Have you ever had one of those moments where you aren’t even thinking about researching and all of a sudden you make a find that just floors you? Well, I had one of those moments today.
It all started when I decided to check my email before I took off for work. It was already a hectic day because my daughter (who I rely upon to wake me up in the afternoon) had fell asleep and didn’t wake me up until 1:30 in the afternoon. Being as I had to leave at 2:30 for work, I was rush, rush, rush! Fortunately, I wasn’t in such a rush that I didn’t forget my email.
I had an email from a military address that was making an inquiry about a street at Fort Lewis named Spangler Ave. The purpose for the email was that for the street to stay named Spangler Ave., the person it was named for would have to have some sort of connection to the unit nearby. The person writing the email was thinking it might be Max Ray Spangler, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968 and wanted to know if I had any information on him.
Well, I knew of Max and of his death in Vietnam but that was as much as I knew! I had never found an obituary for him and I had a photo of his tombstone but that was all. Just out of curiosity I did a Google search for “Max Ray Spangler” to see what might come up. There were several links but one that looked interesting was at trees.ancestry.com. I clicked on it and all of a sudden I was reading a scan of Max’s obituary.
I responded to the original email with the information that Max served in the First Air Cavalry Division and served on helicopter crews flying into battle zones to evacuate the wounded.
Further research shows that the First Air Cavalry Division is based out of Fort Hood, Texas. I see no connection to Fort Lewis, Washington. Of course, the email mentioned that the closest units to Spangler Ave. were vehicle maintenance units. Perhaps these units were working with the First Air Cavalry as a maintenance team for them. If Max were flying injured out of the battle zone and saved some of the members of the maintenance unit, they might have wanted to name a street after him.
I hope to hear back soon about this situation. It’s nice to know that there may be a street named after a second-cousin of mine!
Best of all? Out of the clear blue and on a hectic day, I found the obituary I had been looking for for a while!
You just never know when your family history is going to reach out and grab you!
Have a nice day,