Looking for grandfather's WWII records, not sure where to start:

All I knew when I started this journey was that he was in the Army in WWII. When my father passed away, I inherited a beat up German officer's sword (a panther, I believe), and a map detailing the 29th Division's movements from Omaha to Saint-Lô. There was also a pin with the distinctive blue/grey "Yin Yang" symbol. From these latter two, I assumed he was in the 29th. Anecdotally, a family story from years ago led me to believe that he was a combat engineer, but I have no evidence of that - other than a story that my uncle shared with me in the 80's.

Today, I joined the 29th Association and gained access to all of the Morning Reports, but his name isn't in their records.

I was able to find his service number with a National Archives search, so at this point I have:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Month/year of death
  • Service number

The only link I can find on usa.gov is for his DD-214 - is there any way to get his full record, or will the DD-214 tell me what unit he was attached to? Are there any online resources which will allow me to search for different units (regiments, battalions, companies, etc... I'm ex-Navy, so not sure how Army structure is laid out), and possibly get an idea of where he went and what he did?


  • I just came across a page that says Army & Air Force records were destroyed in a fire in 73. https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/fire-1973

    Best of luck in your search!


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

    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.

    Copies of most of the monthly rosters from 1912-43 and 1947-59 for U.S. Army units (including Army Air Corps) are in the custody of the National Archives in St. Louis, MO. Please contact them for access to these records. The address is the National Archives in St. Louis, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002 and the email address is stl.archives@nara.gov. Rosters for units serving in World War II from 1944-46 were destroyed in accordance with U.S. Army disposition authorities during the early postwar period.

    The Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RR2RR) has custody of the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917- (Record Group 407) and the Records of U.S. Army Operational, Tactical, and Support Organizations (World War II and Thereafter) (Record Group 338).  Military unit files among these records consist mostly of historical reports, after action reports, unit journals, and general orders. These records do not include personnel information, nor do we have a name index to these records.

    History files and operations (or “after action”) reports tend to be narrative accounts of unit actions either by the year or month, respectively. Journal files (a.k.a. “daily diaries”) are usually daily and hourly accounts. The journal files are usually written in pencil. Sometimes they list incoming and outgoing messages, and sometimes they include brief descriptions of information. If you are interested in an overview of unit activities, you may wish to concentrate on the histories and operations reports. However, if you are interested in actions covering a few specific days, journal files may prove of value to your research.

    General orders, as referenced above, do include information about the official bestowal of medals on individual service personnel. However, these records are arranged by unit, thereunder by date and thereunder by general order number. We would need this information to search our records. If you have a copy of his discharge certificate (DD Form 214), this information might be included therein. 

    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 is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


    Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RR2RR)

  • Due to the fire at the St. Louis Archives, the best source of information would be your grandfather's discharge papers.  Perhaps a member of the family has his papers.  If a family member doesn't have the discharge papers, another source may be the county courthouse.  Discharged soldiers filed a copy of their discharge papers with the county clerk/courthouse in the county of their residence upon discharge.  My county has WWII discharge papers but will release them only to next of kin.  The WWII discharge form was AGO 55.  The DD-214 discharge form replaced the AGO 55 form in 1950.   

    Can you provide your grandfather's name and service number?

  • I have his name and service number; is it "safe" to post it here?

    Since making this post, I have started the process of getting his DD-214 - I assume that they will provide his AGO-55 instead if that's what he had?

  • His name was Delbert Oscar Shores, SN#38044407