Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Understanding Dad's information

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by Raymond Jr, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greetings, everyone. New guy here, so please forgive my ignorance of protocols.

    My father passed away a few weeks ago. He was 95 years old. I am trying to put together information on his WW2 service for our family. Dad never liked to talk about his time overseas so we knew very little. I do have his Discharge Document and it's raising as many questions as it answers. I hope you will bear with me:

    1. His Arm of Service is listed as CAC. Would that be Combined Arms Center or Coast Artillery Corps? I know he was in the 549th AAA Battalion, so I assume it's the latter but how was the Coast Artillery Corp involved in Europe?

    2. His Date of Induction was 15 APR 43 and his Date of Active Service was 22 APR 43. In Remarks, it says ERC SERV 15 APR 43 to 22 APR 43 and that's mixed in with the ribbons, buttons and bars he was entitled to wear. I assume ERC is Enlisted Reserve Corps. Were draftees initially put in ERC? Was the Date of Induction the date he reported or the day he was notified? If he was in ERC, was there a ribbon or other insignia I should be looking for?

    3. This is an odd one. Given the dates I mentioned, box 31 says he qualified as a RIFLE MKM 27 FEB 43. How can that be? Actually, for some reason, I thought he had said he was a Sharpshooter, but I think this says Marksman.

    4. Box 40 says AR 615-365 CONV OF GOVT R R 1-1 (DEMOBILIZATION 15 DEC 44). I understand that to mean that as a draftee, he was no longer needed and was separated at the convenience of the government. What does Demobilization 15 DEC 44 mean? He arrived in the ETO on 10 OCT 44, was in the Battle of the Bulge, and departed for the USA on 20 JAN 46. So what was demobilized on 15 DEC 44?

    5. Given those dates, he was in the ETO for a year after the Battle of the Bulge. Wouldn't that have made him part of the occupation forces, or could he have been reassigned to other duties for that year? Nothing is mentioned about occupation forces on the discharge document.

    One more:

    6. I have a picture of him in what appears to be a dress uniform with no insignia except an Advance Section, Communication Zone patch on his left shoulder. I'm assuming that when he went in, he might have been assigned to the ADSEC but sometime later was moved to the 549th AAA BN. Is that a reasonable scenario?

    I'm hoping to get an appointment to review his records at the National Archives Records Center here in St. Louis, assuming his weren't among the 80% destroyed in 1973. Hopefully, there will be something to help piece together Dad's military life. In the mean time, I thank you for any light you can shed on my research.

    Thanks,

    Ray Jr.
     
  2. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,450
    Likes Received:
    180
    Location:
    The Land of the Noble Steed
    Welcome to this forum Ray Jr. :cheers: !
     
  3. ShaneW

    ShaneW New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    9
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,210
    Likes Received:
    1,996
    Location:
    Alabama
    1. As odd as it may seem to you, Coastal Artillery commanded, trained, etc AAA battalions. So yes, it would be Coastal Artillery Command. By 1939, most of CA was AAA. I can give you explanation if you want. Just let me know.

    2.ERC was the time period spent between induction and actually reporting for training. This was not uncommon, as the men often needed to wait on a new training cycle somewhere and the Army didn't want extra mouths to feed and pay during this period.

    3.Can't answer that one but I suspect the clerk put the wrong date.

    4.Was he in the ASTP?

    5.He could have been in Europe, but not part of the Occupation Forces if he was not in Germany or Austria. It was not considered occupation duty if he was in a Allied country, such as France or Belgium.

    6. It is reasonable, but I suspect it may have been the other way around. Anti-aircraft battalions were some of the first units to be broken down, even before the war was over as to supply infantry replacements. Early in the war, when planning manpower, it was assumed that the Army would need far more AAA than it turned out to require because the USAAF and RAF established air superiority and held on to it, negating the need for huge numbers of AAA. The excess units were broken up, especially in late 1944 to supply infantry replacements for losses that had not been expected. I have a good friend who served with the 30th ID. His brother was in a AAA battalion that was broken up near war's end and his brother was placed in an MP outfit until he came home. The brother had no MP training ever, other than what he picked up OJT.
     
  5. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, Smiley.
     
  6. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Shane.

    No, Dad was in BTRY D according to his discharge document. His name was Raymond G. Weston.

    Thanks for the unit list. Every time I see something new like that, it's pretty exciting. I see that the 549th AAA Battalion was part of the 87th ID. I'd seen that somewhere else, too, so that's a good confirmation. So in terms of insignia, he would have worn the 87th's acorn, right?

    There is a Gateway Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge here in St. Louis. They came to the funeral home for Dad. I know they have a diary of their time in Europe and I need to get a copy of that if I can. I'd like to find something that puts my father in the 549th or the 87th by name. The Battle of teh Bulge group may be able to help me with that.

    Ray
     
  7. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you, JW. That's a lot of good information.

    As I understand it, there was (is) Coast Artillery and Field Artillery. When I look at the lapel disks for the two, the Coast Artillery disk looks familiar even though I haven't seen his insignia and medals in decades.

    So induction date is the date he first reported for duty but wasn't actually "in the Army" yet. Counting his continental service time, it looks like it started on the earlier induction date, though. As I look at these dates now, I see that he was in the States for almost a year and a half before he departed for the ETO on 28 SEP 44.

    If he was in any sort of specialized training, I don't know, yet.

    I'm not sure where he or his unit went after Belgium. That might be answered by that Battle of the Bulge diary.

    I've requested an appointment to see and copy his OMPF. I hope that will say where he was when and in what capacity. Please pray that his wasn't among the 80% destroyed in the fire.

    Ray
     
  8. Natman

    Natman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    211
    Location:
    Western Colorado
    Welcome to the forum, Ray. You can download all, or parts, of the 87th's history at this link: http://www.87thinfantrydivision.com/History/HistoryBook/index.html

    I would recommend the three regimental histories. Group personnel photos and names, along with awards, etc. are listed at the end of each section. If you think there's a possibility your father was actually a member of the 87th, you can check the rosters.

    You probably already know the 549th was attached to the 87th from Dec 24, 44, through May 9, 45. The above histories will give you a fair picture of where your father may have been and what actions were taking place.

    Steve
     
  9. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, Natman. Download in progress. No, I didn't know the dates but I had read that the 549th was part of the 87th ID. I need to check with my brother, but Dad had a large group photo and I'm pretty sure he found himself in the picture but I'm not sure where that picture ended up.
     
  10. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2000
    Messages:
    9,347
    Likes Received:
    1,535
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Welcome Ray, glad your account got sorted.

    Enjoying watching this thread unfold.
     
  11. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Otto. Thanks! I had to trick the system by changing my email address back and forth and that got me the validation email I needed. All is good now.
     
  12. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Where to turn next?

    I received a very quick response (1 day turn around) from the NPRC but the news isn't good. All they have from my father's records is a final pay voucher. I guess that's better than nothing but it probably won't help me much. I was hoping to establish which units he was in when and unit rosters and morning reports might help there. But even though I find the 549th AAA Battalion in Shane's Unit Organization list as being part of the 87th Infantry Division, I didn't find any mention of any AAA units in the 87th history book Natman linked to. So I know that Dad was in the 549th AAA Battalion at some point and that he was in the 87th Infantry Division at some point. The NPRC reportedly has morning reports and unit rosters. And they're an hour away from me. Is it reasonable to try to review all such records for those units for the 16 months Dad was overseas? I don't know how the information is organized or presented. Is it a one-day project or something that could take weeks to complete? I assume I'd be better off reviewing the 549th Battalion information before the 87th ID records. Thoughts? Anyone have experience with these reports and rosters?
     
  13. Natman

    Natman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    211
    Location:
    Western Colorado
    If you open the "Introduction and Division HQ" section in the 87th history link, the 549th is listed on page 22 of the file, right column. Only other place I noticed them mentioned was inside the front and back covers of my hard copy book. It's pretty rare to find much about attached units in a divisional history.

    I would recommend you only review the morning reports for the 549th. MR's pertain to unit personnel so there wouldn't be any mention of 549th personnel in the 87th MR's. And, I've always heard the story that all WWII unit rosters for 1944-45 were "thrown out" to make more room. Maybe someone else can confirm this?

    I'm interested to hear how your visit to NPRC works out. Good luck

    Steve
     
  14. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    173
    Location:
    Washington State
    Raymond, would it be possible to post your father's separation paper?
     
  15. SirJahn

    SirJahn Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    33
    Another place to look for his military papers is the county courthouse in his county of record. GIs coming home were told to record their papers at the courthouse.

    Communicate with Geoff at Golden Arrow Research who works the St. Louis site. He could give you some tips on how things go there.
     
  16. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know why I didn't think to post this earlier.

    [​IMG]

    And here's that picture I mentioned before:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    I see that now, Steve. I was looking for a larger reference.

    I have an appointment for 2/20 at the Records Center. In the mean time, I'm going to try to contact the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge group and see what they have. My daughter has Dad's baseball cap with a few pins and a big 549th logo on the front. I assume there is a group who made those caps. They might have more details.

    Ray
     
  18. adambhoy

    adambhoy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    43
    I agree with Slipdigit in his assessment on your question #6. According to Stanton, the 549th AAA Automatic Weapons Bn arrived in England 9 Oct 44, one day before the date on your dad's discharge.

    The 549th arrived back in the NY Port of Embarkation on 7 Mar 46. Your dad seems to have arrived back in the US 29 Jan 46.

    Given those facts it sounds like he was in the 549th first and then transferred to ADSEC afterwards.

     
  19. Raymond Jr

    Raymond Jr New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    That may make next week's search a bit easier. I should find that he left the 549th at some point, Would the ADSEC guys have been involved in the campaigns? His discharge paper credits him with the Central Europe campaign. Would that mean that he was still in the 549th at least at the start of that campaign or might he have already moved to ADSEC and still have been credited with participation in Central Europe?

    Do the dates you mention make sense in terms of arrival in England? Could the 549th have arrived one day before my father and he would already be part of that unit? Where did you find those dates? is there a chronology of the 549th somewhere?

    The other thing that's unusual from what I've been reading is that the discharge document shows a unit that he was no longer part of at the time of his discharge.

    Assuming rosters are still available and weren't "thrown out", how often were they updated?

    I am truly grateful to you guys for all of these details. This has been a very educational last few days.

    Ray
     
  20. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    173
    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks for posting the separation paper Ray.

    the entry in box #40 is the same on all Form WDO 53-55 at the end of the war. Dec 15, 1944 is the date the War Department authorized the demobilization of the armies. This was the generic reason for separation. The war in Europe was over and Japan had surrendered so it was time to reduce the forces.

    As Jeff posted, the date of Feb 27, 1943 in box #31 is a typo as he wasn't on active duty until April 22, 43 He would have qualified near the end of basic--sometime in June of 43. He did stay in the states for nearly a year and a half. As Adambhoy posted, "According to Stanton, the 549th AAA Automatic Weapons Bn arrived in England 9 Oct 44," This is the same date as your father so he went over with the 549th. He was probably guarding the coast until they realized that wasn't necessary and they were in need of a lot of guys to hold the broad front on the German border late in 44, and a lot more after the Bulge in January 45 so he was shipped over.

    The patch is Headquarters, European Theater of Operations,Com Z (Communication Zone) They were the supply element of the command. This patch was approved on March 21st, 1944. He didn't leave Europe until 20 Jan 1946 so he must have been on occupation duty serving in Com Z unit after March 21st, 44. They wouldn't need any AAA guys after May, 44 when Germany surrendered.

    His ASR score was 56, so he would have been a "low point man". The high point guys (85 and over) was slated to go home and they needed personnel to finish up, packing up, administration stuff etc. I'm puzzled by the lack of brass in his picture-he has no crest (DUI) or branch disc on his lapels.

    Nice picture and a fine looking fellow. I'm guessing here, but think he fought with the 549 AAA Bn and was transferred for occupation duty. He must have told the guy making out the papers to have his combat unit put in box #6.

    You should ask the Archives for a set of his medals. Even though the records were burned they use different sources to figure what he has coming.
    You shouldn't give up on his records. There's some good suggestions on this link
    Requesting Copies of Military Personnel Records

    Always open to correction, but that's my read. Dave
     

Share This Page