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Military Service Records for Deceased Family Member


KWRB
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I had a great grandfather in WWII who died in 1963 I know very little about him or his service, but I'm digging to see what I can find out. I have a picture that he had, that my grandmother had and was later given to me, of the Natoma Bay, with his service ribbons and the ship's decorations. I the Natoma Bay was involved in the Battle Off Samar, but I don't know if he did his entire service there, or what. I also heard second- or third-hand that a cousin said he was in some shape or form involved with the USS Indianapolis tragedy. My mother knows nothing about him and my grandmother is also deceased.

I have his name, his birth and death dates and I know he was born in SC. I know for a fact that my mother is his next of kin. I'm having her fill out some SF-180, which I guess if accepted, will get us his DD-214.

  1. Have any of you ever pursued (successfully) you relative's service records?
  2. What's in a DD-214?
  3. Any other suggestions?
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I am no help at all but I really wish you luck. Please keep us posted as you develop. 

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1 hour ago, KWRB said:

he was in some shape or form involved with the USS Indianapolis tragedy.

That would be a story to hear if he could have even talked about it. 

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This caused the loss of the records of millions who had served in ALL branches of the US military

https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/fire-1973

I, too, would like to track the timeline of where my Dad had been after his enlistment prior to the entry of the US into WW II, until he was discharged.

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1 hour ago, seabee said:

Check the county recorder where he lived when discharged.  Veterans are encouraged  to record  their discharge papers

Good luck

Joe

You could also check with an American Legion Post close to where he lived, and see if they have a veteran's service officer.  Most counties have a V. S. O. also. They are a part of the V. A. if I remember correctly. These would be a starting point.

Good Luck

Mike

 

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10 minutes ago, mikem said:

You could also check with an American Legion Post close to where he lived, and see if they have a veteran's service officer.  Most counties have a V. S. O. also. They are a part of the V. A. if I remember correctly. These would be a starting point.

Good Luck

Mike

 

we used this person,however fathers required 8 years,didnt include any active combat era ,so gets less than $000

3 more months would have qualified 

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42 minutes ago, mikem said:

You could also check with an American Legion Post close to where he lived, and see if they have a veteran's service officer.  Most counties have a V. S. O. also. They are a part of the V. A. if I remember correctly. These would be a starting point.

Good Luck

Mike

 

Wife is Legion Aux Pres and told me same as mikem suggested. 

DD-214 to VSO should get you the information you need. 

Your local VSO has access to nation wide records. 

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It sounds like you are taking the corect steps. 

New York State has a Division of Veteran's Services.  The few times I have had questions regarding benefits, I have found that state and county-level offices are helpful and responsive.  When snags occur a call or email to your representative in the US House of Representatives can often get things rolling.

A fire in 1973 destroyed many veteran records stored in the National Personnel Recors Center.  Affected years were 1912-1964.   Reconstructing old records might add additional time to your request.

A link that might be helpful:    https://www.va.gov/records/get-military-service-records/

 

Blank DD-214 (mostly the same fields as shown in my DD-214 from the 1970s)

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Good luck with the process.

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Thanks for the help guys. I've forwarded all this to my mom. Hopefully she doesn't get stonewalled. I've been intrigued by the picture of the Natoma Bay that hung on my grandparents' wall since I could remember. In the frame are (not sure if the originals) sun faded service medal (ribbons) and stars, and this cool little stamp with a silhoulette of a sinking ship, that says "destroyer" and has a star. I am 99% certain this is referring to the action in the Battle Off Samar/Leyte Gulf, where these little transport carriers were forced to defend themselves after Halsey got led away by the decoy fleet.

My mom also has a bracelet made from the metal of a kamikaze that hit their deck. He made the bracelet and sent it home (or carried it home, idk) to his daughter, my grandmother.

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I learned a little bit through digging (and paying). He was enlisted in '44, Kind of late in the war. He was 27. Uncertain if he was drafted. But, it looks like he was on CVE62 for the whole duration. His name is on the muster rolls as late as 1/1/1946. So he was definitely in the middle of some nastiness in the Philippines. 

I can't determine if CVE62 was really associated in any way with The Indianapolis.

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4 hours ago, KWRB said:

I can't determine if CVE62 was really associated in any way with The Indianapolis.

Maybe in the search for it once they realized it was missing.

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1 hour ago, Steve C. said:

Maybe in the search for it once they realized it was missing.

That's what I'm thinking. Maybe.

Does anyone know if the DD-214 will tell me what his job was on the ship?

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1 hour ago, KWRB said:

That's what I'm thinking. Maybe.

Does anyone know if the DD-214 will tell me what his job was on the ship?

usually it will give a navy rating or some such title.  but back then, who knows how accurate it is

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3 hours ago, Steve C. said:

Maybe in the search for it once they realized it was missing.

 

7 hours ago, KWRB said:

I can't determine if CVE62 was really associated in any way with The Indianapolis.

Did you see this? I don’t know if it helps with your search, but for what it’s worth;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Natoma_Bay

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14 hours ago, Ihfan4life said:

 

Did you see this? I don’t know if it helps with your search, but for what it’s worth;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Natoma_Bay

Yes, thank you. It's got a fairly detailed timeline in there, which I used together with my great grandfather's first-reported-on-board date, and the last date I found him on muster rolls, to get an idea what he lived through.

Now, I'm really curious about trying to figure out what exactly he did on board. Since these weren't combat ships, it seems to me it would be pilots, basic mechanics, and sailors. Am I wrong here?

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