Cleaning Up and Giving Back

08/02/2021  |  By 1st Sgt. Kevin Morgan 104th Training Division (LT)

Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 104th Training Division (LT) is just three miles from the “Dog Street Cemetery” or “King’s Island Cemetery,” located in Deerfield Township, Warren County, Ohio, at the entrance to the King’s Island amusement park, approximately 25 miles NNE of Cincinnati.

Located within the cemetery are three known veterans: Peter Monfort, Revolutionary War; Pvt. George Cline, War of 1812; and John Newcome, Civil War and the members of C Company decided that they wanted to clean the headstones of these heroes as a community service project.

An extensive search to determine who actually “owned” or “managed” the cemetery followed, and it was discovered the property was acquired during a land annexation many years ago and belonged to the City of Mason. Determined to gain permission for the project, Soldiers were relentless in their research and pursuit of permission until contact was finally made with the Assistant City Manager, Jennifer Heft, who whole-heartedly agreed to the project and, after speaking with other city leaders, granted C Co permission to proceed.

Although the project began as a public service project, 1st Sgt. Kevin Morgan also used it as a learning tool for his Soldiers. Spec. Jacob Wilhelm, Sgt. Heather Blanton, Staff Sergeants Lamont Arrington and Kaitlyne Kisner, and Sgts. 1st Class Eric Daugherty and Daniel Roellig were also assigned a veteran to research (two teams of three) and presented a briefing to Morgan the following day on the history of each veteran (their unit of assignment, position and any other facts) so as to appreciate the sacrifices made by our predecessors and to learn about local history.

The team spent over three hours cleaning the headstones of Pvts. Cline and Newcome, but unfortunately the headstone for Monfort was missing. In addition, the group selected and cleaned four other markers that day: “Missouri Jane,” the Johnson Family obelisk, an infant and James Witham.

“I didn’t know there was a cemetery here,” explained Kisner. “To be able to clean their markers was great!”

The rest of his team concurred, taking time to point out the sacrifices made and how the cleaning project was a small moment in a much larger history.

“I am glad we were able to honor these men,” said Daugherty. “It’s a small tribute to what they did for the country.”

The cemetery was originally part of the John D. Hoff Farm (circa 1891), later the R. Eugene King Farm (1961), and now is part of the King’s Island (Paramount) Amusement Park The term Dog Street may have come from the colloquial name of the school district, officially District #2 or Mound District. Another story relates that a ‘dog leg’ street led back to the cemetery. King’s Island was built on land that was used for an ammunition factory (“King’s Powder”) from the late 1880’s until the 1940’s. During this time, there was a massive explosion that killed over one hundred people. All that remains of this company is the cemetery. It is now no longer active and has not been for more than 100 years and largely untended full-time since 1890.

The project resonated especially with Jennifer Heft, Assistant City Manager who was so enthusiastic that she wanted to put the whole crew on the front page of the CenterPoint magazine published by the city.

“This was such a cool project, so thoughtful of your group,” she enthused.”Thank you for your service and thank you for offering to clean up the headstones at this cemetery.”

When not giving back in community service, C Co. is a Drill Sergeant unit located in Maineville, OH and is currently composed of 16 personnel: 12 Drill Sergeants and 4 administrative/support staff. Their primary mission is to provide training to Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets, usually at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, but they have also conducted training for Cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point as well as other colleges and universities throughout the country. As needed, their Drill Sergeants conduct Initial Entry Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

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