Reason my Father Robert E Davidson serving with Co "A" 194th Tank Bn. 47th Inf Div. Camp Rucker, Ala. received a Bronze Star during the Korean war. Records were lost in 1973 fire. Is there any way to get anymore information?

How can I find any information about why my Father received the Bronze Star in Korea? 

  • According to Wikipedia, the 47th Infantry Division was used as a replacement division, and its personnel and units were transferred to Regular Army units.

    I went to the Korean War Project and searched for your father's name, and there appeared to be several hits under the 2d Infantry Division General Orders. I didn't pursue further, because it would take a fair amount of time to open the set of orders, then search for the name, then scroll to each hit, then repeat.

    2nd Infantry Division General Orders - Korean War

    But you might want to do it.

    I didn't see hits from the other divisions, but you might want to repeat the search here:

    Korean War Project

  • Than you so very much for trying to help me. Unfortunately for me I have very little to go on. My father died at age 52 in 1984. According to my mother her never told her why or the circumstances that led to him getting the medal. Didn’t talk about the was at all. The only scrap of info she knew was that he was a “Forward Observer” whatever that means on the front lines. He was drafted in 1951 and he was discharged as a Staff Sargent after serving in Korea 18 months. The only thing that has a date is his DD214 and a newspaper clipping dated Nov 23 1952 showing the pinning of the medal at Camp Rucker. Any hel or suggestion you could give would be greatly appreciated. I had one reply but the man wanted 400dollars to help me. Sorry for the long post and thank you again for responding! 

  • A "Forward Observer" is someone who is assigned to an artillery unit (usually they are a team of two or three) who are attached to another unit for the purpose of directing artillery fire. They get told the target by the unit they're on the ground with, they get on the radio, and they issue a "call for fire" to the artillery unit they're assigned to. When the artillery fire hits, they then adjust it by giving directions to the artillery unit until it's getting the maximum effect. Then they have the artillery unit shift fires as needed until the target is destroyed.

    They're called "Forward Observers" because they're forward--on the front lines with the unit they're supporting--and they are observing the artillery fires and adjusting the fires for maximum effect.

    Officers and noncommissioned officers in other branches (infantry, armor, etc.) are trained on how to call in artillery, but they're not as good at it as a trained artilleryman is. So a forward observer is like gold to a supported unit, especially when things are going really, really bad.

    It looks like he may have been discharged as a Staff Sergeant, but only have been a Sergeant in Korea. That's not unusual; my father Corporal and was discharged as a Sergeant First Class (but he was on a 3-year enlistment). And the 194th may have been the unit he was assigned to "run out the clock" on his enlistment; I found this clipping from the Alabama Journal dated 17 June 1952 on

  • Wow, thank you. I can't thank you enough for giving me these tidbits of information. Please let me know of any other sites I can search for information. I was heartbroken when I received conformation that his entire record was destroyed in the 1973 fire. I was 27 years old when my father passed away he never told me anything and I failed to ask. In fact I was a teen before I ever even saw the medal. I will be searching the general orders link you sent to me. Again hank you for even taking the time to reply. God Bless! 


    Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!

    The Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RR2RR) has custody of the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917- (Record Group 407), U.S. Army Command Reports, 1949-54, and the Records of U.S. Army Operational, Tactical, and Support Organizations (World War II and Thereafter) (Record Group 338). Command reports among these records consist mostly of narrative historical and after action reports as well as unit journals and other supporting documents. We reviewed these records but unfortunately we were not able to locate general orders or award information for the 194th Tank Battalion or the 47th Infantry Division that include information on Robert E. Davidson. 
    We additionally reviewed Eighth Army Award Case Files within Record Group 338 but again were not able to locate records for Robert E. Davidson. If you are able to identify who issued the Bronze Star, date of issue, and general orders number please let us know and we will gladly continue searching our records for you. 

    We invite you to continue the conversation with community members on History Hub, but should you have follow up questions for the staff at Archives II, please email us at so that we can assist you further.

    We hope this assists you with your research!


    Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RR2RR)
    [RR2RR 23-56394-SZ]
  • Unfortunately I don't have any information. He never told my mother when or why he got the medal. The only thing she remembered was that she knew he was a 'forward observer". We have some pictures of him and some of his comrades but only one has a name on it and I can't find any information searching his name. I was young when my father passed away so I didn't think to ask any questions. I never even saw the medal until I was a teen. I was depending on his military records not ever thinking about them being destroyed in a 1973 fire. I will continue to search and keep up with these posts. Maybe I will get lucky some day.  Thank you so much for trying to help. 

  • Is a shoulder patch or other unit insignia visible in any of the photos? Maybe painted on the front or side of a helmet? Or on a sign in the background? If so, and you can post a high-resolution copy, someone might be able to recognize it and help identify the unit, helping narrow down your search. Even the shape can be distinctive. Each of the divisions that fought in Korea, and the Corps, had distinctive shapes to their shoulder patches.

  • The pictures are very small and even enlarged they don’t show any detail enough to see their uniforms. I do remember the mention of him being on Kojedo Island (not how it’s spelled now) at some point. On his dress uniform in the newspaper clip of the medal pinning there is a patch that is kinda leaf shaped with a lightening bolt inside it and on the other side and on the helmet is a round patch in blue and red with a Viking pictured in it. Also the stripes of Sargent with a T. The combat pictures I can’t see any last names. Only one has the name Pap Nolen. I have the Sargent stripes patch but don’t know what happened to the Viking or the lightening patch. 

  • In the Army, Soldiers wear patches on their shoulders for specific reasons. The patch on their left shoulder is for their current unit of assignment. That is the Viking patch, and is the 47th Infantry Division, which was mobilized at Camp Rucker, to which the 194th Tank Battalion was assigned.

    47th Infantry Division Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

    On their right shoulder, Soldiers who have been to war wear what is known as a "Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, Former Wartime Service," more informally known as a "Combat Patch."

    The patch you have described is the shoulder sleeve insignia of the 25th Infantry Division. It is a Taro Leaf with a lightning bolt, since the division was originally raised in Hawaii. It's pretty distinctive, and your description is spot-on. It's official nickname is "Tropic Lightning," but in Vietnam, soldiers referred to it as "The Electric Strawberry."

    25th Infantry Division Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

    Assuming your father didn't serve in World War II, we can conclude he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division when he was in Korea.

    The Division does have an association, and it looks like they have an archive of donated records at the Marshall Center at the Virginia Military Institute.

    25th Infantry Division Association – Welcome, Tropic Lightning Veterans and Active Duty Soldiers (

  • Oh, my! I am so thankful for your continued effort to help me gain a little understanding of things military. Any knowledge is a blessing to me. I have sent an email to the website you attached here but haven't heard from them as of yet. The medal, his Sargent stripes and dog tags are all I have had over the years which is something. My mother doesn't know what happened to these two patches. Again so appreciate you taking time to respond and help!