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Military History/My father's military deployments & service



Hello Richard,
I'm a veteran myself, Navy 1963-67 USS Constellation CVA-64, Vietnam/South China Sea, ABE-2 Catapults.
My Dad who I never knew served in WW2 in the Pacific Theater 1939-45.  My parents married in 1943 while my Dad was on leave prior to his last deployment and I was born in August 1944.
My Father returned from the war a "different person" and my Mom, unable to understand or cope with my Dad's nightmares, moods,  erratic behavior and drinking finally filed for divorce.  No one has ever talked about what my Dad went through while overseas and I have been unable to get any answers.  He committed suicide when I was 5 years old.  He was 31.       
I contacted military records but his file along with many others was destroyed in the fire in St Louis. Finally I ran across your website and decided to give it another try.
Attached is my Dad's DD-214 which I found is some papers left when his mother died several years ago.  Hope you can make sense of it and offer a few answers.
Thank You,
Bill McReynolds

Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your question.  In it you typed "my Dad's DD-214".  With all due respect, this is not a "DD-214".  That term is post-WW 2.  What you have is page two of the four page Discharge Documents your father was provided (6-10 copies) when he was discharged from the US Army July 30, 1945.  The actual term of WW 2 Discharge Documents is WD AGO Form 53-55.  Please refer to the lower left corner of the document.
       In your question you typed "Hope you can make sense of it and offer a few answers."  It would be an honour & a pleasure.  First, please refer to your father's grave marker.  The "301 Coast Artillery" was activated May 1, 1941 at Camp Davis (Wilmington) North Carolina as the 301st Coast Artillery Battalion, Separate (Barrage Balloon) & re-designated the 301st Coast Artillery Barrage Balloon Battalion on July 1, 1941.  Still based at Camp Davis on December 7, 1941, the unit departed the Hampton Roads, Virginia Port of Embarkation on December 20, 1941.  Your father, along with a hundred or so other members of the 301st, with the unit's equipment, departed the Hampton Roads P of E on December 23, 1941.  All members of the unit, weapons, equipment, etc arrived at the Panama Canal Zone on December 30, 1941.  The Panama Canal was the location the 301st provided security for until the unit departed early December 1943.
       Now then, please refer to page two of your father's Discharge Documents.  Box #36, the second set of dates horizontally, indicate the dates your father sailed from the Panama Canal Zone to the United States.  Once back in the US, your father was assigned [assigned] to the 734th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion, activated at Camp Edwards (Falmouth) Massachusetts, July 20, 1943.  Obviously the Officers of the 734th were looking for an older man (25 years old) who had been overseas to steady the 19 y/o who would be overseas for the first time.  Upon completion of training, the 734th departed the San Francisco P of E on November 11, 1944.  Sailing on the SS Pennant, the 734th arrived at Finschhafen, New Guinea, December 1, 1944.  
       At this time in the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operation) the Philippine Islands were being liberated by elements of the US Sixth & Eighth Armies.  On January 9, 1945 the Sixth Army made an amphibious assault in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, to liberate the island from the japanese.  On March 31, 1945 the 734th arrived at the island of Luzon, Philippine Islands, hence the Campaign (Box #32) of Luzon, December 15, 1944-July 4, 1945.  Since the japanese Air Force was no longer very potent on Luzon, the 90mm AA Guns of the 734th were used primarily in an anti-tank or anti-personnel role against japanese troops until early July 1945.
       Please note Box #33, there is one additional award to your father.  Your father was awarded in 1950 a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Department of the Army (USA) General Order #47, dated 1950.  A S/Sgt. (Staff Sergeant) was paid $96 per month.
       I could find no unit history of either the 301st or the 734th.  However, the unit records are available.  The unit records are located at:

US Army Heritage & Education Center
950 Soldiers Drive
 Carlisle   PA   17013

       Just my 2 cents worth, but your father defended our great republic during WW 2, THE pivotal event of the 20th Century!  He is to be commended, as the Republic of The Philippines has, & you, by perpetuating his memory as you have.  I include my mailing address (USPS) if you wish to discuss further your father's service during WW 2.
       Good luck with your quest.

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

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Richard V. Horrell


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.


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.

AASLH, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society

Over 800 Profiles that I have written for client's about their loved one's role in WW 2.

BA, History & Political Science (19th & 20th Century European History) Webster University, Webster Groves, MO.

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Assisting the National Archives on numerous occasions during the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of WW 2, 1991-95.

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