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Old 09-26-2007, 02:52 PM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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How can I find out in which military unit a person served (WWII)?

My dear departed father-in-law served in the Army and we know that he fought in Italy and France during WWII. That's the extent of our knowledge. While he was alive, in spite of repeated questions he never wanted to talk about his wartime experiences. I had the same problem with my uncles, one of whom I know fought on Guadacanal, and another who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Watching The War on PBS has brought this lack of knowledge back to the forefront and I'd like to be able to trace a specific unit's wartime assignments.

First, is there an easy way to find out what specific unit a person served in by providing a name? (in the case of my FIL, I also have a SSN)

Second, if I discovered the specific unit, is there an easy way to track where that unit fought in WWII?
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Old 09-26-2007, 03:27 PM
CateAyo CateAyo is offline
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This site has an application that can be mailed in to retrieve military records.

http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/

I've used it to access my father's and grandfather's.

Hawk
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:31 PM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Thanks for the link CateAyo. (PS -- I've responded to your PM.)

Assuming then I'll get the military unit, anyone know if I'll be able to figure out where that unit fought in WWII?

Last edited by Algernon; 09-26-2007 at 04:32 PM..
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:36 PM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algernon
Thanks for the link CateAyo. (PS -- I've responded to your PM.)

Assuming then I'll get the military unit, anyone know if I'll be able to figure out where that unit fought in WWII?
Once you get his unit info. you can do some searches. There are many unit histories and personal web sites, from WWII, Korea, VN, etc.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:52 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is online now
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All that info is recorded on a military DD-214 form for each person. But that is considered private info, and is not normally available to people. Can you find a copy of his DD-214 form in any records he kept? (Servicemen are supposed to keep their copy of their DD-214, especially if they ever get VA benefits.)

Since he's dead, you may have more luck getting this info from the archives. You may still have to have whomever was the legal administrator of his estate be the one to request it, though.

One other possibility, that may be faster than the St. Louis archives: returning servicemen are often instructed to file a copy of their DD-214 with their local County (Clerk of Court or County Recorder, usually). So if they were told to do that after WWII, and if your father-in-law did so, and if the County can still find that info (probably they can), you might be able to get a copy from them faster.
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:25 PM
missbunny missbunny is offline
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You can get his record now that he's dead. That link that CateAyo gave is the place. If he were still alive, it's not allowed. This thread is actually a good reminder for me because I've been meaning to get my father's for a while.

Actually there are quite a few service records on line through NARA but perhaps not as specific as you need. I was able to find various info about my father's WW2 army service and I think Korea also, but not for Vietnam.

Be advised that there was a huge fire some years back in which tens of thousands of records were permanently destroyed. If your father's was in there, you can probably still get a regenerated copy of his DD214 but not the whole record.
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Old 09-27-2007, 08:37 AM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Thanks everyone for your advice. It is very helpful.

My wife was executor of her father's estate so we laboriously went through all his papers when he died. No military records were found. She's "next of kin" though, so we'll use the military archives (per the link above), and hope his records weren't destroyed in the fire.

Since I'm not "next of kin" for my deceased uncles, I'm going to have to find someone in the family to help me out.

And that's just the start. With the military unit information, then I guess I'll have to start searching.


As an aside, it seems like it should be easier than all this, but I suppose it's just because I'm so spoiled with all the information that is available online. Geneology research is really difficult, with tons of dead-ends.
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