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Name etched on a Vietnam blade


Tritolo
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Tritolo

Hi everyone, I'm an Italian blade collector with a particular inclination to randall knives. I have few from Vietnam War period and one in particular is etched with soldier name, grade and SSN

I'm not confident on how to make research about us army ex soldier and I have no idea if there is a public register where to start from. 

The blade is etched LT. MERRIL L. RISING

Can someone give me a starting point? 

Thanks in advance

IMG_20211110_172031.jpg

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dcollector

If you post a nice close pic of the etching, there are guys here who could possibly help.

 

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Tritolo
1 minute ago, dcollector said:

If you post a nice close pic of the etching, there are guys here who could possibly help.

 

Thanks for your reply. The etching includes the Ssn that I'm not allowed to post. It is a Randall shop made inscription with name ("LT. MERRILL L. RISING") and the ssn. 

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Cobra 6 Actual

Although obtaining his military records, such as a copy of his DD-214 discharge papers, would be most helpful, there is a way to “decode” much of a Social Security Number:

 

https://stevemorse.org/ssn/ssn.html

 

So, as an example, someone with a fictional SSN of 578-01-2786 was issued his SSN in Washington, DC in 1936. Usually or at least often the SSN is issued where they lived when they were born or at a young age, usually before their first job. The last 4 digits unfortunately are just the group number. This may help you to cross-reference someone, since you already have his name.

 

Another thing that may help you to learn more of an individual’s time in the service is that the Army and Air Force converted to social security numbers on 1 July 1969, the Navy and Marine Corps on 1 January 1972, and the Coast Guard on 1 October 1974. Since he has his SSN on the knife it may mean that he bought the knife after those dates.

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Tritolo

Thank you very much! According with knife specifics, sheath and sharpening stone, it was built in '71-' 72. 

Thanks for precious informatons! 

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Tritolo

In a according to the research page you kindly linked, ssn refers to be released in Utah 1966.

I don't know how ssn is registered and when during a man 's life, but it is possible the this soldier got his ssn when he joined the army, possibly in 1966?

If it is possible, considering the historical period, there is an high probability that he was deployed somehow in Vietnam. Am I wrong? 

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Cobra 6 Actual

Most probably this means that he got his SSN issued in Utah as you noted, where he lived at the time of his first job. Usually, to be allowed to work a youth would have to be 14 to 16 years old to be able to get a job as well as avoid restrictive child labor laws. If he did not have a SSN when he went into the military he would most probably get a SSN then.

 

Although we are speculating it is most certainly possible that he was 14 to 16 years old in 1966, went into the military at 18 or thereafter and served in Vietnam (given that SSN’s were used by the Army beginning in 1969 and the VN War did not officially end until 1975).

 

Please remember though that this is all speculation. At this point we don’t even know which branch of the military he served in since all of the US military branches have a Lieutenant (LT) rank. If I was a “betting man” though, I think we will find that he was in the Army or the Marines.

 

Attempting to research his name on the Internet I come up with few men of that name. Are you sure that the first name is spelled “Merril” and not “Merrill”?

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Tritolo

Yes sir, double L, MERRILL. considering that knife is a model 15 "airman" i would have guessed Navy or Air force 😂

It would be great to have the possibility to roll the dice and  contact these men. 

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Cobra 6 Actual

Ah, you had earlier written “Merril” with only one “L”. So, then I found a “Merrill L. Rising” being promoted to US Army Lieutenant Colonel on April 19, 1989 as confirmed by the US Senate by Unanimous Consent on that date.

 

There is a man with that name, aged 73, living in Huntsville, Alabama. Could be the same guy, but again, you need someone more experienced in research than I am.

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Tritolo

Thank you, you're very kind. I found a probably same person on LinkedIn but his account seems to be inactive. Please, if you found a direct contact to him, I'd like to try to contact him so please Share with me what you found via PM. 

Thank you again

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Tritolo
1 hour ago, Cobra 6 Actual said:

Ah, you had earlier written “Merril” with only one “L”. So, then I found a “Merrill L. Rising” being promoted to US Army Lieutenant Colonel on April 19, 1989 as confirmed by the US Senate by Unanimous Consent on that date.

 

There is a man with that name, aged 73, living in Huntsville, Alabama. Could be the same guy, but again, you need someone more experienced in research than I am.

We got it! I'm happy to say that he is the original owner of the knife. I wrote a message to his company Facebook profile and they were so kind to deliver the message to him. He is the guy! I will post here the story as soon as I get any detail. 

Thank you! 

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sactroop

Another approach would be to take the first letter of his last name and the last four digits of the SSN.  That would create a laundry number which has been used since at least WW2.  While there will likely be many names on such a list with the information you already have you may be able to add additional information to it.  Good luck and happy hunting.

noticed you made the connection you wanted while I was typing the above.  Congratulations!

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VNAMVET70

Nice Randall. It is one of the most aggressive serrated blades I've ever seen. 

I read yesterday, "The Freedom of Information Act does not allow the general public to get a copy of a soldier's military records for 62 years". 

 

 

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