Military History/Re: Looking for more information on my father's WWII service
QUESTION: Hello again.
First, my apologies. I couldn’t figure out how to post a follow-up to my original message titled “Looking for more information on my father's WWII service” and thus I’m creating a new post for follow-up.
Next, thank you so much for the information and for the offer to meet with me for further discussion. I would love to do so! However, though I used to live in and around Davidson County, I now live east of Knoxville. Due to some temporary difficulties, I am unable to drive as far as Nashville at the present time. If you are still interested in meeting, I could drive as far as Crossville or Cookeville if you’d like to meet me there. Otherwise, I could contact you the next time I plan to come to your area. Just let me your preference.
Some of the questions that you seemed to have about the information I supplied from the later dated discharge paper should be answered by the information on my father’s first, or what I called “training days”, discharge paper. Here is the information from the first Discharge paper:
Box 2: 44 XXX XXX
Box 3: Private
Box 4: Infantry
Box 5: AUS
Box 6: IRTC Camp Croft S C
Box 12: Enlistment in Regular Army
Box 22: 8 June 1945
Box 23: [blank]
Box 24: 8 June 1945
Box 28: Fort Oglethorpe Georgia
Box 30: Rifleman 745
Box 31: None
Box 36: None
Box 39: None
Box 40: AR-615-365 (Convenience of the Government) WD Circular 310, 1945.
Box 55: Honorably discharged for C of G to enlist in the Regular Army, WD Circular 310, 1945. Discharged as temporary Private AUS, permanent Private, RA Lost 8 days AW 107.
Additionally, I have a copy of his Certificate from the Infantry Replacement Training Center for Rifleman training (dated 23 July 1945 to 17 November 1945). Most of the other documents that I have (the ones that I haven’t mentioned already) are from the paperwork he filled out for war bonds, insurance, etc., shortly after he was inducted. Hopefully, this information will make some of the information already supplied from the second discharge paper make more sense, such as Boxes 30 and 39 (he spent 4 months and 29 days in IRTC).
Is it unusual to have two “Honorable Discharge” papers? I know NARA only has the last discharge paper’s information, but the FAQs on the WWII Army Enlistment Records collection/series states that, when a soldier reenlisted, only the second set of information was kept on a new punch card and the original/previous punch card was thrown away.
What, exactly, does “Rifleman 745” [Box 30] entail? I assumed this was the designation given to all infantrymen after their initial training. Does this differ from “Rifle Sharpshooter 172” [Box 31 from the second discharge paper]?
Lastly, I have found conflicting information about what “AUS” in Box 5 means. Can you tell me if it signifies anything other than being in the US Army, such as being a “selectee”?
Thanks again for your time and help.
ANSWER: Dear Ms.,
Thank you for your follow-up. Because of health issues, I do not travel well any longer. The next time you are in the Davidson County, TN area, please let me know. A good location for me to meet you would be the Food Court at The Mall at Green Hills. Even if it is several years from now, as long as I am alive, I would like to meet you.
In your follow-up question you typed "Is it unusual to have two "Honorable Discharge" papers?" Yes. The only Veterans I have known to have two Discharge Documents were those that entered the Army as an Enlisted Man, then Honorably Discharged so that two minutes later they could be enlisted as an Officer. That is the way it was done.
As to your father's situation, is is unique but makes sense. We are dealing with two discharge documents. The first we will call "training days" (your term) & the second we will call "overseas days" (my term). Please note Box #5 on training days. Your father was a member of the AUS (Army of the United States, a Draftee) the element of the US Army raised for WW 2, & six months after WW 2. Your father entered the Army (Drafted) June 8, 1945 (Box #24) & attended the Infantry Replacement Training Camp at Camp Croft, South Carolina (Box #6). Sometime during that training he somehow distinguished himself as a soldier, so he was asked to join the Regular Army. The term "Regular Army" means a unit that is always activated, war or peace, ready to defend our republic. The 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division is one such unit. The unit is activated right now, its ranks filled with men & women defending our republic as I type.
So, your father was "Honorably Discharged" from the AUS on November 15, 1945, to enlist in the RA on November 15, 1945 (Box #23, overseas days Discharge Documents). Since units of the 1st Infantry Division were earmarked to be at the Nuremberg Trials, your father was being prepared to serve at those trials, as you have typed. May I ask, how tall was your father?
In your follow-up you typed What, exactly, does Rifleman 745" [Box 30] entail?" I could type for days answering that question. May I suggest you perform a search on the internet for "M.O.S." (Military Occupational Specialty) to read what the definition of Rifleman 745 was during WW 2.
In your follow-up you typed "Does this differ from.......second discharge paper]?" Yes. Box #30 is an occupation, Box #31 is a qualification. So your father was qualified to be a Sharpshooter with a rifle (Box #31) while his occupation was a Rifleman (Box #30).
Good Luck with your quest. I look forward to meeting you sometime when we can discuss all thse documents in hand.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections
2011 Richard Jones Road
Apt E 26
Nashville TN 37215-2837
[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear sir -
Thank you again for your help, your time and your patience! I'm sorry that health issues prevent travel for you. My niece and I are trying to arrange a brief trip to Nashville to visit TSLA. If we make it, I will let you know and look forward to meeting you. The Food Court in the Mall at Green Hills would be a good meeting place, as I am familiar with the Green Hills/Richard Jones Road area.
In answer to your question "May I ask, how tall was your father?", he was approximately 6' 1" tall. If I may ask, why did/do you want to know?
Also, my father had three older brothers, all of whom served in the US Navy in WWII. Supposedly, my father also wanted to go into the Navy, but wasn't "allowed" to do so by the powers-that-be (US government? US Navy? Draft Board? no one now living seems to know). Do you know if it's true that only a certain number of men from the same family could be accepted into a particular branch of military service?
Thank you for your follow-up. As to my question about your father's height, it had a factor in his becoming an MP at the trial. The US Government wanted to intimidate the vanquished a bit, so sending all these 6 foot plus soldiers to guard the tribunal, it would certainly send a message. Think Praetorian Guards.
About your father not being allowed to serve in the US Navy. You may wish to read about The Sullivan Brothers, of Waterloo, Iowa. When your father entered the US Army in June 1945, the Invasion of Japan was still pending. Anticipated casualties: 100,000 to 1 million! So, not destroying an entire generation, as per The Sullivan Brothers, was certainly a part of the planning.
Good Luck with your quest.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections