You are here:

Military History/Tracking down WW 2 service details

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hello,

From what I read my dad was like many WW2 veterans - he talked little to none about his service and now, more than 20 years after his death, it's difficult trying connect the dots in the few pieces of information that I have.

My questions:
1. His date of enlistment is 12/4/1939, his records show he departed for ETO on 8/3/1944.  There's a reference in my notes to "Coastal Artillery Corps".  What units was he assigned to in the 4 1/2 years between enlisting and departing for the ETO?

2. He was awarded a Bronze Star and Combat Infantry badge.  It appears they were awarded when he served in the 119th Inf of the 30th ID.  Where can I find the General Order or citation for the Bronze Star?  For which engagement was he awarded the CIB?

3. His honorable discharge papers show his unit (at time of discharge?) as Co I, 410 Inf Regt.  How long was he with the 30th ID and, subsequently the 103rd ID?

4. Which ship took him to ETO and which returned him to the US?

I have his "WD AGO 53.55" and his honorable discharge document (no form number) which I'm happy to send you.

Thanks!

-- Bruce

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your question.  In it you typed "His date of enlistment is 12/4/1939".  Your father's "enlistment" date of induction or entry into active service?
       In your question you typed "he departed for the ETO on 8/3/1944."  Yes, there were troop ships that departed East Coast (USA) Ports of Embarkation on August 3 & 4, 1944.
       In your question you typed "a reference in my notes to "Coastal Artillery Corps"."  What is the source for your notes?  Are your notes fact-based, from Primary Source Documents?
       In your question you typed "What units was he assigned to in the 4 1/2 years between enlisting and departing for the ETO?"  The FACTS answering that question would be found on page three & page four of your father's Discharge Documents, WD AGO Form 53-55.
       In your question you typed "He was awarded a Bronze Star".  What is your source that your father was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Valour?  It is ashame that you did not include your father's name, since I have a roster for those assigned [assigned] to the 119th Infantry Regiment, North Carolina National Guard, during WW 2.  
       In your question you typed that your father was awarded a "Combat Infantry badge."  Obviously your father served as an Infantryman in the ETO, 1944-45.
       In your question you typed "Where can I find the General Order or citation for the Bronze Star?"  The unit records, located at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
       In your question you typed "For which engagement was he awarded the CIB?"  Your father would have been awarded his CIB after the first battle he participated in.  Since your father was an Infantry Replacement to the 119th Infantry Regiment, North Carolina National Guard, I have no idea when he was assigned [assigned] to the 119th.

Departure Date:   February 11, 1944
Departure Location:   Boston Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship:   SS Brazil
Unit Onboard:   119th Infantry Regiment, North Carolina National Guard
Arrival Date:   February 23, 1944
Arrival Location:   Bristol, England
5,072 Troops onboard

       In your question you typed "His honorable discharge papers show.......subsequently the 103rd ID?"  The unit records of the 30th Infantry Division & the 103rd Infantry Division, located at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, would provide you with those FACTS.
       In your question you typed "Which ship took him to ETO and which returned him to the US?"  Please provide me with ALL THE DATES typed in Box #36 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents (WD AGO Form 53-55).  
       In your question you typed "I have his "WD AGO.......happy to send you."  No, thank you.
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Happy Easter,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections   

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

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply!

It was helpful that you pointed out the difference between enlistment/induction and service entry dates.  His enlistment date is Dec 4 1939; he entered service on Sep 16 1940.

The reference to CAC - Coastal Artillery Corps comes from a request I made to the US Archive/NARA in 2005.  In a document titled "File Unit Title: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca 1938 - 1946", with his correct ARMY SERIAL NUMBER and name it has:

  BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION       CAC      Coast Artillery Corps
  BRANCH: CODE          40      Coast Artillery Corps or Army Mine Planter Service
  SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL          National Guard
  NATIVITY          MASSACHUSETTS

The WD AGO 53-55 I have, printed from fiche apparently, does not have pages 3 and 4.

Regarding his Bronze Star - his name is John E. Twomey, ASN 20120018.  I suspect it was for action in late September/early October 1940 as the 30th ID crossed a portion of The Netherlands and entered Germany near Aachen; a unit history of the 30th ID describes some intense fighting by his unit - 2nd Bn, 119th IR - around that time.   I twice read through the General Orders of the 30th ID at http://www.indianamilitary.org/30TH/Roster/References/192-GeneralOrders/192.htm but cannot find any citation.

The dates in BOX 36 are:
  Date of Dep    Destination     Date of Arrival
    3 Aug 44     Eur Afr Mid     18 Aug 44
   11 Sep 44     United States   19 Sep 45

Thank you!

-- Bruce

ANSWER: Dear sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  In it you typed "ASN 20120018."  When an ASN (Army Serial Number) begins with the arabic numeral "2" it generally means the soldier is a member of the National Guard.
       In your follow-up you typed "His enlistment date is Dec 4 1939". That was the date your father enlisted [enlisted] in the National Guard.
       In your follow-up you typed "he entered service on Sep 16 1940."  That was the date your father's National Guard unit was Federalized into the US Army.
       In your follow-up you typed "National Guard" & "Massachusetts".  There were only two Coast Artillery units in the Massachusetts National Guard prior to Sunday, December 7, 1941.  

211th Coast Artillery Regiment, Federalized into the US Army at Boston, Massachusetts, September 16, 1940.  Spent time in Texas & California prior to be re-designated 211th AAA Group, September 10, 1943.  Did your father spend any time in Texas or California prior to going overseas?

241st Coast Artillery Regiment, Federalized into the US Army at Boston, Massachusetts, September 16, 1940.  Spent its entire time in Massachusetts until de-activated October 7, 1944.  Did your father spend his entire time in Massachusetts prior to going overseas?

       In your follow-up you typed "name is John E. Twomey".  According to the unit history of the 30th Infantry Division that I own, Private, First Class John E. Twomey, assigned [assigned] to the 119th Infantry Regiment, North Carolina National Guard, was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Valour.
       In your follow-up you typed "his unit - 2nd Bn, 119th IR".  What is your source that your father was assigned [assigned] to the 2nd Battalion?
       In your follow-up you typed "3 Aug 44   Eur Afr Mid   18 Aug 44"

Departure Date:   August 4, 1944
Departure Location:   New York Port of Embarkation
Troop Ship:   RMS Mataroa
Arrival Date:   August 17, 1944
Arrival Location:   Avonmouth, England
    500 Troops onboard

       In your follow-up you typed "11 Sep 44   United States   19 Sep 45".  Since this is an error, I cannot attempt to provide any FACTS about your father's voyage home.
       Good Luck with your quest.

  Happy Easter,
   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections  

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

QUESTION: Dear Mr. Horrell,

Again, thank you for your reply.  The extra bits of detail you include with your messages - for example, explaining that ASNs starting with '2' indicate enlistment through the National Guard - are fascinating.

Regarding the Coastal Artillery Corp - I have no record whether he was in the 211th or the 241st.  It's interesting that the 211th is connected with California.   For reasons I never understood - until the clue related to the 211th - my father settled briefly in California following the end of his service in 1945.  Can you direct me or suggest places where I can ask about the personnel records of the 211th and the 241st Coastal Artillery?

Regarding his Bronze Star - the notation in Box 33 of his WD AGO Form 53-55 contains "Bz Star GO 4 Hq 30 Inf*".  I had hoped the citation would contain the specific dates for which the medal was awarded.

Regarding "his unit - 2nd Bn, 119th IR" - I have an original letter dated October 27, 1944, that he wrote following the offensive on the Siegfried Line.  The return address is listed as "Co. E. 119th Inf. Regt. A.P.O. 30, 90 Postmaster, NY, NY".  Company E was in the 2nd Bn of the 119th per the 30th IF TO&E.

The date I gave you is incorrect - my mistake.  His departure date from ETO was 11 Sep 45.

His discharge was given at the Separation Center at Fort Devens, MA on 5 October 1945.

Thank you!

-- Bruce

Answer
Sir,
       For FACTS about the Coast Artillery Regiments, pre-September 16, 1940, contact:

Mass. National Guard Military Museum & Archives
44 Salisbury Street
 Worcester   MA   01609

       I have no FACTS to share as per your father's voyage to the USA in September 1945.

  Richard V. Horrell
   WW 2 Connections

Military History

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Richard V. Horrell

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
AASLH, Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society

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

Education/Credentials
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.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.