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Military History/Invasion and occupation of Japan

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QUESTION: Hello Mr. Horrell,

I am trying to verify information regarding my fathers World War II services.  He was drafted into the Army right out of high school, July 15, 1943 and his Separation papers says he was not in any battles and campaigns (Line 32). He was in BTRY A 578 AAA AW BN, a grade Tech 4, in the CAC, an Electrician 078. He told us that he was building roads in the Philippines when his company received orders to ship out.  While they were in transit, the orders changed.  The original orders were read and they were to land in Japan and build bridges for the Marines.  The orders changed because the atomic bomb was dropped and they were now going to be part of the occupation force. I would like to know if this is correct? Because I do not know what army he was attached to, I cannot confirm if he was in the invasion force. And if it is true, there was a high rate of casualties expected with landing on Japan and may not have survived.

I have several pictures of him in training at Camp Raco, and Fort Bliss; of the ruins in Manilla; pictures the streets of Lupao, Luzon, and Lipa, Batangas.  Also pictures from LST 711, unloading LST 711 in Shiogama, Japan, and pictures of Sendai and Morioka, Japan.

He was discharged February 17, 1946 with 2 years 7 months and 3 days of service.

I appreciated your assistance.
Thank you.

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your question.  Also, THANK YOU for referring to me as "Mr. Horrell".  Good manners NEVER go out of style.
       In your question you typed "I am trying to verify information regarding my fathers World War II services."  Based upon the information provided by you, it would be my pleasure to help.
       In your question you typed "He was in BTRY A 578 AAA AW BN".  I assume this unit was listed in Box #6 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents.  IF that is the case, the 578th AAA Auto-Weapons Battalion was the unit your father was assigned to when he was discharged from the US Army, NOT the unit he was assigned to while overseas prior to V-J Day.
       The 578th AAA Auto-Weapons Battalion was activated at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, July 10, 1943.  Said unit was de-activated at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, December 1, 1944 & disbanded December 20, 1951.  The 578th AAA Auto-Weapons Battalion never went overseas during WW 2 or any other time.
       In your question you typed that your father "was building roads in the Philippines" and "built bridges for the Marines."  Based upon the content of those two phrases, I would type that your father was assigned to some sort of Engineer Unit.  Of course, that is my opinion, based upon the information you have provided.
       Since I do not have photocopies of page two, page three & page four of your father's Discharge Documents in hand to research for the unit your father was assigned to prior to V-J Day, I am unable to assist you further.  Without knowledge of the unit your father was assigned to prior to V-J Day, I do not know what unit records to obtain.  Have you any wartime correspondence of your father?  We do not need the letter, but the envelope.  Based upon who sent the letter, the unit your father was assigned to appears in the address or the return address.
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     211 Union St.   #611
      Nashville   TN   37201-1502

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Mr. Horrell,

You are correct BTRY A 578 is in box 6.  I looked at all my dads papers and did not find his unit and I do not have any envelopes.  I do have two pictures with a sign for A Company 1299 Engineer Combat Battalion taken in Morioka Japan.

I think the Eight Army was part of the occupation force, but I cannot connect them with the 1299 Engineers.

I hope this helps you to confirm my dads story.

Thanks,

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank You for your follow-up.  It is a pleasure to deal with someone who follows through.
       In your follow-up you typed "I do have two pictures.......taken in Morioka Japan."  So, let's look at the 1299th Engineer Combat Battalion.  In your original question you typed that your father's Discharge Documents indicate that he was not in any battles or campaigns, as indicated in Box #32 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents.  The 1299th Engineer Combat Battalion also participated in no battles and campaigns.  
       The 1299th Engineer Combat Battalion departed the San Francisco Port of Embarkation on June 20, 1945.  What are the first set of dates (horizontally) in Box #36 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents?  If the first date (horizontally) is June 20 or June 21, 1945, then to me that is another indicator that your father was assigned to the 1299th Engineer Combat Battalion prior to V-J Day.
       The 1299th Engineer Combat Battalion served in the Army of Occupation, Japan, November 5, 1945-May 5, 1946.  That would indicate to me that your father & the 1299th was in The Philippines, mid July to late October 1945.  Plenty of time to build roads in The Philippines.
       Once we are able to confirm to your satisfaction that your father was assigned to the 1299th Engineer Combat Battalion prior to V-J Day, then we can go forth "to confirm my dads story."  In your "dads papers" were you able to locate page three & page four of your father's Discharge Documents?
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Sincerely,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     211 Union St.   #611
      Nashville   TN   37201-1502

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Mr Horrell,

Thanks for your response.  Box #36 is June 20, 1945, PTO, and July 12 1945
on the top. I assume the bottom is his return, January 27, 1946, USA, February 8, 1946.

Regarding page three and page four, I have a page labeled "Separation Qualification Record". It does not list any unit, and list his Military Occupation Specialty in boxes 10-12 with a description in box 12.

The dates seem to match that the 1299th were in the Philippines and Japan.  The only difference is that my dad said he was in transit at the beginning of August when the atomic bomb was dropped.  I found an obituary online of a member of the 1299th stating the same facts.

Again, thanks for your information.

Answer
Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  It is indeed a pleasure to continue to assist you.
       In your follow-up you typed "January 27, 1946, USA, February 8, 1946."  I am NOT 100% sure, but in my OPINION the troop ship in question is the USS Audrain  APA-59.  Again, my OPINION, NOT 100% sure.
       In your follow-up you typed "my dad said he was in transit at the beginning of August".  Transit from the US to The Philippines?  Transit from one island in The Philippines to another island in The Philippines?  With all due respect, isn't it possible your father's recollections could have been in error?  Your father was not there to record history, but to prepare to invade the Japanese Home Islands!  His mind was on survival, not an accurate record of history.  No dis-respect toward your father's word, recollection nor reputation.
       In your follow-up you typed "I found an obituary online of a member of the 1299th stating the same fact."  Obituaries are notoriously in-accurate.  Provided by grieving relatives of the person involved in the historic event, an obituary is iffy at best for accurate research of FACTS.
       Continued success with your quest.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     211 Union St.   #611
      Nashville   TN   37201-1502

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Richard V. Horrell

Expertise

Can answer: World War Two. Specifically, the troop transport ships that took US Military Personnel overseas & returned them to the US, 1941-47. Also, unit history of US Army QM, Signal, MP, Ordnance, Medical, Transportation & Engineer units that served during WW 2. The more obscure units are my specialty. If you have the APO that a Veteran sent letters from or received letters at, I can look up the history of that APO.

Experience

A lifelong study of WW 2, including participation as a WW 2 Re-enactor, 1980-2002. Also, interviewing over 400 WW 2 Veterans about their role in WW 2.

Organizations
AASLH, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society

Publications
Over 800 Profiles that I have written for client's about their loved one's role in WW 2.

Education/Credentials
BA, History & Political Science (19th & 20th Century European History) Webster University, Webster Groves, MO.

Awards and Honors
Assisting the National Archives on numerous occasions during the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of WW 2, 1991-95.

Past/Present Clients
Respectfully, I do not disclose the names of the clients I deal with. I have a confidentially agreement with them.

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