Veterans Day: Ralph Leonard

Do you guys remember when I started this blog nine months (!) ago, and I said I was imposing a full disclosure policy. Here’s where it comes into play again. My original plan was to make a list of my military ancestors for Veterans Day. I hoped to have a list of people that served. I have a ton of Draft cards but a lot of those guys didn’t serve from what I can tell. So I was hoping to have a nice list of servicemen and women to eventually gather records for. That didn’t exactly happen.

Ralph H Leonard

I got distracted, like I often do. I opened PhotoShop to edit the above picture for this very blog post. I was going to use it to anchor the post. Make it pop. Then I got distracted, again. Yesterday I posted about my Marine family history so I had Marines on the brain. That’s when I noticed the emblem on Ralph’s hat. Could he be a Marine? How cool would that be?

So naturally I went to my first stop for all things military. I emailed my Dad. While I was waiting to see if he had any ideas, I had a thought. I was just at Prospect Hill Cemetery. Maybe he was one of the graves I photographed and I didn’t put two and two together. Since I was on my laptop, I just went to Find a Grave where I had uploaded all my graveyard photos anyway. Bingo! I was thinking that he was in the Marines because of the emblem but his gravestone clearly said WWI USNRF which translates to Navy Reserve Force. Right about the time I figured this out I got a response from my father:

It looks to me to be an early 1900’s naval officer probably ww1 time frame. By the insignia on his cap I would think he would have been attached a Marine outfit.

Oh dear, he’s going to be so proud of himself for this! Now you know why I go to him for all things military! So now I know that Ralph was in the Navy and served in WWI. The only problem is I don’t have a WWI Draft Card for Ralph. I have one for his older brother but not him. So I’m going to have to assume he was already in the service when WWI came around. I do know that Ralph was trained in Aviation by 1930, so maybe he got military aviation training? I don’t know.

This is the part of genealogy I love. Just when you think you’ve found out everything about someone, you find a little nugget that opens it all up again.

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