Military History/Unknown WW 2 Unit and Combat Infantryman Badge
QUESTION: Mr. Horrell:
First of all, I just wanted to say how excited I was to find your question and answer column. So thank you in advance for the time you're taking on this.
I'm a bit stumped trying to track my grandfather's military history in the Pacific Theater. I've been able to obtain his A-305-36 Discharge Paperwork, as well as his final pay voucher. However, his complete personnel file (like so many veterans) was destroyed in '73. And while he's still alive at 89, his memory really isn't very reliable. So direct questions often don't get me very far.
Here are the details from his discharge paperwork:
Grade: SGT, Service: INF, Component: AUS, Organization: HQ CO 2ND BN 106TH INF REGT, Date of Separation: 10 JAN 46, Place of Separation: UNIT A SEP CTR 45 IGMR PA, Date of Induction: 26 MAY 43, Date of Entry into Active Duty: 9 JUN 43, Place of Entry into Service: NEW CUMBERLAND PA, Military Occupational Specialty: MSG CENTER CHIEF 667, Battles and Campaigns: GO 33 40 WD 45 NEW GUINEA BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES RYUKYUS, Decorations and Citations: GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL PHILIPPINE LIBERATION RIBBON WITH 1 BRONZE STAR ASIATIC PACIFIC CAMPAIGN MEDAL WITH 4 BRONZE STARS WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL, Date of Departure from CONUS: 10 DEC 43, Arrived N CALEDONIA 24 DEC 43, Return to CONUS: 8 DEC 45, Arrive CONUS: 22 DEC 45, LAPEL BUTTON ISSUED, ASR SCORE (2 SEP 45) 68, INACTIVE SERVICE ERC FROM 26 MAY 43 to 8 JUN 43.
His final pay voucher states that was "aptd Sgt. (for?) T/5 dtd 7 NOV 45". Previous organization was 4 Persl Dep APO 703.
Additional details he told our family include:
- He crossed the equator on 19 December 1943 in the USS General John Pope bound for New Caledonia.
- He handwrote the locations he had been for the family. The complete list (I assume in chronologic order) were Guadalcanal, Bougainville; New Guinea; Finschhafen and Hollandia; Admiralties; Biak, Noemfoor, and Morotai, Philippines, Saipan, Okinawa, I.E. Shima, and Japan (Hunshu Island).
- He described his work as being in communications. These included climbing the palm trees to turn them into telephone polls, "setting up the communications after the first waves went in", setting up radio communications between the islands, and working with the Air Force and their planes on combat missions.
- He was in Japan for a good amount of time during the Occupation (and has many photos).
I've done some initial research, but this list of locations, campaigns, and job descriptions doesn't seem to conform to any one unit and I'm at a loss at where to start digging into operational reports, etc. And it definitely doesn't match the 106th, where he was discharged from. My main questions are as follows:
1. Was it common to be transferred at some point without being wounded? What would be your best guess in terms of his actual combat unit (if applicable)?
2. I know you're a specialist in terms of obscure units - might you have any more insight into his job duties?
3. His discharge paperwork lists four decorations, but he had a Combat Infantryman Badge too (I have it sitting right here). Is it possible for him to have gotten it and it not be listed? If so, is there another source where proof of the citation might be found? I'm primarily interested because of the possibility of getting him a BSM.
4. Is there likewise a source for confirming his time in Japan? - I'd like to apply for the Army of Occupation Medal as well.
Those are my main questions - most important are making sense of the CIB and trying to find out his unit so I have a jumping off point to dig deeper on the research. But of course, surprises are great as well. And I'd welcome any other suggestions pertaining to medals, ribbons, decorations he'd be entitled to.
Thanks so much in advance for your help.
ANSWER: Dear Sir,
Thank you for your lengthy & involved question. In it you typed "I've been able to obtain his A-305-36 Discharge Paperwork". I am only familiar with the WD AGO FORM 53-55, dated November 1, 1944. Would you be so kind as to photocopy "A-305-36" then send the photocopies to me via First Class USPS.
In your question you typed "Military Occupational Specialty: MSG CENTER CHIEF 667". Actually, MOS 667 is a Message Center Clerk.
In your question you typed "His final pay voucher.......APO 703." APO 703 was located in Tokyo, Japan in November 1945.
In your question you typed "He described his work as being in communications." That would be consistent with MOS 667.
In your question you typed "Was it common to be transferred at some point without being wounded?" Is this related to your grandfather? If so, you have so far provided nothing to indicate your grandfather was ever "transferred". Please expound further.
In your question you typed "What would be your best guess in terms of his actual combat unit (if applicable)?" Respectfully, I do not "guess". Since your grandfather was a MOS 667, he would have been in the ASF (Army Service Forces) the logistical portion of the US Army, NOT the AGF (Army Ground Forces) the combat portion of the US Army.
In your question you typed "might you have any more insight into his job duties?"
MESSAGE CENTER CLERK (667)
"Receives & logs incoming & outgoing messages, communications, & publications in a message center & distributes them in accordance with prescribed procedures.
Records time on incoming & outgoing communications, messages & publications, & distributes incoming messages according to a distribution code. Maintains a log indicating date & time of receipt, means of transmission & time of delivery of messages. Encodes & decodes messages in accordance with standard operating procedures.
Must have a general knowledge of the methods of operation of signal communication agencies, must have a thorough knowledge of the staff organization of his unit, & a general knowledge of the organization of other units with which signal communication is maintained.
May act as a messenger. May drive a light truck. Knowledge of typing is desirable.
At supervisory level, is responsible for control & coordination of message center operations & personnel."
In your question you typed "Is it possible for him to have gotten it and it is not listed?" Not likely. Your grandfather, from what you have provided me, was MOS 667, not a member of the Infantry. Infantrymen were awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, hence the name.
As to further determining the unit your grandfather was assigned to prior to his re-assignment to the 106th Infantry Regiment after V-J Day, for his return to the USA, have you any of your grandfather's wartime correspondence? If so, depending upon who sent the letter, the unit appears in the address or return address on the envelope.
Departure Date: December 10, 1943
Departure Location: San Francisco Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship: USS General John Pope AP-110
Arrival Date: December 23, 1943
Arrival Location: Noumea, New Caledonia
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Departure Date: December 8, 1945
Departure Location: Okinawa
Troop Ship: USS Missoula APA-211
Arrival Date: December 21, 1945
Arrival Location: Tacoma, Washington Port of Embarkation
Good Luck with your quest.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections
2011 Richard Jones Road
Apt E 26
Nashville TN 37215
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Mr. Horrell,
Thank you so much for your prompt and helpful response. I'd be happy to send a copy of his paperwork, but perhaps I simply read the wrong number to you. Although it says A-305-36 on the top left, the document is the WD AGO FORM 53-55 you described.
Your mention of the ASF, however, got me looking into the Signal Corps. And it looks like that's probably where he spent his time.
As a follow-up, I'm curious on how the Signal Corps operated in the Pacific when it came to the type of work he described. Specifically, the establishment of the more solid communication lines between the islands, and the coordination with the AAF. Were there Signal Corps units operating independently of the combat forces and under the Pacific Command in order to establish the line of bases during the island hopping campaigns? Were there any particular units of this type that you know of?
Or did this kind of work tend to be done by signal units embedded with the combat force divisions?
I appreciate the help, because it seems that most of the available research is on the ground forces and not on the logistical side of things.
Thank you for your follow-up. In it you typed "Were there Signal Corps units operating independently of the combat forces"? Yes.
In your follow-up you typed "Were there any particular units of this type that you know of?" Yes.
Signal Radio Intelligence Company
Signal Pigeon Company
Signal Service Company
Signal Depot Company
Signal Radio Intelligence Company
Signal Photographic Company
Signal Repair Company
Signal Operations Company
Signal Construction Company
Signal Aircraft Warning Company
Signal Port Service Company
Signal Base Depot Company
Signal Installation Company
Signal Wire Operation Company
Signal Motor Messenger Company
Signal Base Maintenance Company
In your follow-up you typed "Or did this kind of work tend to be done by signal units embedded with the combat force division?" I do not know what the word "embedded" means in this context, so I am going to assume (something I LOATHE to do) it means assigned/attached to a division. No.
In your follow-up you typed "I appreciate the help because it seems that most of the available research is on the ground forces and not on the logistical side of things." Are you familiar with the "Army Green Series (named for the colour of the book cover)? It is the OFFICIAL history of the US Army (AGF & ASF) during WW 2. Logistical topics:
Signal Corps 3 Volumes
Logistical Support 2 Volumes
Ordnance Corps 4 Volumes
Medical Corps 3 Volumes
Transportation Corps 3 Volumes
QM Corps 4 Volumes
Corps of Engineers 4 Volumes
Good Luck with your quest.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections