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Military History/Father's WW 2 Return From ETO

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QUESTION: Dear sir,

I have spent two days searching the web at the Arnold Hague Convoy database, Skylighters.org troopship index and other sites trying to determine which ship my father came home on from Europe. The ships and dates just don't seem to work out. You are the recognized expert on the subject and I would be grateful for your help in this matter.

Pertinent information:
Per my father's Form 53-98 his departure from Europe was 18 Oct. 1945 and arrival was 27 Oct. I searched dates + or - five days from each for departures from Antwerp, Havre and Marseilles, and the same for arrivals in NY, Newark, and Hampton Roads. NY seems most likely because My aunt told me her husband (they lived in Newark) picked my father up at the port when his ship arrived. Newark showed no arrivals during the likely arrival period. My father's place of separation was Ft. Dix, NJ on 25 Dec. 1945.

He was in the 243rd FA Bn and the battalion members were POW camp guards in Germany before and after VE Day. Some men from one of the batteries came home the next month, November, on the Joseph Hooker, sailing out of Marseilles and arriving in NY.

The closest matches to the nominal dates given on the Form 53-98 are:
The James Parker out of Havre on 20 Oct. and arriving NY 28 Oct.
The George G Meade out of Antwerp 14 Oct. and arriving 27 Oct.
The George Washington out of Marseille 15 Oct. and arriving NY 26 Oct.

I'm hoping you have expertise or resources beyond what I have been able to access and can help me out.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Mike Semenock
Snohomish, Washington

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your question.  In it you typed "You are the recognized expert on the subject".  Thank you for your kind sentiment.  Your accolade is greatly appreciated.
       In your question you typed "his departure from Europe was 18 Oct. 1945 and arrival was 27 Oct."  Based upon these dates & this criteria ONLY, the following may be of interest to you:

Departure Date:   October 18, 1945
Departure Location:   Le Havre, France
Troop Ship:   SS Argentina
Arrival Date:   October 25, 1945
Arrival Location:   New York Port of Embarkation

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Departure Date:   October 18, 1945
Departure Location:   Le Havre, France
Troop Ship:   SS Marshall Victory
Arrival Date:   October 26, 1945
Arrival Location:   Boston Port of Embarkation

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Departure Date:   October 17, 1945
Departure Location:   Marseilles, France
Troop Ship:   SS Eufaula Victory
Arrival Date:   October 27, 1945
Arrival Location:   Hampton Roads, VA Port of Embarkation
    via the Straits of Gibraltar

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Departure Date:   October 17, 1945
Departure Location:   Marseilles, France
Troop Ship:   SS Mahanoy Victory
Arrival Date:   October 27, 1945
Arrival Location:   Hampton Roads, VA Port of Embarkation
    via the Straits of Gibraltar

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Departure Date:   __?__?__
Departure Location:   Le Havre, France
Troop Ship:   SS La Grange Victory
Arrival Date:   October 27, 1945
Arrival Location:   New York Port of Embarkation

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Departure Date:   __?__?__
Departure Location:   Le Havre, France
Troop Ship:   SS Colby Victory
Arrival Date:   October 27, 1945
Arrival Location:   Hampton Roads, VA Port of Embarkation

PLEASE NOTE:   __?__?__ simply means I have no FACT(S) to share with you.

       In your question you typed "Some men from one of.......of Marseilles and arriving NY."  Is this the voyage:

Departure Date:   November 28, 1945
Departure Location:   Marseilles, France
Troop Ship:   SS Joseph Hooker
Unit Onboard:   141st Field Artillery Battalion
Arrival Date:   December 14, 1945
Arrival Location:   New York Port of Embarkation
    via the Straits of Gibraltar

If this is NOT the voyage, please share with me the dates you possess.
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections

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

QUESTION: Dear Mr. Horrell,

May I ask two general questions, please?

Is it correct to assume that men in the same outfit, serving in the same location, would have traveled to the same port to ship home if their shipping dates were within a couple of months?

Is there a relationship between the port of arrival and the place of separation from service? In other words, if my father had arrived in Hampton Roads, would he have most likely been discharged near there as opposed to Ft. Dix, NJ?

And yes, you have the correct dates for the Hooker. As I'm sure you know, the newspapers reported on Dec. 13 the light cruiser Honolulu responding to the Hooker's distress signal of the 12th. On the 13th, the Hooker was 300 mile out from New York. And I personally know two men who tell the tale of the cracked hull.

You have my sincere gratitude. Without your knowledge and availability, I would never have achieved this level of certainty about my fathers homecoming.

Mike Semenock

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  In it you typed "May I ask two general questions, please?"    PLEASE feel free to ask as many questions as you like.  Specific or "general" it is a pleasure to try to assist.
       In your follow-up you typed "Is it correct to assume that men.......were within a couple of months?"  No.  Assuming you refer to the E.T.O., numerous troop ships were departing each day for the U.S.A.  If I understand your question correctly, it would have been the Adjusted Service Rating Score (Points) that determined  when & where the Veteran departed the E.T.O.  Prior to V-J Day it was all about re-deployment, after V-J Day, "Points"!  I hope I answered your follow-up question.
       In your follow-up you typed "Is there a relationship between the port of arrival and the place of separation from service?"  No.  The Veteran was discharged nearest to their home as possible.  My father arrived at the New York P. of E. September 28, 1945 and was discharged in St. Louis, Missouri October 6, 1945.  Train space was limited in late September & early October 1945.  semi-LOL
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections


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

QUESTION: Dear Mr. Horrell,

It seems every answer prompts another question, so your willingness to accept more is appreciated.

I understood that ASR points determined when a soldier would return, but where they would depart as well? My father's ASR Score is listed as 93 with a date of 2 Sept. 45 in parentheses. I'm at a loss to understand the connection of ASR Score to E.T.O departure, but if what you say is as I understand it, I'm very eager to know. That would really narrow down the ship he sailed on, perhaps identify the sole possibility.

Dad separated from service at Ft. Dix NJ because he grew up in Newark, had family there, and it was there my mother was waiting for him. Would the bureaucracy possess the forethought to plan his arrival in New York or Newark so as to save the time and expense of a train trip from, say, Hampton Roads?

As I stated in my first correspondence, my aunt said my uncle "picked him up" when he came home. I assumed it to be from a ship, but I can't rule out the possibility of a train. I'd sure like to nail down the port of entry. I have always assumed New York since I never heard any talk of an arrival followed by a train trip.

Thank you. You are a tremendous resource for seekers such as I.

Mike Semenock

Answer
Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  In it you typed "It seems every answer prompts.......to accept more is appreciated."  That's the way of it sometimes.  Please keep in mind, others benefit from the internet dialogue of FACTS.
       In your follow-up you typed "I understood that ASR points.......they would depart as well?"  In the context that once the Veteran's ASR Score is determined, the Veteran has enough points, where is the nearest ETO port that has a troop ship with space to return the Veteran to the USA port nearest to the Veteran's home.  In that context, yes.
       In your follow-up you typed "I'm at a loss to.......I'm very eager to know."  Please re-read the above paragraph.  
       In your follow-up you typed "Dad separated from service at.......trip from, say, Hampton Roads?"  Yes.  With all due respect, for a moment remove any & all assumptions from the equation.  Deal only with the documented FACTS you have before you as well as the Troop Ship FACTS I have provided you.  I do not have an answer to this request.  My hope is that you may find one, based upon only documented FACTS without the assumptions.  May I also suggest that you try to work the equation backward?  Sometimes that helps to make all the pieces (FACTS) fit together.
       There is one other piece to this equation that you may not have:  the correct troop ship.  There is no comprehensive list of Troop Ship Voyages for WW 2.  My own data base has over 11,000 entries, & I added five new voyages yesterday.  I suspect I'll die with an incomplete data base.  Researching new voyages is a labour of love, a quest for FACTS that I thoroughly enjoy.  I also thoroughly enjoy sharing the FACTS with people like you.  HOWEVER, I do NOT have every voyage listed, only wish I did.
       Good Luck with your quest.  You are welcome to contact me direct at WW2Connections@aol.com if you desire.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections  

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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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