Arthur "Bluey" Bluethenthal
|Died||June 5, 1918 (aged 26)|
near Maignelay, France
|Cause of death||aerial combat with four German planes|
|Resting place||Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, NC|
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Known for||All-American center for Princeton football team; highly decorated fighting for France in World War I|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||186 lb (84 kg)|
Arthur Bluethenthal, nicknamed "Bluey" (November 1, 1891 in Wilmington, North Carolina – June 5, 1918), was an All-American football player for Princeton University, who died in combat fighting for France in World War I.
At Princeton University the 5' 9", 186-pound Bluethenthal played center from 1910–12. In 1911, he was named first team All-America by a number of newspapers, Walter Camp second team All-America, and first team All-East in a consensus of 28 newspapers. That year, the Tigers were 8–0–2, and yielded only 15 points the entire year. In 1912, Walter Camp selected him as third team All-America. Bluethenthal is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
World War I
In 1916, a year before the United States entered World War I, he joined the French Foreign Legion and served at the Battle of Verdun with the French 129th Infantry Division. France awarded him the Croix de Guerre with Star for conspicuous bravery.
On June 1, 1917, he joined the French flying corps, flying a single engine Breguet bomber in the Escadrille Breguet 227 of the Lafayette Flying Corps, as the only American in the squadron. He was killed in battle in aerial combat with four German planes while directing artillery fire on June 5, 1918, near Maignelay, France, 50 miles north of Paris. He was the first North Carolinian killed in World War I.
France posthumously awarded him a second Croix de Guerre, with Palm. He also received the Médaille Militaire. In June 1918 Captain Hugh Alwyn Inness-Brown paid tribute to Bluethenthal in the Paris Herald:
In the death of Arthur Bluethenthal, killed in an aerial battle some days ago, France and America lost one of their staunchest patriots. To come to death alone, high in the air, with no friend to tell the story of the struggle and to be buried in a lonely spot near the front, unofficially, with little publicity, would have been the fate that Bluethenthal would have desired, could he have chosen. At all times, he shunned being considered a hero, and when a friend said to him jokingly that his fear of publicity amounted to conceit, he replied, 'Conceit it may be, but I've always taken serving France so seriously that I hardly ever want to talk about it.'
Bluethenthal's remains were repatriated to the United States in 1921. He was buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington. His grave marker includes the squadron insignia of the Lafayette Escadrille which—unusual for a Jewish cemetery—bears a swastika on the headband.
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- "Tribute to Bluethenthal-Posthumous Citation of Flier Who Was a Princeton Athlete" (PDF). The New York Times. July 8, 1918. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
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