of access. In this way, Lincoln became the first “wired president” nearly 150 years before the advent of texts, tweets, and e-mail, by embracing the original electronic messaging technology…the telegraph.
President Abraham Lincoln, who was our 16th president, is best remembered for the Gettysburg Address, as well as the Emancipation Proclamation, both of which really stirred the Union, but it was the “techy” side of the man and the nearly 1,000 bite-sized telegrams that he wrote during his presidency, that really helped win the Civil War. It was those telegrams that truly projected presidential power in an unprecedented fashion, for that time anyway. The fact is that many people tend to be very slow to accept change, especially something as “new-fangled” as the telegraph was at that time in history. It took a man with foresight and wisdom to see that this was a “weapon” of sorts, that would explode our highly divided country into a place where the side of personal rights and personal freedom could propel it into a great nation, instead of two mediocre nations. The person who did that had to be cutting edge!! He had to be ahead of his time…and that is exactly what President Abraham Lincoln was. It is a sad injustice that he was murdered before his full potential could be realized. I wonder where we might have been today, if he had lived out his term.
My nephew, Rob Masterson met his wife Dustie while he was in the Army, serving in Louisiana. It didn’t take them very long to realize that they were in love. Anyone could see that they were perfect for each other. When Rob was discharged, they returned to Casper, Wyoming where Rob’s family all lived. We all liked Dustie right away, and Dustie worked really hard to fit in with Rob’s family. She loved Rob deeply, and that meant loving his family too. For Dustie, that was easy, because not only did she love Rob, but she was and is a very loving person in her own right, and she loved Rob with all her heart.
Now, over twenty years later, Dustie says of Rob, “My husband is without a doubt my ‘perfect’ partner and my best friend. I don’t know how other couples are, but we are both most comfortable together.” Rob and Dustie used to work together at Sam’s Club, where they were both department supervisors, she in grocery, and he in the tire shop. While it would mean that they would no longer work together, Rob nevertheless, encouraged her to accept a job offer at Walgreens, when it came her way, because he knew it would be a far better fit for her. Rob is very selfless when it comes to things like that. Dustie says, “I know in my heart that he will ALWAYS be there to support whatever I choose to do.”
Our family is used to the dynamic that Rob and Dustie have, but when people outside of the family see them together, they inevitably tell her that she has the perfect husband. Dustie would agree…for her, Rob is the “perfect” husband. Rob is a sweet man. As his aunt, I can attest to that. He grew up the only boy out of his parents’ five children, and after their divorce, the only man in the household. Rob took that “responsibility” very seriously. He is protective of all women, but none so much as his own family. Dustie says, “What most people don’t know is what we’ve been through separately (good and bad) helped us decide how we were going to go about our relationship. I’ve never known anyone who loves as deeply as Robert.” Rob is a man who picks his close relationships carefully, and that means mostly, his family and the very few that he calls friend. To those who are in that circle, he is loyal, protective. He is also true to all his beliefs and morals, and he will not be swayed by whatever is trending. Dustie thinks “you guys” did an amazing job bringing such a good man into this world…of course, she means his mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson, and probable my parents, his grandparents, Al and Collene Sencer, all of whom would have to be the ones to take the credit for Rob’s raising. I would agree. They did an amazing job. Rob is a great husband, father, grandson, nephew, and friend, to all who fit in one of those categories. Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
On July 1, 2022, my brother-in-law, Mike Stevens retired from a 39-year career in the oil field business, but this story is not about his retirement or his career, because those are things from his past. Following that retirement, Mike and my sister, Alena have been focusing on two things…relaxation and grandchildren. My sister tells me that they don’t do much, but I think they probably do. Whenever the grandchildren are over, I know that the house is suddenly filled with giggling energy, because that is what grandchildren bring. Two of their grandchildren, Elliott and Maya, live in Sheridan, so they don’t get to see them as much, but with retirement, they are making more trip to Sheridan, and their son Garrett and his wife, Kayla will also be bringing the girls to Casper more often. In the meantime, their bonus grandchildren, Brooklyn and Jaxxon Killinger love to spend time at their grandparents’ house. They often come over after school, and that is when the fun gets going. Mike is a kid at heart, and he loves joking and playing with the grandchildren.
And speaking of joking, Mike’s son, Garrett tells me that his dad is always joking around. He is a great jokester. He always texts Garrett and his sisters, Michelle Miller and Lacey Stevens (soon to be Killinger) a joke or something like it on April Fools’ Day. For the kids, it isn’t April Fools’ Day until they have received their “Dad’s April Fools’ Day Joke Text” from their dad. Nothing is off limits, and the kids know it. A couple of years ago, Mike group texted Michelle and Lacey, saying that the family dogs, Callie and Ozzy got into some poison, and they woke up to them dead in their kennel. Both Michelle and Lacey were crying at work…when they got the text from their dad saying, “April Fools!!” Well, needless to say, the girls were “so mad!!” Garrett was living in Sheridan This year’s April Fools’ Day text found Mike telling the kids that he had won the lottery!! That one was not as successful, as the kids had learned their lesson, and so caught on pretty quickly. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped Mike from sending out those April Fools’ Day Joke Texts or any other day joke texts. Now, with the grandchildren in the picture, Mike has a whole new audience for his jokes.
This year, Mike has had a much more serious role in life. When my sister, Alena Stevens was diagnosed with very early breast cancer and had to undergo a lumpectomy and radiation, her husband, Mike was literally her Rock. No one wants to receive that diagnosis, and not everyone has people standing behind them to support them through the “nightmare.” Alena was very blessed to have Mike and her children behind her when it happened to her. Mike led the way and was a role model for the children on how to “be there” for their mom. That person has to push back their own fears and lift up the person they are supporting. It’s never easy, but it was what Mike did, and what he led his children and grandchildren in doing. He led the way in prayer for her and in his support at home. Now that the cancer is gone, Alena will be forever grateful to Mike and her kids for all they did for her…and to God be all the glory for her healing!! Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When nations go to war, it is not just the soldiers fighting, who pay the price. War is expensive, and everyone has to help with the war effort. The American people are famous for pitching in when “push comes to shove” and World War II would be no different. On May 15, 1942, the American war effort needed the American citizens to “tighten their belts” so that the funds could be used to help our soldiers. So, gasoline rationing began in 17 Eastern states. It was the first attempt to help the American war effort during World War II. President Franklin D Roosevelt then ensured that by the end of the year, mandatory gasoline rationing was in effect in all 48 states. Things got tougher, and the people felt the pinch, but they were willing to do what was necessary to win the war.
After World War I, many Americans were less than enthusiastic about entering another world war, at least until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The day after the attack, Congress almost unanimously approved Roosevelt’s request for a declaration of war against Japan and three days later Japan’s allies Germany and Italy declared war against the United States. Like it or not, war was on. With the onset of war, Americans almost immediately felt the impact of the war. The economy quickly shifted from a focus on consumer goods into full-time war production. Everyone was pitching in, and everyone was willing. With so many men in now in the fighting, the women went to work in the factories to replace the now enlisted men, automobile factories began producing tanks and planes for Allied forces and households were required to limit their consumption of such products as rubber, gasoline, sugar, alcohol, and cigarettes. Anything that might be needed for the war effort, was sacrificed by the American people, who felt like it was them just doing their part…for the most part.
A number of commodities were rationed. Rubber was the first to go, after the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies cut off the US supply. The shortage of rubber, of course affected the availability of products such as tires and anything else that used rubber. Gasoline was a given, because it would be needed to move the troops. Also, it was thought that less gasoline, would bring less travel and therefore less wear and tear on rubber tires. At first, the government urged voluntary gasoline rationing, but by the spring of 1942 it was obvious that people wouldn’t assume that their use was extravagant and not a frivolous use. Hense, first 17 states put mandatory gasoline rationing into effect, and by December, controls were extended across the entire country.
The Government issued ration stamps for gasoline were issued by local boards and pasted to the windshield of a family or individual’s automobile. The type of stamp determined the gasoline allotment for that automobile. Black stamps signified non-essential travel and so allowed no more than three gallons per week. Red stamps were for workers who needed more gas, including policemen and mail carriers. With the restrictions, gasoline became a hot commodity on the black market, while legal measures of conserving gas, like carpooling, became the norm. Another Government mandated method to reduce gas consumption, the government passed a mandatory wartime speed limit of 35 mph, known as the “Victory Speed.” Things got tight in many areas, but the American people ultimately persevered, and the war effort supplied the needed commodities.
There were amazing pilots on both sides of World War I. One fighter pilot who really stood out as a superstar was Baron von Richthofen, known to the world as the Red Baron. The Red Baron was born on May 2, 1892, into a family of Prussian nobles. Growing up in the Silesia region of what is now Poland, he lived the kind of life you would expect of a nobleman. He passed the time playing sports, riding horses, and hunting wild game, a passion that would follow him for the rest of his life. As was common and on the wishes of his father, Richthofen was enrolled in military school at age 11. Many people felt that military school would provide the best discipline and training, especially if one were going to be an officer. Shortly before his 18th birthday, he was commissioned as an officer in a German cavalry unit.
Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, and in 1916 he became one of the first members of fighter squadron Jagdstaffel 2. He was a natural and quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot. Then, in 1917 became the leader of Jasta 11. He would go on to lead the larger fighter wing Jagdgeschwader I, which was also known as “The Flying Circus” or “Richthofen’s Circus” mostly because of the bright colors of its aircraft, but maybe because of the way the unit was transferred from one area of Allied air activity to another. When units were moved, it was like a travelling circus. They moved and often set up in tents on improvised airfields.
Between September 1916 and April 1918, he shot down 80 enemy aircraft. That was more than any other pilot during World War I. The Red Baron once wrote, “I never get into an aircraft for fun. I aim first for the head of the pilot, or rather at the head of the observer, if there is one.” He was well known for his crimson-painted Albatros biplanes and Fokker triplanes, and the “Red Baron” by 1918, Richthofen was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and strangely, Richthofen was even respected by his enemies, which is very rare indeed.
Loyal to the end, Richthofen received a fatal wound while flying over Morlancourt Ridge near the Somme River, just after 11:00am on April 21, 1918. He had been pursuing, a Sopwith Camel piloted by Canadian novice Wilfrid Reid “Wop” May of the Number 209 Squadron, Royal Air Force. May had just fired on the Red Baron’s cousin, Lieutenant Wolfram von Richthofen. When he saw his cousin being attacked, the Red Baron flew rescue him. He fired on May’s plane, causing him to pull away, then he chased May across the Somme. The Baron was spotted and briefly attacked by a Camel piloted by May’s school friend and flight commander, Canadian Captain Arthur “Roy” Brown. Brown had to dive steeply at very high speed to intervene, and then had to climb steeply to avoid hitting the ground. Richthofen turned to avoid this attack, and then resumed his pursuit of May.
During this final stage in his pursuit of May, Richthofen was hit by a single .303 bullet through the chest, severely damaging his heart and lungs. He would have bled out in less than a minute. Now pilotless, the plane stalled and went into a steep dive. It hit the ground in a field on a hill near the Bray-Corbie Road, just north of the village of Vaux-sur-Somme. This was in a sector defended by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). The plane bounced heavily when it hit the ground, and the undercarriage collapsed. The fuel tank was smashed before the aircraft skidded to a stop. Several witnesses, including Gunner George Ridgway, reached the crashed plane and found Richthofen already dead, and his face slammed into the butts of his machine guns, breaking his nose, fracturing his jaw and creating contusions on his face.
Number 3 Squadron AFC’s commanding officer Major David Blake, who was responsible for Richthofen’s body, regarded the Red Baron with great respect. It was Blake who was responsible for organizing the funeral, and he decided on a full military funeral. Richthofen’s body was buried in the cemetery at the village of Bertangles, near Amiens, on April 22, 1918. Six of Number 3 Squadron’s officers served as pallbearers, and a guard of honor from the squadron’s other ranks fired a salute. Allied squadrons stationed nearby presented memorial wreaths, one of which was inscribed with the words, “To Our Gallant and Worthy Foe.” It was an extremely respectful way to care for the body of the enemy, and for that, I have much respect for the Number 3 Squadron. Even though this man was the enemy, they knew he was just doing his job, as they would do theirs. It wasn’t personal, it was just war. In 1975 the body was moved to a Richthofen family grave plot at the Südfriedhof in Wiesbaden.