After serving in the US navy, in two different enlistments totaling about 3 1/2 years, his 2nd tour came to a rather uncomplimentary release under unfavorable terms, shall we say. But that aside, after the United States entered the Great War he again returned, somehow managed to get back in the navy and went on to earn a Medal of Honor after risking his life to save two mariners from a burning cargo ship near the Norfolk navy yard. On a third return to the engulfed ship, to rescue a third mariner, he was knocked unconscious and almost became a victim, till others rescued him. For this bravery the president awarding him the Medal of Honor.
While enlisted and not away at military duties, John called Milwaukee Wisconsin his home from about 1911 till 1920, The years might be extended on either end. In 1912 he married a woman from New Jersey and brought her to Wisconsin. They soon had a child.
Soon after receiving his Medal of Honor John decided that he had enough of military life, and without permission, went his own way. About that time he is believed to have been an iron worker on the Brooklyn Bridge. By 1930 he decided to move on and possibly headed for the oil fields of Oklahoma. He also tried his hand at a new wife, forgetting to tell her that he had one of them already, back in Wisconsin. Soon he'd be a father again.
Here's a few more...
In 1936 he went to the Red Cross to ask for help in getting it replaced. The images in the last blog were of that replaced medal. It was said that when he also tried to get the ribbon and a lapel pin of the medal, these were refused. Apparently they discovered that he was not only a deserter from years earlier, but that the replaced medal should never have been issued. They were not impressed I guess with his several months of jail time served and continued refusing to give him the items sought.
An adventurous treasure hunter today with a very powerful medal detector might be able to find that lost rare Medal of Honor. But he or she would need a long pole. And a long rope. Actually a very long one. REALLY long... and here is why. This is an image of the worksite today. You might recognize it!
It took the efforts of 20,000 working at a number of sites to create this monstrous International famous dam and destination of choice for visitors numbering over ten million annually.
Lake Meade shown above, along the Colorado River dividing the states of Nevada and Arizona, is said to be almost 550 feet deep, and thus that long pole. And at is base along the original shore line, was where some of the little shanty villages were once located. The site is the 2nd largest reservoir of water in North America, the first being in a place called Canada. Her surface area covers some 250 Square miles and her shore line is 550 MILES long.
Of the ten million that visit each year, one must wonder how many know that when they look out at this massive lake with a volume of over 26 million acre feet, that below that there lies a Medal of Honor. And that the hero that lost it in the fire was working along side other labourers who made between 50 cents and a buck and a quarter after a hard day's sweat.
Nearbye about 2 million Canadians drop their bucks in the pockets of the 129 casinos at Vegas, just a few miles away. Hopefully some get to see the Dam first. Imagine how proud they would be to learn that the chief engineer of this project came from a place called Quebec. And that same man ran the consortium of 6 companies that built it as well.
And as the millions from both sides of the border look out at this marvel or marvels, wouldn't it have been nice that they also knew that John Otto Siegel came to the US from Germany in the early 1900's. And before that that he lived with his parents in a place called Winnipeg Manitoba.
And that is why you are reading about him today.
Cheers till next week.