On November 22, as planned, Ken and I met up at Arlington Cemetery.

One purpose of our visit was to visit some of the Ephs who are buried there.

We were somewhat successful. Arlington is a vast cemetery, and (perhaps not surprisingly, given recent press reports), it can be very difficult to locate an individual headstone even with full information about its location, which is not always available.

On past visits, I’d always been accompanied by someone who knew the exact location to which we were headed, and I’ve never tried to visit more than one gravesite (aside from those of the most prominent Americans) in one trip. I was definitely overly optimistic about what we could accomplish.

Among the Ephs we did locate: Phelps Phelps — whose name twice prompted an “are you sure that’s his name?” reaction from the (extremely hardworking and helpful) staff at the “grave locator” desk.

Phelps Phelps, nee Phelps von Rotenburg, was an officer in the Reserve Corps from 1933-1941. With the outbreak of World War II, Phelps enlisted in the Army and rose to the rank of captain. He eventually served on the Japanese War Crimes Tribunal. Later, he was Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and the first civilian governor of American Samoa, where, fittingly, he took office in the capital of Pago Pago.

The link above will take interested readers to a lengthy and detailed biographical sketch by Phelps’ nephew, Alex Phelps. More photos below the jump.

The columbarium wall at Arlington in which Phelps Phelps is buried

Print  •  Email