A certificate of apprenticeship proves Ernie's employment at Adolf Graf for the period 18 April 1911 through 18 April 1914. Graf was located in Konstanz, not far from Friedrickshaven, known widely as the home of Zeppelin manufacture. This certificate, signed by Adolf Graf, indicates that over the three years he was there training as an engine fitter (Maschinenschlosser) "he was offered opportunites to educate himself thoroughly in all the general operations performed in machine factories, like bench vise and ironwork, turnery etc., which he followed with exceptionally great diligence as well as very special attention. With the accomplishment of the tasks delegated to him I was always satisfied to the highest degree…."
The beginning of World War I was marked by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, June 28, 1914, and the War officially ended with the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918.
Ernie's military record begins in April 1916, just after he left Rapp, and his final military record entry is dated November 1, 1919. However, there is also certification to show that he was employed at BMW from October 15, 1917 through April 14, 1920. His record also mentions that he was in Holland from August 1 to November 1, 1919. This coincides with a time that he is documented to have been working with Fokker on behalf of BMW.
A certificate from Rapp Motor Works, the precursor to BMW, shows that he was employed there from November 24, 1914 until March 24, 1916. Evidently he started at Rapp almost as soon as he left Graf.