Monday, November 24, 2008

My Quest to know more... Post #3

This is a news clipping from March 11, 1944 from a local paper in Adams MA where my Grandparents lived at the time my Grandfather entered the military. This clipping states that Grandma has received word that Granddad is in England. All of this sort of "news" was published in the local paper.

Another info packed post today on my search for my Grandfather's military service. Last week I promised to talk about military papers - all boring and such if you're not into this kind of thing but what a treasure to find for a genealologist!! However, if you don't look at every detail you could miss something AND all those details can also raise more questions. Of course, I have the subscriptions to the major records available on line at Ancestry and there is such a mass of info there it's sometimes overwhelming. But, nothing can compare to having the actual original documents in your hands. All tattered from time and folded and torn. At any rate, having Granddad's Seperation Report, his enlistment information and even his medal award documents wasn't enough. According to the docs he was discharged for wounds he rec'd on July 29th - a mission he volunteered to take due to a shortage of a gunner in another crew. How was he wounded? Where was he at the time? What plane was he on? All these things I wrote about in my previous posts - But, most importantly - where were these medals he received? No one in the family knew. Grandma couldn't recall what ever happened to them - probably lost in the many moves the family made after the war. Off I went to the 94th Bomb Group website again to see what info was available on medals - turns out I was referred to the National Archives website. To my surprise, the website stated that you could order replacement medals - Huzza!!! So, after many many many forms and paperwork and phone calls and months of waiting ..... they finally told me (in Sept of this year) that he had been out of the service too long - more than 60 years. Somthing they could have told me in the beginning, for I had provided them with his discharge date on the VERY first document completed, way back in February of this year!! This simply was not fair!! I set out to see if I could purchase replicas of the medals for they told me that "the military has more than met it's obligation in issuing replacement medals" this simply did not apply to my family!! It's not my fault that they fail to keep track of this stuff!

I heard along the way that your local state representatives of Congress could help in dealings with the Federal Gov't (after all that is their job) and election time was upon us so I decided to give it a shot - do you know that they responded to me IMMEDIATELY and began to look into the problem. Last week I received a copy of a letter from the National Personnel Records Center (the folks who issue the medals), sent to the Congresswoman's office and would you believe the order for the medals has already been placed? No long paperwork burden, no "form letters" just a nice letter stating that the medals have been ordered and the copy of the form was included. Unbelievable!!!! Today's Nov 19th and I don't have word of their receipt at the Congresswoman's office just yet but needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting word from them every day.

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