Seeking WWII service records for Herbert W. McQuown, USAAF DOB 11/30/1915

My father, Herbert W. McQuown, retired as a Lt. Col from USAF after 30+ years of service. During WWII in the USAAF, I think he flew out of North Africa for at least part of the war (Tunis?). I believe he mentioned flying missions to Italy. I do not know which aircraft, but I believe at least one was a fighter plane. He was wounded at some point and separated from his squadron, but made it back to base later. He did receive a Purple Heart among other decorations. He passed away in 2000 and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery. I will try to find more information, but I am not sure how much I have. 


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

    Your inquiry concerns your interest in obtaining “service records” of your father, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert W. McQuown, who served with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.  

    Military service personnel files and individual medical reports for the period in which you are interested are in the custody of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. You should complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail to the Military Personnel Records, National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. You may also apply online. Please be aware that there was a fire at the Records Center in 1973 and some records were destroyed.

    Selective Service records for individuals who served after World War I and born before 1960 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis, ATTN: RL-SL, P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138-0757; Phone: 314-801-0850; Fax: 314-801-9187; email:  There are two types of records: the ledgers and the cards.  The ledgers are in the public domain and not restricted by privacy.  The cards are considered personal information and written permission for release, a death certificate, and/or an indication that the information is requested for genealogical purposes should accompany the request for copies of the cards. Please use the enclosed form to request a search of these records.

    World War II U.S. Army Enlistment Records are in the custody of the Electronic Records Division (RDE) and are available via AAD (Access to Archival Databases) on the National Archives website at:  Click on "World War II" under the category section. A list of the databases relating to WWII will appear and select the first database to search the WWII U.S. Army Enlistment Records.

    U.S. Army Air Forces combat mission reports for the World War II period are among the textual records in our custody.  This series consists of the original mission reports pertaining to specific targets.  These reports were filed by the units and sometimes include encounter reports by pilots, aerial photographs, and loading lists.  The reports are arranged by units, and identification of the group or squadron and a date of interest are necessary before a search can be conducted. We do not have a name index to these records.

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  • Dear Sir, 

    Albert Dow McQouwn is my great-great grandfather, which should make your father my great-uncle. Were you able to find out more information about your father? I would love to know more about him. 


    Tony Wilson 

    Fullerton, CA 

  • Tony, I would love to give you more information, but I am in the middle of a huge move and won't really have the time until after the first of the year. I don't want to forget! Please contact me again--maybe in February. Right now, the short answer is that I haven't heard from anyone on this website other than you.

    Happy Thanksgiving,


  • My grandfather also served in North Africa & Italy!!  He served in radio communications in Fighter Control!

    I found a picture of your father's damaged plane and a brief report:

    National Archives NextGen Catalog

    NAID: 204944875   (this is the record ID you can use to look it up, in case the link does not work)

    National Archives NextGen Catalog

    NAID: 204944872

    Lt Col McQuown was flying a Lockheed P-38 in North Africa at the time (circa July 1943), when his plane was hit by both a 20mm shell and machine gun fire. One of the bullets apparently ricocheted off his instrument panel and into his leg. Despite this injury, he was able to successfully fly back to base.

  • Thank you so much, Airheart! I have no idea how to find such information.

    I know more about the incident in the report. I think it is a good story -- almost out of an old Hollywood WWII movie. I will happily share it with you if you are interested. I have the bullet! Just contact me again if you would like to read about it.

    I can't help but wonder if your granddad and my father knew each other.

  • If I have the correct person I served in Vietnam with him 1967-68.  He was a pilot on O-2 aircraft and the group commander.  I was his crew chief at the time.  I know he was buried at Arlington as well.  

  • Thank you for getting in touch with me. Yes. That was my dad. He is buried at Arlington as is my mom. I have his flag. It is nice to know that he is remembered. I was married in Honolulu in 1968 and Dad flew there from Vietnam to walk me down the aisle. I hope you are doing well. You must have been very young in 1967! Dad seemed to have had great luck with crew chiefs over the years.

  • I tried over the years to locate him or a family member and I am glad I didn't give up.  I knew he was buried in Arlington and I believe he lived to be 88 years old.  He chose me as his crew chief.  I had a reputation of being able to fix anything on the aircraft he flew.  He flew an O-2 and sometimes an O-1. He was in command of the 20 TASS in April 15. 1967.  I turned 21 in August of that year.  I seriously feared officers especially above Major and I think he realized that and was very kind to me.  He took me out of country several times.  He also took me into the bush a couple of times.  The aircraft he flew is in the Arizona graveyard. I am now 77 years old and doing well for an old guy.

  • Would love to hear the story! I had wondered the same thing

  • I only know some of the story because Dad only told it to my husband who was also a fighter pilot. Dad didn't really talk about his time in WWII. Because I can't relate many details the story is probably more interesting to me than my retelling will be to you.

    When my dad and his airplane got shot up he got separated from his squadron. I don't know what happened to the enemy airplane(s) and pilot--I wish I had thought to ask either Dad or my husband. The fact that he eventually made back to North Africa is kind of a combination of a miracle and skill. Apparently, he got back to his base quite a long time after the rest of the squadron. Almost everyone thought he probably was lost in the sea. But, his crew chief never doubted he was coming back and was waiting by the runway when Dad landed. Dad had a high regard for that man for the rest of his life. I do, too!

    What isn't mentioned in the report is that some of the shrapnel that hit his knee also hit his head. He carried that shrapnel in both places for the rest of his life. In fact, the piece in his head may have contributed to his death.

    Oddly, I was recently contacted here on History Hub by a fellow who was my father's crew chief in Vietnam. I think Dad had a crew chief guardian angel.