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Military History/Anthony A. Hayla, my father


QUESTION: I have a copy of my father's record of deposit stating he was in the 901 Ordnance HAM Company. The first deposit was on 2September 1944, APO 782. 3 October 1944 APO was 667, then the following 9 deposits were APO 772, ending 4 September 1945. Is it possible to figure out where he was from the APO? All his other documents were lost in the fire at the Archives in St. Louis, including his discharge papers.

ANSWER: Dear Ms.,
       Thank you for your question.  The 901st Ordnance (Heavy) Automotive Maintenance Company participated in the:

Rome-Arno   January 22-September 9, 1944
Rhineland   September 15, 1944-March 21, 1945

Campaigns while in the E.T.O. during WW 2.  The 901st was also awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for the period October 15, 1944-January 15, 1945.  General Order #197, H.Q. Theater Service Forces, European Theater, awarded August 14, 1945.
       As to the APO you typed about, APO 782 was located at Naples, Italy, September 21, 1943-February 1, 1945.  APO 667 was located at Marseilles, France, September 7-November 11, 1944.  APO 772, the last location I have FACTS about is that it began operations on October 6, 1944 at Marseilles, France & continued past V-E Day.  Since you have a document that indicates September 4, 1945, seems accurate to me.
       In your question you typed "All his other documents were lost in the fire at the Archives in St. Louis, including his discharge papers."  I am familiar with the infamous July 1973 fire at the Military Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Avenue, which destroyed approx. 85% of all US Army (including US AAF) Personnel Files from WW 2.  So yes, when your father's personnel file was destroyed, one copy of his Discharge Documents was destroyed.  HOWEVER, there were other copies!
       When your father was discharged from the US Army, he was provided with 6-10 copies of his Discharge Documents.  Once copy was to be with the Veteran's personal papers for when he would pass away (sorry to be morbid).  This was so the Veteran's family could provide a copy of the Discharge Documents to the Funeral Home that would handle the Veteran's arrangement.  The Funeral Home would also provide a photocopy to the VA, so as to offset the cost of the Veteran's Funeral & interment.  Check with the Funeral Home that handled your father's arrangements.
       It was suggested to the Veteran's that they take another copy of their Discharge Documents & register it at the Court House of the County that they resided in after WW 2.  IF your father did so, you, I or anyone else may go to the Court House of the County that your father resided in after WW 2 & obtain a photocopy of your father's Discharge Documents.  Discharge Documents are in the Public Domain, so anyone may obtain anyone else Discharge Documents from the Court House.  Check with the Court House of the County your father resided in after WW 2.
       Good Luck with your quest.

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections

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

QUESTION: How do I go about getting the Meritorious Unit Commendation to display with my father's flag and photograph? Thank you again for helping me round out my father's military service.

Dear Ms.,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  During WW 2, the Meritorious Unit Commendation was worn on the lower sleeve of the Class A Jacket, Class B Shirt, or Class C Khaki Uniform Shirt.  The cloth sleeve badge was approx. 1 7/8 inches square, O.D. for the Class A & Class B Uniform, Khaki for the Class C Uniform.  In the square piece of cloth there was embroidered upon it a gold wreath, with a slight space at the top.
       Some may tell you the Meritorious Unit Commendation was a red ribbon, with a gold frame arourd the ribbon.  That is correct, AFTER 1961!  
       As to where to purchase a Meritorious Unit Commendation cloth sleeve badge, you may wish to visit a local Militaria Show or Gun Show.  Also, search for WW 2 Re-enactment Units in your area & ask them if they know of a source.  BEWARE, many WW 2 era insignia are now being reproduced (copied).  That is wonderful, just make sure that you do NOT pay the $$$ for an original Meritorious Unit Commendation, & then receive a reproduction.  Let the buyer beware.
       Also, you may wish to search the information super highway to see what is available in cyber-space.  There are reputable dealers of US Army Cloth Insignia from WW 2, you just have to find them.
       Good Luck with your quest.

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections  

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Richard V. Horrell


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.


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.

AASLH, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society

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

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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