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Can anybody out there tell me about this Squadron?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Nicole Frederick, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. Nicole Frederick

    Nicole Frederick New Member

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    This is a little intimidating to be reaching out to many historians and experts on WWII history, but I need some enlightening. I have tried going through the WWII museum, they were no help. I reached out to my local WWII society, no dice. Even went as far as to sent a request form to a private researcher, nada.

    My grandfather fought in WWII, he never liked to talk about it but it wasn't until after his passing I became immensely interested in his service. In 2016, after my grandmother's passing, I inherited his WWII picture album with amazing snapshots he took overseas! It also has all his badges. But all the badges are from a lot of different things... I can list them all if needed. A historian I had asked about the patches had told me it was possible that my grandfather collected them since there were too many to be one person's and although it was possible he earned all of them, it wasn't probable - I beg to differ. My grandfather was not a collector. I can't see him collecting things that weren't his. Plus he didn't talk about the war, who would he be showing them off to?
    But I'm very confused about what he actually "did". My aunts and uncles pieced together what my grandfather had vaguely told them. So, here's what I've been told:

    He was the navigator on a B-24. He served in Guam. He saw Hiroshima after the bombings and was able to photograph it (and numerous pictures of Japanese officers, some drunk). His plane was shot down and crashed in the ocean either right before or after the end of the war. He also admitted to seeing victims in concentration camps, and at one point my grandmother said she believed he delivered supplies nearby a camp.

    We are so confused...

    Anyway, I have his discharge papers but can't find information on the squadron.
    506 SV SQ 61 SV GP is what his discharge papers say under Organization.
    What does this all mean?

    And, yes, we tried the Archives... but they came back saying they couldn't find his file. I know everything after Hubbard burned up, but my grandfather's last name begins with a 'G', so I don't know why it's not able to be located.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Pardon the mishmash at the beginning. It should read (the second part on his discharge paper).

    For some reason I am unable to edit my posts.
     
  4. KMZgirl

    KMZgirl Member

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    Please post a picture of his discharge papers. We can often tell a lot by them. There are many helpful people here. Welcome to the forum!
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    And to Nicole and all the other people who are not as obsessed with history as the looneys here, please don't be afraid to ask questions. We don't bite. (Although one guy has a Kodiak bear, but we keep him pinned up. Mostly.)
     
  6. Nicole Frederick

    Nicole Frederick New Member

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    Thank you, guys!

    I'm getting more help here than the other options I had tried.

    Here's his discharge paper and the patches. I did find what his wings looked like, even though someone in the family stole them after his death, my grandfather painted on his leather jacket what his wings looked like and cut out the image before throwing away the jacket. I'd have to find where I hid it though. Hahahaha.
     

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  7. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I suspect that the various patches were collected. They represent different units connected to the Army Air Corps. Many of them can be found here WWII AAC / AAF Squadron Insignia Patch Page ~ units below 200
    Without going into detail, there are some that I can't identify. I'm sure that some who know will be along to help you out.
    Good Conduct Medal [​IMG]

    Asia-Pacific Theater Medal [​IMG]

    American Service Medal [​IMG]

    WW2 Victory Medal [​IMG]

    He was also a Sharp Shooter on the Rifle [​IMG]
     
  8. KMZgirl

    KMZgirl Member

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  9. Nicole Frederick

    Nicole Frederick New Member

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    Fascinating!

    I still have his conduct and service medal, so that's enlightening to see he held on to them. And a sharp shooter! That explains all the pictures of him posing with guns!
    As far as the patches, that's very interesting, I wonder why he collected them. I just don't see him doing that, he was not a collector by any means - in fact, I'm surprised he even held on to any of his war things. It's always possible they may have been his brother's patches, I suppose. As far as I know the brother was stationed elsewhere and did not keep anything war related.

    KMZgirl, WOW. That's very informative. And that definitely backs up the timeline I have.

    I think some of these pictures may help me figure out what he did exactly if I can find the right timeframe and any collected information from enthusiasts.
    But what makes this even more a struggle is the Archives not having/knowing where the personnel file is. I feel very bad for those families and descendants who won't ever know what their relatives did overseas...
     

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  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It seems certain the 506th Service Squadron was simply the unit he was assigned to when he was demobilized, since they did not serve on Guam with the 20th Air Force. The photos of him at Great Bend Army Airfield and Guam's Harmon Airfield would indicate that he was in a service squadron with the 20th Air Force. Great Bend is where the B-29 groups received operational training and Guam is where they flew from. His being at Great Bend would probably place him in the 76th Air Service Group initially, then deploying via Fort Walton, Washington to Guam. Harmon Field was the the operational base for the 11th Bombardment Group (H), which used B-24, before it became the 20th Air Force Headquarters and Depot Field...that may be the connection he had to the B-24 during the transition.
     
  11. Nicole Frederick

    Nicole Frederick New Member

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    Hmmm. That would make a lot of sense.
    I went through the scrapbook to find anything else that may be identifiable.
    I don't know if this would help if one could tell me if they recognize any of these things. The second picture of a plane, what kind is that? There are a few pictures in the book that I can identify as being P-51's. I also have pictures with him in front of B-29s "Liberty Belle" and "Pom-Pom".

    I also found a name of a war-buddy of his named "Jerry Burchnell". Well, I decided to google his name and found that a while back a canteen was for sale on eBay that was owned by a Jerry Burchnell, and he had carved all the places he had been into the canteen. I wonder if this would be places my Pop had been too.
    WWII US Army Trench Art Canteen SEE PICTURES AND DESCRIPTION | eBay
     

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  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The Liberty Belle (42-63714), a B-29, arrived in Guam in 1945 as member of the 315th Bombardment Wing, 501st Bombardment Group, 485th Bombardment Squadron. Pom-Pom was also the 315th, but I don't know her serial number off hand. See 315th BOMB GROUP

    The first photo shows various aircraft debris.

    The aircraft in your second photo appears to be a Douglas C-54 Skymaster.

    The third photo is the entrance to the village of Agat, Guam, possibly Gaan Point Camp. "Gaan Point camp was occupied from 1944 to 1946. Various government facilities were built at the camp, closer to the shore than the houses. There was a school and a church and a long building that had a dispensary at one end and government offices at the other. One of these offices was that of the “time keeper,” who kept track of government workers’ hours; many people worked for the military at this time. Three laundries, one for each of the three camp sections, were located near the government offices." » Resettlement Patterns Under American Rule
     
  13. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Looking at his discharge papers. he was only overseas after the war was over. Most of his time in the service was spent in the States. Does anyone (Rich) have any idea what he was doing during this time?
     
  14. Nicole Frederick

    Nicole Frederick New Member

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    That's great! So, I wonder if he just happened to snap pictures of them as they stopped through or if he had an association with them.

    I do have a lot of pictures of him in the US, but also overseas. Some have dates, some don't. I do have a few pictures of the Christmas USO tour in 1945 in Guam. I don't know if that means he was there prior to the war ending or not, but that's the closest I can get. My Nanna did mention before about my Pop traveling to the North Pole and back, she said it took 24 hours. I don't know if that helps anything. Or when that was.

    But this has been a wealth of information, and if I can provide anything to help me further understand my grandfather's service, I will. I just really am proud of all he's done, regardless of what it was or where it was. And even though he died when I was still too young to understand, I really want to get to know him, even if he's not here anymore. So, I'm documenting all your suggestions on what he could have been so my family and I can put a rest to this mystery.
     
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