Military History/Finding unit designations
QUESTION: Mr. Horrell, I am trying to find out when and with what unit my Dad hit the beach in Normandy with. He left me a book on the history of the 115th Infantry, he wrote in it that he served in the 1st Batt. under Lt. Col. Blatt, Co. I under Capt. Spry, and that Lt. Carter was his platoon leader. I received a copy of his Discharge papers and it states he was assigned to Battery D, 581st Anti Aircraft Artillery, Automatic Weapons. I know he carried the ammo for the BAR, then after the BAR man was hit Dad shot the BAR, he also received a badge for shooting the M1. I was under the impression that he landed on D-Day, however in conversing with the 29th Infantry page, he says that Dad did not land on D-Day, can you help me? Thank You!
ANSWER: Dear Ms.,
Thank you for your question. In it you typed that your father left you "a book on the history of the 115th Infantry." After WW 2, many Veterans purchased the unit history of the unit the Veteran was assigned to during WW 2. Since your father had a copy of the unit history of the 115th Infantry Regiment, Maryland National Guard, I would say the book is an indicator that your father was assigned to the 115th Infantry Regiment, Maryland National Guard prior to May 8, 1945. It is not an absolute, but it will be shortly.
In your question you typed that your father "served in the 1st Batt. under Lt. Col. Blatt". In my copy of the unit history of the 29th Infantry Division (the 115th Infantry Regiment, Maryland National Guard was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division during WW 2) the 1st Battalion, 115th Infantry Regiment, Maryland National Guard lists as its commander, Lt. Colonel Richard C. Blatt. Isn't is wonderful when the FACTS I have from a book & the FACTS you have from your father match up? The internet is for information, books are for obtaining FACTS. Books have editors to check for factual content in a book, the internet has no editors.
In your question you typed "I received a copy.......Anti Aircraft Artillery, Automatic Weapons." If the 581st AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion is listed in Box #6 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents, that is the unit your father was assigned to AFTER May 8, 1945, to return to the USA with. What Campaigns are listed in Box #32? If it listed Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland & Central Europe, those are the Campaigns credited to the 115th Infantry Regiment, Maryland National Guard. Also, in Box #32 or #33, does the word "bronze arrowhead" or "arrowhead" appear? If so, then that would be another indicator that your father made an amphibious assault onto OMAHA Beach on Tuesday, June 6, 1944.
In your question you typed "in conversing with the 29th Infantry page, he says that dad did not land on D-Day." First of all, who is "he"? What are his credentials that makes him an "expert" on the unit history of the 29th Infantry Division? What FACTS does "he" have so that he can type such an absolute statement? So far, in this reply, based upon what you have typed, I believe we have made quite a good case for your father making an amphibious assault onto OMAHA Beach on Tuesday, June 6, 1944.
Would you be so kind as to provide me with ALL THE DATES typed in Box 336 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents? Those dates may be another indicator that your father was assigned to the 115th Infantry Regiment, Maryland National Guard prior to May 8, 1945.
Good Luck with your quest.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: First of all, thank you! For the information as well as the fast response. My copy of his discharge papers are blurry, I think box 36 is Service outside US and return, those dates are:
Date of depart: 17 Jan 44 Destination: EAME Date of Arrival 25 Jan 44
Date of depart: 1 Jan 46 Destination: USA Date of Arrival 15 Jan 46
You are correct in the medals he received, they are: EAME Service Medal with 1 bronze star (for Normandy, Rhineland, etc. and amphibious assault), 3 Bronze Stars (for campaigns) Good Conduct, Purple Heart AR 600-45 (for being wounded in combat, listed as SWA wounded in stomach and chest), Distinguished Unit medal GO 14, and the Victory Medal. I do know that Dad was wounded just before they took St. Lo. Thank you so very much for clearing this up for me!
Thank you for your follow-up. As to the January 1944 voyage, is it possible that "25 Jan 44" could be 29 Jan 44?
As to the January 1946 voyage, the following may be of interest.
Departure Date: January 1, 1946
Departure Location: Bremerhaven, Germany
Troop Ship: SS Bienville
Arrival Date: January 15, 1946
Arrival Location: New York Port of Embarkation
Good Luck with your quest
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections