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WW2 86th Infantry Division Ike jacket find at flea market


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#26 Allan H.

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 07:33 AM

My grandfather served with Company K 343rd Infantry. He did not serve with the 86th stateside but arrived in Europe as a replacement and joined the division in Cologne before the division went into combat in the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945. As a consequence, he did not earn the American Campaign Medal because he did not serve a year or more in the U.S., but he did have all of the other ribbons worn on your uniform. 
 
I have seen other 86th uniforms with European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbons with two campaign ribbons, but officially no unit of the division was entitled to campaign participation in any campaign but Central Europe.


The American Campaign medal was awarded to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who served 30 days in theater. It was also issued to soldiers who qualified for the ETO or PTO campaign medals who might not have been in the American theater during that timeframe. I wouldn't be at all concerned about there being two campaign stars on the ETO ribbon. That is what was worn during the time. I would assume that the single campaign credit for units of the 86th was an oversight rather than revocation of the second campaign participation.

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#27 seanmc1114

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 01:26 PM

The American Campaign medal was awarded to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who served 30 days in theater. It was also issued to soldiers who qualified for the ETO or PTO campaign medals who might not have been in the American theater during that timeframe. I wouldn't be at all concerned about there being two campaign stars on the ETO ribbon. That is what was worn during the time. I would assume that the single campaign credit for units of the 86th was an oversight rather than revocation of the second campaign participation.

Allan

The American Campaign Medal was only awarded for thirty days of service in the American theater of operations for service outside the continental limits of the U.S. That included the Caribbean, Panama, Central and South America. Service inside the continental U.S. required one year of cumulative service. Most of the men of the 86th who had served with and trained with 86th before it went to Europe had at least a year of stateside service. My grandfather, on the other hand, had not trained with the 86th but had only been drafted in October 1944. After fifteen weeks of basic training and leave, he was sent to Europe and was assigned to the 86th as a replacement. His next stateside service was between June 1945 when the 86th returned to the U.S. after VE-Day until August 1945 when the 86th left for the Pacific. He was discharged as soon as he returned from the Philippines in 1946. So the extent of his stateside service was a little over seven months. 

 

The issue of the two campaign stars versus one is probably moot as I have seen both and I certainly wouldn't question the credentials of this particular soldier, but the fact is that the 86th was only officially entitled to campaign participation credit in the "Central Europe" campaign. I have seen numerous photos of 86th veterans after returning from Europe with only one campaign star. I have seen a couple of period uniforms with two campaign stars but I don't believe I have ever seen a period photo of an 86th veteran wearing two campaign stars. And the same is true of veterans of the 97th Division.

 

And for what it's worth, apparently the "Central Europe" campaign was initially designated as the "German" campaign. Attached is a copy of a page from my grandfather's World War II service record booklet showing the entry for the campaign entitlement to the "German" campaign which was marked through and corrected to read "Central Europe". My guess is that it was changed from the initial designation when it was realized that American units had fought not just in Germany up to the end of the war but many had advanced into Austria as well and a few even made it into Czechoslovakia before VE-Day.

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#28 seanmc1114

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Posted 09 October 2018 - 10:48 AM

Here is a useful link with a War Department General Order from 1947 which shows the specific geographic designations, including maps, and time periods for each Army campaign from World War II.

 

https://history.army...W2campindex.htm



#29 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 05:40 AM

For historical purposes. My father was machine gunned while attacking the Bonzel crossroads on April 10th, abandoned and picked up the next day , April 11th. ( detailed account in the mentioned book) . That was the end of the campaign for him, he went back in June on a hospital ship in June, and was discharged early 1946. I have all his papers, V mails, medals, pictures, etc. Here is his service papers.Note: Rhineland and Central Europe listed under campaigns. I feel very fortunate to even have the original telegram to his mother informing her he was wounded in action.

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#30 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 05:41 AM

A treasure trove of information. I find his V mail letters the most interesting.

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 07:25 AM

We see his MOS at time of Discharge was Finance Clerk 622, we take this as a reclassified MOS stateside because of wounds, what was his parent organization at time of discharge?



#32 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 09:18 AM

We see his MOS at time of Discharge was Finance Clerk 622, we take this as a reclassified MOS stateside because of wounds, what was his parent organization at time of discharge?


Not sure, he told me when he arrived back in the states he was stationed two places, someplace in Tennesee guarding German prisoners ( I will check papers again as his records also state military police and someplace in Chicag doing payroll - Ft Sheridan?).Probably " reclassified" as I remember him telling me his infantry training in Louisiana was a " miserable, terrible" experience, he hated Louisiana. His papers do say MM M1 Carbine, Com Inf Badge., and his name is listed in the San Luis Obispo book ( on a seperate flimsy name list that was inside the book), which he said he liked. I do know he said he received the Bronze Star medal in the mail when he was back in Chicago after the war. A few years back I read somewhere Bronze Stars were awarded ,by some " decree" , to certain infantrymen after the war. I do remember as a kid going to some of his Legion and VFW meetings ( he was Post Commander for a long, long time) talking with some of his 86th members.That is were I remember hearing they were in the Phillipines and were fighting communists there.

#33 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 09:27 AM

...another recollection, when we moved to a suburb outside of Chicago, my father became friends with a German tank commander ( I went to school with his kid), captured in Africa and stayed at the same US POW camp my dad was at in Tennesee. I remember the tank commander neighbor saying he was captured when they ran out of fuel and he was allowed to stay in the states when the war was over. He moved to Chicago and opened a furrier shop, became rich selling mink coats and furs, I remember my mother buying a fur coat from him. Interesting times.

#34 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 09:57 AM

His Qual Records state: 4 1/2 mon Inf Basic Trng 521; 15 mon Pfc Rifleman 745; 4 mon Cpl Military Policeman 677 ; and 3 1/2 mon Cpl Finance Clerk 622. Discharged Ft Sheridan.

#35 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 10:13 AM

Another recollection: my first time ( maybe 7,10?) I was on the Chicago six o'clock news. I remember TV crews setting up in our living room waiting for some big politician to film him parking in front of our house, getting out,my Mom and Dad answering the door, coming into the living room and making a speech and talking with my father who had his Commanders hat on, wearing his ancient looking, blue colored suit. I never did find out who the politician was, but he must have been some one " important", trying to get the Legion or VFW's endorsement. After the TV crews left, he stayed on a few hours drinking in the dining room with my Mom and Dad. He was totally bald, dressed in a black suit, black tie, white shirt and was smoking cigarettes with my Mom, and all were having a great time....my brother and I got out of our suit and ties and " spied" on them for a few hours.

Edited by 917601, 10 October 2018 - 10:14 AM.


#36 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 11:32 AM

Spending a day researching what I never did before. I found a picture of my Dad next to jeep ( wow), the back says Camp Forrest, Tenn. 1946. It was inside his leather Honorable Discharge pouch. Also, a Vmail letter from " USHP 4172 APO" ( Hospital ship?) June 45.
See Camp Forrest info: https://en.m.wikiped...ki/Camp_Forrest

It appears he was guarding POWs at Camp Forrest , TN when recovered back in the states. His qualifications record state: Finance Clerk, prepared final payrolls for prisoners of war, and, Military Policeman, maintained order among prisoners and personnel. He was discharged from Ft Sheridan, HQ and HQ Det Sec, 24 Apr1946.
A very interesting story indeed, 342nd, I company, Rhine and Ruhr, Shot April 10th at the Bonzel crossroads, shipped back on a hospital ship the end of June, assigned to Camp Forrest guarding POW's, discharged from Ft Sheridan, April 1946. Glad I finally " got around" to researching the whole story. Thanks to all for the assistance.

Edited by 917601, 10 October 2018 - 11:35 AM.


#37 917601

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 11:57 AM

More on Camp Forrest:
"Camp Forrest, at Tullahoma, was one of the largest U.S. Army training bases during World War II. The camp served as a training facility for eleven infantry divisions, two battalions of Rangers, numerous medical and supply units, and a number of Army Air Corps personnel. In addition, the camp provided logistical support for the massive Tennessee Maneuvers conducted at intervals from 1941 through early 1945. The camp also employed thousands of civilians in various support roles and housed German prisoners of war.

In 1940 the United States began limited preparations for war and established Camp Forrest as a training facility for draftees. The projected $13 million facility was expected to cover forty thousand acres; eventually Camp Forrest cost $36 million and covered seventy-eight thousand acres. The Hardaway Construction Company of Columbus, Georgia, and the Creighton Construction Company of Nashville formed a temporary partnership to build the thirteen hundred buildings, the fifty-five miles of roads, and the five miles of railroad track that made up Camp Forrest. Over 20,000 people were employed in constructing the camp.

In March 1941 the camp was officially named for Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. While some old arguments arose over General Forrest, more pressing concerns caused the past to be quickly forgotten. The Thirty-third Infantry Division of the Illinois National Guard and the Seventy-fifth Field Artillery Brigade of the Tennessee National Guard arrived later that month. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, two other infantry divisions, the Eightieth and the Eighth, were assigned to the post.

Housing at the induction and training center proved to be a recurring problem, and many soldiers bivouacked in tents during their assignment at the post. Camp Forrest employed 12,000 civilians who ran the post exchanges, operated the nine-thousand-square-foot laundry, performed maintenance on military vehicles, repaired tanks and artillery pieces, and staffed the induction center where some 250,000 young men received their initial physical exams for the army. Army trainees received instruction in house-to-house combat in the first village mock-up. The Second Ranger Battalion trained at the base and later won fame when they scaled the ninety-foot cliffs of Point-du-Hoc on D-Day.

Approximately 800 alien civilians were interned at Camp Forrest from January until November 1942, making the camp the first civilian internment camp in the nation. Prisoners of war replaced the civilian internees in 1943, and by the end of the war just over 24,000 members of the Wehrmacht were under guard at the facility.

After the D-Day invasion of France in June 1944, training at Camp Forrest was reduced drastically. The camp was declared “surplus” in September 1945 and given “inactive” status in February 1946. The War Assets Corporation sold off the buildings for lumber, and all equipment, from machine shops to kitchen utensils, was auctioned, although the state retained the land. Today the Arnold Engineering Development Center of the United States Air Force occupies the site. Only a few overgrown concrete foundations remain of Camp Forrest."

#38 patches

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 09:34 PM

Not sure, he told me when he arrived back in the states he was stationed two places, someplace in Tennesee guarding German prisoners ( I will check papers again as his records also state military police and someplace in Chicag doing payroll - Ft Sheridan?).Probably " reclassified" as I remember him telling me his infantry training in Louisiana was a " miserable, terrible" experience, he hated Louisiana. His papers do say MM M1 Carbine, Com Inf Badge., and his name is listed in the San Luis Obispo book ( on a seperate flimsy name list that was inside the book), which he said he liked. I do know he said he received the Bronze Star medal in the mail when he was back in Chicago after the war. A few years back I read somewhere Bronze Stars were awarded ,by some " decree" , to certain infantrymen after the war. I do remember as a kid going to some of his Legion and VFW meetings ( he was Post Commander for a long, long time) talking with some of his 86th members.That is were I remember hearing they were in the Phillipines and were fighting communists there.

"I remember him telling me his infantry training in Louisiana"

 

As there were no Infantry Replacement Training Centers located in the State of Louisiana, we take it he was one of those draftees that was sent directly to  a division to undertake basic, it wasn't too common, but apparently done. The 86th Div arrives from Cp Howze Texas to the 3rd Army No 5 Louisiana Maneuvers, November 1943, it then settles into Cp Livingston Louisiana in mid January of the new year, 1944, it here at Livingston that he more than likely got trained.



#39 917601

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:26 PM

Out of interest I pulled up Camp Livingston, the 86th is mentioned. All I know is he hated Louisiana. Many years ago I worked in La, he came down to visit just once. It would have been a blast to visit Camp Livingston as it is in a state preserve area, foundations still intact, untouched by developement.

"Camp Livingston was designated as an infantry replacement training center, as well as a garrison for these infantry divisions. The 38th Division was known as the "Avengers of Bataan" and the 86th Division was the first American unit to cross the Danube River into Germany. Over 500,000 troops trained on the 47,000-acre (190 km2) base during the war. On some old concrete walls in the site, beautiful artwork and graffiti has been discovered and is thought[by whom?] to have been drawn by Italian POWs.

In 1941, prior to the United States declaring war, the camp was part of the Louisiana Maneuvers, a 400,000-man training exercise involving two imaginary countries fighting each other. The two armies faced each other across the Red River, over 3,400 square miles (8,800 km2) of land, including part of East Texas.

During World War II, thousands of Japanese, German and Italian prisoners of war were kept in internment camps at Camp Livingston and Camp Claiborne. In 1942, the war's first Japanese POW Kazuo Sakamaki arrived at Camp Livingston. Sakamaki was the only surviving crewman of a mini-submarine used in the attack on Pearl Harbor; he was captured by Corporal David Akui after abandoning his sub, which had run aground. The internees at the camps were used to supply logging and farm labor in the area. There was a POW cemetery located within Camp Livingston and in 1947 the headstones were relocated to Fort Sam Houston and the bodies of the POWs were left in the ground unmarked where they remain today.

The camp also held between 800[3] and 1,100[4] US civilians of Japanese ancestry who were interned as potential fifth columnists after Pearl Harbor. Most of these men remained in confinement throughout the war, despite a lack of evidence to prove they posed a threat to homefront security.

Camp Livingston was deactivated in late 1945 and is now part of the Kisatchie National Forest.[5][6][7][1]"

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 05:42 PM

That info about Livingston being an Infantry Replacement Training Center comes from the WIKI on it, however Livingston does not show in the lists of IRTC, probably was meant to say Division Camp, though it's listed as Army Ground Forces Training Station in Stanton's Order of Battle.




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