From family history that I’ve been told there isn’t many stories that I’ve heard about my grandfather’s time in the military. I’ve heard stories when he was a coach, I’ve heard stories about him running the city pool, and I’ve heard stories about his years teaching – yet only the vaguest of information about his time in the military. Since today is Veteran’s Day, I thought I would at least share what I know of the few members of my family that have served in the military.
Army Air Corp Insignia
While he is listed as being in the Air Force, timeline wise it looks like he joined in pre-formation of the Air Force. Grandpa enlisted on September 3, 1943. On January 6, 1944 he started into the Army at Fort Thomas in Newport, Kentucky. His Army serial number is 15406176. His terms of enlistments were the length the war (World War II) plus 6 months. He was assigned to the US Army Air Corp, which is where things get a little confusing.
Looking online the designation of the Air wing of the Army went through a few changes. By the time my grandfather joined the Air Corp was already starting to be phased out. It would go on and be replaced by the US Army Air Forces. The US Army Air Forces would then become the US Air Force in 1947, which was after my grandfather left the service. I’m assuming some of the military records list him as being in the Air Force due to this direct lineage.
US Army Air Forces Insignia
His first enlistment ended on November 20, 1945. He is marked for reenlistment on November 21, 1945. On November 25, 1945 he is listed as being a Sergeant in the the US AAF out of Topeka, Kansas. I think this was his home base designation, but sometime around then he was sent to the Philippines . There he would have been a member of the Fifth Air Force. He was designated as a scout, so I am assuming with the timeline that he was either in the 6th Reconnaissance Group or the 71st Reconnaissance Group.
US Army Air Forces Sergeant Emblem
Fifth Air Force Emblem
Now from stories that were passed down to me, I heard that Grandpa never saw combat. Which in actuality, since he was a scout, should have been unlikely. He might have run into other planes – they weren’t throwing the reconnaissance planes directly into combat. I don’t know what Grandpa flew on, but here are the planes of the Fifth Air Force’s Reconnaissance Groups:
Lockheed P-38 Lightning
Consolidated B-24 Liberator
North American B-25 Mitchell
Grandpa was discharged on December 14, 1946. Listed above is about all I know about his military service. He loved watching the World War II documentaries so much that even his young grandchildren were forced to watch. I wonder if he was trying to watch for any film on his group in the military. I assume that I could likely do a Freedom of Information Act Request and find out more about his missions and where he was stationed. However, if they are as cryptic as the the standard military service record – that could be painful to work through on it’s own.
To all those that have served – Happy Veterans Day.