Help Me Find My Late Grandparents’ Missing Post-WWII Wedding Photographs

Published on 10/1/2014

If you’re looking to help solve a great mystery, this is one for the ages! I’m reaching out to the public for help, and am hoping to crowd-source some missing photographs.

My name is David, and I’m the Founder of Develop CENTS.

Maurice Langhorn Martin, image courtesy of http://wwiiflighttraining.org/cadets/Class1942/1942k.php

Maurice Langhorn Martin Image courtesy of http://wwiiflighttraining.org/cadets/Class1942/1942k.php

I’m the grandson of the late Col. Maurice L. Martin (USMA Class of 1943, pictured right), who was a fighter pilot in 3 wars including WWII. “Colonel,” as my extended family called him, had quite a career in the US Air Force. After graduating from West Point, he went to Germany at the end of WWII, and quickly climbed the “ladder” of the military, and was a commander by 1947.

Later, he went on to become the third Athletic Director for the Air Force Academy from 1960 – 1963, and oversaw the building of the Falcon’s stadium!

In November, 1946, my grandfather got married in Germany. But this is where the story really gets interesting!

Because of his rank and influence, many of the higher-ranking fighter pilots who were in Germany at the time attended his wedding.

Little did anyone know that the hired photographer was there to spy on the wedding guests, and was going to try to pass the wedding photos over to the Russians! The wedding photographer was later captured (with the photos) after trying to enter a Russian zone. The photos were classified, we think under the photographer’s name (which we do not have).

After several family members have spent years researching where these photographs might have turned up, and after I’ve spent months writing emails to various museums, the National Archives, and various Air Force historical associations, as well as countless hours on Google, I’ve decide to reach out to the public for crowd-sourced help in finding any photographs of my grandfather – but especially for help in finding any possible wedding photographs!

My grandfather, Maurice Martin, is pictured 3rd from the right in this photo.

My grandfather is pictured 3rd from the right.

Here’s a snippet of Col. Martin’s career around the time that he got married:

  • 2 October 1944 (Captain): 390 Fighter Squadron
  • 1945 (Major): 9th Air Force
  • November 23rd, 1946 – Got Married
  • February 1947 (Col): Commander, 86th Fighter Group

The wedding was at St. Peter’s Church in Fritzlar, Germany, and the reception was at the Fürstenhof Hotel, in Bad Wildungen.

This is an interesting account from one of my aunts before my grandmother passed away several years ago:

Mom had found out from one of their friends at the Pentagon (while dancing with him at some affair) that he had seen their photos in Classified documents that at that time were still classified. He told mom that he had seen her wedding photos. She replied that their weren’t any because of bad developments and he told her that they had been sold to the Russians. When I searched, with help from a member of the Armed Services Committee in Congress, I was told that the documents were no longer classified but that they were filed under the name of the Russian spy who had them when captured, so we needed his name to find them.

No additional information is known about the photographer. At one time, I believe someone in my extended family contacted St. Peter’s Church to ask if they have any records from that time period, and learned that they do not. However, I have not directly corresponded with the church (nor do I speak or understand German).

If you, or someone you know, might be able to help me locate these wedding photographs, please leave a comment below, or contact me. Thank you in advance!

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An Analysis of an Attacker’s Attempt to Control my Windows Machine

This morning, I received a call from a Short Code phone number (609773). The number looked strange (I don’t think I’ve ever received a phone call from a Short Code phone number before), but I decided to answer. What transpired is an analysis of the conversation I had with someone who was trying to hack into my Windows PC.

The man with a thick accent said that he was calling to inform me my computer had not been updated in quite a while, and asked if I was aware of this. He said that this could lead to system files becoming “outdated or corrupted.”

I quickly decided that this was a perfect opportunity to speak with a black-hat hacker and learn about some of his methods. (Note that I put am emphasis on “black-hat” because hackers in-and-of themselves are not necessarily evil people. You might have cousins, family members, or friends who are “programmers” for a living. If they are a programmer, they are a hacker. Again, let me emphasize: A “hacker” is not necessarily a bad person!)

I said “no, I wasn’t. How do I fix it?”

He first had me open up msconfig, a Microsoft Windows utility for editing and troubleshooting programs that run when the computer is first turned on. He had me click on the “Services” tab and then double click on the Services tab underneath. He asked me to tell him how many services were in a “Stopped” status.

I said “several.”

Now let me pause here by saying that nothing he had asked me to do (so far) was harmful to my computer. Msconfig is a legitimate program, and it is safe to use. I am assuming that he directed me to see all of these “stopped” services so that I would be more concerned and hopeful that he could “fix” these services so that they would all start when the computer started (which is actually not at all necessary).

The man on the other end of the phone then directed me to go to a website (supremocontrol [dot] com) and then directed me to click on the Download button, and then to download the software from that download page.

(Update: According to research I’ve performed, Supremo Control is legitimate software. Scammers commonly want to gain remote access to your PC, and they will use valid tools to do this. Supremo Control software is not the problem in this case. The scammers who are using the software ARE the problem. Don’t blame Supremo!)

While he continued to give me instructions, I was already logged into my local CentOS 7 test machine, and so got a copy of the homepage and of the “Download” page of this malicious website.

At this point, I stopped following his instructions, as I didn’t have a safe Virtual Machine of Windows running at the time with which I could test without getting my primary Windows install infected.

After directing me to “run” the downloaded file, he asked for a 9-digit number (which would identify my machine to him so that he could login remotely, and then a 4-digit “password” that the program supposedly was supposed to provide.

After telling him repeatedly what these numbers were (even though I made them up out of thin air), I could tell he was very confused because he couldn’t connect to my system! After a few seconds of silence while he tried to figure out what was going on, I hung up on him.

In summary, let this be a reminder and a lesson for ANYONE to never trust a computer “technician” who calls you out of the blue and tells you that your computer is infected. You should always ensure that the person you talk to on the phone regarding the security of your computer is someone you know and someone you trust.

In the future, I will hopefully be able to analyze the file, but I don’t have the resources to do it (safely) right now. If I had an operational VirtualBox of Windows, I would have loved to have continued our conversation through the very bitter end, so that I could learn more about his tactics!

Questions or comments? Let me know!

Updated at 2:55pm to clarify that Supremocontrol.com is not a malicious website