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? 

Parents
  •  

    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 archives2reference@nara.gov so that we can assist you further.

    We hope this assists you with your research!

    Sincerely,

    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. 

  • Goodness. This is just incredible stuff we would never decipher on our own. You have been invaluable to us in this journey to find out how special a man our Dad was during his 18 months in Korea. He was a simple country boy but very smart. Except for putting his pin on backwards! Those domed collar pins I do recall seeing years ago we don’t have them now. My mom says he definitely was Forward Observer and he served with another one who was black. She recalls seeing blue on that hat pin. These other pictures are part of the group with nothing written on them. Again I hope I haven’t bothered you too much but I’m so happy you have been willing to help. I guess I should have started this quest a long time ago but life flys by! 

  • I know what you mean about life flying. In the one picture he's carrying a mortar round. And wearing his Combat Infantryman's Badge. It's a big mortar round, so probably with the Regimental Heavy Mortar Company.

    In the second picture, with the tank, there's not much to be discerned. Tanks often accompanied infantry in combat (indeed, it's poor tactics to employ tanks without accompanying infantry--they're too vulnerable otherwise). But other than that it doesn't tell us much. Now if you had a picture of the front or back of a vehicle, I could tell you a lot based on the "bumper numbers" painted on it. 

    For example, in this picture, my dad is driving a jeep assigned to the 148th QM Company (Graves Registration), assigned too the 23d Quartermaster Group. It's also vehicle number 1, as the company numbered them.

    And I wouldn't worry about the ribbon bar being upside down. You see a lot of people putting ribbons in the wrong order. And I once stooped a Sergeant Major who had his patches sewn on the wrong shoulders . . .

  • I love it ! Thanks for sharing. This is the only one of the pictures that has anything on the back. He almost got the front bumper but all it’s got is Jeep HM-9. Skeet (my father’s nickname) is driving I tried to google the name but it’s Pop or Pap probably a nickname too. Looks like two wolf heads on either side of the windshield. I really wish the front bumper was shown. 

  • You are making this entirely too easy.

    Your father was assigned to the 27th Infantry Regiment.

    Their nickname was the "Wolfhounds," which is what is written in the middle of the bumper.

    Their unit crest had a wolf on it and is one of the few that was "mirrored, meaning that the right and left shoulder crests were different, so that the wolf's head would always look forward, when you wore them on your shoulders.

    You'll notice that they look just like the ones painted on the jeep, too.

    The crest is described as follows:

    Description/Blazon
    Left: On a black oblong a wolf's head erased facing to the left in gold above the motto "NEC ASPERA TERRENT" in gold letters. Right: On a black oblong a wolf's head erased facing to the right in gold above the motto "NEC ASPERA TERRENT" in gold letters. The insignia is 1 inch (2.54 cm) in height.

    Symbolism

    The wolf's head is a glorified design developed as a result of the nickname "Wolfhounds" for the 27th Infantry. The nickname "Wolfhounds" was adopted by the organization due to its service in Siberia during World War I. The motto has been in use by the Regiment since its activation and translates to "Frightened By No Difficulties."

    Background

    The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 1 May 1931.
    If the letters on the right side do say "HM9," it would further support the idea that he was assigned to the Heavy Mortar Company of the Regiment. If it said "HW9," it would support him being in the Heavy Weapons Company of one of the battalions.
    Either way, I'd say it's a pretty sure bet he was a Wolfhound of the 27th Infantry Regiment.
    There is a 27th Infantry Regiment Historical Society, their website is here:
  • I'm actually shedding tears. I have looked at these little two inch square black and white pictures a thousand times over the years. I could not have guessed there could be that much information in them that I did not see. And getting a response from you was heaven sent. I may never know exactly why my Father got the bronze star but I now know some things about him I couldn't have ever known. I have come to realize he actually was a BADASS! Which I knew anyway. Now I am determined to keep digging and maybe I will get lucky. I love all things military my great-great grandfather were Civil war Vets. One Confederate (pictured) the other a Union Soldier commander of a black regiment born in New York City. History and ancestry are addicting. I hope to keep communicating with you it's been a pleasure and an honor. 

  • Ha! My great grandfather was a Union Infantryman, his father-in law was a Confederate Cavalryman. Must have made for some interesting holiday dinners.

    The Army used to have a TV Show called "The Big Picture." They had an episode called "The 25th Infantry Division in Korea."

    It is available on YouTube here:

    www.youtube.com/watch

  • I watched this video it was very informative and a little scary. There is one picture of my Dad's that has some children playing, a couple with mountains and one of what looks like its from inside a cave. It's crazy that I can find out more about my Civil War G-G Grandfathers from Muster Rolls and such found in my ancestors possessions than I can about my Dad. I filled out the form for replacement medals maybe I will get lucky. Since records were burned how did they issue a DD214? Maybe I don't know what the initials in box 27 mean. I know you do. Will they only replace the medals shown on the DD214? 

Reply Children
  • As with everything in the military, "it depends." The abbreviations say

    Combat Infantryman's Badge

    Korean Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star (your father was wearing two)

    United Nations Service Medal

    Overseas Service Bars-1

    The overseas Service Bar is a cloth (embroidered) bar, roughly 1/4 by 1 1/4 inch that was sewn on the right sleeve of the uniform coat that represented six months in combat. And there was no rounding up. So, if your father spent 11 months in Combat, he got 1 bar.

    As for the two service stars he wore versus the one shown on his DD-214, it's POSSIBLE that the second star was authorized after he was discharged. In that case it wouldn't have shown up on the DD-214, which is a snapshot on the day he left active duty. Do you know if he spent any time in the Army Reserve after he was discharged? That could explain both the 2nd bronze service star and the infantry regimental crests versus the armor battalion listed on his discharge papers as a unit of assignment. OF course, he also could have been cross-leveled while still on active duty to fill a key position, so maybe not.

    As to the National Defense Service Medal, they should issue that automatically. It wasn't an existing award when he was discharged, but he was authorized it once it was authorized, based on his dates of service.

    Depending on if they do any digging, you may also receive some unit awards. They are ribbons enclosed in gold frames that are awarded to every member of the unit. If you're in the unit during the period the award covered, then it's awarded to you. When we wrote for my dad's awards, they included a Korean Presidential Unit Citation that he wasn't aware his unit had been awarded, and which wasn't on his DD-214.

    The Bronze Star will be more interesting, since it's not listed on his DD-214. We'll have to see on that one. If it's not, we may have to find a copy of the orders to send in and request a replacement medal set. Unless you have a copy of the citation or orders in your possession, but I'm gathering you don't.

    As to how the DD-214 survived--The DD-214 is a separation document. It's prepared as you're leaving the service. In fact, your father should have signed it someplace on the form. And my understanding is that copies were filed in several places within the government--in the individual's personnel file (which was in the fire) and with the VA, for example. And they can access the alternate copies. Since yours is a reverse image, if it was received from the Archives, I'd suspect it was an alternate copy obtained from a roll of microfilm that wasn't stored at the NPRC when the fire occurred. Or at least, it was stored in a different part of the building.

  • I sent a request to the archives and received a letter stating that they would send the National Defense Service Medal but would require a copy of the DD214 before any others could be issued. I will mail or Fax if I can. The military is complicated when records are destroyed. The pictures I sent are all we have besides those few Korea pictures. Her entered in March 1951 and was discharged December 1952 he returned from Korea in June of 1952 on the W.F. Hase to San Francisco. The bronze Star was pinned at Camp Rucker in November 1952. All I have to go on are these dates and the DD214 which does bear his signature. We got the copy I have when my Mother filed for burial and a marker. I can't explain the awards that show in the picture of him in uniform unless they were awarded after his return and will at Camp Rucker waiting to be discharged. I guess what is shown on him that isn't listed on the DD214 I won't be able to get replaced. I would like to get them all and see how he got them but that fire erased that. Without your help I wouldn't have as much as I do. If these current pictures give any it will help. 

  • My brother just found this Discharge Certificate in his storage box. I didn’t know it existed. It was mailed in December of 96 so it looks like her was transferred from active duty the to Army ready reserve. So is the Dec. 1952 date on the DD214 what I should be putting on documents or should I be using Dec. 1956? I’m confused now. I hate to keep bothering you and if you want me to stop contacting you just tell me I sure have appreciated your invaluable help so far. 

  • Send a copy of the newspaper article on the Bronze Star Medal, as well as the DD-214. There are record sets of all of the Divisional orders that should be researchable (if they bother) that can confirm the award from.

    Also, was the Bronze Star Medal listed on his headstone (I can't find him on Findagrave)? If so, send a picture of that, as well.

    The awards on his uniform are listed on his DD-214. The only difference is that it lists one bronze service star instead of two. And that's trivial. And the Overseas Bar wouldn't have shown up in that picture, it's worn on the blouse (like a suit coat), not the shirt, and at the cuff end of the sleeve.

    I almost wonder if he said "Bronze Star" and they took it to mean "bronze service star on the Korean Service Medal."

    They don't allow us to post e-mail addresses on here, but if it's simpler to carry on this conversation for you, I'm on Facebook and LinkedIn, if you can find me.

  • By the way, if you want to read about  fire, what the Archives has been doing since to help preserve history, and the fire's impact on history, there was a truly awesome article published a week or two ago in "Wired" magazine. You can read it here:

    www.wired.com/.../

  • This tells us he was a "drilling" reservist after he got off of active duty. He would not have received another DD-214 because of this unless he had a second period of Active Duty other than active duty for training (it's a mouthful, but that's how they word it). From the way it's worded, I'd say he didn't have another tour.

    Should you include it? Probably. But in the remarks section, you should put "Active Duty Date A to Date B; Ready reserve date B to date C.

    The question I'm not sure about, and I'd have to do some more research on to be ABSOLUTELY sure, is if "Active Status" means that he was a "drilling Reservist"--the classic "one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer," or if he was what we now call "Active Guard and Reserve," which is a Reservist who is on full-time active duty, but assigned to a Reserve Unit, doing reserve duties, like the administrative paperwork to make sure everything is ready when the other members of the unit show up for their weekend "drill." The certificate says "Army of the United States," which was the small Regular Army plus the larger Reserve on Active Duty.

    When my wife was a battalion commander, she had six or eight people in her headquarters assigned as Active Guard and Reserve.

    Again, send it to the Archives when you make your request--the more existing paperwork you provide them, the more places they know to look for info.

    Because most people leaving active duty went into "Control Groups," meaning that the government still had a string on them for several years, but it was more along the lines of "we'll call you if the Commies attack.:"

    And no, I don't mind at all. I find this sort of thing to be fun. I'll see if I can find a copy of the regulation cited on the bottom of the form.