Weekly Planner: Research Military Units

Most of us can identify at least one family member in our family tree who served in the military. Have you researched his or her military service? Where were they stationed? Did they see active duty and if so, what engagements did the unit participate in? Look for their military unit history online and investigate the holdings of the archives of their service branch. Learning more about our ancestors military service is a great way to honor the veterans in our family this Veterans’ Day.

8 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Research Military Units

  1. For many front line units this is an easy task, there are many unit based associations, and records kept from action in service. I have been trying to research my fathers AAA unit from WWII , a unit that didnt enter action in the Philippines until July of 1945, and was pieced together as an infantry unit in support of the 8th Army, information is scarce. There are “Order of Battle” books out there that detail most fixed assets, but if a unit is thrown together , there is a lot of digging to do.
    With WWII soldiers too, the fire in 1973 at the records warehouse in St Louis is a major catastrophy. Most army personel data has been lost.

    But Don’t give up.. the truth is out there.

  2. I’m more aware today of what Veteran’s Day means since my son-in-law is currently serving in the Air Force and has made many trips into the war zones. I try to document his experiences as much I can now as they happen. There have been members of my family in all the wars (except the Gulf War) dating back to the Civil War. I was fortunate enough to have talked to two of my uncles who were in WWII in Europe and the Phillippines to hear accounts of their experiences. First account stories are worth so much.

  3. I have found the records of my brothers in law, my brother and many cousins and friends. I have not found the records of my late husband. He served in WW11 and I have all his records. In fact I stayed with him for one and 1/2 years in US army air corp bases until he was sent overseas. Is there any way his records can be located or can I send a copy of his records and Honorable Discharge to someone. Please reply

  4. Mary,
    Neither the WWII Draft Registrations nor the WWII Enlistments databases are all-inclusive, and many records held at the National Archives Military Personnel Center were burned in a 1973 fire. That’s probably why you can’t find your husband. You can get more information on the coverage of each database by clicking through to the extended description on the search pages for each database.

    Have a great day!

  5. I’ve been trying to document an ancestor’s involvement in the Missouri Militia during the “Mormon Wars”. I’ve exhausted everything I can think of – is someone out there more creative than I am?

  6. It seems each year I fell the sadness of the Veterans of any war. Before I started any of my family trees the only three people that I know served in any war were my father, his brother and my first husband. Since researching and putting family stories together I discovered a relative who served during “The Great War”. I finally found his name but I can not find a date of his service. As family stories goes, it is said that this relative died while in France of Pheonima. I have no dates to work with and I was just wondering is there a database to search for relatives that dies overseas during the Wars. I have no idea if my relative was shiped back to the states or maybe he is buried in France. Thanks,

  7. Every Veterans day and Memorial Day are truly sad days of reflection for me. My mother and Father had six boys. All of us served our country honorably. All of them are now dead except me. Why God has chosen to let me live this long I do not know. Maybe its to Honor them and our parents who gave so much. My three oldest brothers served during WWII. My oldest brother Paul was a Navy officer and served on a minesweeper in both WWII and again in Korea he died at 80. My second oldest brother David was pulled out of OCS in Wisconsin in early 1944 and sent as a Staff Sgt to Ft Benning in preparation for the invasion we now know. He died in Germany at 23 in 1945 according to the telegram we received. I answered the knock on the door the day we were notified. I have tried to trace the route of his unit remembering that he had worn both a 3rd Infantry Division patch and a 71 in a circle rimmed in red for the 71st. I tried the National Archives but they said his records were burned in a St. Louis fire. My third oldest bother Rudolph, served with the Army Air Force, was wounded, but died at 81. I was the 4th and served in the Air Force in Korea in 1952 during that war. Gerald my fifth brother served in the Army between the Korea and Vietnam wars and died an early death at 56 of an aneurism. Samuel, my youngest brother served in the Army also between those wars, was a fireman and then a policeman and died an early death at 55 in an accident. Each one of those holidays I dutifully decorate the graves and plant a wreath and five 8×11 inch flags above their headstones and give them a salute for their service. On Veterans Day, I am so alone with them. That is my unique way of honoring and tearfully remembering them and the things we once did together.

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