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Old 12-29-2017, 11:57 AM
 
5,217 posts, read 2,960,206 times
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There was a fire in St. Louis in 1973 which destroyed 80% of the soldiers records. Purely from a real life situation, we are trying to find a record of my husband's Dad's service in WW2 for him to join a VFW Post as a "A" member; served in a combat zone or had a family member who did. My husband served during the Nam War but not in a combat zone.

All I found online on his Dad is his Draft Card on genealogy sites. Does not count they say. I have found something on Family Search with his name listed under Veterans Affairs BIRLS. What is that? Would that be enough proof? All my FIL told me when he was alive was that he was with the Armored Division that liberated Buchenwald Camp. Sad that such an honorable service to the world cannot be proved.

Tried searching military lists of those personnel but came up with nothing. Where do I go from here? Just take a chance and write to the National Archives?

I guess it's a matter of family pride, but I have my Dad's Honorable Discharge Papers from WW2; two copies sealed in plastic, which my husband, or me, could use.

If you have family members who saved all these records back in time, give thanks! You are very, very lucky.
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:12 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
4,491 posts, read 6,977,559 times
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BIRLS is similar to the SSA's Death Index.
"The BIRLS (Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem) Death File is a Veterans Benefits Administration database that lists information for deceased individuals who had received benefits from the Veterans Administration while they were alive."

Did FIL not have a Form DD-214 among his discharge papers ? All veterans were told to guard this document, as it is the primary source for such details, that the vet should have in his possession. Of course they can get lost over the years.

FWIW, my father's DD214 show the dates he fought in Europe in 1945. Also in an Armored Division, the Ninth.

Good luck............
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:29 PM
 
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https://aad.archives.gov/aad/fielded...&cat=all&bc=sl

Start at NARA database search engine. Once you locate his information, you can request for a small fee copies of his NARA military records.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:59 PM
 
478 posts, read 560,384 times
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My wife wrote in and got her deceased fathers record. I think your father-n-law has to do it because he is still living. Either way, it was easy and didn't take long.

https://www.archives.gov/veterans/mi...ervice-records
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Old 12-30-2017, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
7,929 posts, read 12,318,074 times
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NARA will provide a certificate of service based on alternate records, to be used for official purposes. We had to do this for my grandfather when he was applying for VA financial assistance.
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Old 12-30-2017, 12:52 PM
 
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6th Armored Division, Gen Patton.
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:12 AM
 
Location: NJ
8,446 posts, read 19,618,046 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo48 View Post
There was a fire in St. Louis in 1973 which destroyed 80% of the soldiers records. Purely from a real life situation, we are trying to find a record of my husband's Dad's service in WW2 for him to join a VFW Post as a "A" member; served in a combat zone or had a family member who did. My husband served during the Nam War but not in a combat zone.

All I found online on his Dad is his Draft Card on genealogy sites. Does not count they say. I have found something on Family Search with his name listed under Veterans Affairs BIRLS. What is that? Would that be enough proof? All my FIL told me when he was alive was that he was with the Armored Division that liberated Buchenwald Camp. Sad that such an honorable service to the world cannot be proved.

Tried searching military lists of those personnel but came up with nothing. Where do I go from here? Just take a chance and write to the National Archives?

I guess it's a matter of family pride, but I have my Dad's Honorable Discharge Papers from WW2; two copies sealed in plastic, which my husband, or me, could use.

If you have family members who saved all these records back in time, give thanks! You are very, very lucky.
Here is what I could find. Be sure to read the 2 links


Liberation of Buchenwald Concentration Camp


The Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated on April 11, 1945 by four soldiers in the Sixth Armored Division of the US Third Army, commanded by General George S. Patton. Just before the Americans arrived, the camp had already been taken over by the Communist prisoners who had killed some of the guards and forced the rest to flee into the nearby woods.

Pfc. James Hoyt was driving the M8 armoured vehicle which brought Capt. Frederic Keffer, Tech. Sgt. Herbert Gottschalk and Sgt. Harry Ward to the Buchenwald camp that day.

The following quote is from a CNN news story on the occasion of the death of James Hoyt on August 14, 2008 at the age of 83.............
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:57 AM
 
5,217 posts, read 2,960,206 times
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Thanks. I have searched NARA but came up with nothing. Came up with my Dad's name, but it seems records of enlisted service members were kept separate from draftees like my FIL.

I suppose my husband will just have to request his Dad's records and see what happens. At the very least, that BIRLS record of the years his Dad served should be enough proof.
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Old 01-01-2018, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
7,929 posts, read 12,318,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo48 View Post
Thanks. I have searched NARA but came up with nothing. Came up with my Dad's name, but it seems records of enlisted service members were kept separate from draftees like my FIL.

I suppose my husband will just have to request his Dad's records and see what happens. At the very least, that BIRLS record of the years his Dad served should be enough proof.
No, you have to contact them and order the certificate of service, you're not going to find it on their website.
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Old 01-08-2018, 03:10 PM
 
13,547 posts, read 6,570,492 times
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I am sad reading this :-(

I am planning to visit St. Louis next year to review records of soldiers in my family tree, most importantly one of my great grandmother's brothers who died in Europe while serving. Planning on reviewing their holdings in the next month or so to start to prepare a list of people to review when I go but seeing that they suffered a loss via fire makes me worried they won't have what I'm looking for (would REALLY love a pic of my 2nd great uncle as the family doesn't have any pictures of him at all).
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