FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 1LT Jarrett Feldman, Curator
National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey
PO Box 277
Sea Girt, NJ 08750-0277
The National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt recently had the privilege of facilitating two connections between men looking to fill in what were, for them, some blank spaces in their late fathers’ World War II experiences and the men who could fill them in for them.
In October, 2007, the Library of Congress (LC) contacted Museum Oral History Director and Assistant Curator Carol Fowler of Lincroft, New Jersey, regarding one of her war veteran oral history video interviews, with Jerry Ciampoli of Red Bank, New Jersey on file at the Library. As a partner in the Library’s oral history program, the Sea Girt museum sends a copy of each interview, along with documentary material, to the Library of Congress collections.
Mr. Glenn Freedman of Westchester County, New York had been searching for information on his father’s unit, the 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion, off and on for years, but with indifferent success. Freedman recalled that he had been able to pick up “bits and pieces” of information, but the whole story had eluded him until he typed in the unit’s designation in the Library of Congress website and discovered the existence of Ms. Fowler’s oral history interview with Ciampoli, who had also served in the 100th.
The LC referred Mr. Freedman’s request for a copy of the interview to Ms. Fowler, who in turn contacted Ciampoli, and, to Freedman’s delight, put the men in touch with each other and provided him with a DVD copy of the interview.
Mr. Freedman offers the discovery of Mr. Ciampoli’s oral history interview as evidence that such records are not only of great value to historians and scholars, but also to ordinary folks attempting to understand the experience their parents and grandparents went through in the cauldron of World War II. He stated that “with World War II veterans dying at the rate of 1,000 a day, I believe it is absolutely essential for surviving veterans to record an oral history interview and for their relatives and friends to encourage them to do so.
Similarly, Californian Mr. Jon Merksamer, seeking information on his late father Ralph, of Sacramento, who passed away in 1988 and was a captain in the 3210 Quartermaster Service Company. Ms. Fowler was able to facilitate a connection between Mr. Merksamer and his old first sergeant, John B. Knox, of Montclair, New Jersey and provide Mr. Merksamer with a DVD copy of Mr. Knox’s oral history about his own experiences and those of the 3210 Quartermaster Service Company in the war, which led to other connections with veterans of the 3210. Needless to say, Mr. Merksamer was as delighted as Mr. Freedman with the tangible results of the NGMMNJ’s oral history program.
Ms. Fowler may be contacted for comment or further information at 732-974-5966 or by email at MRSF429@aol.com. Mr. Freedman may be contacted at email@example.com and Mr. Merksamer at Jmerk3@aol.com. A summary of Mr. Knox’s oral history video may be viewed at http://www.state.nj.us/military/museum/knox.html.