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Grandfather - Research Raising More Questions, Instead of Answers....

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by ecaps, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. ecaps

    ecaps Member

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    All,

    I'm attempting to do some research and piece together what I can on my Grandfather's service during WWII. I have a few bits of factual paper (WD AGO 53-55, Official Letters, pamphlets...), a couple pictures showing a dress uniform & what little my Dad can/will say. Unfortunately, my Dad was only 5 or 6 when my Grandfather passed away so any "knowledge transfer" that could've possibly been passed is lost.

    I have been in contact with NPRC, but got the "fire destroyed all records", so after a few more back & forth's with them I was able to secure a set of awards medals. NPRC told me the discharge papers I sent them was more information than the could've constructed and have copied and re-filed them in the archives.
    Obtaining the medals was primarily what I was try to get - the plan is to build a display case and give it to my father. I was hoping that some of his military records would've been there to verify a few stories my Dad can recall, but I guess that isn't meant to be; For one he said that my Grandfather once punched an officer (for what reason??? - He was in the regimental boxing team) causing him to loose a rank and that he was at Normandy.

    From the information I have found, he should have been at Normandy, not the 1st assult though. The Army's militiary history page says that 2/18th landed on EZ-Red at 0930. The NPRC said the EMEA compaign medal/ribbon also includes a bronze service star. Do you receive the medal/ribbon for being in a campaign, then a bronze service star for each additional campaign? The Normany invasion should include a Arrowhead for water landing if I understand correctly...The campaigns and battles he was invovled in are something I'd like to try and figure out (eventually.)

    According to documents he was assigned to 1st ID (Big Red One), 18th Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Btn, Co F.

    On to my questions and what I am finding confusing. I have attached some images to go along.

    • The Blue/Yellow lapel pin, anyone have a clue as to what it is? It doesn't seem to match up with the 18ths DUI. Also, the brass pins above don't appear to be for infantry, but Army Air Corp. I know he enlisted 1 Dec 1942 at Fort Warren, Wyoming which was AAC. But any "information" from there on seem to correspond to him being in 18th RCT. Could he have gotten "transferred"???
    • On the discharge certificate, under the REMARKS section. The 2 things here that intrig me are: (35) Flu Nov 45 & Cholera Jun 43. Does that mean he contracted these illnesses?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Are those papers in addition to those you have already posted? If so please post them when time permits.

    That might explain why his branch insignia in the photo is that of the Air Corps and he ended up in the Infantry.

    You get the Medal/ Ribbon for being in the ETO and the 'stars' for being part of one of the recognized comapigns

    The 'Arrow Heads' were awarded only to those units in the initial assault or first wave. While he may have been in 2/18 he may not have gone ashore the first day and could have been held in reserve until the beach was secure.



    I would get too wrapped up on the colors not matching. Often times the portraite were 'colorized' and the colors did not match or they have faded over time.
    I addressed the 'Transfer Issue' above.


    That means he was Innoculated against those diseases

    Good Stuff and Welcome Aboard!
     
  3. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    WWII Sterling AAF Tech Training Cmd DUI Badge Pin PB (08/16/2010)

    The lapel pin in the picture is the AAF Training Command DUI. The Brass disc are AAF that would go with the DUI while he was with the AAF. As Formerjughead said, he was transferred to the infantry and given cross rifles discs and the DUI for the 18th Infantry Regiment. His patch would be the 1st Infantry Division patch (Big Red One). A very proud and respected Division.
    Also, Jug's completely correct about the "colorized" effect on the DUI. He is also authorized the Bronze Star Medal since he earned the Combat Infantry Badge.
     
  4. chibobber

    chibobber Member

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    The arrowhead for landing on Normandy was awarded for a little over 30 days after D-day.My dad landed d-day plus 31 with the 3rd Army and was credited with an arrowhead for the landing.
     
  5. ecaps

    ecaps Member

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    Everyone,

    Thanks for the replies.

    Sometime after enlisting my grandfather was transferred to Infantry. I found an picture taken, I assume after the war, and you can see the 18th RCT insignia along with cross rifles brass button. (See pic below.)


    [​IMG]

    Also, here is the Presidential Unit Citation document, detailing the events at that battle.
    [​IMG]


    The Army's "history" weblink actually has some information about that battle as well.

    Tunisia

    This is also from the Army history website, showing what role 2/18th played on D-Day.

    This is why I was questioning if he should've had an arrowhead with his medals. I'll probably never know the answer, other than word of mouth proving he was there that day.

    Did/does the military keep records of that much detail? Is there a way to even follow an Infantry regiments route during war time?

    Thx again.
     
  6. Krystal80

    Krystal80 Member

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    You can have a historian research for his morning reports and depending on how well they kept records, get an idea where they were what day and casualties, what was happeing etc. I did this for my 2 great uncles and grandpa. One uncle and grandpas morning reports were very interesting, the other was very vague, but he was also in very hard compat the entire time against the Japanese so maybe they were simply too busy to keep good records.
     
  7. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Ecaps, to get a final answer to your question regarding your grandfathers "Bronze Arrowhead Device" you will need to ask the Army Board for Correction of Records to review his elgibility. Go to the links below and download a form DD-149 and fill it out the best you can. Send copies of all the information you can to support your argument that he should have been awarded the Bronze Arrowhead, and send a copy of his separation papers. This will be their final answer so make the most convincing case you can. Write a letter explaining why you believe he is entitled and support all your statements with some paperwork. You have already done a good job of this on this site--you have more than convinced me.

    They will do a thorough job of researching your case and reach a determination. If they rule in his favor, they will prepare and send a revised separation paper with this award included. They will also send a new EAME Campaign Medal with the arrowhead, and campaign stars attached. If they find any other omissions or mistakes they will correct them as well.

    I asked them to correct the "Organization" box on my brothers separation papers which listed the unit he was discharged from, not the unit he fought with throughout the war. They used the (incorrect) information from his separation papers to put the unit on his head marker. I had to have the records changed before I could get the marker corrected. While researching his unit the Board also realized he wasn't credited with a Presidential Unit Citation, a Berlin Airlift Device for his service in the Berin Airlift and a Bronze Arrowhead Device for his involvement in the Sicily invasion. That was a few years ago and I'm still happy :)

    It's worth a try and you will get an answer one way or another. Dave

    Correcting Military Service Records
    Army Review Board Agency
     
    LRusso216 likes this.
  8. VET76

    VET76 Member

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    Good stuff ecaps, keep us posted!
     
  9. ecaps

    ecaps Member

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    @Buten42...
    Thanks for getting me pointed in yet another direction. There is a wealth of information on here to avenues of records available.

    Need some advice on filling out the DD-149 Form, particularly this question:

    APPLICANT MUST SIGN IN ITEM 15 BELOW. If the record in question is that of a deceased or incompetent person, LEGAL PROOF OF DEATH OR INCOMPETENCY MUST ACCOMPANY THE APPLICATION. If the application is signed by other than the applicant, indicate
    the name (print) and relationship by marking one box below.


    When I filled out the forms that needed sent to NPRC, I didn't send the requested "Death Certificate." since I checked Other, when asking who the requestor is. In a way I was surprised that they fulfilled my request (being a govt agency) with out that documentation. When I filled out Other (SF-180) I put my name and in brackets I put Grandson.

    I really don't want to be defrauding the govt, so my Father is next-of-kin...I'm trying to do all this without my Father's knowledge so I can surprise him.
     
  10. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    I believe he suffered Flu and then at a separate time Cholera, something that happened to many troops stationed where there were third world health conditions. Those could not be inoculated for during WWII and even today inoculations for Cholera are only 25-40% effective. These could be serious where medicine was not readily available. (combat conditions).
     
  11. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    I am the youngest in a family of eleven. When I worked with my brothers records I assumed the position of "next of kin" because nobody else was interested. I would say you could qualify as next of kin as grandson. Include your grandfathers death certificate and don't even mention your father. I was going over your grandfathers separation papers a bit closer and-- assuming he was assigned to the 18th IR when he went overseas on Sept. 14, 1943 and remained in action with them until he came home on 24 Dec 1945, his records have eliminated a bunch of stuff. His campaigns should show Normandy, N.France, Rineland, Ardennes-Aslace, and Central Europe.
    He should be entitled to American Campaign medal (maybe) EAME Campaign Medal W/ 5 bronze battle stars and one arrowhead, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, Occupation Medal W/ Germany bar, and the WWII Victory Medal. He has the CIB and Expert for M-1 qualification badge, but they failed to list his French Fourragere. He was not with the 18th when they won the Distinguished Unit Citation (22 April 1943 in Tunisia) but he was allowed to wear it as long as he was with the 18th.

    So on the form where they ask why you believe it's in the interest of justice that his records be corrected, explain that you believe many omissions were made and it is in the interest of justice to the family that your grandfather's records finally correctly reflect his service to his country. (something like that).

    I don't think they're going to question you being the "next of Kin", Oh, if they accept your case, it does take quite a while to be processed. I really believe it should be reviewed--good luck and let us know.
    Dave
     
  12. ecaps

    ecaps Member

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    @Buten42,

    I do not believe he is entitled to the American Campaign Medal. One of the qualifications to receive it was you had to serve a year within American borders, which may Grandfather did not.

    Do you think it would hurt to send the picture I have w/ him wearing the Fourragere to the Army review board? I have very little documentation; Pretty much what you see is what I have.

    After some more digging I found that at the time my grandfather should have been serving with the 18th RCT overseas they were awarded these medals and invovled in the campaigns you mentioned:

    1. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for NORMANDY
    2. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for AACHEN, GERMANY
    3. French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II for NORMANDY
    4. French M├ędaille militaire, Fourragere
    5. Normandy (with arrowhead);
    6. Northern France;
    7. Rhineland;
    8. Ardennes-Alsace;
    9. Central Europe
    The unit recieved a commendation from the French at Kasserine before my grandfather was "active", this along w/ the Normany one allowed the unit to get the Fourragere.

    PS: Good catch on the Tunisia dates, I totally overlooked that he was still stateside during those dates.
     
  13. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Nearly everyone I have helped with a replacement set of awards were always given the American Campaign medal. I have never been able to understand how they calculate the time element--I know they include the boat ride over and back plus stateside training. The Board of Corrections of Records will definitely ferrit out everything he is entitled to. The French awards will not be replaced but they should be included on his papers. there was also a French Liberation Medal given for everyone who participated in the liberation of France. Not many received the actual medal because France didn't have the money or medal to make them.

    I wouldn't bother sending the picture, they will only go with what the records say. Articles from historical sources to support your argument that he was at Normandy and the rest would be helpful. I had access to all my brother's records, where you are pretty much working from his separation papers. In essence, you are pretty much assuming he was with the 18th from 14 Sep 1943 through 24 Dec 1945. Perhaps it would be prudent to try to get more records before asking the board to rule on this. You can prove what the 18th AR was involved in, but it's what your Grandfather did that you need proof of. I can't see anything that says he was anywhere else, and you don't get a CIB for being in an office in England, but his separatin paper only show he went to England in 43 and left for the States on Dec. 24th 45.

    Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
     
  14. ecaps

    ecaps Member

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    Ok,

    Sorry for the barrage of questions, but one more if you will....

    What type of information was with your brother's records. If found online a place that had the 1st ID after-action reports scanned into pdf files. They had a preview page, but most didn't have specfic detail that would mention a soldier's name, unless there was something of significance that warranted it being noted. I am assuming my best bet is just to document the general history of where the 1st ID would've been at that time.

    I strattling the fence as to if it would be worth persuing.......
     
  15. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I suspect his transfer has to do with the USAAC taking in too many personnel early in the war in expectation of building up more squardons etc., than they ended up making. This led to a wholesale transfer of men (both enlisted and officer) to other branches, particularly infantry, to make up for losses greater than expected in these.
     
  16. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Since his separation papers only list the Central Europe Campaign, which began on 22 March 45 until the end of the war, I think Mr. Gardner might have nailed this. What I'm thinking is he may have been with the USAAF in England until after the Bulge and was transferred to the 1st Division because of the great loss of men in December and January.

    Ecaps, if you got his separation papers from the archives, it shows his records survived the fire. Use the NARA number that was on your last response and tell them you need specific information on his duty stations and when he was transferred from the USAAF. Also tell them you would like a replacement set of your grandfathers decorations and awards. (these are free and he is aurhorized one set if his others were lost, destroyed or never received) If you can prove he earned one medal that isn't on his separation papers, (I would bet he earned an Occupation Medal that isn't listed and the Bronze Star in conjuction with his CIB),
    you can then ask for a correction of his records by the board and have it backed by solid evidence.

    I asked for my brothers records about 10 years ago and asked them for everything they could legally send me. I received his entire personnal file except for his medical records. They even sent me a lot of his Air Force files from his second enlistment until his death in 1950. The Army file looks like it was copied from a book because it has page numbers. Thing have changed since then--now getting records are like pulling teeth and has become expensive. In some cases they want $20 for a copy of just the seperation paper. But regardless the time and expense, I can guarantee it is well worth the effort.

    One item that would be placed on the morning reports would be his promotion to PFC--but morning reports are not the same as after action reports and you would need to know what unit he was in, and the exact date when he received it in order for them to find it. I think your best chance for more information is to write NARA another letter. They won't charge you until they tell you what they have and what it will cost. If you live near St. Louis you can do your own research.

    I do hope you don't give up.
     
  17. ecaps

    ecaps Member

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    As of the moment I don't have anything "new" to add, but am going to reorganize this post into facts, possibly some assumptions and some comments. If anyone see's something they'd like to post on that may lead into another direction feel free.

    @Buten42 (and anyone else), the discharge papers did not come from the archives, but are copies from the county clerks office. When my Grandfather passed away my Grandmother must have taken them there (or been required) to apply fo VA benefits? Notice the dates of 1961. One thing I wonder is if any more papers happen to be registered at the county clerks office that I may not be aware of. I don't know what papers/files were given to a soldier once discharged from the Army. My Grandmother obviously had the discharge papers, but what else & where they ended up I haven't clue.

    NPRC Awarded the following:
    Bronze Star Medal
    Good Conduct Medal
    Presidential Unit Citation
    Eastern-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ 1 bronze serivce star
    WWII Victory Medal
    Combat Infantry Badge - 1st Award
    Honorable Service Lapel Button

    Facts (Time line):
    Enlisted in the US Army on Dec 1, 1942 at Fort F.E. Warren - Cheyenne Wyo. He was assigned to the Army Air Corps. This seems to agree with one of the pictures I posted above and also with the NARA has on file, via an online search (*See below)

    On Sept 5, 1943 he left for England and arrived on Sept 14, 1943.

    Innoculations:
    Mar 44 - Small Pox
    Mar 45 - Tetnus

    General Orders 33 WD 45 <== Safe to say he was assigned to the 18th RCT.
    Central Europe campaign

    Innoculations:
    Sep 45 - Typhoid
    Nov 45 - Typhus

    On Dec 24, 1945 he departed back to the United States.

    Discharged Jan 6, 1946 Fort Meade MD.






    Comments/Assumptions
    1. Upon his enlistment he was probably sent to some other base(s) for basic training & specialized training for AAC/AAF. The concensus seems to be the lapel pin is that of the USAAF Air Training Command. This makes me think he was still assigned to the AAF.
    2. The date of departure - Is there a list troop deployments, ship names are anything of the like???
    3. Sometime he was moved from AAF it infantry, but that is guess as to when. It seems though it would've been sometime after arriving in England.
    4. Would innoculations be in some report. I'm guessing I would need more detail like current unit.
    5. One thing I looked over again the other day was part of a military news clipping showing the 18th RCT boxing team. One item of interest was the team recently or preparing to fight against the 90th Replacement Battalion. What is the 90th Replacement Btn - could that provide some more clues?? *I'm thinking there is more of that page than what I have in my possession and need to see if there would happen to be a date.
    6. VA Hospital records - does anyone know if they could have any additional information, could I get my hands on them and how would I do so? My grandfather died in the Pittsburg VA Hospital in 1960.
    Source Information:
    (National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line])
    Enlistment Date: 1 Dec 1942
    Enlistment State: Wyoming
    Enlistment City: Fort Francis E Warren Cheyenne
    Branch: Air Corps
    Branch Code: Air Corps
    Grade: Private
    Grade Code: Private
     

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