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Military History/Can you help me find out about my grandfather?


QUESTION: Hello and first thank you for reading this. I am trying to research my grandfather. I don't have a copy of his discharge papers. I do have one of his dog tags. His name was John William Caldwell. He was born April 4, 1911 in Chambersburg, PA. His social security number was 175-03-1813. I believe he was drafted in 1938 and discharged in 1946. His number on the dog tag is 35881916. T44 follows. I think this has something to do with his tetnis shot. Blood type 0 and religion P. I would very much like to know what he did in the Army and where he fought. He passed away when I was very young and my dad says he didn't like to talk about it. I am proud of my grandfather for what he did to serve his country. Can you help me to find out about his military service? I would be so very grateful. Thank you so very much.

ANSWER: Dear Ms.,
       Thank you for your question.  Respectfully, I strongly suggest never to type someone's SSN in an e-mail.  E-mails is an UNSECURED form of communication.  Even if your grandfather is deceased, a SSN should not be floating around on the information super highway.
       You indicate that you do NOT have a copy of your grandfather's Discharge Documents.  Therefore, I must assume that you have exhausted all sources, Funeral Home that handled your grandfather's arrangements & the Court House of the County your grandfather resided in after WW 2.
       The US Army was Drafting no one in 1938, the Draft would come about in 1940.  Your grandfather's Serial Number indicates that he was a part of the Army raised by the United States to serve for the duration of the war, plus six months.
       You may wish to obtain your grandfather's Personnel File.  Here is the address you would send your letter-of-request to.

  National Personnel Records Center
   1 Archives Drive
    St. Louis   MO   63138

There was a suspicious fire in 1973 at their previous location that destroyed approx. 85% of all US Army (including US AAF) Personnel Files.  I suggest you send your letter-of-request, someone has to be in the lucky 15%!!!
       My apology for being so little help for you.  My only other suggestion is to ask YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY if anyone has your grandfather's correspondence from WW 2.  We do NOT need the letters, we NEED the envelopes.  Depending upon who sent the letter, your grandfather's unit would appear in the address or the return address.
       Good Luck with your quest.

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections  

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

QUESTION: Dear Sir, 1st thank you for your time and your help. Thanks for tip on SSN. After reading your reply I went to and got a lot of information on my grandfather. He enlisted April 6, 1944 in Fort George G. Meade MD. He was in Company G, 3rd Battalion, 334th infantry regiment, 84th infantry division. "Railsplitters" He was discharged August 11, 1945 Fort Story, VA. Wow!!! I don't understand it all and was hoping you could explain it to me. I'm very excited and you are a big help. Thanks so much!

Dear Ms.,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  I own a copy of the unit history of the 84th Infantry Division during WW 2.  Listed as assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 334th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, is Private John W. Caldwell, from Chambersburg, PA.  
       You may wish to purchase a copy of this unit history from Battery Press, located in Nashville, TN.
       Here are the FACTS as per the voyage overseas of the 334th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division:

Departure Date:   September 20, 1944
Departure Location:   New York Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship:   USAT Thomas H. Barry
Arrival Date:   October 1, 1944
Arrival Location:   Liverpool, England

       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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