Military History/Thank You and Additional Info
QUESTION: Mr. Horrell,
I am helping my son research his great-grandfather for a project for school. I have the report of separation and had a couple of questions. Mainly if you could tell from the information the unit that he actually served with. In box 6 it lists "BTRY B 539 FA BN" but I believe that is the unit he was discharged from and not the one he served with. I'm also wondering what position he possibly held (his job not his rank he was a Corporal) because I can not find information of the weapon qualification it shows on the form.
The following is the information from the form that I hope will allow you to answer my questions.
7. Date of Separation "3 JAN 46"
8. Place of Separation "Separation Center. Fort Bragg, NC"
9. Date of Induction "26 Mar 43"
24. Date of Entry into Active Duty "2 Apr 43"
25. Place of Entry "Fort Jackson SC"
30. Military Occupational Specialty and No. "Anti-Aircraft Machine Gunner (605)"
31. Military Qualification and date "MM 17 Rifle; EXP Carbine"
32. Battles and Campaigns "Northern France; Ardennes; Rhineland; Central Europe"
33. Awards and Decorations "American Theater Campaign Medal; EAMET Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Service Stars, Good conduct medal AR 600-68; Victory Medal"
36. Date of Departure "20 APR 44 EAMET Date of Arrival 27, APR 44 " Date of Departure "14 DEC 45 Date of Arrival 27 DEC 45"
40. Reason "(Demobilization) AR 615-365 15 DEC 44"
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. Both my son and myself appreciate any assistance you may provide us a great deal.
ANSWER: Dear sir,
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 "if you could tell me from the information the unit that he actually served with." Base upon the FACTS you provided me from page two of the Veteran's Discharge Documents (WD AGO Form 53-55) no, I cannot. I can only confirm that the 539th Field Artillery Battalion was the unit the Veteran was assigned [assigned] to AFTER May 8, 1945 (V-E Day) to return to the USA with.
Have you any of the Veteran's wartime correspondence? You do not need the letter, but the envelope. Depending upon who sent the letter, the unit the Veteran was assigned [assigned] to appears in either the address or the return address.
Was the Veteran ever a member of the American Legion &/or the VFW? If so, you may wish to visit the post he was a member of to read over his membership file. If the membership file is no longer at the post, ask for the contact information of where the membership file is located in 2015.
Have you any wartime photographs of the Veteran? If so, what shoulder patch is sewn upon the upper left sleeve of his garment? In any of the photographs, is the Veteran near a military vehicle? If so, what tactical markings are there upon the vehicle? If in code, that is ok, I have the cipher for the code.
In your question you typed "what position he possibly held"? Please refer to Box #30 on page two of the Veteran's Discharge Documents (WD AGO Form 53-55). An Anti-Aircraft Machine Gunner indicates that the Veteran was the gunner on a M-16 Half-Track, operating the quad mount .50 caliber Browning Machine Guns! One of the finest AAA Weapons the Allies utilized during WW 2, & occasionally utilized as anti-personnel, with devastating results.
In your question you typed "I can not find information of the weapon qualification it shows on the form." "EXP Carbine" is easy, the Veteran qualified as an Expert with the M-1 Carbine. "MM 17 Rifle" is a bit more difficult. The Veteran qualified as Marksman with the M-1917 Rifle, a weapon from the First World War era. Unless there was a typing error on the Veteran's Discharge Documents (he had the opportunity to check for errors, he signed the document that is was accurate) The Veteran certainly utilized an atypical weapon to qualify with, especially during the summer of 1943.
As to the Veteran's voyage overseas & back to the USA:
Departure Date: April 20, 1944
Departure Location: New York Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship: RMS Queen Elizabeth
Units Onboard: elements of the 35th Infantry Division
93rd Signal Battalion
17th Armored Group
269th Field Artillery Battalion
272nd Field Artillery Battalion
193rd Chemical Depot Company
86th Chemical Mortar Battalion
53rd Field Hospital
Arrival Date: April 27, 1944
Arrival Location: Gourock, Scotland
13,021 Troops onboard
NOTE: The units listed are the only units I have confirmed that were onboard. Other units were onboard, I just don't have the FACTS as per those units.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Departure Date: December 14, 1945
Departure Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Troop Ship: SS Wheaton Victory
Units Onboard: 539th Field Artillery Battalion
8th Field Artillery Observation Battalion
759th Tank Battalion
Arrival Date: December 27, 1945
Arrival Location: Boston Port of Embarkation
1,544 Troops onboard
Good luck with your quest.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Mr. Horrell,
First of all many thanks your information led me on a quest through several old photographs and while the men in them were to small to make out any real detail I did find two things that I'm pretty sure answered the question I was looking for. Coupled with the fact that the 272nd Field Artillery Battalion is listed on your troop transport I think I can say with fair certainly this was his unit.
One photograph is him standing next to a sign that says "AID STATION 272 FA BN PRO STATION" the 2nd piece of evidence is a military vehicle with the lettering 9A-272F on one side of the front and what looks like either A-II A-11 or possibly an upside down V with either the -II or 11.
This appears to be a full track vehicle with a dual cab, behind the cab is a giant US Star and then behind that what looks like for lack of a better description "lockers". Any idea what that vehicle could be? Do the letters on the fron mean anything besides that they are from the 272nd FA BN?
Thank you again for taking the time to answer it certainly led down a fascinating path to a new discovery.
Thank you for your follow-up. Also, THANK YOU for again referring to me as "Mr. Horrell". Good manners NEVER go out-of-style.
In your follow-up you typed "272nd Field Artillery Battalion". The 272nd utilized six 240mm Howitzers against the Axis Forces in the ETO, 1944-45.
In your follow-up you typed "9A-272F on one side of the.......either the -II or 11." The Tactical Markings are as follows:
9A = Ninth Army
272F = 272nd Field Artillery Battalion
A = Battery A
11 = eleventh vehicle in the column, when the unit moves from Point A to Point B
In your follow-up you typed "This appears to be a.......that vehicle could be?" The vehicle in question was a M-4 18 ton High-Speed Tractor. The 272nd had 18 of these vehicles, as Prime Movers for the 240mm Howitzers & to transport ammunition for the howitzers.
The following is a brief history of the 272nd Field Artillery Battalion:
Activated at Camp Butner, NC, March 15, 1943
Departed the New York Port of Embarkation April 21, 1944
Sailed on the RMS Queen Elizabeth
Arrived at Gourock, Scotland, April 26, 1944
Allied Forces made an airborne & amphibious assault at Normandy, France, Tuesday, June 6, 1944
Arrived in France, August 7, 1944
Northern France July 25-September 14, 1944
Rhineland September 15, 1944-March 21, 1945
Ardennes-Alsace December 16, 1944-January 15, 1945
Central Europe March 22-May 8, 1945
At various times, assigned [assigned] to First Army
At various times, assigned [assigned] to V Corps, First Army
On October 23, 1944, assigned [assigned] to 406th Field Artillery Group, V Corps, First Army
On January 1, 1945, assigned [assigned] to 190th Field Artillery Group, V Corps, First Army
At various times, assigned [assigned] to Ninth Army
At various times, assigned [assigned] to XVI Corps, Ninth Army
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a Cerebral Hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Georgia, Thursday, April 12, 1945
V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, Tuesday, May 8, 1945
Arrived at the New York Port of Embarkation November 26, 1945
De-activated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, November 27, 1945
Hopefully these FACTS will assist your son & you with your son's school project.
Richard V. Horrell
WW 2 Connections