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Military History/Information on a specific USAT


U.S.A.T. Taft
U.S.A.T. Taft  
QUESTION: Greetings, Mr. Horrell, I was wondering if you would be able to enlighten me with any information about a specific United States Army Transport ship?

My Great Grandfather has pictures of his fellow soldiers aboard a ship named the U.S.A.T. President Taft. This was the ship that transported them to the Aleutian Islands. I went ahead attached one of these pictures.

Thank you for your time.


Ben McKee

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your question.  The USAT in question was named President Taft for a brief period of time, approximately June 1941 to September 1941.  By the time the troop ships sailed from the San Francisco Port of Embarkation on October 4, 1941, the troop ship's name was the USAT Willard A. Holbrook.
       The following are the FACTS I have about the only voyage I know of when the troop ship was named the USAT President Taft:

Departure Date:   September 1, 1941
Departure Location:   Seattle Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship:   USAT President Taft
Unit(s) Onboard:   1st & 3rd Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, Arkansas National Guard
Arrival Date:   September 4, 1941
Arrival Location:   __?__?__, Territory of Alaska

       Would you be so kind as to share with me the first set of dates, horizontally, typed in Box #36 on page two of your great grandfather's Discharge Documents (WD AGO Form 53-55)?
       Good Luck with your quest.

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections

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

Service Record
Service Record  
QUESTION: Mr. Horrell,

Enclosed is page 2 of my great grandfather's Discharge Documents. By looking at it myself, I can't help but notice that the departure dates are different from the ones you provided for me. Why would that be? I understand that it is only a day or so difference.

On a slightly different note, it is extremely fascinating to me that you have compiled such great knowledge and information on a topic that, while it may have happened less than a century ago, is shrouded in mystery for most of us who can only dream of what really happened. Especially the Aleutian Islands Campaign in which my great grandfather served.

I am hoping to pull together as much information about my great grandfather's service in the Aleutians as I possibly can. I know that I have been very fortunate to have acquired his Discharge Papers, which are the foundation upon which I have been able to find out so many important facts.

I am currently attempting to make a timeline of his service. Your facts have helped me greatly. I really appreciate it. Are there any sources, that you utilize, in which I might learn more about his service in the Aleutians? As you already know, that Campaign was not as widely studied and documented as the more infamous war in Europe or even the South Pacific.

Thank you again for your time.

Ben McKee

Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  In it you typed "the departure dates are........would that be?"   August 30, 1941 was the date your great grandfather stepped off the dock & onto the USAT President Taft.  September 1, 1941 was the date the USAT President Taft departed the Seattle Port of Embarkation.
       In your follow-up you typed "I know that I many important facts."  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
       In your follow-up you typed "I am currently attempting to make a timeline of his service."  EXCELLENT!!!  That is how I start my research.  If you are missing a FACT or date, I suggest you fill in with __?__?__ so that you can fill in the next FACT you do have & not loose any momentum.
       In your follow-up you typed "Are there any sources.......service in the Aleutians?"

World War II: From battle front to home front, Arkansans tell their stories
by Kay B. Hall
Fayetteville, Arkansas        Univ. of Arkansas Press        1995

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Arkansas and World War II, 1939-1992
by Wm. E. Maxwell
Convay, Arkansas        Univ. of Central Arkansas        1992

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Time-Life Series
World War II
 War in the Outposts
  by Simon Rigge
Chicago, Illinois        Time-Life Books        1980

    ISBN  0-8094-3381-8

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

United States Army in World War II
The Western Hemisphere
 Guarding The United States And Its Outposts
by Conn, Engelman & Fairchild
Washington, DC        US Government Printing Office        1964

    LCCCN:   62-60067

       At the end of this follow-up is my address.  You may write me with any additional questions you may have.  Please include your e-mail address.  I do this because I am quite impress with your sincerety about the research & that you are polysyllabic.
       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.

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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