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USAAF patch on D-Day mechanic?


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My great grandfather served during WW2 as a mechanic. I found a picture of him where it seems that he's wearing a USAAF patch, which makes no sense because he was a land soldier. Do you know what this patch could be/signify?

 

His Story (I recommend reading through, it's pretty interesting): http://www.think-israel.org/kramer.margalit.html

 

Photos:

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Your great grandfather may very well have started off assigned to the Army Air Force. Look back at his story:

 

"In October 1943, the company was sent to upstate NY in preparation to being sent overseas. The company soon shipped out on the S.S. Aquitania to Scotland, joining 20,000 others on the ship.

 

After an arduous journey which included hours of watch duty clinging to an icy mast, Yassi landed in Scotland where their destination was an RAF air base in East Anglia. On the base Yassi's company set up an automotive repair garage, a small arms repair section, and space for the bomb supply vehicles, which they were responsible for."

 

That very much sounds like he was assigned to the motor pool at an airbase, as mentioned above.

 

Further in his story: "After the Normandy landing, Yassi and his company had little to do until they moved on towards Chartres. His new assignment was mechanic/interpreter with a crew searching for downed aircraft and then removing the ordnance, a job which kept him busy for many weeks."

 

Again, this would have been a function of the Army Air Force, not a normal infantry unit.

 

As far as his assignment after being discharged from the field hospital, that could have been a completely different unit. Manpower shortages were filled in theater as needed, and soldiers did not always return to their original unit.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Your great grandfather may very well have started off assigned to the Army Air Force. Look back at his story:

 

"In October 1943, the company was sent to upstate NY in preparation to being sent overseas. The company soon shipped out on the S.S. Aquitania to Scotland, joining 20,000 others on the ship.

 

After an arduous journey which included hours of watch duty clinging to an icy mast, Yassi landed in Scotland where their destination was an RAF air base in East Anglia. On the base Yassi's company set up an automotive repair garage, a small arms repair section, and space for the bomb supply vehicles, which they were responsible for."

 

That very much sounds like he was assigned to the motor pool at an airbase, as mentioned above.

 

Further in his story: "After the Normandy landing, Yassi and his company had little to do until they moved on towards Chartres. His new assignment was mechanic/interpreter with a crew searching for downed aircraft and then removing the ordnance, a job which kept him busy for many weeks."

 

Again, this would have been a function of the Army Air Force, not a normal infantry unit.

 

As far as his assignment after being discharged from the field hospital, that could have been a completely different unit. Manpower shortages were filled in theater as needed, and soldiers did not always return to their original unit.

That definitely could be possible, thanks for citation! The picture was taken in Chicago, so he would've started or ended the war in the air force. Probably the prior because, as the story states, he lost his unit after a grenade went off next to him. Thanks again! :)

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Interesting article. It does sound like he may have been part of or attached to an AAF Bomb Gp in England. He talks about taking care of the bomb carriers, probably the small tractors. Then he mentions how he was in France looking for downed aircraft and removing ordnance.

 

According to this site, http://www.ww2troopships.com/crossings/1944.htm ,

 

There was only one unit that sailed on the SS Aquitania. The 474th AAA did land on D-Day, http://www.skylighters.org/aaapatches/474.html

 

.

 

44-01-29
New York
NY
Aquitania
474th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion; some Red Cross personnel and officers on upper decks
sailed alone
near Glasgow,
Scotland
44-02-06
J. M. Clark (to
S. Lawson) memory and discharge paper
(more)

 

She did sail in 1943 from NY on 29NOV43, but there were Navy: Force "O" Underwater Demolition Team #5 or #25; Duha 20; AATSB; Navy No. 417. She did land in Scotland. http://www.skylighters.org/troopships/1943.html

 

 

 

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Interesting article. It does sound like he may have been part of or attached to an AAF Bomb Gp in England. He talks about taking care of the bomb carriers, probably the small tractors. Then he mentions how he was in France looking for downed aircraft and removing ordnance.

 

According to this site, http://www.ww2troopships.com/crossings/1944.htm ,

 

There was only one unit that sailed on the SS Aquitania. The 474th AAA did land on D-Day, http://www.skylighters.org/aaapatches/474.html

 

.

 

44-01-29
New York

NY

Aquitania
474th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion; some Red Cross personnel and officers on upper decks
sailed alone
near Glasgow,

Scotland

44-02-06
J. M. Clark (to

S. Lawson) memory and discharge paper

(more)

 

She did sail in 1943 from NY on 29NOV43, but there were Navy: Force "O" Underwater Demolition Team #5 or #25; Duha 20; AATSB; Navy No. 417. She did land in Scotland. http://www.skylighters.org/troopships/1943.html

 

 

 

That would explain it, there's an extended version of the story so I'll check if he mentions that ship when I get my hands on it. I'll also check if he was in the 474th. Thanks for your research! :D

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One more note: I have read elsewhere that as the strategic bombing campaign drew down, AAF personnel were assigned to other duties.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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When originally constituted, the Army Air Corps (AAC) was a branch of the Army just like the Signal Corps, Transportation Corps, Engineer Corps, etc. Then it was redesignated Army Air Force (AAF), the missions did not change. Not every one IN the AAF flew. For every one who actually flew in a aircraft there were something like 12 ground personnel supporting him (or her, in the case of the WASPs).

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That would explain it, there's an extended version of the story so I'll check if he mentions that ship when I get my hands on it. I'll also check if he was in the 474th. Thanks for your research! :D

 

You're welcome. I only researched that transport ship as he mentioned it in the article. What an interesting life he had.

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A question:

 

The nice stitching done on that SSI patch... was there any particular place or time period when that was being done more than another?

 

I love seeing that kind of stitching, and always wondered if it was mainly overseas, or done domestically, or what...

 

Does the stitching tell us anything additional?

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When originally constituted, the Army Air Corps (AAC) was a branch of the Army just like the Signal Corps, Transportation Corps, Engineer Corps, etc. Then it was redesignated Army Air Force (AAF), the missions did not change. Not every one IN the AAF flew. For every one who actually flew in a aircraft there were something like 12 ground personnel supporting him (or her, in the case of the WASPs).

That could be the case, do you know if they were active on D-Day?
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A question:

 

The nice stitching done on that SSI patch... was there any particular place or time period when that was being done more than another?

 

I love seeing that kind of stitching, and always wondered if it was mainly overseas, or done domestically, or what...

 

Does the stitching tell us anything additional?

That picture was taken in Chicago, however, I don't know if this was before the war or after.
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Would they be put into positions such as infantry?

 

During the Battle of the Bulge, all sorts of personnel were sent to reinforce infantry units that had taken losses at the front lines.

 

However, look at the narrative again where it says " An officer in the Third Army Tank Corps heard about Yassi's ordnance experience and was happy to take him on board. Yassi began repairing jammed machine guns and soon after moved out with the fuel and support vehicles of the battalion." This does not sound like an infantry assignment, but rather a maintenance position. He may have been supporting infantry or armor units, but this does not sound like front line infantry.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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During the Battle of the Bulge, all sorts of personnel were sent to reinforce infantry units that had taken losses at the front lines.

 

However, look at the narrative again where it says " An officer in the Third Army Tank Corps heard about Yassi's ordnance experience and was happy to take him on board. Yassi began repairing jammed machine guns and soon after moved out with the fuel and support vehicles of the battalion." This does not sound like an infantry assignment, but rather a maintenance position. He may have been supporting infantry or armor units, but this does not sound like front line infantry.

Yeah, that doesn't sound like infantry.
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During the Battle of the Bulge, all sorts of personnel were sent to reinforce infantry units that had taken losses at the front lines.

 

However, look at the narrative again where it says " An officer in the Third Army Tank Corps heard about Yassi's ordnance experience and was happy to take him on board. Yassi began repairing jammed machine guns and soon after moved out with the fuel and support vehicles of the battalion." This does not sound like an infantry assignment, but rather a maintenance position. He may have been supporting infantry or armor units, but this does not sound like front line infantry.

Does this mean that he could've joined a tank division during D-Day? Thanks for your response.
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Possibly. You really need to start tracking down some paper work on him. You will get better answers if you can find record of the units to which he was assigned.

 

You might want to get a copy of the book "Finding Your Father's War",

 

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Fathers-War-Understanding/dp/1612001998/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478051275&sr=1-1&keywords=finding+your+father%27s+war

 

There are also some tips on research on various threads on here.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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Possibly. You really need to start tracking down some paper work on him. You will get better answers if you can find record of the units to which he was assigned.

 

You might want to get a copy of the book "Finding Your Father's War",

 

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Fathers-War-Understanding/dp/1612001998/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478051275&sr=1-1&keywords=finding+your+father%27s+war

 

There are also some tips on research on various threads on here.

I just got his full story yesterday. I have a lot of reading to do! Thanks for the source, I'll definitely check it out. :)

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