Plaque discovered by metal scrap dealer ends up in rightful home
September 7, 2010
By Elisa Ivory
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- A few years ago, while poring through scrap metal at A & T Metals Recycling Center in Sierra Vista, an employee discovered a large brass plaque in the scrap yard. It appeared to have a connection to the U.S. Army.
Suspecting the plaque may have been stolen, the business owner contacted the Cochise County Sheriff's office in Bisbee to report the find. Sgt. Gene Wheeler got the case and determined there was no report of the item having been stolen.
The plaque languished at the sheriff's office for a period of time, but events changed when Wheeler contacted former Fort Huachuca employee and retired Cochise Country Sheriff's detective Bill Ivory about it.
The plaque is inscribed with words honoring U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps Sgt. Woodrow Hunter. He was the first special agent to die in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Hunter's legacy was honored by the U.S. Army Military Intelligence School with a building on Jeffords Street on Fort Huachuca named after him. Hunter Hall was demolished in 1999 and the plaque apparently went to the scrap yard with the rest of the building's materials.
Ivory was familiar with Hunter Hall and got in touch with Conrad McCormick, a volunteer archivist at the Military Intelligence Museum here and a retired CIC agent. With his extensive knowledge of military intelligence history accumulated over many years in the MI field, McCormick immediately knew the story of Hunter and of the significance of the plaque.
On Aug. 20, the plaque was presented to the Military Intelligence Museum. The work of a civic-minded local business owner, a sheriff's detective and a few volunteers ensure Hunter's legacy continues to be honored. It's as if the spirit of the deceased counter-intelligence agent reached out to law enforcement to assume his rightful place in the Military Intelligence Museum through the donated plaque.