Friends Of The Little Bighorn Battlefield

The Next Generation In The Study Of Custer's Last Stand

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Summer 2004

Summer 2004

All photos © Bob Reece unless otherwise noted

Note from Bob Reece: It was a busy week at the battlefield but a lot of good things were accomplished. As president of the organization I find I do not have near enough time to visit, in length, with Friends’ members as I wish -- I wish it could be otherwise.

Neil Mangum and I were in several meetings with Superintendent Darrell Cook discussing future projects for the Friends – all of them outstanding and contribute much needed assistance to the monument. We’ll be sharing all of these as they become more solidified.

All the events over the weekend turned out well and on schedule.

Reburial Ceremony Unknown Soldier Ft. Phil Kearny

The ceremony for the reburial of the remains of an individual from the Ft. Phil Kearny cemetery occurred June 25, 2004 at 4:00 P.M. The honor guard included members of the Kearny’s Frontier Regulars. Master of Ceremonies was Superintendent Darrell J. Cook. The Reverend Fr. Vincent Heier presented invocation.

Special guests included William Carrington, descendent of Ft Phil Kearny’s commander Col. Henry Carrington, as well as members of the Crazy Horse family.

Reverend Jerry Jasmer, Episcopal Diocese of Montana, presented graveside services. Jerry is a Park Ranger at the battlefield and a board member of the Friends.

The service concluded with the firing of the 12 pound field howitzer salute by the Ft. Phil Kearny Staff / Kearny’s Frontier Regulars. Friends’ member Craig Fischer played taps.

NPS Park Ranger and Friends' board member, Jerry Jasmer leads the dress rehearsal

The Kearny Frontier Regulars and the 12 pound field howitzer during rehearsal

Kearny Frontier Regulars during rehearsal. Friends' member, Craig Fischer is front right. Jerry Jasmer is to Craig's right.

Superintendent Darrell Cook opens the reburial ceremonies -- photo © Mike Semenock

William Carrington, descendant of Col Henry Carrington, commander of Ft. Phil Kearny -- photo © Mike Semenock

Chief Historian John Doerner -- photo © Mike Semenock

Reverend Father Vincent Heier -- photo © Mike Semenock

Honor Guard -- photo © Mike Semenock

12 pound howitzer

Craig Fischer plays "Taps" during the graveside service. Craig never played "Taps" so well as he did this day. Thanks Craig.

Craig Fischer playing "Taps" -- photo © Mike Semenock

Graveside services

Jerry Jasmer provided the graveside services

Graveside services -- about 1,000 people attended

Park Historian, John Doerner saluting the Fetterman dead as the Kearny Frontier Regulars fire the carbine salute.

The Urn holding the remains


It was a beautiful service. Approximately 1000 people attended under partly cloudy skies and a cool summer day. The remains were placed inside an Urn, provided by the Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield, and buried in the oldest section of the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery. Read about how these remains were found. Also, please visit our section covering the Fetterman Battle.


Unveiling of the Deep Ravine Wayside Exhibit

The Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield unveiled the Deep Ravine wayside exhibit at 5:00 P.M., immediately after the reburial of the Fetterman soldier. The wayside exhibit looks beautiful (we can all thank John Doerner for putting it together). The exhibit was one of this year's (2004) projects for the Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield. It is the only exhibit along the Deep Ravine Trail. Close-up graphic of the wayside.

Superintendent Darrell Cook opened the unveiling ceremonies by welcoming those who attended. Following his opening remarks, Ernie LaPointe (great grandson of Sitting Bull) addressed the crowd. President Bob Reece thanked all those for coming and expressed his long held desire to see an exhibit at this location. He thanked Park Historian, John Doerner for all his work in producing such a fine exhibit. John Doerner shared his experiences over the last year with developing the wayside. Friends’ board member Neil Mangum concluded the program.

People start to arrive. Seen on the left is William Carrington, descendent of Ft. Phil Kearny commander Henry B. Carrington, -- photo © Mike Semenock

Superintendent Darrell Cook, Master of Ceremonies, Deep Ravine wayside exhibits unveiling -- photo © Mike Semenock


Darrell Cook and the great grandson of Sitting Bull, Ernie LaPointe -- photo © Mike Semenock


Darrell Cook & Bob Reece -- photo © Mike Semenock


Megan Reece and Ron Thomas hold the flag over the wayside exhibit -- photo © Mike Semenock


Cook, Reece & LaPointe

Megan Reece and Ron Thomas remove the flag to reveal the first ever wayside exhibit on the Deep Ravine Trail

John Doerner sharing his research for the creation of the wayside

Neil Mangum addressing the visitors during the unveiling

Mike Semenock, Fr. Vince Heier, and Neil Mangum

Friends' members Cricket and Brian Pohanka -- photo © Megan Reece

Ernie LaPointe -- photo © Megan Reece

The Deep Ravine Wayside

The wayside is placed at the exact vantage point that the painting depicts

Close-up of the wayside -- photo © Megan Reece


Neil Mangum Presents, "Custer in the Civil War"

June 25, at 3:00 P.M., Friends’ board member Neil Mangum kicked off a new season of lecture series. Chief of Interpretation, Ken Woody, has brought back the series that began when Neil was superintendent.

Neil gave a lively and humorous talk entitled, “Custer in the Civil War.” This year marks the first time that the lectures will take place at the battlefield instead of the town of Hardin. The location was the visitor center patio overlooking Last Stand Hill, the 7th Cavalry Monument, the Indian Memorial and portions of the Deep Ravine Trail. Neil had the crowd laughing while they learned a lot. The photos below were taken during Neil's presentation.


Friends' Members Volunteer As Interpreters Along The Trails

June 25-26 Friends’ member volunteers assisted the National Park Service by providing interpretation of the battle along the Keogh/Crazy Horse and Deep Ravine Trails. Friends’ members Carol Near and Nancy Marteney ably managed the volunteers. Both of them did an outstanding job. They provided snacks and much needed water. Words cannot express enough the thanks the two of you deserve for your hard work. But, thanks!

The volunteers were arranged as such:

One volunteer at the head of each trail welcoming visitors, advising them of the rules of the monument and encouraging them to walk the trails.

We have one volunteer interpreting at the end of the Keogh/Crazy Horse Trail where the marker for Capt. Myles Keogh stands. This can sometimes be a lonely spot for a volunteer because the trail is usually not too busy.

We have one volunteer at the Mitch Bouyer marker along the Deep Ravine Trail followed by another volunteer at the end of the Deep Ravine Trail.

The volunteers are allowed to interpret the battle, as they understand it, as long as they support their presentation with reliable sources. Each year we continue to receive a lot of positive feedback regarding the interpreters from battlefield visitors. Many of our volunteers return year after year – they find it to be an uplifting and rewarding experience sharing their ideas of what may have happened to the 7th Cavalry and the warriors who fought in this bloody battle.

A Big Thank You to the volunteers!!

Carol Near

Nancy Marteney

Mike Semenock

Gary Gilbert

Joy Gilbert

Neil Mangum

Chuck Merkel

Brian Swingley

Megan Reece

Ron Thomas

Chris Doerfler

Joanne Blair

Anita Donofrio


I hope to see all of you again next year.

This year Superintendent Darrell Cook provided T-shirts and caps to the Friends’ volunteers for their hard work. The T-shirts have a colorful logo – it’s a circle with the words Little Bighorn Battlefield along the outside. Inside the circle is a Plains Indian coup stick complete with feathers as well as a swallowtail U.S. flag. Both are crossed over each other. Underneath lays a Plains Indian pipe. The caps provided have the same logo with the word “Staff” written above. Cook also provided lunch, water, and soda for the volunteers. Thanks a lot for that Darrell.


The Friends General Membership Meeting

Saturday, June 26, at 5:00 P.M., the Friends of the Little Bighorn Battlefield held its annual general membership meeting inside the newly built extension to the Administration building. The Admin building is located across the street and down the hill from the White Swan Memorial Library.

President Reece thanked the volunteers for another great year of working the trails. He also brought the membership up to date regarding the Friends accomplishments over the past year and some of the goals for the next year. Superintendent Darrell Cook thanked the Friends for their continued successes and provided an update of happenings at the battlefield.

Next year, June 25 falls on a Saturday. Most likely, we will work the trails on June 24-25, 2005. So, please mark your calendars for that weekend.

Below are photos of the volunteers from June 25-26, 2004.


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