Arthur Bluethenthal
Arthur Bluethenthal, nicknamed "Bluey" (November 1, 1891, in Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington is a port city in and is the county seat of New Hanover County, North Carolina, United States. The population is 106,476 according to the 2010 Census, making it the eighth most populous city in the state of North Carolina...

 – June 5, 1918), was an All American football player for Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, who died in combat fighting for France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


Early life

The son of Leopold and Johanna Bluethenthal, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy is a private secondary school located in Exeter, New Hampshire, in the United States.Exeter is noted for its application of Harkness education, a system based on a conference format of teacher and student interaction, similar to the Socratic method of learning through asking...

 prior to attending Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, from which he graduated in 1913.

Football career

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
Walter Camp
Walter Chauncey Camp was an American football player, coach, and sports writer known as the "Father of American Football". With John Heisman, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner, Fielding H. Yost, and George Halas, Camp was one of the most accomplished persons in the early history of American football...

 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
International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame was opened July 7, 1981, in Netanya, Israel. It honors Jewish athletes and their accomplishments from anywhere around the world....



After he graduated in 1912, Bluethenthal became the line coach for the Princeton Tigers, and then for the University of North Carolina
University of North Carolina
Chartered in 1789, the University of North Carolina was one of the first public universities in the United States and the only one to graduate students in the eighteenth century...


World War I

In 1916, a year before the United States entered World War I, he joined the French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion
The French Foreign Legion is a unique military service wing of the French Army established in 1831. The foreign legion was exclusively created for foreign nationals willing to serve in the French Armed Forces...

 and served at the Battle of Verdun
Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February – 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France...

 with the French 129th Infantry Division. France awarded him the Croix de Guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

with Star for conspicuous bravery.

On June 1, 1917, he joined the French flying corps, flying a single engine Breguet bomber in the Escadrille
Lafayette Escadrille
The Lafayette Escadrille , was an escadrille of the French Air Service, the Aéronautique militaire, during World War I composed largely of American volunteer pilots flying fighters.-History:Dr. Edmund L...

 Breguet 227 of the Lafayette Flying Corps
Lafayette Flying Corps
The Lafayette Flying Corps is a name used to describe the American volunteer pilots who flew for the French during World War I. It includes the pilots who flew with the bona fide Lafayette Escadrille squadron. The estimations of number of pilots range from 180 to over 300. The generally accepted...

, 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
Maignelay-Montigny is a village in northern France. It is designated municipally as a commune within the département of Oise....

, France, 50 miles north of Paris. He was the first North Carolinian killed in World War I. His body was brought home in 1921, and he was buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington.

France posthumously awarded him a second Croix de Guerre, with Palm. He also received the Médaille Militaire
Médaille militaire
The Médaille militaire is a decoration of the French Republic which was first instituted in 1852.-History:The creator of the médaille was the emperor Napoléon III, who may have taken his inspiration in a medal issued by his father, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland...


A June 1918 tribute to Bluethenthal by Captain Hugh Alwyn Inness-Brown in the Paris Herald said:

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.'


The airport in Wilmington, North Carolina, was named Bluethenthal Field on Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War...

, May 30, 1928, in his honor.

Bluethenthal was Jewish, and was a member of Wilmington's Temple of Israel
Temple of Israel (Wilmington, North Carolina)
The Temple of Israel is a Jewish house of prayer located on the corner of Fourth and Market Streets in Wilmington, North Carolina, United States. Built in 1876, the Temple of Israel is the oldest synagogue in North Carolina and one of the earliest Reform synagogues in the American South...

, the first synagogue in North Carolina.
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