Maternal grandfather's WW2 information about his rank

While my aunt (she was put up for adoption) and I (my mom only got to see him a couple times as a very young child) are doing our research on my maternal grandfather/father during WW2 , my aunt and I found that my mom isn't the oldest child there's a daughter 3-4 yrs older, her son (my cousin) was very close to my grandfather. My grandfather told my cousin he was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne WW2 he and his platoon, very few men 4-8 in the platoon, went on missions one to help  Holocaust victims, my cousin and aunt told my aunt that my grandfather had photos the family donated to the Holocaust Museum. Another mission was to hunt down and bring back 3-4 Russians my grandfather said him and his platoon killed the Russians making them to face court-martial but yet my grandfather told my cousin that he was promoted from a private to a Master Sargent. He also said that the CIA told him he had to avoid family contact for at least 5 years because the Russians would be looking for him and they were powerful people. My grandfather also said his platoon was on the last plane and it like the others were shot down.

Orville Eugene Morris born July 16th 1924 passed away February 12 1994. I told my aunt a lot of what my cousin was told sounds like bologna. He doesn't have a Military foot stone on the headstone is his and his wife's names, information and for him it does show he was in the Military but no separate Military stone. I'm really confused as is my aunt as we didn't grow up with or know him. We're having to go by stories he raised my cousin up telling. 

  1. Does any of this information fit any Military history, why wouldn't he have a foot stone, one that states his service time and rank? (my paternal grandfather whom was a Army Private in WW2 and my step dad who was a Army Vietnam Veteran both had a Military foot stone plus their regular headstones) my understanding my grandfather had an honorable discharge. Oh and there was supposedly one of his brothers Virgil McKinley Morris or Chalmer Harrison Morris that were possibly POWs, but my cousin did say that our grandfather wasn't sure if either of his brothers were in a camp. Oh and my other question is if my grandfather wasn't doing journalism how could he have gotten the pictures the family said they donated to the Holocaust Museum? I as well as my aunt are confused as to what is true and isn't that my grandfather told my cousin. 
  • Dear  

    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub. 

    If you would like information about a WWII veteran's service, we suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and before 1960 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Veterans and next of kin of deceased veterans also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests. 

    Archival OMPFs may also be requested by visiting the Archival Research Room at the National Archives at St. Louis. Please see the linked web pages for more information.  Please email for further assistance prior to making an appointment. 

    The Central Intelligence Agency did not exist during WWII. Its precursor agency, the Office of Strategic Services, was operational in Europe from 1942 to 1947. You can research OSS Records on the National Archives website: OSS Records

    We hope this information is helpful. 

  • You raise a couple of questions. Let's address them separately.

    First, if a veteran is buried in a private cemetery (i.e., not one run by the VA), you have to request the footer stone, as you refer to it, from the VA--it's not an automatic issue. You can find more information about the process on It's also not a "now or never" process--you don't have to do it at the time of burial, so if you confirm his service, and have supporting documentation, you could still request one (you'd probably have to cover the expense of having it installed at the cemetery).

    Second, lots of people were POWs without going to camps. The camps were primarily for aircrews who were shot down over Germany or occupied territory. People near the front lines could be captured, end up being held for a few days, and then freed when US forces overran the unit that was holding them. This particularly could have happened in airborne operations, like Normandy, where the lines were in flux. 

    As for pictures, lots of soldiers had cameras. They took pictures of lots of things--and still do. I've got hundreds of pictures from my deployments to Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. How do they get to the Holocaust Museum, or any museum, for that matter? You write them a letter and ask them if they'd like them for their collection, and if they say yes, you send them in, with as much information on the context as you have. When they were taken, who took them, who was in them, etc. If he did donate them, they're probably indexed in their collection under his name, either as donator or photographer. You could probably go to their website and ask them. They probably have a contact page where you could submit a query.

    The Holocaust Museum website states that the 82d Airborne Division liberated the Wobbelin Concentration Camp on May 2, 1945.

    As does the U.S. Army Center of Military History: 

    As for a court-martial . . . maybe. Court-martials in World War II didn't necessarily carry the connotations they do today. For one thing, today the DoD has a process, called an "Article 15," that they can use to impose punishment for minor infractions that could result in a Court Martial in World War II. For another, a Court-Martial could be used as a board of inquiry to determine the facts of something that went wrong. So prior to World War II, you would routinely read about ships' captains who were Court-Martialed for grounding their ship on a reef or a sandbar, later to make Admiral (Nimitz and Rickover are two that come to mind. So if, for example, the prisoners tried to escape, or attacked their guards, and were killed in the process, there could have been a Court Martial to determine what exactly what happened. And if they determined they acted appropriately, there would be no repercussions.

    Or he could have "been blowing smoke up your cousin's fourth point of contact," and it was all made up.

    The best way to find out is to request a copy of his records, as they described. It won't tell you everything, but it will be a start.

    Once you know what regiment of the 82d he was in, there are additional secondary sources (books, unit associations, etc) you can read to learn more.

  • Yes there's somethings I'm really questioning of what my grandfather told my cousin because he said that the troops decided they basically didn't want to deal with the captives anymore so instead of following orders to bring them back alive my grandfather and his group decided they'd rather face court-martial than deal with their prisoners, the prisoners didn't try escaping just executed. Then I was thinking about where my grandfather told my cousin he was told to stay from his family for at least 5 years. It got me to thinking about that, my grandfather was in the service 1942-1946 if I remember the years right, his work duty do to his education level and knowledge of skills was umm I believe working on aircraft machinery but it also said not on aircrafts. But anyway he told my cousin he was told to stay away from all family members for at least 5 years but the Russians were powerful people well my cousin's mom who is my grandfather's oldest child she was born in 1943-1944, my mom was born 1948 and 3rd child 1949, 1950 and the last daughter 1951. I've found my grandfather different years after the 1st daughter was born in California. So there's just things my cousin was told I feel is a little skeptical. My cousin was very close to our grandfather I don't want to break his heart. That's why I want to find out as much truth I can for myself, my mom and my aunt that is the youngest. I know it was war but if what my grandfather said is true and they chose court-martial over following commanders orders. I'm going to follow all the links to see what I can find out. 

    Thank you for explaining and for the links 

  • Thank you for corresponding and explaining and the links I'm definitely going to look into them