View this press release as a PDF: NHD_PressRelease_GaylaHammer


Local Wyoming Teacher Contributes to New Educational Resource to Honor Those Killed in World War II

WASHINGTON, D.C. – National History Day (NHD) announced this morning the
launch of phase one of a new teacher resource, Mrs.
Gayla Hammer, a teacher at Lander Middle School in Lander, Wyoming, is one of
the contributing teachers who is helping to develop these resources that will
assist educators in teaching World War II. The resource presents an
interdisciplinary approach to the war in northern Europe and is a major
educational initiative from the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).

Mrs. Hammer has been studying the story of First Lieutenant Gale Bernard
McGowan, a member of the U.S. Army Air Forces’ 707th Bomber Squadron, 446th
Bomber Group, Heavy. First Lieutenant McGowan served as a co-pilot on B-24
bombers, playing a critical role in the Strategic Bombing Campaign, which aimed
to attack and destroy German military and industrial sites, crippling logistics and
infrastructure. He flew 33 missions and was killed on December 27, 1944, when
his plane had mechanical problems and crashed into the English Channel. First
Lieutenant McGowan is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge
American Cemetery in Great Britain.

“National History Day is honored to coordinate with the Roy Rosenzweig Center
for History and New Media to develop this engaging resource. This group of
teachers has demonstrated extraordinary scholarship and research skills,” said
NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “The website in development reflects
original and insightful use of unique primary source documents, many of which
are being re-imagined for classroom use. As we lose the WWII generation, these
stories and lessons are designed to preserve the legacy of those who gave so

Mrs. Hammer has been working on the resource as part of a contract with the
American Battle Monuments Commission’s (ABMC) domestic education program
for World War II in Northern Europe, administered by NHD and the Center for
History and New Media at George Mason University. The purpose of this contract
is to develop a Teacher Institute on the Teaching of World War II in Europe that
will result in sound lesson plans and teaching ideas that utilize ABMC’s sites and

The first phase of this website, launched in conjunction with the 70th anniversary
of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day features profiles on ABMC cemeteries in Northern
Europe. In July, these teachers will engage in a two-week institute in Great Britain,
France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, following the path of the Allied troops who
fought through northern Europe 70 years ago.

This resource will be expanded in November 2015 to include interdisciplinary
teaching modules developed by Mrs. Hammer and the other teachers selected to
participate in the institute. Each lesson module will link to the story of a fallen
hero – a member of the Armed Forces who died and is buried or memorialized in
one of the six military cemeteries that the group will visit.

Sign up to receive email updates when the full resource comes online at


NHD is a nonprofit education organization in College Park, MD.
Established in 1974, NHD offers yearlong academic programs that engage
over half a million middle and high school students around the world
annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest.
These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and
affiliate levels, where the top student projects have the opportunity to
advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College
Park. NHD also seeks to improve the quality of history education by
providing professional development opportunities and curriculum
materials for educators. NHD is sponsored in part by Kenneth E. Behring,
Patricia Behring, HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the
Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, The Joe Weider
Foundation and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney
Foundation. For more information about NHD, visit

TWITTER: @NationalHistory