Thursday, September 3, 2009
EMIL HOLMDAHL AMERICAN ADVENTURER
Emil Holmdahl is another interesting character from american history right up there with Bert Levy "Yank", Sam Drebbin "The fighting jew" and Tracy Richardson "Mr. Machinegun" just to name a few.
As Former professional Soldier, Mercenary and adventurer Myself I can recognize that His colorful history bears a verisimilitude to my own.
I can easily identify with this man and his exploits in war and in the wilderness of mexico. I am impressed with his ability to learn both The spanish and Yaqui languages, his skill with fire arms and his ability to survive countless battles and hazardos conditions around the world.
He has been accused of stealing the skull of Poncho Villa in mexico for Prescott Bush (former presidents grandfather) back in 1926 for $25,000.00. I personally find that to be interesting if indeed it happened as the Mexican officials claim. Having lived in 3rd world countries for a number of years i know how things can easily embellished
I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading about this true life american adventures as much as i did.
The following write up was Borrowed from the Book "Soldier of fortune" by; Douglas V. Meed.
I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars. -- T.E. Lawrence
This is the story of Emil Lewis Holmdahl. He among the last of the great soldiers-of-fortune who roamed the world fighting under different flags for money, adventure, sometimes for principle, but mostly just for the hell of it. Who swashbuckled their way through the wars and revolutions at the beginning of the 20th century before the romance of soldiering died in the muddy, blood- soaked trenches of World War I.
Holmdahl was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, to a farming family of Swedish immigrants on August 26,1883. At an early age he thrilled to Rudyard Kipling's stories of exotic battles in the Far East and to the "dime novel" adventures of cavalrymen and lawmen in the American West. But unlike most boys, he turned his childhood dreams of martial glory into an exciting, if dangerous, reality.
Escaping his rustic origins, from age fifteen to eighty, he swaggered his way across a score of battlefields. He soldiered in the mountains and jungles of Asia, through the swamps and crumbling ancient cities of Latin America, in the ferocious battles of the Mexican Revolution, and in the hell of World War I trenches.
He fought Filipino insurgents under the Stars and Stripes, overturned Central American dictators, battled alongside Pancho Villa, then fought against Villa, and probably was the man who cut off Villa's head.
Holmdahl was condemned to a U.S. federal prison for gunrun- ning until paroled to serve General John J. Pershing during the 1916 punitive expedition into Mexico.
There, he guided a green Second Lieutenant George Patton across the Chihuahuan desert to his first bloody gunfight. After a pardon granted by President Woodrow Wilson, Holmdahl fought as a commissioned officer alongside American and British soldiers in France in World War I.
There he helped smash the last German offensive in 1918. As an aged senior citizen, he was investigated by the Secret Service for smuggling gold bars out of Mexico.
Although he had the hard-edged roughness of the professional soldier and hardly any formal education, Holmdahl held the respect and affection of generals and political leaders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. In some of his more introspective writings he showed a touch of the poet. Surprisingly, for all his "rake-hell" adventures, this tough and complex man managed to live to a ripe old age.
It was through a few very fleeting mentions of his name in El Paso newspapers during the years of the Mexican revolution that I first came upon the Holmdahl story.
Intrigued, I searched through many histories, memoirs, and newspaper accounts of the revolution and found only a few tantalizing tidbits of information. A thorough
mining of El Paso newspapers revealed little except stories of his 1915 trial for gunrunning.
His army records from his first enlistment in 1898 through World War I were destroyed by a fire in the St. Louis Federal Depository.
Records of his service as a civilian scout and spy for General Pershing have disappeared -- possibly destroyed on that general's orders. Remaining are the personal letters of 2nd Lt.
Patton, General Pershing, and verbal reminiscences of those who knew him. His reports to the War Department are preserved in the National Archives.
While he gave a few contemporary interviews during the Mexican Revolution to Chicago and California newspapers, for the most part he was a secretive, furtive figure. This is not surprising since he was often involved in gunrunning, spying, revolutionary plots, and secret missions along the Mexican border.
Like many of the freebooters who fought in the Mexican revolution, there are numerous legends about him sung in the corridos, the folk songs of Mexican peasants. Surprisingly, many of them are true.
Fortunately, after Holmdahl's death in 1963, his nephew, Gordon R. Holmdahl, bundled up his uncle's vast array of newspaper stories, United States and Mexican government documents, and diary jottings. These, in addition to other records he held, cast much light on his uncle's sometimes flamboyant and often shadowy life- time adventures.
ALLEGED SKULL THEFT;
On February 8, 1926, three days after the grave desecration, El Paso Herald Post published the headline "Villa's Grave Robbed" that details the circumstances of the decapitation of Villa's interred body and the arrest of Emil Holmdahl and Alberto Corral for the crime.
The news clip outlines a sophisticated and well planned operation to steal the skull of Pancho Villa. The El Paso Herald Post news clip reports that the caretaker of the cemetery told Mexican investigators that an "Americano" was inquiring about the location of Villa's tomb a few days before the grave robbery. Chihuahua state authorities later arrested Emil Holmdahl through a description by the cemetery caretaker.
The grave robbers left a note at the tomb in an attempt to throw off investigators. The note said that Villa's skull was on its way to Columbus, New Mexico, the site where Villa conducted a raid into US territory to recuperate a number of gold bars he had paid for arms and ammunition he never received.
The skull of Pancho Villa was in fact already on the way to El Paso, Texas and into the hands of a Holmdahl cohort by the name of Al Jennings for eventual turnover to a Frank Brophy who was an intimate friend of Prescott Bush at Yale University. A news article titled "US Investigates Holmdahl's Arrest" published in El Paso Herald Post on February 9, 1926 clearly indicates high level US government interference and pressure on the Chihuahua state authorities to release Emil Holmdahl.
This was accomplished on February 11, 1926 and was reported in another news report by the El Paso Herald Post titled "Expect Holmdahl to Reach El Paso by Friday". It looks like the Bushes have a long history of manipulating USA intelligence covert activities and the secret "Skull and Bones Society" in New Haven is an intimate part of these operations.
Emil Holmdahl arrived in El Paso on February 12, 1926 according to Ben Williams of an organization in El Paso called "The Wednesday Group". Williams, in his memoirs, details the deal made between Emil Holmdahl, Al Jennings and Frank Brophy. Frank Brophy, working on behalf of Prescott Bush, paid $25,000 dollars for the skull of Pancho Villa. The skull is now displayed in a trophy cabinet inside the crypt-like headquarters of the "Skull and Bones Society" at Yale University.