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Military History/Father's units during WW 2 in Europe


After being drafted my Dad was in Company K, 111th Infantry, of the 28th Infantry Division of the PA National Guard.  As I have discovered through my research, that unit went to the Pacific but Dad did not.  Instead, he must have been assigned to another unit since he definitely went to the European Theater of Operations.

I do have a copy of his discharge papers and the information below comes directly from it, including his dates of ETO service.
Joseph Bariletto
32 065 359
Company K, 111th Infantry
Inducted 8 Apr 41 Newark, NJ

Truck driver, light #345 (2-1/2 ton)
Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland,  GO 33 WD 45 as amended
Departed US 27 Feb 44, arrived in ETO 10 Mar 44
Return from ETO 3 Oct 45, arrived US 11 Oct 45
Continental (US)service 2 yrs, 10 mos, 22 days
Foreign service 1 yr, 7 mos, 15 days
Separation center Fort Dix, NJ 16 Oct 45

American Defense Service Medal
European-African-Middle East Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Rifle M1 Ex1, 1 Jun 43
Carbine Ex3, 3 Feb 44

I was able to locate many wartime photos of him, and based on the shoulder patches on his uniform I determined he initially served in the 3rd Coast Artillery District (Chesapeake Bay Area) and was in North Carolina and Virginia.  That service appears to be from April 1941 to Feb 1944.

While in the ETO additional pictures of him in uniform show a shoulder patch for the 9th Army, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation patch on his sleeve, along with 3 service duration slashes.

He drove a 2-1/2 ton truck in ETO delivering gasoline to Patton's army, and may have been part of the Red Ball Express, Red Lion, or ABC Express.  He was in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany as documented by several wartime photos. A handwritten comment on a photo indicates 131st truck company.

Foreigh service dates are: departure for ETO 27 Feb 44, arrival 10 Mar 44 (from New York to the Firth of Clyde according to Dad).  He doesn't know which troop transport ship, or the exact city of arrival in UK.
Return from ETO 3 Oct 45, arrived US 11 Oct 45.
Another picture shows him boarding the victory ship Rushville Victory, but it's not clear where it is berthed (France, England ??).

I would like to fill in the blanks as to how he was re-assigned from the PA 111th Infantry, to the 3rd Coast Artillary District in Virginia, to being in the 9th Army ETO, and possibly being part of one of the "Express Supply Units".  Also, information on his troop transport ship bringing him to ETO and his return back to the US.

Any additional information would be most welcomed.

Thank you for all you assistance in helping me put together my Dad's wartime service record.

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your question.  In it you typed "my Dad was in Company K, 111th Infantry, of the 28th Infantry Division of the PA National Guard."  Is the 111th Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard, the unit typed in Box #6 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents (WD AGO Form 53-55)?  If so, that was the unit your father was assigned [assigned] to after V-E Day, to return to the USA with.  Would you be so kind as to share with me any Primary Source Documents indicating that your father was assigned [assigned] to the 111th Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard, prior to mid-February 1944?
       In your question you typed "Departed US 27 Feb 44, arrived in ETO 10 Mar 44" as well as "from New York to the Firth of Clyde".  23 troop ships departed various East Coast Ports of Embarkation on February 27, 1944 & arrived at various locations in Great Britain on March 9, 1944.  With the specific geographic locations provided by your father, I can reduce the quantity of troop ship possibilities to the following:

SS Bienville
SS Colombie (French)
SS Exchequer
SS Explorer
SS Sea Porpoise

USAT Excelsior
USAT Frederick Lykes
USAT George Washington
USAT J.W. McAndrew

USS Florence Nightingale  AP-70
USS Lyon  AP-71

       In your question you typed "Returned from ETO 3 Oct 45, arrived US 11 Oct 45" as well as "Another picture shows him boarding the victory ship Rushville Victory, but it's not clear where it is berthed (France, England ??"  In my OPINION, based upon voyage time of other Victory Ships utilized during Operation MAGIC CARPET, the voyage began at Le Havre, France on October 3, 1945.  My OPINION, not based in FACT.
       In your question you typed "3rd Coast Artillery District (Chesapeake Bay Area)".  Would you agree that the shoulder patch "displays three projectiles over a trefoil to indicate the unit's number.  The approved drawing of this insignia indicates that it was to be worn with one projectile pointing down."  Design approved June 12, 1941.
       In your question you typed "a shoulder patch for the 9th Army".  Ninth Army became operational near Brest, France on September 5, 1944.
       In your question you typed "3 service duration slashes."  With all due respect, I have no idea what a "service duration slash" is.
       In your question you typed "A handwritten comment on a photo indicates 131st truck company."  The 131st QM Truck Company, TC was credited with the following Campaigns:

Northern France
Central Europe

the same four Campaigns your father was credited with (Box #32 on page two of your father's Discharge Documents).  I own the unit history of Ninth Army, & the 131st QM Truck Company, TC is listed as assigned [assigned] to Ninth Army.  I also own an Order of Battle for Ninth Army, December 12, 1944.  The 131st QM Truck Company, TC was assigned [assigned] to the 520th QM Battalion, which was assigned [assigned] to the 544th QM Group, which was assigned [assigned] to Ninth Army.  My question to you is, since Ninth Army was not operational until September 5, 1944, what higher formation was the 131st QM Truck Company, TC assigned [assigned] to, March 11, 1944 to September 4, 1944?
       I have provided you with all the FACTS I possess, based upon what you provided to me through AllExperts.  You are welcome to photocopy the Primary Source Documents related to your father's role during WW 2, then send the photocopies to me via First Class USPS.  PLEASE include your e-mail address for ease of response.  It would be my pleasure to share with you all the FACTS I glean from the photocopies.
       Good Luck with your quest.

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

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

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QUESTION: Sir, thank you very much for your responses. I have attempted to answer your questions as follows:

Box #6 (WD AGO Form 53-55) is stated exactly as: CO K  111th  INF
The information for 28th Infantry Division of the PA National Guard comes from Dad's memory and a pin of Benjamin Franklin that he had (Blue with gold figure).  That would be the only documentation available.  But the history of the 28th and 111th seems to agree with his movement to the Chesapeake Bay Area.

Dad believes he left from New York (? Brooklyn Navy Yard) but clearly remembers that the ship entering the Firth of Clyde, Scotland.  The actual arrival city may have been Greenock, Gourock, or Glasgow.  He recalls spending time in England prior to eventually arriving in France.  Is it possible he was on the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth or Aquitania based on departure date from US?

Another piece of information associated with the Rushville Victory is that at port side the gangway has a sign on it indicating
US Army, Area A.  There is also a logo between the words USArmy and Area A, with the letters T C to each side of it.  The logo shield has a circle around it with 8 lines (like compas points) around the shield.  The shield is dark and looks like it may have a "wing" on it.  The photo is black and white and very small.  Information is from using a magnifying glass.

A picture of the type of patch on his sleeve from the 3rd Coast Artillary District is attached.  I believe you described it correctly.  A picture of the 9th Army patch on his sleeve while in ETO is also attached.

Service slashes were given for each 6 months of ETO service duration, and are worn on the sleeve.
He was in ETO 1 yr. 7 mos, therefore he has 3 slashes which are visible on his sleeve from a picture.

Your information on the 9th Army confirms my father's campaigns, unfortunately I have no further information concerning the dates between March 11, 1944 to Sept 4, 1944.

He would have been in England prior to arrival in France, but I don't know how many days or months following D-Day. He clearly remembers driving a 2-1/2 ton truck (Box #30 of discharge) and delivered gasoline to the advancing troops.  Would any of your research indicated his truck unit was part of Red Ball Express or another supply line.  He believes he may have been but there is no hard documentation to support it.

Once again thank you very much.  I hope my follow up information helps to fill in a few more blanks.

ANSWER: Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  In it you typed "Gourock".  That is the location.
       In your follow-up you typed "Is it possible he was.......departure date from US?"  No sir, it is not.  The RMS Aquitania departed the New York Port of Embarkation February 21, 1944, the RMS Queen Mary departed Gourock, Scotland February 21, 1944 & the RMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at the New York Port of Embarkation February 22, 1944.
       In your follow-up you typed "Another piece of information associated with.......using a magnifying glass."  The "logo" you describe is that of the Transportation Corps.
       In your follow-up you typed "Service Slashes were given for.......his sleeve from a picture."  The "service duration slashes" you typed are referred to correctly as Overseas Service Bars.
       In your follow-up you typed "He would have been in.......or months following D-Day."  Your father arrived in Scotland March 10, 1944.  When he departed Scotland & entered England, I do not know.  When your father departed England & arrived in France, I do not know.  However, he was in France by July 24, 1944, the final day of the Normandy Campaign.  
       In your follow-up you typed "Would any of your research indicate.......or other supply lines."  No sir, it does not indicate participation, one way or the other.
       Since you seem intent upon some in depth historic research, may I suggest that you read the unit records of the 131st QM Truck Company, TC?  The unit records are located at:

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

When I lived in Hopatcong, NJ, it was a pleasant drive to Carlisle, PA.
       Good Luck with your quest.

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections

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

Following your latest information I was able to obtain the unit history for my father.  I will be happy to forward this source document to you.

It shows his unit as the 131st Quartermaster Truck Company, dates of maneuvers, its assignment to the Chesapeake Bay Sector EDC, subsequent departure from NYPE to ETO aboard the "Sea Porpoise", arrival date in Europe, battle credits, reference to 9th Army, along with other information and dates.

Do you think you could resolve one discrepancy between the document and my father's recollection about his arrival in ETO.  The document indicates he left Brooklyn, NY aboard the "Sea Porpoise" and arrived in England in March, '44.  But Dad recalls passing through the Firth of Clyde, Scotland on his arrival.  The departure and arrival dates agree with his discharge papers.

He did spend time in England, and an Internet search indicated his unit was in Hereford and Waterloo, UK between March and August 1944 (UK station list) before arriving on the continent in October.

Would you have any further documentation confirming where Sea Porpoise docked on 9-Mar-44?

Based on the sequence of dates and events on the document, is there any information contained in other historical documents you may have that further details this units responsibilities?

Once again thank you for all your help.

Dear Sir,
       Thank you for your follow-up.  Yes, absolutely, the SS Sea Porpoise arrived at Gourock, Scotland, March 9, 1944.  Your dad's memory is accurate.
       Continued success with your quest.

   Richard V. Horrell
    WW 2 Connections

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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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Respectfully, I do not disclose the names of the clients I deal with. I have a confidentially agreement with them.

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