Message In a Helmet

It's amazing what you can find on the Internet these days. Just ask a group of 11th grade students from Boise, Idaho who used the Web and an old Army helmet to track down the family of an Army medic from Connecticut. They are in Connecticut to deliver the helmet to the soldier’s family.

Idaho Democrat Congressman Walt Minnick donated 300,000 frequent flyer miles to the students so they can personally return the to surviving family members of Anthony Malone, of Middletown.

Malone served in Italy, North Africa and Europe during World War II.  After the war, his "dough boy"-style helmet spent time in Army/Navy thrift stores across the country. Thirty seven years ago, it ended up in the hands of Dennis Mansfield, a history teacher at Vineyard Christian Home School Co-Op in Boise, Idaho.

A few months ago, Mansfield assigned his international history class a project - find the man who belonged to the helmet.

They had a good clue, an inscription inside the helmet: "A.J. Malone, Company H 16Th Battalion Medical Detachment, Ft. Devon, Massachusetts."

Using the Internet and finding Malone's military records, the young historians discovered that Malone, originally from Middletown, had died eight years ago at the age of 83. But the students contacted his wife and other family members who were delighted to hear about the helmet.

The students, with several adults will be heading to Connecticut to meet Malone's family and present them with the helmet. 

For the students, it brought history alive, and for Tony Malone's family, it brought back memories of a life well-lived.

To learn more about the Vineyard Christian Home School Co-Op's project, visit their Facebook page.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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