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Military History/USS General W.P. Richardson AP-118

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QUESTION: Dear Mr. Horrell

Me and my Grandfather Benjamin Frank Macemore was very close but he never talked about the war very much.  I understand why it was so hard for him to discuss but unfortunately he never told me where he went from the time he did his training to his service over seas.  He would only say that he was in Italy, France and Germany and would tell me few stories of his service.  He was a Tec 5 in the US Army and from my little investigating I found out that when he left from Jonesville NC in Yadkin County he then went to a Army base in what is now Spartanburg/Greenville SC area.  After leaving this base I have no idea of his travel through his time of service.  He was also on the Army transport ship USS General. W.P. Richardson AP-118 I have a photo of it in a frame hanging in my home that belonged to him that he went over seas on and maybe came back to the states on. I have no idea of the APO where he sent or received letters or what Army unit he was in.  I also know that he did receive medals for his service but I'm not for sure how many.  He also told me stories of when he would guard German prison camps if that will help.  I'm in Law Enforcement myself here in Wilkes County NC and I know how important someone's service is and I'm so honored that my Grandfather served this great county but I fell sad a lot of times that I don't know his service records that he needs to be honored for.  If you can help me I would greatly appreciate if you could help me in locating his service records and locations or can send me in the right direction of someone I can contact to get the information. Thank you so much for your Expertise.

Sincerely,
Mark Benjamin Macemore
Thurmond NC, 28683

ANSWER: Dear Mr. Macemore,
       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 that your grandfather said "he was in Italy, France and Germany".  Not many US Army units served in Italy, France & Germany prior to May 8, 1945.  So my question to you is, did your grandfather mean he fought in Italy, France & Germany prior to May 8, 1945, or that he was in Italy, France and Germany while overseas, including service AFTER May 8, 1945?
       In your question you typed "Army base in what is now Spartanburg/Greenville SC area."  You are referring to Camp Croft, an Infantry Replacement Training Center.  Now we know that your grandfather was an Infantry Replacement.  Not good, not bad, just a simple FACT of History.
       In your question you typed "Army transport ship USS General W.P. Richardson AP-118".  A correction here, the USS General W.P. Richardson  AP-118 was not an "Army transport ship".  Since it was USS, it was operated by the US Navy.  A troop ship operated by the US Army would be USAT (US Army Transport) hence USAT Borinquen, USAT Cristobal, USAT David C. Shanks, USAT Edmund B. Alexander, USAT Fred C. Ainsworth, USAT George W. Goethals, USAT Thomas H. Barry & USAT Willard A. Holbrook, to name but a few.
       I have what I believe a complete list of WW 2 era voyages (24) of the USS General W.P. Richardson  AP-118.  Her first voyage departed from Boston Port of Embarkation December 10, 1944.  Her last voyage ended at the New York Port of Embarkation January 23, 1946.  It would be my pleasure to send you a copy of the list of voyages via First Class U.S.P.S.  Contact me via First Class U.S.P.S. with your mailing address & I will send a photocopy to you.
       In your question you typed "service records".  The address to send your letter-of-request to is:

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

However, there was a fire in July 1973 that destroyed approximately 85% of all US Army personnel files from the WW 2 era.  Regardless, I suggest to people to go ahead & try.  After all, someone has to be in the LUCKY 15%!!!  IF you are, I see a road trip to Las Vegas in OUR future!!!  LOL
       Don't give up hope, there is another source of FACTS about your grandfather's role in WW 2, & it may be CLOSE, VERY VERY CLOSE!  Your grandfather was provided with 6-10 copies of his Discharge Documents when he was discharged from the US Army.  Where are those 6-10 copies?  The Funeral Home that handled your grandfather's arrangements?  The Court House of the County that your grandfather resided in after WW 2?  The V.F.W. &/or American Legion Post he belonged to?  Any V.A. Healthcare Facility your grandfather received care at?  Your father?  One of your father's siblings?  Those 6-10 copies are somewhere, & they are in the Public Domain, so no one can deny you access to them.  It is a four page document, WD AGO Form 53-55.
       Please understand Mr. Macemore, this is a process.  Additional FACTS can be found, most of them by you, yourself.  It will be my pleasure to assist you find FACTS, so please do contact me via First Class U.S.P.S.
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     2011 Richard Jones Road
      Apt      E 26
       Nashville   TN   37215-2837

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

QUESTION: Dear Mr Horrell,
Yes I believe he served in those ares before May 8 1945.  And also the ship I have the photo of the W.P. Richardson that he gave me would his unit been possibly on this ship even though it is tied to the Navy? As far as maybe him being tranported to these areas for service and then possibly back onto that same ship to return to the states?  If it is not a possiblity that he was on that ship, then it may also be a mystery to way he had a photo of this ship that he was possibly on but his unit may have not been.  And also thank you for the information on the discharge copies I will start to try to locate those through these resources you provided.  I will be contacting you soon for the copies of the voyages for the W.P Richardson through U.S.P.S. I would love that information.

Thank You again for your Expertise and for doing this for all familys who's loved ones served this great counrty.

Sincerely,
Mark Benjamin Macemore
Thurmond N.C.  28683

Answer
Dear Mr. Macemore,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  In it you typed "Yes I believe he served in those areas before May 8, 1945."  That narrows considerably the list of units your grandfather could have been assigned [assigned] to, since there were only a handful of units that served in Italy, France & Germany.
       In your follow-up you typed "would his unit been possibly on this ship even though it is tied to the Navy?"  US Navy operated troop ships did transport US Army personnel during WW 2.  However, since your grandfather was an Infantry Replacement, the unit your grandfather served with in combat was already in Italy when he arrived in Italy.  
       In your follow-up you typed "transported to these areas for service and then possibly back onto that same ship to return to the states?"  IF your grandfather went overseas on the USS General W.P. Richardson  AP-118 and IF your grandfather returned to the states on the USS General W.P. Richardson  AP-118, it was purely by chance.  
       The first voyage of the USS General W.P. Richardson  AP-118 from the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation to Naples, Italy, was January 14-25, 1945.  With those FACTS, we have an idea as to when your grandfather sailed overseas.  After May 8, 1945, the USS General W.P. Richardson  AP-118 made 4 voyages from Marseilles, France &/or Naples, Italy, back to the states.
       I am pleased to read that you are attempting to locate one of the 6-10 copies of your grandfather's Discharge Documents.  The more people know you are looking for your grandfather's Discharge Documents, the greater the odds are you will experience success.
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Respectfully,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections
     2011 Richard Jones Road
      Apt      E 26
       Nashville   TN      37215-2837

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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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