Has The Time Come To Name The “Dishonored Dead”?

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A comparatively small burial plot of the World War I Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France contains the remains of American military personnel who, following convictions in US Military Courts Martial, remain as nearly anonymous as the numbered markers above them. For nearly seventy-five years after their convictions, their grave markers only reveal one or two digit identification numbers and not the names of those so buried. Though they were convicted of capital crimes, do they deserve the dignity of a proper burial that all of us expect for ourselves?

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Police Set Up GoFundMe Project For Man Accused Of Colliding With Patrol Car

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

burien-police-patchA ninety year old man left a note on an unmarked patrol car he accidentally struck while parking next to it had a big surprise after he received a telephone call from a police sergeant who called to settle the damages: a crowd sourced funding campaign to pay for it.


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Kirby Cowan, the Airmen of Buchenwald, and the KLB Club; A Cautionary Tale

Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger

ImageThis is not going to be easy to read. It was not easy to write. This story is about Frank Kirby Cowan, and 167 other allied airmen from World War II.  Their story is unique in a way that the stories of all the other thousands of fliers from both sides of the conflict are not.  Our paths first crossed on August 23, 1946, but that is a story for another day.

Kirby was a young man from Harrison, Arkansas. His father was an engineer for the railroad, and Kirby planned to follow in Joe Cowan’s footsteps. Then a war happened. Like so many thousands of other Americans, Kirby joined the service following the attack at Pearl Harbor. Kirby joined the Army Air Corps, and was assigned to B-17 bombers as a radio operator.  He said he had never flown in an airplane until he joined the Air Corps. He remembered his first experience flying in an airplane very well. The Air Corps did not waste time with orientation flights or sightseeing. Kirby’s first experience in an airplane had him standing up in the back seat of an AT-6 Texan, shooting a machine gun at a practice target being towed by another AT-6.

After finishing his training, he was assigned to the 339th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force.  Their B-17 was called Horn’s Hornets, because the pilot was named Horn. In those days, losses were high, and Horn’s Hornets ran out of luck in 1944. Their B-17 was cut in half by an anti-aircraft shell. There are no known photos of what happened to their airplane, but this image of similar damage to a B-24 illustrates it. Image

Kirby said, “When the engines unloaded they made a sound I had never heard an airplane engine make before. With no load on them, they started screaming. We started tumbling end over end. I was pinned to the inside of the plane by the G forces. I got a glimpse of the tail section falling away. The tail gunner didn’t have a chance.  For a second, we stopped tumbling, so I took a Brody out the back where we were cut half in two. There were three of us that got out.”  The remaining six crew members either were killed by the flak shell, or could not get out. The pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, and flight engineer were trapped in the nose of the plane.

Kirby went on, “Of the three of us that got out, one guy was shot in his parachute. He didn’t make it to the ground alive.”

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