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Author Topic: Hello from MA. Seeking Information  (Read 654 times)

Offline lhands

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Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« on: April 10, 2018, 09:14:21 AM »
Hi All,
I am a thirty-something from MA seeking some information in order to better understand and better honor the service of my grandfather and his brother (KIA) in WWII. 
Below really encapsulates my purpose for being here:

Hello,
My grandfather and his younger brother fought in WW2.  My Great Uncle, SSgt Albert J. Hands, was killed in combat.  I am trying to find out what medals, insignia, campaign ribbons, etc, he would have received.  He was in the U.S. Army Air Forces, 9th Air Force, 451st Bomber Squadron, 322nd Bomber Group, Medium.  He enlisted on 11-5-41 and he enlisted at Camp Upton Yaphank NY.  At the time of his death he was a Radio/waist-gunner.  His final airfield location was Beauvais-Tille, France (A-61).  His last mission was the cross-roads at Stadtkyll, Germany on 1 Jan. 45 where he was shot down around 2:45P by 88mm flak.  The ship he was in for his final mission was: B-26G-15-MA Marauder Serial  #44-67813/SS-P.
The rest of the crew for that mission was:
Pilot 1st Lt. Paul F. Michael (POW)
 Co-pilot 2nd Lt. Robert L. Weir (KIA)
 Bombardier 2nd Lt. Vance I. McCormick (KIA)
 Flight engineer/turret-gunner SSgt. A.W. Harriman (KIA)
  Armorer/tail-gunner SSgt. James C. Rattan (KIA)
His serial number was: 32179521.  He was awarded the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.  Beyond that, I am not sure what he would have had in terms of medals, campaign ribbons, decorations, insignia, and was wondering if anyone could help me figure that out or point me to someone who could?  Thank you so much for your time and support!
I am also wondering under what topic/s it might be best to post this under?
Luke

« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 09:15:46 AM by lhands »

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 10:28:01 AM »
Luke,

Welcome  to the forum.. here is the basic information from NARA (National Archives Records Administration)

I will also provide you a link to the NARA application for records information. Being a family member you are entitled to replacement medals for your relative.

NARA Records request link...

https://www.archives.gov/

I have researched and applied for hundreds of records for members and non members seeking information about their relatives. I have had about a 97% success ratio, (Some of the records lost in the 1970's fire) but there are other ways to get the records and information..

I also will include my email address so that we can better talk and communicate about this process. It is long and sometimes confusing but with the right people to guide you it won't be difficult. The biggest thing in this process is the wait time. It could take up to several months to get a reply back from NARA since these are GVT employee's. (No disrespect intended, since I myself work for the Government) in a US Army museum..

Send me an email to: smitfamclan@aol.com. Make sure you put Veterans Research in the header so if it goes to spam I can retrieve it..

I used to live in Salem, NH so were neighbors..

Smitty

ARMY SERIAL NUMBER 32179521  32179521   
NAME HANDS#ALBERT#J##########  HANDS#ALBERT#J##########   
RESIDENCE: STATE 23  NEW YORK   
RESIDENCE: COUNTY 047  KINGS   
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT 2314  CP UPTON YAPHANK NEW YORK   
DATE OF ENLISTMENT DAY 05  05   
DATE OF ENLISTMENT MONTH 11  11   
DATE OF ENLISTMENT YEAR 41  41   
GRADE: ALPHA DESIGNATION PVT#  Private   
GRADE: CODE 8  Private   
BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION BI#  Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA   
BRANCH: CODE 00  Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA   
FIELD USE AS DESIRED #  #   
TERM OF ENLISTMENT 0  Undefined Code   
LONGEVITY ###  ###   
SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL 0  Civil Life   
NATIVITY 23  NEW YORK   
YEAR OF BIRTH 20  20   
RACE AND CITIZENSHIP 1  White, citizen   
EDUCATION 4  4 years of high school   
CIVILIAN OCCUPATION 627  Semiskilled occupations in fabrication of textile products, n.e.c.   
MARITAL STATUS 6  Single, without dependents   
COMPONENT OF THE ARMY 7  Selectees (Enlisted Men)   
CARD NUMBER #  #   
BOX NUMBER 0475  0475   
FILM REEL NUMBER 2.139  2.139 
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 11:01:27 AM »
Luke,

We will keep your request here for a few days under introduction so it can get the maximum exposure to readers, then after some time I will move this to the RESEARCH sub forum..

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline ScottG

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 10:50:20 PM »
  Luke, Smitty has provided you the best advice for your request. As he mentioned, it will take a while, but you will receive all of the proper medals and badges as long as they are in stock. Whatever they may not have will still be listed for you and they will send you a list of vendors. If you have a copy of a discharge then you can help speed up the process by providing a copy to NARA. Good luck and welcome!  Scott
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2018, 03:53:32 AM »
Luke,

I cannot add anything more for you than Smitty and Scott G already have but wanted to welcome you to the AMF.  Where in MA are you?  I live in Rehoboth MA but grew up in Attleboro MA.  The "Jewelry City".  Home to LG Balfour, Jostens, Amcraft, VH Blackinton etc.

Offline Robswashashore

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2018, 04:55:07 AM »
Luke --  Welcome to the Forum and good luck on your research.  I live in Brewster on the Cape.

Jean

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2018, 08:57:43 AM »
No Reply back yet from Luke..

Wonder if he found what he was looking for..

There appears to be a lot of information on line about one of his relatives.. Photos, missing air crew report ect..

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Masonk

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      • Military Collectors of Delaware Valley (PA/NJ/DE)
Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 09:34:56 AM »
Welcome to the forum! Echoing what has been said, Smitty has provided the best path for pulling your Great Uncle's record.

It can be a long and daunting process, and unfortunately, they may not have a complete file for Albert at the Archives (fire in 1973 destroyed a large portion of Army records). To add another option, there are private researchers that can pull these files for a fee. At times they are more thorough, and explore other options to find records. Additionally, wait time should be much less than submitting the request through the archives.

Some options for private researchers:

http://www.goldenarrowresearch.com/
https://www.redbirdresearch.com/

We can only assume what other awards he would have would have earned in addition to the Purple Heart and Air Medal. Were I to take a stab, I would definitely say the EAME Campaign Medal (European-African-Middle Eastern) and American Defense Medal (pre-December 7th 1941 enlistment). Also, possible he earned the Army Good Conduct Medal, as at the time 1 year service while at war (assuming he was of good character), would have earned him the medal.

As for insignia, most definitely the 9th Army Air Force patch. I assume, as a Radio Operator, he would have worn standard Air Crew Wings. Based on years of service (41-45), prior to being KIA, he would have worn 1 service stripe, for 3 years total service. He likely would have worn overseas bars, one each, for 6 months overseas service, but without knowing how long he was overseas, no way of saying how many he would heave earned prior to being KIA. Collar insignia would have been US on the wearers right collar, and Air Corps on the wearers left collar. And of course, he would have worn SSgt rank on both sleeves.

Commendable thing you are doing, by the way. Researching my great uncle, who was also KIA while serving in the AAF during WWII, is what sparked my interest in collecting militaria and learning about the individual history of these men and women. Good luck in your research!

Eric
ASMIC #5492

Militaria Collectors of Delaware Valley (PA/NJ/DE) - Facebook

Check me out on Instagram @philly_militaria_collector

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2018, 07:05:23 AM »
No word back from this member about researching the family....

Hmmm..

 ???

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

Offline Phill Lockett

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2018, 11:44:44 AM »
Hi Smitty

You do a great service in helping people find their relatives military past.

Hopefully this individual will post a follow up and  thank you.

Phill 
Regards

Phill

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: Hello from MA. Seeking Information
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2018, 06:50:12 AM »
Thanks Phill,

I guess I am paying it back for all the years I was mentored by collectors and such.. With the advent of the internet it is much easier to help the baby boomer generation do research...

Thanks again for the compliment..

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

VFW Member

 

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