Where to go to do research on a specific soldier in WWII?
September 1, 2008 6:45 PM   Subscribe

My brother is doing research on his brother in law who was a staff sergeant in the Paciifc in WWII. After the war he came back to the States, got married and had 8 kids and died at the age of 50. He was in many of the horrific battle zones of that time, Guadalcanal, etc and we would like to present his children with a narrative of his experiences or, at least, places of warfare. The question is - where would a person go to obtain this information on a specific soldier? Thanks very much.
posted by Tullyogallaghan to Law & Government (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can start here, National Archives.
posted by lee at 6:59 PM on September 1, 2008

The way I helped my neighbor find information about his service was to start by knowing which unit he was in, the dates in that unit, where the unit served. Then I did google searches until I found what I wanted. And found a book about his unit which contains his name. Actually I found historical information about him by just doing a google of his name. Very satisfying to find this for him. He was a spitfire fighter pilot in WW-II.

Have you requested the record of his military service, ie: DD-214 ? If you get that it will have the units and dates of service.

Good luck.
posted by JayRwv at 7:25 PM on September 1, 2008

There is a company called HeritageQuest that has a lot of military records (from as far back as the Revolutionary War) transcribed for searching. On your own, it would cost money to access the database or buy the CDs, but your local library should have a subscription, or be part of a larger network that has a subscription (for instance, any public library in CT can access it). Good luck.
posted by daboo at 8:46 PM on September 1, 2008

If your brother's brother-in-law fought at Tarawa, you could always post at the Tarawa Talk forum, to see if anyone there knew him personally. I am sure that there are similar fora for all of the main Pacific battles of WWII. Personal anecdotes would make a nice complement to the official records.
posted by Tawita at 10:27 PM on September 1, 2008

SF180, the Standard Form for requesting his records from the personnel Records Center in St. Louis: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/standard-form-180.html (Consider including a cover letter explaining that the veteran is deceased and that you are the next of kin -- or include such a letter from the next of kin if you aren't them.)

You will be told they were destroyed in a fire. *snort* Submit the form again. And maybe again. (It took me four tries to get all of my grandpa's records!)

Then find one of the many online forum/mailing lists devoted to WWII, and simply ask. Here's the group that I'm in, but I know there are others ilke it -- plus groups devoted to a single unit. theater, or topic: http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/wwii

It's never too late to ask!!!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2008

« Older Games for large groups of people?   |   Phuck this Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.