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How to find out abt 37th Infantry at Bougainville

Discussion in 'Those Who Served' started by Eve Fairbanks, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Eve Fairbanks

    Eve Fairbanks New Member

    Nov 2, 2017
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    My late grandfather, Charles Herron Fairbanks, served (according to my father) in an eight-man intelligence unit within the 37th ID that patrolled Bougainville for Japanese to interrogate. I'm writing a family history and would LOVE to know more about what he did in the Solomons. He was fairly reticent and did not leave too many stories. Does anybody know how I'd go about finding out who served with him and the purpose and experiences of this eight-man unit? He was assigned to it because he was an anthropologist and, my father said, his commanders hoped he'd "charm the natives."
  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

    Jun 3, 2011
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    The Land of 10,000 Loons
    This is his Electronic Enlistment Record, and this is his Memorial page on the Find A Grave website. An Army Division in WWII was composed of several smaller units. Based on the description of his service provided in your family's oral history, he may have been assigned to the 37th Counter-Intelligence Corps Detachment. However, I would not suggest jumping to that conclusion without more concrete documentation.

    If you have not done so yet, you should request his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) from the National Archives. Virtually all WWII personnel records are now considered "Archival" which means anyone can request them, so you do not need to be his next-of-kin to do so. It may be beneficial to have your father submit the request as his NOK, but it is not necessary. It will take quite a while, so the sooner you submit the request the better. You should be aware that there was a fire in 1973 at the NARA in St. Louis which damaged or destroyed a lot of the Army personnel records. Don't be surprised if that is the case with your grandfather.

    Whether or not you get his OMPF, I would recommend hiring a researcher to track his service. They use rosters and daily unit personnel reports (Morning Reports) which were not affected by the fire. This will give you an almost day-to-day record of where he was during his service.

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