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Grandfather no longer listed on NARA website

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by djosbun, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. djosbun

    djosbun New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I’m Dave and a new member. About 18 months ago I found a box with my grandfather’s WW2 U.S. Army info, including the letters sent to my grandfather when he was injured at Normandy and in the Hürtgen Forest. He was in the 8th Division, 121st Regiment, 12th Combat Engineer Battalion. His name was John M Good (McHench was his middle name), serial # 42 015 649. He passed away in 1985. He was a NJ resident when drafted and when he passed. Not surprisingly he never talked about the war. I do know he was injured at Normandy, clearing mines and took shrapnel in his leg. He tour of duty ended in Hürtgen Forest when I bullet passed through his best friend, killing him, and the bullet lodging in my grandfather’s back, a few millimeters from his spinal cord (he lived with it in his back the rest of his life).

    When I started doing research on what he did during the war, I was able to find very basic info on the NARA website by typing in his Army serial number. However, now when I type in any of his information (ser #, name, state + county, etc.), it yields no results.

    Would anyone have any idea why his information disappeared? I also found last year a very old (late 1990s) website which actually had an after action report which had him listed as injured. Sadly that website seems to have disappeared.

    Thank you,
    Dave
     
  2. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    That is very puzzling.

    I have not encountered this problem and I have used the NARA Database for over a decade.

    Please clarify if he was in the 121st Infantry Regiment or the 12th ECB. They are different entities,
    albeit a company of the 12th ECB probably supported the 121st.


    Dave
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  3. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    It is curious that there are no casualty lists prior to the March 1945 AAR:

    Untitled 1


    Dave
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Dave,

    There was no pro forma for historical reporting in the U.S. Army other than Army Regulations stating that such a record was required. There was no set requirement for its contents and no one seemingly could even agree what to call it (it appears as "Report After Action", "After Action Report", "Historical Report" and other variations depending on the unit). The result was that frequently the report consisted of whatever the officer writing the report thought was important. Furthermore what was reported and how well it was reported depended on the individual writing skills of the officer, who frequently was the most junior in the battalion headquarters. From the way it is written I suspect the AAR was simply copied from extracts from the Battalion S3 Journal and from the way the pattern shifts I suspect that until March 1945 the casualty reporting would be found in the S1 Journal.
     
  5. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    Richard,

    Although you are correct about the lack of consistency in Army reporting, it is my experience that the smaller the unit, the more likely it is that its AARs or monthly Histories contained casualty lists. I see this in the records of FA Battalions and Combat Support Units.

    Dave
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sure, it is unusual, but not uncommon. Similarly, units reporting casualties were inconsistent and how they reported them. Sometimes it was simply an alphabetical listing for the period, sometimes categorized by casualty type, but frequently without dates. Just from the pattern of these reports, it looks like the poor 'George' tasked with writing it got replaced by someone else in March 1945. The sudden inclusion of the required elements for the Report, After Action - the first three pages, which was pretty much a pro forma, leads me to believe that either those pages were missing from the September 1944 through February 1945 reports (never filed or filed and later removed) or they simply were never completed. That the March 1945 narrative report is labeled as an "Appendix" (which was also pretty standard) but the earlier ones were not (and no attachments or appendices are mentioned) further leads me to believe that it was not prepared for that report. My suspicion remains that the Battalion Adjutant (S1) probably prepared a separate report covering strength and casualties, so 'George' saw no reason to duplicate it.
     

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