Skip to comments.Vanity - How do you find the WWII service record of a deceased relative?
Posted on 08/13/2013 8:22:42 AM PDT by Slump Tester
My mother's brother recently passed away. I know he saw a lot of combat in Europe and liberated several camps. Unfortunately, that's about all I know, as Uncle Stanley never talked about the war, and we weren't allowed to ask him about it.
Whenever I see a movie about the war in Europe, I always wonder if that was his unit, if he was in that battle, etc...
Is there any way to find any of this out?
This might help: http://www.archives.com/ga.aspx?_act=ancestorsearch&klp=GA13002&cam=853&KW2=Military&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&msid=Orh4fuxg|pcrid|1522238141|pkw|world%20war%20II%20military%20records|pmt|b
I have never looked at the site, but your question makes me curious, as my father, fatherIN, and motherIL all served, my mom was to young but worked for the Red Cross.
These people all did what was need to do.
Oh, sorry. It looks like you have to pay for the search.
Ping for later. Dad’s dog-tag number is seared in my memory; he used it as his license plate number for years.
Bumping for later ref too
You need a copy of his DD-214 form. I suggest you Google (or Bing or ...) something like, “Need a relative’s DD-214” and you’ll find many places that offer the service, like this one ... http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/
Do you have his service number? That will make it a lot easier.
Great reference. The same route I used for my dad’s records.
One key - I had his service number from his dog tags but they asked for his social security number as well to focus their record search.
This is a for profit site but I think you can get a free trial. I used it to look up my Dad’s WWII service record and found his discharge papers there (on the free trial)
If you go to the above site you can print out a request for the records. I got my grandfather’s records from WWI. It’s very interesting to learn that such a mellow man that I called “Grandpa” served in the Great War. It also revealed to me the awards he received, what unit he was in and what his job was (wagoneer).
The national archives does the search for free, btw
I was named after my father’s younger brother that died at during WWII.
I have no idea where though.
I even have the flag that covered his coffin when his remains were returned.
I am a VFW Post Adjutant. You can go to your local VFW Post and visit them. You will find plenty of veterans, including some still living WWII vets that will gladly help you with finding out more about your relative.
Just enter your zip code.
Another quick suggestion for you is to use the Ancestry Database and spend some time searching the military record results for a matching name. When you find a match to your relative then go to your local public library, (first check if they have a subscription to Ancestry), then go the the Ancestry Database at the library and look up the information.
Another totally free site is familysearch.org
It is very helpful to know the particulars (SSN, birth date and place, death date and place, etc.) before you begin your search.
It isn't unusual that these old World War II vets don't like to talk about their service. My father was the same way. He had nothing to be ashamed of, it is just that talking about things brought back painful memories of stuff like shipmates being blown away or picking up bodies off the Iwo Jima and Okinawa beaches.
Once in a great while, he would volunteer this information, usually when he had my brothers and I off on a fishing and camping trip or we were alone together on a long road trip.
He never would tell me why he washed out of the Naval Air Corps, after being one of the first to volunteer for that dangerous unit after Pearl Harbor. So many of that early group died at Coral Sea, Midway and those early naval battles where aircraft dominated.
Apparently there was a huge fire at the National Personal Records Center in St. Louis in 1973 that destroyed most of the records for the Army from 1912 - 1959 and Air Force for Hubbard thru Z 1947 - 1963
Good Luck but I have come to feel that some of this stuff is probably better left undiscovered. My Dad did not want to talk about it either and my Uncle only just before his death. None of it was pretty but they are both heroes in my eyes and will remain forever so. May God Rest their souls and may he protect our men and women currently in harms way that they may never have to endure the horror of another WW.
There is a good chance his records were lost in the 1973 St Louis fire. good article details what it takes to find out info about veterans from that era
...for good pointers contact a SO (Service Office) of your local America Legion,VFW...your State also has reps who can help. It will help if you have any info available..DATES,ASSIGNED UNITS,AWARDS,ASSIGNMENT LOCATIONS..
In addition to contacting the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO (archives.gov), I recommend getting a copy of “Finding Your Father’s War: A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II US Army” by Jonathan Gawne.
If you have a copy of his discharge, that is the best place to start. If you do not, check to see if he registered a copy with the county courthouse of his home county. After WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, soldiers were told to place a copy of their discharge with the local county courthouse records section so that one would be on file if they lost their original. In this era of identity theft, this is no longer recommended.
I would like more info on my worthless brother-in-law (If you know him he probably owes you money).
He got out of the Navy on a medical discharge, However, I’ve found family letters that he was scheduled for a court martial and a bad conduct discharge.
His father and a congressman managed to get him discharged with a medical discharge.
Back in the 1980s he found that if he played it right, he could get a VA pension, so since then his worthless hide has been sucking at the government tit. He has always had an aversion to WORK and has not worked since Reagan was President.
Mr/Ms Slump, some possible bad news concerning you relitives’ WW II Records: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Personnel_Records_Center_fire , good luck
Did it ever occur to you that they may not have wanted you or anyone else to know such things?
A LOT of WWII vets were EXTREMELY sensitive about their actions and their conduct. In their minds, the war died with them.
They took it to their graves.
Just a suggestion.