2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 26, 2017 9:20 AM by Jonathan Deiss

    War Department Commission Appointment and Records

    James Burnett Wayfarer

      Have confirmed through an Associated Press news story published in multiple newspapers January 1935 that the War Department appointed a "commission" to specifically seek names of individuals to be considered for the Medal of Honor as a result of performance during World War I. Dubbed a "commission of hero hunters," the group was tasked with searching the War Department archives to find at least seven more individuals worthy of the Medal of Honor.  Based on the story, no recommendations or awards had been made in "the last six months" which means the Commission would have been appointed and its instructions given sometime in 1934. According to an additional newspaper archive search, during the years 1935-1940, several Medals of Honor were awarded and are assumed to be, at least in part, linked to the findings and recommendations of this group. I am looking for the record group location of records pertaining to the appointment of this commission and to records, reports and recommendations of this commission. 

        • Re: War Department Commission Appointment and Records
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Mr. Burnett,

          Again, thank you for contacting the History Hub!

          General Pershing had a review conducted after the Armistice of all Distinguished Service Cross award files to see if any could merit the Medal of Honor. Later in the 1920s, the review function was give to the War Department Adjutant General’s Office. We located a series in RG 407 titled “Approved and Disapproved Applications for Decorations and Awards, 1905-1951” (NM-3 416) [NAID 7513370] that may contain some of the information you seek. In addition, please check the Central Decimal files [NAID 7513377 & 7513378] of the Army Adjutant General’s Office in Record Group 407, PI-17 37-H & PI-17 37-E, respectively, especially under decimals 200.6 or 334.

          If you wish to review these records, the staff of the Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RDT2) will be pleased to make the finding aids to these records available to you or your representative in the Textual Research Room at the National Archives in College Park, MD.  RDT2 is located at 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, near the University of Maryland--College Park campus.


          --Textual Research Room (Room 2000) hours are 8:45 AM to 5:45 PM Monday through Friday, except legal holidays.

          --Our consultation room hours are 8:45 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday, except legal holidays. No appointment is necessary.

          --Records are retrieved Monday through Friday for use in the Textual Research Room at 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM., 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday. We do not pull in advance.


          Prior to your visit, please consult our web site at http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/college-park/, http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/self-service-copying.html, and http://www.archives.gov/research/start/getting-started.pdf.


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

            • Re: War Department Commission Appointment and Records

              James Burnett The series that Rebecca mentioned (RG 407 titled “Approved and Disapproved Applications for Decorations and Awards, 1905-1951” (NM-3 416) [NAID 7513370])  is only composed of applications for Campaign Badges, and with rare exception has no applications for decorations.  It is primarily just badges, viz : Civil War Campaign, Spanish American War (two styles) Campaign Badges, Philippine Congressional Medal, Philippine Campaign Badge, Mexican Border Campaigns (two styles), and the Indian Wars Campaign badge.


              The applications are very brief statements of AGO certification for the badge, without lengthy explanation or voluminous paperwork.  However, the Decimal Classified series in RG407 may have relevant correspondence.  There may yet be records in the Legislative archives, and files in Record Group 92 (QMG), as well.