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John O. Moench Collection

Identifier: SC-025

Scope and Contents

Series I: Object, 1861-1865, contains a Civil War belt buckle. This belt buckle was discovered when Major General John O. Moench dug a garden at his residence at North Nelson Street in Alexandria, Virginia. This property was located just above Chain Bridge that crossed the Potomac River. When he was digging the garden, he realized that he was turning up an old camp fire. Soon fragments of broken whiskey bottles unearthed along with the oval shape belt buckle read "SNY" intended for the soldiers in the New York regiment, State of New York. It was designed to secure a belt fitted over a soldier's jacket, used to carry his items such as cartridge and cap box. The reverse has full lead and rusty remnants of the two iron hooks. The belt fastening hook is missing but it is in fair condition over all.


  • Created: Circa 1861-1865


Conditions Governing Access

The entire collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

General John Moench was born in Chicago, Ill., in 1921. He attended Valparasio High School in Indiana and graduated in 1939. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Military Science and Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland. He started his career in the United States Air Force and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in 1943. Moench was sent to Europe and flew 62 combat missions in the B-26 Marauder.

After World War II, Moench decided to stay in the service. On July 29, 1952, he married Mary Coppa, a civilian employee of the United States Air Force. He went on to serve nearly twenty years in Joint Commands in Pacific and with the Joint Staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Moench had four assignments between 1945 and his retirement in 1974; he was stationed most notably in Germany, Korea, Hawaii, and under the Secretary of Defense in Washington, DC. Moench's military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem.

After his retirement, Moench devoted his life to documenting the history of the B-26 Marauder, becoming a chairman of the Martin B-26 Marauder Historical Society and publishing several books on United States Air Force (USAF) history. General Moench passed away due to an inflammatory muscle disease known as Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM) on April 3, 2013.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 Box)


Major General John Otto Moench (1921-2013), United States Air Force (Ret), recovered rare Civil War belt buckle while he was digging up a garden at his residence in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1995, John donated the artifact to the University of Central Florida Libraries to be added to the Civil War Collection.

Method of Acquisition

John O. Moench donated this material to the University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives on November 30, 1995 (CFM1995_02).

Related Materials

African American Legacy: The Carol Mundy Collection, 1794-2010, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

William D. Chapman Collection, 1865, 1975, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

Book: "Taking Command" by John O. Moench, DS917.92.M6 M64 1996

Book: "The Martin B-26 Marauder: a biography by John O. Moench, UG1242.B6 O98

Processing Information

Processed by Suphi Burak Ogreten; finding aid prepared by Suphi Burak Ogreten The belt buckle is housed in a clamshell box which is constructed with archival book binder's board, foam, and Cialux rust bookcloth, measuring 4"L x 3"W x 1"H.
John O. Moench Collection
Suphi Burak Ogreten
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the UCF Special Collections Repository

Special Collections & University Archives
University of Central Florida Libraries
P.O. Box 162666
Orlando Florida 32816-2666 US
(407) 823-2576