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Looking to ID a specific unit within the 28th Infantry Division

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by als3438, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm ALS3438 (Aaron), and I'm new here. I've put some of my backstory on the New Recruits thread, so I won't repeat that here. My main research goal right now is trying to determine what specific unit my grandfather was in. He would have been 99 a few weeks ago, and I'm trying to uncover as much about his service record as I can before his 100th next year.

    Until recently, I've struck out at every turn. Of course, like a lot of WWII veterans, he never really talked about his service, and he and my grandmother both passed away some time ago. His records were among those that were destroyed in the National Records Center fire in the '70's, so no luck there. Most of his belongings, uniform, etc. that he brought home with him was stolen when he got back to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. He did talk about being in the Battle of the Bulge, and he also said he was sometimes used as an interrogator, as he spoke German. He said he trained somewhere in Pennsylvania, and also somewhere on the gulf coast. Until very recently, that's all I've had to go on.

    I recently came into possession of his 28th Infantry Division history book, which I assume was provided to all servicemen associated with the 28th after the war. So, now, I'm pretty confident with the division he was in, but would still hope to narrow it down some. I'd like to be able to trace his unit, and luckily, it looks like the movements of the units that were part of the 28th are very well documented. The missing link, is locating him in a specific unit.

    I'm thinking there are a couple of strands to follow, if anyone would have any info:

    1) Is there a way to narrow down which units would have trained in both Pennsylvania and somewhere on the gulf coast, prior to going to England?
    2) Is anyone aware of any detailed records maintained on the 109th, 110th, or 112th infantry regiments? I looked at their respective websites, facebook pages, etc. and didn't really see anything that I could check on.

    Any suggestions on where I should look next?

    Thank you in advance,
    Aaron
     
  2. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    What town/city was he from, or more accurately, what town/city did he return to after he was discharged? Most veterans, upon returning, filed their discharge paper with their city office/clerk's office/recorder, etc. You might try contacting the city or county office and asking who has control over those records and hopefully they can help. But there's definitely a chance that there's something still floating around with his name on it.

    Also, just because his personnel records burned in that god-forsaken fire, it does not mean there aren't VA medical records still in existence that may lead to some clues on your grandfather's military service.

    Any military pictures of him with his ribbons etc. could be helpful too in conjunction with other fragments of information.

    As for regimental records, those are stored with NARA in College Park, MD. You can access those yourself in person or you can hire a researcher.
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Was he wounded and require attention from the VA? They might have some leads in their records.

    The 28th ID took a bad beating in the Battle of the Bulge (The Ardennes) and division was split, with the 110th Infantry Regiment (and I think some artillery and support units) orphaned off to the north flank of the bulge while the bulk of the division folded back to the south. Infantry casualties were significant and it took a while for the division to regain its fighting trim once the separated units were returned to divisional control.

    This was after the mauling in the Hurtgen Forest The division was in the Ardennes to obtain and acclimate replacements. In spite of the manpower shortcomings they fought well, giving ground to more powerful opposition but not breaking and running.
     
  4. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    The 28th was a Pennsylvania National Guard unit, which explains the training in PA. After being called up for active duty, they participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers and also had amphibious training in Florida, which would explain the Gulf coast training (Fact Sheet of the 28th Infantry Division).

    The records destroyed in the 1973 fire were personnel records. However, the NARA in St. Louis also has Morning Reports and some unit rosters. The MRs and rosters are Company level, so it might be easier if you can figure out his Regiment. It would also be helpful to have his Army Serial Number (ASN). If you don't already know his ASN, you can try looking it up in the NARA WWII Electronic Enlistment records.
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  6. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions...I hadn't thought about the VA. He did visit the VA here in St. Louis a few times later in life. I'll look into that. I only have two pictures of him in uniform (one is his dress uniform, but the angle is bad), the other doesn't show any kind of insignia at all. I'll attach them here in hopes that someone has more familiarity with the medals/etc. that are showing....in the group picture, he is top row, 2nd from left.

    As far NARA, I did go to the search page and put in his last name (Pfadenhauer) and only get 2 hits, neither of which are him (his first name is Walter). I've tried a few variant spellings as well, with no luck.

    One other step I've taken is to reach out to our local chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. I'm not sure he was a member of the chapter, but if he was, he probably would have needed to note his regiment/unit on a registration card (I hope).
     

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  7. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    St. Louis, Missouri. I'm not sure if he lived in the county or the city at the time (most likely the city), so I will ask about that as well. I didn't realize they were encouraged to file the discharge papers with the city. Thanks for the tip.
     
  8. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The top photo shows a DUI on his right lapel. The one on his left is missing. Regardless, if you are pretty sure he was in the 28th ID, then determining which unit of the 28th he is wearing will not be too hard. I will look tonight if someone here doesn't find before then.

    Edit: I think it could be the 112th Infantry.

    Boys, what do y'all think?
     
  9. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    Thanks - hopefully someone will recognize...Confident he was in the 28th ID, or at least he was in possession of the historical record book of the 28th ID in WWII given to veterans of that division. He wasn't a collector, so it could have only been given to him. I do wish the picture was a little clearer. I looked up the various DUI's associated with the 28th ID, and the shape of it does look like 112th, but also maybe 110th...similar shape? That little curve on the top is throwing me. This is also a picture of a picture, and I'll have the actual photo in my hand tomorrow...I'll see if the original might be a little more clear.
     
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I'm thinking Jeff got it right with the 112th. The general shape fits.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I have run into that before. The database is a great resource, but it is not necessarily complete or without errors.
     
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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  13. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Looks to me that you and Tommy are correct. Seems like the 112th is right.
     
  14. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    Thanks! When you get closed in on it like that it does look like it has that shape. Thanks a ton for everyone looking at this! I'm headed down to the city recorder sometime this week, hopefully he filed his discharge papers and I can corroborate
     
  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Okay, I looked up the DUI for the subordinate units.

    The outline of the 109th & 110th don't look like the above.

    I don't think the FA battalions wore separate DUI insignia.

    The 28th Recon troop derived from the prewar 55th Infantry Brigade Headquarters Company and they wore a round insignia. Most likely the war-time recon troop did also.

    I don't think the 103rd Engineers or the 103rd Medical Battalions wore separate DUI. Don't see on in my book for the engineers and don't have a listing for the medical unit. I don't have anything for the 28th QM, 28th Signal and 728th Ord companies. I tend to doubt the had a separate DUI, as small as they were.

    I'd have to research more, but I don't think the attached TD, tank and AAA wore DUI either.

    I wonder where his missing DUI was, that was supposed to be on the other lapel. Gave it to a friend, perhaps?
     
  16. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    The family lore is that he had a number of things stolen upon his return...might be a reason. Thanks for looking into all the other units in the 28th!
     
  17. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    Success!

    Thanks for the suggestion here, I was able to locate!

    His listed organization is Btry B 591st FA Bn, which confuses me because that doesn't appear to have been attached to the 28th ID at all. That looks like it was part of 106th ID, which didn't get to Europe until more than a year after he did. I'm assuming this is just the unit he was assigned to for purposes of getting back stateside. It looks like the return of the 106th matches with his discharge papers. According to the paperwork, he was in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe campaigns. He entered the service on 11 Aug 41, left the states for ETO on 8 Oct 43, and returned on 3 Oct 45. Thank you so much for the suggestion to look at the city recorders office.

    Now, one additional awesome thing...perhaps inspired by my incessant questioning, my mother dug through some old boxes that she had, and found a scrap of paper hand-written by my grandmother that lists my grandfather's name, his social security number, and the following: "Battle of the Bulge 1st Army 28th Div 229 Field Art. Hdg. Battery - Hodges"

    This generates a couple of puzzles for me:

    The main question - it looks like the 229th FA was attached to the 30th Infantry Division from 5 Dec 44 - 11 Jan 45. So, why note it as 28th - unless it was common to always refer to your original division during periods of attachment elsewhere....

    The other thing that puzzles me is the notation: "Hdg. Battery - Hodges." I'm not sure if this is in reference to Gen. Courtney Hodges, or if it is in reference to something else.

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you everyone for your help, I feel like I've really narrowed down my research, and now have a few routes I can start to go down!
     
    McCabe likes this.
  18. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I suspect that the "HDG" should be "HDQ" for Headquarters Battery. I think Courtney Hodges led the 1st Army during the Bulge. Why it's here I don't know. Maybe someone more knowledgeable will post.
     
  19. als3438

    als3438 New Member

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    You are right. Now that I re-look at what she wrote, it is definitely hdq and not hdg.

    One additional question that I thought of, circling back to the earlier discussion of lapel pins. His discharge paper says: Lapel Button issued. Does anyone know (now knowing his specific unit) what lapel button that would have been? 112th?
     
  20. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I believe that "lapel button" in that instance refers to his honorable discharge (or "ruptured duck") lapel button.
     

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