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New Recruit WWII Questions?

Discussion in '☆☆ New Recruits ☆☆' started by Neil N Duty, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Neil N Duty

    Neil N Duty New Member

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    Good morning,

    As a recently retired, former Veteran, I had hoped to be able to learn more about my Fathers service in WWII and Korea. As was his generations method, he spoke little of his story to his children and died in 1973. Besides some oral family history, a few stories I remember from childhood I have almost nothing to go on. I was always told he fought from North Africa to Berlin in WWII and 1951-53 in Korea and was at Chosin Resevior. He told stories of having to break frozen corpses to get them on to stretchers in the battle aftermath cleanup.

    I sent for a copy of his Military record and of course it was burned in the St Louis fire of 1973. Recently I did find a file in my Mothers stuff and in it were both of his DD214's. These documents paints quite the story. Under Battle and Campaigns it states Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Central-Europe. And under citations it has Good Conduct Medal SO 72 HQ 10th Eng, American Defense Service medal, European, African, Eastern Service Ribbon with Bronze-Arrowhead, Distinguished Unit Badge GO 76 HQ 5th Army, Oak Leaf Cluster to Distinguished. Under remarks: (33) Unit Badge GO 44 6 June45 Croixde Guerre With Orders of the Day 1st French Army 20 Feb 45.

    He then went to Japan for June-Aug 1945. Discharge Aug 18 1945.

    So I was always told that he was with Patton from N Africa to Berlin. I have many questions which I doubt will ever be answered, mainly, somewhat humoursley, How could someone have a Battle career as outlined above and be discharged as PFC-3 in Aug 45? At other times I heard he was the second most decorated soldier behind Audie Murphy in France and that he was in Audie Murphys unit and that he was one of only 6 original soldiers of that unit that came out of WWII unscathed. He did tell stories of being at the Battle of the Bulge and at Malmedy the day after the massacre was discovered and that no SS officers survived for months after that, who were captured, all shot while trying to escape.

    His Korean DD214 reads: Korean Service Medal W/2 Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, P 5 SO 34 HQ 23rd Infantry. Rank at discharge SFC (T). He also once told me he was offered a Battlefield Promotion to Officer after Chosin, but turned it down. Why?

    Any interpretations of the above information would be greatly appreciated to garner some insights into my Father, as I was 17 when he was killed in an auto accident and had not been super close as was the way with most rebellious teens in Ca. in the early 70's.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    It's been my experience that some people are more warrior than officer pleaser.
     
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  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Welcome aboard. You might want to consider posting the DD214s. Some of the people here are very good at finding info like this and those papers are as you obviously know very useful in tracking things. I expect the experts will be along shortly to help.

    PLS consider sharing any additional stories or info you find. Quite a few people on this board are interested in the war from the individuals point of view.
     
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  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Wow. Quite an introduction. Your father was in some action. I'll echo lwd. If you can post any documents you might have (DD214, etc) it will help the experts here to suss out details of his service. That darned fire really makes things difficult, but imagine the thrill of finding out things you didn't know before.
     
  5. Neil N Duty

    Neil N Duty New Member

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    Thank you both, I will scan and figure how to attach them to this thread later this afternoon.

    Appreciate the shout out from both of you!

    He did have one story he told more than most that was rather comical. A few months before the battle of the Bulge he was behind German lines (In France) with a small patrol and they ambushed a German halftrack and killed the crew. When they looked in the back it was filled with cases of French Francs Notes over-stamped with Republic of Deutchland, most likely a Nazi payroll. He said that the allies a few weeks earlier had said any monies found over-stamped like this were worthless. So they drove through the countryside throwing millions of Franc notes to all the civilians they would see. For fun he put a 5, 10, 50, and 100 franc note in his wallet and forgot about them. He got a 3 day leave after the Battle of the Bulge and he an his buddies went to a French tavern and were drinking and he ran out of american money, so he decided to give it a try.
    So he passed a 5, no problem, the 10, then the 50, so finally he showed the bartender the 100, and the Bartender told him that the Allied command shortly after stating that the over-stamped bills were not good and that in order to not wreck the local economy had reversed itself and made them good again! He always laughed at throwing away millions of dollars away!
    Thanks

    Neil
     
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  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Almost certainly 10th Engineer Combat Battalion, 3d ID. So, yes he served in the same division with Audie Murphy, but not in the same unit. Nor did he serve with Patton throughout the war...the 3d ID association with Patton ended at the end of August 1943. The 3d ID ended up at Salzburg and not Berlin, but close enough. I also don't see how he could have participated in the Battle of the Bulge or witnessed the aftermath of the Malmedy Massacre, since the 3d ID was in Alsace at the time. More likely he recalled episodes from NORDWIND, which was something of a mini-Battle of the Bulge for the Seventh U.S. Army.

    I'm a bit surprised his DD-214 did not include an Arrowhead device? Somehow he must have missed out on the assault phases of TORCH, HUSKY, AVALANCHE, SHINGLE, and DRAGOON, which is quite an accomplishment. It may have had something to do with his rank at the end of the war too. :D I'm also surprised that he was scheduled for transfer to the Pacific, which is what I suspect the "went to Japan" references. After close to three years of overseas service he was probably fairly high in points, but I suspect again the same reason he was only a PFC at the end of the war also affected that.

    All in all I suspect he was a true warrior, but possibly an indifferent soldier, at least insofar as toeing the line and following the rules went. :D

    I look forward to finding out more about him from you.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I should have said his Korean War service looks to be with the 2d ID, 23d Infantry, so not Chosin, but Chipyong-Ni, the Gantlet, and Heartbreak Ridge were all probably things he saw.
     
  8. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    >SO 72 HQ 10th Eng<
    This makes me wonder if he was in the 3rd Infantry Division. The 10th Engineer Combat Bn was a constituent part of the 3rd ID. This would fit nicely with the campaigns he participated in and would make the reference Audie Murphy more likely, as he was 3rd ID also.

    Do you have any patches like the below image or any photographs showing the patch in his left shoulder or possibly the side of his helmet?
    upload_2018-10-31_18-9-51.png

    Do you have any photos of him in uniform at all? Do you have any photos of him in a Class A uniform that would show the lower lapels of his service jacket?
     
  9. Neil N Duty

    Neil N Duty New Member

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    Afternoon, DD214.jpeg DD214 1.jpeg DD214 2.jpeg

    I have been an avid WWII buff myself for years an may have confused a few facts with the few stories he told me, he did clearly claim to be at the Battle of the Bulge at several times, but your explanation may be more correct and he may have appropriated the use of the BotB reference for where he fought in the same time frame. I do have a vague memory of him mentioning Alsace. I have included his DD-214's this time as attachments. His WWII one does mention an Arrowhead...What is that? Some of the exploits may have been exaggerated by his Brothers and Sisters to us kids in later life. I also would believe that he may have been a Soldier with some issues with authority. He also was a collector of Paperback stories on WWII and later I got some of them and he would write notes on the edges of them critiquing the authors, with stuff like "BS didn't happen like that, Was near there then, Mostly a lot of BS comments." Interestingly the notes weren't for anybody, so unless he was deluding himself, I did tend to believe most of them. I can't remember 100%, but I am pretty sure he was at the discovery of at least one Concentration camp, or shortly after, he did say that. And I remember comments in the books about like when German civilians would say they didn't know what happened at the camps, he would put BS BS BS!!!
    He went on to become a Hollywood attorney for a few years and then for the State of California. He was always a gruff opinionated Father, and he would provide a running commentary on any Hollywood WWII movie. I remember he took the family to see D-Day and even though he wasn't there, he still had constant BS, didn't happen like that comments! And he took the family to see the Mash movie he Ranted for a week and was upset and angry at the depiction of US Army in Korea.
     
  10. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    First, welcome aboard.

    Second, I doubt the reference to his being at the Chosin Reservoir, probably a misunderstanding, two reasons.
    1.) You list dates of service as 1951-1953, the Reservoir Campaign took place from 27 November to 13 December 1950. 2.) You list the 23d Infantry as his unit from his DD-214. The 23d Infantry wasn't one of the US Army units involved even peripherally. The 23d Infantry was involved in some historic actions though, the battle of Chipyong-ni, 13-15 February 1951 and the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge 13 September-15 October, 1951. I know when I was in the Army you saw the DA poster of the battle in buildings everywhere.

    [​IMG]

    DA poster of Battle of Chipyong-ni

    The incidents you remember him relating were most likely accurate, just associated with the wrong fight. It was the same winter, just several months later. They were surrounded by the Chinese PLA and were initially ordered to withdraw, but Ridgeway wasn't Walker (Ridgeway actually had a pair) and they stood and made a heroic stand.
     
  11. Neil N Duty

    Neil N Duty New Member

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    Thank You all, In learning stuff already!!!! And actually looking at his Korean service dates I was wrong he went back in in 1949. And not just for some gallant reason to protect his country, my Mom always said his first wife he married right after WWII, ran up Thousands of dollars in Credit Card debt and he saw no better option to get that paid off then War pay and to help finance his schooling for his Law degree. And to bet on there being a war (Although it was obvious somewhere in Indochina the US would be in a war by 1949), to go back to war would take some balls!
    Neil
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    If he was 3rd ID, he came home before the division did, which came home a full year later.

    Makes me think he came home with another unit, but made the clerk put the correct unit on his 53-55

    Does anyone know if the 3rd ID swapped high point soldiers with another division, and if so, whick?
     
  13. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    He was Regular Army, enlisting before the draft of 1940 was enacted and before the Guard was federalized. With an ASR of 125 he was going home ASAP and may have been assigned to almost any unit for his return. The Bronze Arrowhead device denoted that he participated in at least one assault landing, but not as many as five, which would have been Silver. I suspect he was either a replacement or was part of the division residuals left in Newport News until later in the North African Campaign. Quite a career, but he pissed somebody off for sure. :D
     
  15. Neil N Duty

    Neil N Duty New Member

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    Evening,

    Was the ASR the points you mentioned for being in the War Theatre?

    Neil
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Here is how the ASR was determined
    Initial Scoring
    An active soldier earned one point for each month of service, whether domestic or overseas. Earning combat awards such as a battle star or medal provided an additional five points. Dependent children under 18 added another 12 points to the parent's total. Service time for the purpose of ASR scoring started on Sept. 16, 1940.
     
  17. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Welcome to the forums!
     
  18. friday

    friday New Member

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    welcome , interesting reading
     
  19. Swervin11b

    Swervin11b New Member

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    I know a bit about his home county. McDowell County WV was pretty deep in the coalfields. The mountains in Korea were a little bigger than in southern WV, but they were as steep.

    I’ve seen quite a few guys who had quite a fruit salad but a very low rank. Pretty simple explanation is that they got busted down at some point. Plenty of ways for that to happen. Good combat soldiers don’t necessarily make great garrison soldiers.

    Thanks for sharing this stuff.
     
  20. RRA227

    RRA227 Member Patron  

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    Welcome to the forum. Rich A. in Pa.
     

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