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Need help reviewing grandfather's WW2 Separation Form

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by McCabe, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    After months of internet research, I've finally obtained my deceased grandfather's record and report of separation from World War 2. I had originally contacted the National Archives and, as I expected, my grandfather's records were burned in the fire. They did offer "some medical records" for a fee of $80, which I declined (though I'm wondering if those records would have any interesting information). This was several months ago. This week, I read online that the Baltimore War Memorial stores the records of 70,000+ WW2 veterans from the state of Maryland. I called them this morning, and 20 minutes later I had a faxed copy of my grandfather's separation report in my hand. It had basically deduced through research much of what I read on his record, but I was still thrilled to finally get my eyes on a document I had assumed burned up long ago.

    I'm not having too much trouble reading or understanding the form. The reason I post here is because I have some questions:

    His MOS is listed as Automotive Mechanic. How could he have earned his Combat Infantry Badge, if he was not infantry? My father did not get many stories from his father while he was alive, but he says he is certain that his father saw combat. He also apparently "didn't like talking about the war" -- this tells me he saw more than just fixing engines. But didn't his MOS still make him ineligible for the CIB?

    He earned the American Theater Service ribbon. Seeing as how he departed for North Africa nine months after induction, and returned to the States in November of '45, the same month he returned from Europe, how was he eligible for this medal?

    According to the record, he earned the Distinguished Unit Badge (I'm assuming a 3rd Division citation?) - I have that badge (solid blue with gold border). However, I have a picture of him when he was in Europe (Paris, I think) and where that DUB should be, is another badge. It looks lighter in color than the one I have, and it has some sort of object in the middle of it, perhaps a star or oak cluster? I don't have the picture handy, but does that sound like any sort of ww2-era unit citation badge that you all would recognize?

    Finally, the highest grade my grandfather held was Tec4. However, I have a book that chronicles the 3rd Division's WW2 History, and in it he is only listed as a PFC... but the book was published well after my grandfather discharged. What would be a reason for that discrepancy in rank?

    Also, where else can I check to look for additional information on what his company did? The 3rd Division book I have is thorough enough when describing what the 2nd Battalion, 30th inf. did in combat, but I'd love to go even smaller than that, to the company level. Not sure if such information exists.

    I'd be extremely grateful for any and all information I can get from you fine folks.

    EDIT: Re-added picture of discharge paper

    [​IMG]
     
  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    It might be helpful to us if you could post a copy of your grandfather's discharge papers. It might help seeing the information in context.

    If you're inclined to spend a bit of money, you could pick up a copy of the regimental history of the 30th Infantry. You may also try the 3rd Infantry Division Society. ( I was going to suggest the 30th Regt. Society until I noticed that they are defunct :( ).
     
  3. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

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    McCabe, Without seeing the discharge paper, I bet he went in the Army late in the war. They were in desperate need of infantry-especially after the Battle of the Bulge. He may have been trained as a mechanic and put into an infantry unit, Although technically, an infantry MOS was one of the requirements for the CIB, he may have met all the other and they made an exception--or, his MOS was changed and it was never corrected when they typed up the separation paper. I know you want an explanation, but without the rest of his records you may never know. My advise, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth". With the CIB he is also eligible for the Bronze Star Medal.

    The American Campaign Medal seems to have been given with a certain amount of latitude. The time requirement is actually one year in the American Theater cumulatively if in the States, and 30 days consecutively if outside the US but in the boundaries of the American Theater. I've seen this Campaign Medal given for the time spent in basic and the training period, plus the boat ride over and back. But I have questioned this many times without a good answer--same advice as with the CIB.

    The Distinguished Unit Badge, (later called the Presidential Unit Citation) is a blue ribbon with a gold colored frame (no actual medal).. This award is very seldom given to an entire division--usually it's a Battalion or smaller unit award--even down to a Platoon. He didn't need to be in the unit when they earned it to be eligible to wear it, only be assigned to that unit. If he was with the unit when it was awarded, he could wear it permanently regardless what unit he was with. The attachment you see in the picture is most likely an "Oak Leaf Cluster", indicating two awards. Sometime the color of on old photographs are faded.

    Finally, he may have been promoted just before getting discharged and whoever wrote the history didn't get the change. Even tho it was published some time later, the writer was using the records he had at the time.

    Remember, there were millions servicemen discharged in 1945 and 1946. The records guys were human and more than likely overworked--mistakes were made. With enough records these mistakes can be found and changed if necessary. But without records it seems impossible. One thought, you might find some more records with the Veterans Administration. If he went in for anything after being discharged, they usually get a copy of the records. They will be in the VA Archives in St. Louis, MO

    Think Tommy answered your last question.

    By the way, welcome to the forum,
    Dave
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    His MOS has nothing to do with receiving the Combat Infantryman Badge(this is a "recent" addition), the only one's who were ineligible were those in the Medical Department or the Corps of Chaplains. At the time, eligibility was that a soldier was assigned to an an infantry regiment or lower Infantry unit. As the OP has focused on the 2nd battalion of the 30th Infantry Regiment, I would presume that his grandfather was assigned to an infantry regiment, thus he would be eligible for the CIB, provided he met the qualifications.

    For reference, look up War Department Circular #186.
     
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  5. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    Gentlemen, thank you for the responses, as well as the warm welcome. Note: I did try to attach a copy of the discharge paper to the post, apparently it didn't work. I edited the post and the picture should show up now (sorry about that).

    TD-Tommy: I am very much considering purchasing the History of the 30th Regiment. There is a copy posted on Ebay, asking for $150, I may try to work that price down a little and see what I can get it for. I did correspond with some folks from the 3ID Society and didn't really get all that far. Awhile back, I spoke with their resident historian and he was kind enough to give me information on what unit my grandfather was most likely in, based on photographs, and I confirmed this using the 3ID History book.

    Dave-- my grandfather enlisted in December of 1942, per the discharge paper, and departed for North Africa 9 months later. Would that be considered late in the war? I did indeed read that he was eligible for the bronze star, due to his CIB, and I'm wondering: When I put together his shadowbox, do I have to officially have his record amended in order for me to be able to "give him" the bronze star, or would it be considered appropriate to do it unofficially? Same question for the American Theater Medal. Also, I have attached the pic that I was referring to earlier, showing what I can now assume is the DUB/PUC? (Again, I have that one in my possession... I do not have whatever that is in the picture)


    Thanks again for all the information, and the welcome. I plan on sticking around and learning what I can from what seems to be a very informed and intelligent group of people.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    The Bronze Star was automatically awarded to any who won the CIB. Go to the NARA site and get all the awwards duee to him. It should include the BS.

    Welcome from me, too.
     
  7. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    Thanks, Lou. NARA does not have any of his records... they all burned. So does this mean I will have to furnish my own copy of his separation paper, providing it to them prior to requesting his medals? How would that work?
     
  8. 693FA

    693FA Member

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    McCabe,

    I'm gonna take a few liberties here and if I'm wrong I'm sure the membership will correct me so I apologize now.

    Anyway....1st the American service ribbon: probably awarded just from the dates I see from induction(stateside) to service/deployment....

    The records from NARA....yes get what you can however trivial...got some on a relative I have been researching and showed/proved him assigned to a unit in 1937 after having a simple car wreck! Find it a little weird they wanted to charge you as you are a grandson...where in my case I am not and didn't get charged!

    Related to the CIB and probably a couple things I noticed:
    He has a Croix De Guerre, European African Middle East service ribbon w/ Arrowhead device which means he did at least one amphibious assault/landing.....take your pick here with the places listed on the form....North Africa, France, Italy! And yes it's possible I'm sure a mechanic could have seen some combat to rate the award.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrowhead_device

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croix_de_guerre

    Anyway Good luck with your search!!!!
     
  9. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    Thanks Clint.

    We were fairly sure he was at Anzio. I remember my grandmother mentioning it before she died. But it doesn't appear on his ROS, so I dunno. Could've been southern France, for all I know.

    Regarding the awards, I have the original Croix de Guerre ribbon, as well as the EAME campaign medal. I've ordered an arrowhead device for that one.

    I think I will bite the bullet and pay for them to send those medical records. As for why they're charging me (though I'm doing this for my father, too, who is next-of-kin), the letter they sent mentioned something about some sort of document restoration they have to do in order to prepare it for copying and sending to me. My guess is that's where the cost goes.

    Thanks again for the info.
     
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  10. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

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  11. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    Lemme ask you another question... and feel free to cut me off on this and redirect me to another forum section, or tell me to get lost with all my questions...

    My father said "he was a sergeant who led other men". That was before we learned he was a Tec4. I then had to research what that rank meant, and explained to him that it wasn't the same as having sergeant stripes, just better pay for his skills, although he may have been in charge of a team of mechanics or in charge of training them. But another thing my father mentioned was that the Army wanted my grandfather to go to Officer Candidate School, but he didn't want to go because all the officers kept getting killed. Is any of this automatically negated by the fact that his paper lists "automative mechanic" as his MOS? Were mechanics ever sent to OCS? My guess is this is all under that same category of "I may never know" but I wanted to run these questions by you guys.

    Another tidbit: My grandfather brought back two captured pistols. One is a Wermacht FN GP35 pistol (with a signed paper authorizing him to retain possession of it and bring it back to the states), that my father says my grandfather "captured from a German officer". The other is an older Italian revolver, my research indicated it dates back to WW1 and was used by Italian enlistedmen. Also, my father says he remembers seeing a big, red Nazi flag in his grandmother's attic, when he was a little kid, but that was the last time he saw it. Is it possible that this is also an indication that he did see and maybe even led in combat? Scenarios start running through my head, and my grandfather was Jewish; I feel like if he led a squad, and they captured some prisoners or something along those lines, maybe his men gave those items to him. I realize all of this is circumstantial, hearsay evidence. But I feel like they are pieces of the puzzle.
     
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Note the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. By that point in the war, much of the Wehrmacht was falling apart and everybody was capturing prisoners. So, I would not doubt that he took that pistol from a German officer that surrendered to him. By the way, that GP "Grand Puissance" P35 is known in English as the Browning Hi Power. It was the best pistol of the war, and possible the best pistol ever made - they still make them. All of the commonwealth countries used them and after the Germans took Belgium, they forced FN to make them for the Wehrmacht. Most of those pistols went to the Waffen SS, so there's a pretty good chance that the officer he took it from was SS.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You won't...and neither will you see any of the above MOSs(604, 605, 651, 653, 745, 746, 812, and 864) listed either, because their was no MOS limitation on the CIB during World War II.

    The MOS requirement did not come into effect until AR 672-5-1 issued during May, 1961.
     
  14. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    That is really interesting. I had researched the gun, and also deduced from the serial number that it was issued fairly late in the war... but I had no idea they were standard issue for the Waffen SS. Thanks for the info.
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browning_Hi-Power#Military_service

    The Waffen SS had first choice on any and all firearms and they liked the Browning, so they got it. It's more reliable than the P38 or Luger and holds more rounds in the magazine. I have three of them, though none are WWII era.

    Interestingly, after the war a lot of those German marked P35's ended up in Israel. A few years ago, a lot of those surplus Israeli guns ended up in the US and some of them were marked with various swastika/waffenamt's on one side and the Israeli Star of David on the other.
     
  16. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    Very interesting. Something I also thought was interesting, I read that FN workers intentionally sabotaged quite a few of the GP35s made for the Germans.
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I think most of that is... just not true. There is a truism that everybody was in the resistance after the war. If you worked for FN (or anywhere in occupied Europe) during the war, if was a face-saving device to later claim you sabotaged production. I'm a Browning Hi Power geek, so I read everything I can on the subject and nobody has ever turned up a reference on an actual sabotaged Hi Power. Those people were watched by German inspectors and each part was examined before assembly. There's only a couple of parts that could make a pistol dangerous to the user - the locking lugs, and perhaps the barrel chamber itself. Those parts would have been looked at with extra scrutiny.

    With any gun of that age, and especially with late war production shortcuts, it's necessary to have it looked at by a qualified gunsmith before shooting it.
     
  18. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

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    Ha, I guess I shouldn't believe everything I read. Thanks for clearing that up.

    When my father had posession of the gun, he actually took it shooting about twenty to twenty-five years ago. He knew a police detective who looked at the gun and checked it over, and gave him a few lessons. Prior to that, we're not even sure my grandfather even looked at it again once he got home.

    I will say that now that I have it, it will never be shot again, at least not while I'm alive. My grandchildren will eventually have it and they will learn about what I'm currently discovering about their great-great-grandfather's time in WW2.
     
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  19. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    There is a product called Eezox that is perfect for preserving old guns. Disassemble and clean it thoroughly then apply the Eezox. Eezox doesn't leave any goop to collect dirt, just coats it with an invisible wax - re-apply after handling. Don't store it in the leather holster (if you have it). Instead, just wrap it in cotton - an old tee shirt or similar material.
     
  20. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    That's exactly why we try to help folks with researching their family's WWII history, and what we hope they will do with the history they discover.

    May the service and sacrifice of our veterans never be forgotten.
     
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