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36thIDAlex

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Posts posted by 36thIDAlex

  1. I dont believe there are any resources or databases out there which use officer serial numbers. Your best bet is to check around the ETO AAF sites and find a pilot who might match what you know.

  2. Very nice! Fun fact this is not the first time I have seen this. That lining is actually German Fallschirmjager parachute material. I have seen two other jackets with the same interior. My imagination tells me they found a warehouse or storage of these parachutes sometime during the war and it was an option used by some tailors to finish off an ike jacket. Another I saw was from an AAF Major who flew B24s, for example.

  3. I own the book The Furnace and the Fire which is a 222nd IR book of there time in WWII. It was written in 45-46 and has there whole roster and what awards where won. When I get home from work I will take a look for you. Or if someone on here has it they might be able to answer more quickly than I can.

     

    Gerrad

     

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

    That is the roster I looked through, I got it through inter library loan in my school library. Unfortunately he does not show up and from what I can guess, based on the number of names, it isn’t showing all the transfers by that time.

  4. Hey everyone, not to post two days in a row but I was meant to throw this on here in hopes anyone had suggestions for further research. I found it buried under a pile of uniforms at the SOS and couldnt help but pick it up after I saw it still had all the insignia and was named. Unfortunately the seller had no more info on the veteran as he bought it from a fellow collector who got it at an estate at a show too far back to remember.

     

    I was wondering if anyone thinks I have a chance of getting the ID for this jacket? Inside a tag is written “Frank Young” and the initials FR sewn right about the pocket. Also in the neck is the laundry number Y0577. Luckily, only one unit in the division was awarded the PUC, the 222nd IR. While this helps narrow it down, no Frank Young shows up in the postwar unit history. My belief is that he was probably was transferred at some point before the publication as all the insignia are original and seem to have been on there a long time.

     

    I don’t know whether it is possible given the generic nature of his name or if even having an officer laundry number helps as I am unaware of any databases for such information. I have always been impressed with the folks on here so I figured it was my best place to turn.

     

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    The lieutenant bars are on there but we’re separate from the uniform. I put them on for the photos but I am not ruling out the potentiality of a later promotion for research purposes.

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    Nice European made bar

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  5. I collect 36th ID so I am always gonna feel like it's hard lol, but honestly I agree with some of your choices. I also feel like I haven't seen a lot of 42nd or 93rd. I got the first 42nd jacket I've seen in a long while at the SOS simply because it was named and I haven't seen any in a long time. Unfortunately, its a little difficult to research a "Lt Frank Young" when the seller doesn't know the state it came from :)

  6. Trying a new format for my pics with this one.

     

    Private Paul Melicharek was born to a small family of Czechoslovakian immigrants and by the time of the war worked as an elevator operator for Chase Bank on Wall Street. He received his draft notice in late 1943 and began training in field medical procedures. Shipped to Europe, he was assigned to the 180th IR, 45th ID as a replacement following the invasion of Southern France. Attached to an infantry platoon, Melicharek became quite familiar with the brutalities of war as a frontline combat medic in the terrible fighting of the Vosges Mountains. In early November, however, he would find himself on the receiving end. Chasing a German unit that had retreated to Raon L’Etape, the infantry soon became bogged in a dense forest full of roadblocks, booby traps, and massive fields of Schu-mines. It was in one of these minefields that Melichareks platoon-mate made a fatal step. Luckily he was only beside him, but he still suffered shrapnel injuries to his eye, hand, and arm. He would recover by he end of the month, however, and rejoined the 45th for operations pushing into Germany

     

    I’ve always been a big fan of the 45th, not the least because they fought much alongside my grandfather in the 36th. I know the uniform is fairly plain, but this was my first combat medic uniform and I found the story interesting. The neat patch stitching seems to have been done by the vet for decorative purpose. There is evidence where it was once fully sewn on but perhaps he wanted to be a little more frilly in occupation. Still, I am proud to keep the story and sacrifice of Private Melicharek alive.

     

    Also, much thanks to Plick27 for the research help.

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    Situation map and location of the 180th

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    It appears the forests were covered with these

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  7. Just got this today which helps shed a little more light on Aecks story. I managed to find the article he mentions, which was actually called “Forgotten GIs Who Saved D-Day.” It was written for the British men’s magazine “Saga” for the 20th anniversary of the invasion by famed historian, General S.L.A Marshall. He contextualizes the story by describing how many of the awards for the invasion were lost in paperwork and could not be awarded or evaluated until after the war. In these evaluations, he disagreed with Ike on whether or not the 1st ID should be given the PUC for their actions on Normandy and generally disapproved most of the suggested awards. Believing they shouldn’t, Marshall argues Omaha Beach was, at the unit level, a complete failure, and that it was the actions of 47 key individuals who made the situation their own, overcame the obstacles, and paved the way for a successful operation. It gives some better and more accurate details of Aecks experience on the beach.

    The article is filled with the stories he told to Ike to convince him of this, each are small anecdotes from the ground level describing the experiences of these 47 individuals on the beach and how their actions impacted the situation. For a few paragraphs he covers Aecks unit by following the story of Lt Col Metcalf. He once again mentions how the boats of HQ Co came in independently far away from the designated landing zones, allowing for heavy German fire to concentrate on each one. As his aid, Aeck came in on Metcalf’s boat, the first of the company. When they hit the beach, 6 men were killed instantly and another 15 were wounded struggling to get off the boat or wading ashore. Out of the rest of the platoon who sprinted up the barren stretch of shore, only Metcalf, Aeck, and 6 others made it to the boulders underneath the cliff face where they faced vertical and unending machine-gun and sniper fire.

    With men strewn across the beach dead or dying, Aeck with two other privates, Clarence Huffman and J D Wallace, began to run across the sands to bring the wounded to safety for treatment. With MGs tracing their steps, the three men were able to bring most of the wounded under the boulders or the nearest cover where they would perform emergency medical aid. As if this wasn’t enough, around noon a US Destroyer began firing upon their position in attempts to knock out the fortifications above. Two shells landed right above Aeck, burying four of the wounded under piles of rock, sand, and dirt. Despite working under fire for nearly an hour, Aeck and the others managed to dig the men out of the rubble, saving their lives once again. The fire continued for the entire day despite attempts to signal the destroyer, which refused to stop until the beachmaster managed to make his way to a working SFC radio and contact the ship.

    The article goes on to tell the stories of many other GIs in the 16th and 116th regiments and how their individual courage defined the landings rather than the fighting of entire regiments or divisions. The anecdotes are often gruesome but very inspiring. These men surely went through the closest to hell on earth and it only brings me more respect for Aeck and his compatriots.

    I have attached some photos and a link to my scans of the magazine. I am still awaiting Aecks file from NARA but as they have closed to the disease, it may be awhile longer.

     

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/rAaXwj2AAjgvDwAr7

     

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  8. Hey everyone,

     

    So I got this set a few years ago and only recently had the opportunity to really identify it. The group includes a 1949 dated transitions ike jacket and matching pants, but I’ve only included pictures of the jacket. The jacket itself has a few bits remaining, in particular the 13th AF patch, a good number of service stripes, and a laundry number written inside “B-0549”. I was having trouble finding a solid ID but now with the release of the Air Medal cards from the Air Force, believe I have been able to pin the uniform to a Sgt William E Bailey. I haven’t been able to find anything on his postwar service but I believe this gentleman ties the 13th AF and service stripe amount to the laundry number.

     

    The rank on the jacket denotes the individual as a sergeant and was the Air Force equivalent of the Army rank, as this is before the title Airman was distinguished and the current ranks were established. My real question for the forum is whether a laundry number would have transferred from Army Air Corps service to the new Air Force? This is the only serial number with matching service to the 13th AF and was hoping someone could give me any pointers as to whether they think I’m on the right track or if I’ve missed something about the transition from AAF to AF.

     

    As always any help is appreciated.

     

    Best,

    Alex

     

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  9. Hey everyone, so I’ve been trying to think of good ways to store and display a large grouping of marine corps photographs I have. My problem is that a good chunk of them have some vending problems. Most are 4x6 or around that size. Ideally, I’d like to make a small binder where I can properly store them all and sit it out when I do public displays. My concern is that the sheet protectors will not be strong enough to counter the natural curl of the photographs. If anyone had any suggestions of better ways to store large amounts of photographs in this condition please feel free to share! Thanks.

     

  10. Hey everyone, I have been trying to collect some uniforms from the Navy branches with SSI and recently stumbled across a wonderful Seabee set. The seller said he got it years ago from a goodwill in Portland, Oregon and showed me the very faded name tag. Luckily, I managed to find the name of the vet and his obituary but have been having trouble placing his unit.

     

    The name is SC1c Joseph Cecil Kilian, obituary says he may have gone by Joe. His rating is cook and has a GCM as well as a PTO with 3 stars. I do not know if anyone knows of a list with Seabee units by their campaign numbers or anything which might help me narrow down his unit. The GCM should also help me a little as it means he was in at least four years which is more uncommon to find with WWII guys. If anyone has any help at all please do let me know! I would rather not dig through every single Seabee unit history I can find online.

     

    Best,

    Alex

  11. Hey everyone, as I go through and research the pile of things I picked up at the big show I hope to complete and share their stories.

    Today I have the uniform set of Chief Warrant Officer Quincy Claunch McKithan, a two-war veteran and lifelong soldier. Born in February of 1898 in Forth Worth, Texas, McKithan grew up the son of a farmer watching the Texas town grow into a mighty industrial area. As he matured he found fascination with the changing technologies in his life, particularly automobiles, and picked up some handy technical skills working on them. In 1917, the excitement of war hit McKithan and with it, the desire to serve. In March of 1918 he enlisted with the United States Army and due to his technical mindset, was assigned as to the new Aviation Corps as a mechanic in the 36th Aero Squadron. He would train at Kelly Field near San Antonio working on JN-4 Jenny’s before being shipped to France where he would join the rest of the squadron in May. Overseas he worked at Cazaux Aerodrome, home of the French Aerial Gunnery School, and worked to maintain the overseas detachment of American military aircraft. His work would continue to support the American flyers until he returned home and was discharged on 11 April, 1919.

    In the postwar years McKithan settled down, married his sweetheart, and started a career as car mechanic just outside of Fort Worth. Life was pretty slow and regular for the next twenty or so years but as a certain foreign dictator’s speeches began to plague his radio and the changing borders of Asia plastered the newspaper front pages, McKithan once again felt the call to serve. On 25 November, 1940 McKithan signed up to serve with the Texas National Guard. Attached as the Staff Sergeant to Battery B, 133rd Artillery Regiment, McKithan trained his fellow Texans in the usage of the M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzers, leading them on field exercises and through the growing period of activity leading up to Pearl Harbor. Once the attack hit that fateful December morning, however, everything changed. On 2 February of 1942 the Texas National Guard was once again reorganized into the 36th Infantry Division, or “T-Patchers.” Noted by his commanders for his technical handywork and training skills, McKithan was reassigned as a Warrant Officer Junior Grade in the Artillery Headquarters of the entire 36th Division. When the division shipped out to the European theater in 1943, McKithan was right alongside them. Landing in French North Africa on 13 April, 1943, McKithan spent the next few months finishing up the training of the division artillery in preparation for the inevitable combat ahead.

    Sure enough, within a few months this combat began. On 5 September, 1943 McKithan and 247 other division personnel boarded the USS ANDROMEDA AKA-15 inbound for the invasion of Italy. Making her way offshore by 8 September, at 0730 the next morning she began sending men and material towards the shore. McKithan likely landed sometime around noon or late morning on the sands of Salerno, acting fast to organize the distribution of equipment and men on the beaches. As the Texans pushed up the beach and secured the initial landing sites, McKithan and the others tried to get together some sort of tangible command structure. For the next few days this was his role and as the division settled into the campaign, he once again rejoined fully in his job as a head-trainer and general warrant officer for the division artillery. McKithan served in this capacity for the remainder of the war, overseeing operations from Salerno to Southern Germany.

    In April of 1945 he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant at the age of 47. As the war came to a close and the division prepared to return home, McKithan was recognized for his long-standing meritorious service, and for exemplary action in performing his duties he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

    Rather than return immediately with the division, however, McKithan stayed as a staff officer with US Army Europe for several years, was promoted to captain in 1951, and even awarded the Army Commendation Medal. In 1953 he finally returned to Texas and joined the Transportation Corps of the Army Reserve. Upon reaching Chief Warrant Officer W-4 in 1959, McKithan began to wind down his army career and retired in May of 1960. He left for his Fort Worth home and lived out the rest of his days under the hot Texas sun until his death at the ripe age of 84.

    McKithan is a great example of who made up the US Army command-level staff, particularly in the national guard divisions. A WWI aviation veteran turned artillery expert, McKithan played an important role in the day-to-day operations of the 36th Division artillery forces throughout their entire European campaign. This uniform consists of his summer-weight khaki jacket and pants (which I don’t have on hand as they are being clened) and are likely the ones he used during his service in the latter half of the war and in the early occupation period. Ironically, the manufacturer, Washer Brothers, marks the uniform as coming from Fort Worth as well.

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    McKithan and Co B of the 133rd in 1940
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    Jenny’s at Kelly Field
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    LCVPs from the ANDROMEDA at Salerno which took McKithan ashore
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  12.  

    My advice to you at this point would be to contact Geoff at Golden Arrow Research with Aeck's full name and service number and see what he can find out about him thru the records center in St. Louis....if he was made a SGT while at Jefferson Barracks and separated from the Army as a SGT, it will show up there, along with a copy of his DD 214. Once he left the Regiment there would be no reporting of his activities in their record as he was no longer under the 116th's command.

     

    IMO if the records still exist they will tell the story of what all went down with his service record.

     

    Much thanks for your help, Ill have to reach out to a friend of mine who does work in the archives and see what can be found. If the sergeant stripes were added later, I too would like to know and replace them with what Aeck would have worn. I have attached a photo of the name inside, it passes all the tests and seems to have been there for a long time. As an early enlistee and spending so much time in England I can see him taking the time to tailor his four pocket to match the changing styles. I appreciate the help and hopefully we can clear up the MOH mystery

  13. A couple others along with myself are looking into what the documents say, and we shall see what comes up when we get into the weeds......what we know to start within the reports is that his rank is never indicated as a SGT or a promotion to SGT, but does show a promotion to PFC from PVT in late December 1944 and his MOS was that of an admin. He was still a PFC in Feb. 1945 when rotated home for 3 months TDY at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri, and stayed that way until dropped from the personnel rosters on 21 May 1945.

     

    Also, the reports do not indicate any travel by him from the Battalion to England to be with Metcalf, so that’s another thing......so on we go.

     

    As an aide or clerk to the Bn. Commander, he would very likely be in the position of processing the requests for valor awards, including his own......we shall see where this leads.

    I appreciate the help! I had looked at those online reports the association have and I think the parts mentioned are simply missing elements of the compiled records. I have other 115th uniforms that came with original documents that the online resource does not line up with perfectly or entirely. I’ve attached below the excerpt from Aecks personal testimony I found where he mentions several of these things. The Sergeant rank I imagine may have come as a last-minute sort of discharge thing, bumping him to NCO before getting out completely which I have seen happen before. In his account he also mentions remaining with Metcalf and rejoining HQ afterwards. If you can find valor awards he would have had please do let me know, I would love to see.

     

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