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Edward William Gruss Technician Fourth Class, U.S. Army Service # 33003315 46th Tank Battalion, 13th

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by missconduct, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    I am hoping someone will have any information on Edward Gruss. I know he DOW, but I would like to find out the details and am having a hard time finding anything.
    The story of my great uncle(?)...I've spent the past few weeks honoring both his sacrifice and memory by telling his story to historians and people dedicated to making certain, the soldiers lost will never be forgotten. If we forget our mistakes, history is bound to repeat itself.
    This is his story...


    Edward W. Gruss
    Technician Fourth Class, U.S. Army
    Service # 33003315
    46th Tank Battalion, 13th Armored Division
    Entered the Service from: Maryland
    Died: 18-Apr-45
    Buried at: Plot E Row 13 Grave 25
    Netherlands American Cemetery
    Margraten, Netherlands
    Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart


    Edward lost his father at a very early age, 6 years old. Edward had an older brother, James. They were very close. James died at 14 of complications due to rheumatic fever, Edward was about 10. This was about 4 years after losing his father. His mother tried to give him extra attention during this time and because of this, she became extremely close to him.
    Edward was dating a woman named, Betty, before he joined the service in 1941 and would most likely have married after his discharge.
    When Edward was killed, Betty was pregnant with his child. Upon learning of his death, she lost the child.
    To quote from my family history,
    "he lost his father when he was 6 years old, his big brother when he was 10, fathers a child...who he may not even have known about, serves heroically in the was which goes unnoticed, his child is miscarried, he is killed in battle in Germany, his body remains buried in Holland and his family members cannot mention his name."
    It further mentions that the family should recognize his sacrifice for his country and his rightful place in our family.
    Note: His grandfather, George Gruss was born in Germany.
    Please, if you can help me I would be most appreciative. He died for me and for America. He doesn't deserve to have given his life without at least some acknowledgement. Thank you.
     
  2. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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  3. Natman

    Natman Member

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    While you're waiting for his IDPF info, here's a couple links to info on the 46th Tk Bn:

    After action report, 46th Tank Battalion, 13th Armored Division, 15 Mar 45 thru 5 May 45. :: World War II Operational Documents This location will bring up the 46th's AAR's and other documents form the CARL site. You can scroll thru it here or download your own copy. It will provide info regarding the units activities during the indicated time period. Note: there are 25 pages of 67th AIB's documents mixed in here?

    This link will provide more general info regarding the 13th AD and it's various units and activities: 13th Armored Division

    I hope you'll keep us updated on the progress of your research.
     
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  4. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    As usual, Steve is a bit faster than I am. :rolleyes: However, I did note that the AAR for the 46th contains the Daily S-1 Reports. On page 56 of the document, the report for 14 Apr 45 lists 2 enlisted men wounded & hospitalized. One of them may have been your great uncle. Unfortunately, no names are provided. Toward the end of the document there is a page of Bronze Star Awards, but he is not listed there. That doesn't tell us much one way or the other.

    On the 13 Armored Division website, there is a section titled Tank Battalion Histories. At first, I got excited because it had photos of the members of the 45th Tank Bn. Unfortunately, all it has for the 46th is a narrative history. The narrative starts at about two-thirds of the way down the page.

    BTW, as Earthican suggested, I highly recommend requesting your great uncle's IDPF. It is a FOIA request and will probably take 2-4 months to receive and there should be no charge, at least not if you receive the documents electronically.
     
  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Here is your great uncle's listing on the American Battle Monuments Commission website: Edward W. Gruss

    Here is the webpage for the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial. There is a video and some very beautiful photos. Believe me when I say that there are many in the Netherlands who have not forgotten the sacrifice that your great uncle and so many of his fellow soldiers made so long ago.
     
  6. adambhoy

    adambhoy Member

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    Welcome to the forum! You have a lot of satisfying work ahead--patience pays off, and keep at it. There is no better group of people to help you; the expertise here is truly remarkable. This is a great way to honor your great uncle's sacrifice!
     
  7. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

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    I may have missed something, but why can't the family members mention his name?

    My second thought concerns being acknowledged. More than 400,000 American serviceman lost their lives in WWII. I doubt for a second that any death was left unacknowledged. Take a look at the pictures of the cemetery in Holland. Every grave, and every hero in them is highly respected and honored--and the same is true for every military cemetery overseas and every military grave in America.
    I don't know what your family is looking for but I sincerely hope you find it--Edward W. Gruss, Tec. 4/CL U.S. Army (KIA)surely deserves it.
     
  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    The OP was quoting from a family history, so even they may not know what was intend by the author. Having said that, I may be able to offer a possible explanation. In my own attempts at researching the service of my great uncle who was KIA in 1945, I found that many of my relatives had a difficult time discussing it. I believe that, even after all these years, the profound grief and loss that they endured was something that they did not want to relive. I could very easily see where even the mention of the name would be difficult. And keep in mind, it is not just the death of Edward they would be remembering, but all of the other tragedy surrounding him and that time.

    In reading the initial post, I was very much reminded of my family history from that time. The 30s and 40s were, for many, a very tragic time. Death was a way of life. In a fairly short period, several family members on my mother's side died including both of her parents, my great uncle and both of his parents. It is no wonder that they are hesitant to revisit those memories.
     
  9. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Thank you all so much for your responses. I'm very grateful for the help. Unfortunately, I'm probably one of the few surviving members of this family and several generations away. Regarding the comment about the family forgetting, Edward's mother took his death very hard. She had already lost both a husband and another son prior to Edward. The mere mention of him would send her into near hysteria. Unfortunately, that caused the next generations to be unaware of his life. After the death of my father, I came upon a written history of the family in his personal items. I know everyone was very close and I'm sure it must have been hard to grieve for someone when you couldn't speak of them.
    Everyone is now gone. I can speak about Edward and plan to do so until I'm gone. I'm extremely proud to be related to a man who, I consider, a real hero.
    Again, thank you. I plan to follow up on all of the leads you provided. TD-Tommy776, I especially thank you, for both your assistance above and beyond and for your consideration and understanding about why any discussion about Edward was so difficult. Thank you.
     
  10. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    Tommy and missconduct....

    I had the same experience growing up. My uncle that was KIA was never spoken of. It was a raw wound within our family.

    On my dads side there were 6 family members that survived WW 2. They lost 3 good friends they grew up with. John Von Gruben and the McKinnon brothers, along with my uncle. ... They went through a lot. Then after WW 2 they just went to work.

    After WW 2 my family had HUGE family get together's at my aunt's house a couple of times a month. It helped a lot for the healing. But the only times my Uncle Clarence was mentioned was later at night, in the garage when his brothers and cousins were drunk and crying while talking about Clarence.
     
  11. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Thank you for sharing that. There was a memorial website on which my uncle was not listed. When I sent his story to the person who ran the site, he responded with
    "Really heartbreaking to read this. What a story....what I life must he had...amazing...losing so much family members wile still being so young. I wanted to add the information to his personal page...but I have doubts it is in benefit of his page. His page is to honor him...and I think below info is too heartbreaking to read....what do you think?"
    I replied that yes, it was heartbreaking, but that was his story and I did indeed want it posted. If it happened in my family, maybe it had happened in others, as well.
    We don't have a whole Hell of a lot of those guys left. When they're all gone, who is going to pass on their memories of them to the future generations? The men who didn't come back? Who is going to pass on the memories of them? I'm only 42, but I'm going to try and make sure a man I didn't know is remembered by as many people as I possibly can. I can only pray others do the same.
     
  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Thank you for the kind words, Missconduct.

    I really do suggest that you request his IDPF as Earthican suggested in his post (#2). There is no cost other than a stamp and you may find some information you did not expect.

    Also, if you are willing to post the link, it would be great to see his memorial on the website you mentioned.
     
  13. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Sent off the IDPF today. Can't wait to receive it. I'll let you guys know, once it arrives. The link to my Uncle's story is at...13th Armored Division
    It can be found under veteran's histories. My last name is noted as "Gruss" although it is incorrect, my last name is Aschenbrenner.
    Thanks again!!!!!!
     
  14. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Julie, you should also try requesting your great uncle's OMPF (Official Military Personnel File). It is a bit of a long shot because there was a fire in 1973 that destroyed about 80% of the Army personnel records from WWII. So, your odds are a little better than the roll of a die. Like the IDPF, it will take a while before you get a response. Unlike the IDPF, there will be a charge. Again, it's a long shot, but you never know unless you give it a try.

    I tried getting the OMPFs of my two great uncles. Only one had anything and it cost me $20 to get a copy of a one page document I already had received in the IDPF. :mad: However, since I am a "glass half full" kind of guy, I figure I got the IDPF for free, so it was a good deal in the end.
     
  15. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Hi guys,
    just wanted to let you know that I received an email from human resources informing me that they received my IDPF request. They say it will take up to 16 weeks for it to be located and sent out, but I'll be sure to let you know when it does. Thanks again for the help! :)
    Jules
     
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  16. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Thanks for the update, Jules. I look forward to hearing from you after you receive the IDPF.
     
  17. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    I can't get the online form page to work, no matter what I try. I'll have to print it and send it via regular post. I'm not sure how to figure out the cost. Will they bill me or send payment with the form?
     
  18. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    If you are referring to requesting an OMPF, I had the same problem. I also ended up mailing the form SF-180 via snail mail. They will send you a letter which will either tell you the records were destroyed in the 1973 fire (highly likely) or that they have at least some documents along with the cost of obtaining them (less likely). If it is the latter, try to find out what document(s) they have before sending payment just in case you already have it/them.
     
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  19. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Thanks for the heads up about requesting the documents. Hopefully they'll have additional info. Either way, I'll keep you updated on my progress.
     
  20. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    There's about an 80% chance they will have nothing or very little, but it only costs you $.45 to find out.
     

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