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? 


    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. 

  • 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:

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