3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 27, 2021 3:47 PM by Lowell Silverman

    What was the meaning of FSS in the US Army Air Forces?

    Lowell Silverman Adventurer

      I am researching a sergeant in the US Army Air Forces who was killed in action serving as a gunner aboard a B-17.  I obtained a copy of a document submitted to the Delaware Public Archives by his father that summarizes his training.  It refers to the 1003rd F.S.S. at the Stevens Hotel in Chicago and the #605 F.S.S., A.A.F.T.T.C. (Army Air Forces Technical Training Command).


      I have been unable to learn the meaning of "FSS" thus far.  The US Army had Medical Field Service Schools, but I can find no evidence the term was used in a USAAF context.  Flight Service Station appears in some acronym lists, so I was wondering if it was simply a matter of the USAAF having a number for all their training facilities, but again, I can't find any evidence that they used this term.  As far as I can tell, the US Air Force's Force Support Squadrons are a modern innovation.


      I should note that I've found that family-supplied information on these sheets have often contained errors, though this submission is particularly well-detailed and nothing jumps out at me as inaccurate.


        • Re: What was the meaning of FSS in the US Army Air Forces?
          Elliot Schneider Ranger

          Hello Lowell,


          Here is some information.


          From 1926 to 1942 the Materiel Division of the Office of the Chief of Air Corps (OCAC) was largely responsible for all operations of the AAF's logistical system. With headquarters at Wright Field and only a small liaison office in Washington, the Materiel Division through appropriate subsections administered the Air Corps' procurement and development programs, and through its Field Service Section (FSS) exercised ultimate responsibility for supply and maintenance within the Air Corps. The FSS controlled four major air depots located at San Antonio, Texas; Fairfield, Ohio; Middletown, Pennsylvania; and Sacramento, California.


          The overseas air depots in Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippines came under the jurisdiction of the local departmental commands, with FSS acting only in an advisory capacity. Direct control by the FSS thus extended only to the four continental air depots, which stocked and distributed Air Corps supplies and overhauled and repaired aircraft for operating units. The provision of immediate service and maintenance for combat units on Air Corps bases fell to military organizations normally under the direct control of the base commanders. These bases received their supplies from the Field Service depots and could look to those depots for assistance in maintenance.


          Additionally I saw on the web from the Sioux Falls, SD Historical Society that the Sioux Falls AAF Base had AAFTS also known as Army Air Forces Technical School

          • Re: What was the meaning of FSS in the US Army Air Forces?
            Rachael Salyer Pioneer

            Dear Mr. Silverman,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            According to the Air Force Historical Support Division’s publication of The U S Army Air Forces in World War II Volume 6: Men And Planes, FSS stands for Field Service Section.


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 10 files related to the Field Service Section during the 1940s in the Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations (Record Group 342). These records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov for access to and information about these and similar records.


            Next, we located the series  Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), 1942-1947 in the Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General (Record Group 92) that may include a MACR for the individual you are researching. Most of these records have been digitized and can be viewed online in the Catalog, and you may contact RDT2 for additional assistance with these records.


            In addition, RDT2 has custody of microfilm copies of operational records relating to U.S. Army Air Force/U.S. Air Force units. We searched the Air Force History index to the microfilm and located 2 files related to Stevens Hotel in the 1940s that may be relevant to your research. Please read the brief Abstract to determine which records you are interested in and click on the specific PDF icon. In the PDF listing, the IRISREF is the microfilm reel number and note the FRAME and FRAMELST numbers for the location on the reel. If the reel number begins with A, B or C, please contact RDT2 via email at archives2reference@nara.gov for more information about them.


            If the reel number begins with D - Z, the microfilm is still security classified and RDT2 will not be able to make the reel available to you. The original paper copy from which the film was created is still in the custody of the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) and has been declassified. To obtain copies of these records, please follow the instructions on this page.


            If you have not done so already, we also suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and before 1959 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


            Plus, the information you seek may be contained in his Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF). IDPFs from 1940-1976 for U.S. Army personnel with surnames that begin with A-L are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). For more information about these records, please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov. For the IDPFs from 1940-1976 of personnel with surnames that begin with M-Z, please write to U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Casualty & Memorial Affairs Operations Division, ATTN: AHRC-PDC, 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Department 450, Fort Knox, KY 40122-5405. They are being scanned by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in order to properly identify remains of those still listed as missing.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2 and RL-SL. Also, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter, and those involving the VA Home Loan program. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels.  Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!