Unclear WW2 Separation Record

I have my grandfather's "Separation Qualification Record" as well as his record and report of separation. The separation qualification record says that he "Served with the 9th Infantry in the European Theater of Operations from August 1944 to June 1945, and with the 740th Engineer Base Equipment company from July 1945 to December 1945 in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations." The unit that is listed on his report of separation is the 740th Engineer Base Equipment company. Because of these circumstances, I'm having trouble determining what unit he served with in the European theater. I don't know if "9th Infantry" refers to the 9th Infantry Division; another possible option is that he was with the 9th infantry regiment of the 2nd infantry division. There might be other possibilities as well, I'm not sure. I have a newspaper scrap that says he was "a 2nd Division infantryman" and that he received his wounds in Brest, France. However, his report of separation says that he was injured in Belgium. So I'm not sure whether to trust the newspaper article. I'd like to try to find out why he has a Distinguished Unit Badge and get an idea of his possible path in Europe, but I'm stuck at the moment without knowing even his division. Any help would be greatly appreciated. His name is Lester Butler Dean. 

  • Another couple of pieces of information - he did basic training in Tyler, Texas. I also know that was at Siegfried line. 

  • Hello! Yes it is! That is the newspaper article that I have. Where did you find it? I just have the actual cut out from the newspaper that my Aunt saved. But maybe you see my confusion. It says he is a 2nd division infantryman but his paperwork mentions 9th infantry. 9th infantry regiment was at Brest France as well as the Siegfried Line, but I'm not sure if that is enough to make me be sure I have found his unit. 

  • This is an article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram , Fort Worth, Texas Wed, Jan 17, 1945 - I found it on newspapers.com but didn't find any other reference to him. 

    The NARA folks will probably be posting something shortly - if you research some of those records they'll recommend, in particular the morning reports,  you should be able to get more details about which actually Company/Battalion he was assigned to withing the 9th Infantry Regiment. 

    The 9th Infantry Regiment was a subordinate unit to the 2nd Infantry Division during WWII, so he was actually a member of both organizations/units!

  • The 9th Infantry Regiment was awarded the following unit citations - 

    • Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered BREST, FRANCE
    • Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered SIEGFRIED LINE
    • Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered ARDENNES

    history.army.mil/.../0009in.htm

  • Thank you! That is more than I knew about the article. I appreciate your insight and your time looking at this for me!

  • Thank you. I did find that information but I wasn’t sure whether to be comfortable with whether he was part of the 9th regiment and therefore whether this applied to him. It does help to have some agreement from someone else. 

  • The U.S., World War II Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942-1954 indicates Lester B. Dean was injured in Oct. 1944 several days after the end of the Battle for Brest on September 19, and the departure of the 2nd Division on September 26 from Brest.

    From Breakout and Pursuit, Chapter XXX, The Battle for Brest, Martin Blumenson:
    The 2d Division had advanced approximately eight miles at a cost of 2,314 casualties. It had expended more than 1,750,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 218,000 rounds of heavy caliber, had requested 97 air missions--fulfilled by 705 fighter-bombers, which dropped 360 tons of bombs. The VIII Corps turned over the captured fortress of Brest and the prisoners to the Brittany Base Section of the Communications Zone on the evening of 19 September, and the combat troops moved into assembly areas to rest, receive winter clothing, and repair armament and transport. ...on 26 September the VIII Corps headquarters and the 2d and 8th Divisions began to move by rail and motor to Belgium and Luxembourg....

    .
    Name Lester B Dean
    Race White, includes Mexican (White)
    Rank Enlisted Man
    Admission Age 30
    Birth Date abt 1914
    Admission Date Oct 1944
    Discharge Date Oct 1944
    Military Branch Infantry, General or Unspecified
    Diagnosis

    First Location: Inguinal region and groin;

    Causative Agent: Artillery Shell, Fragments, Afoot or unspecified

    Type of Injury Casualty, battle
    Injured in Line of Duty In line of duty
    Type of Discharge Duty
    Length of Service 0 Year(s), 9, 10 OR 11 MONTHS Month(s)
    Service Number 38606656
    From the 2nd Infantry Division History:
    In September 1943 the division received their staging orders and moved to the Camp Shanks staging area at Orangeburg, New York on 3 October 1943, where they got their Port Call orders. On 8 October 1943 the division officially sailed from the New York Port of Embarkation, and started arriving in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 17 October 1943. They then moved over to England, where they trained and staged for forward movement to France.
    World War II
    With the onset of World War II, the division moved to Ireland and Wales in October 1943, as part of the buildup for operation Overload, the Normandy invasion. There it spent ten months undergoing extensive training. On 7 June 1944, D-Day + 1, the Division landed on Omaha Beach.

    Attacking across the Aure River, the Division liberated Trevieres, 10 June 1944, and proceeded to assault and secure Hill 192, the key enemy strongpoint on the road to St. Lo. With the hill taken on 11 July 1944, the Division went on the defensive until 26 July 1944. Exploiting the St. Lo break-through, the 2nd Division advanced across the Vire to take Tinchebray on 15 August 1944. After fierce, 39-day battle, the 2nd Division, fighting in the streets and alleyways, finally took their objective as the vital port city of Brest, which was liberated on 18 September 1944.

    The Division took a brief rest 19 to 26 September 1944 before moving to defensive positions at St. Vith, Belgium on 29 September 1944. The Division entered Germany on 3 October 1944, and the Division was ordered, on 11 December 1944, to attack and seize the Roer River dams. Having pierced the dreaded Siegfried Line, the Division was advancing when Nazi Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt unleashed a powerful German offensive in the Ardennes. Throughout the Battle of the Bulge the 2nd Infantry Division held fast, preventing the enemy from seizing key roads leading to the cities of Liege and Antwerp.

    In February 1945, the Division attacked, recapturing lost ground, and seized Gemund, on 4 March 1945. Reaching the Rhine 9 March 1945, the Division advanced south to take Breisig, 10-11 March 1945, and to guard the Remagen bridge, 12- 20 March 1945. The Division crossed the Rhine 21 March 1945 and advanced to Hadamar and Limburg an der Lahn, relieving elements of the 9th Armored Division, 28 March 1945. Advancing rapidly in the wake of the 9th Armored, the 2nd Infantry Division crossed the Weser at Veckerhagen, 6 - 7 April 1945 captured Gottingen 8 April 1945, and established a bridgehead across the Saale, 14 April 1945, seizing Merseburg on 15 April 1945.

    On 18 April 1945 the Division took Leipzig, mopped up in the area, and outposted the Mulde River; elements which had crossed the river were withdrawn 24 April 1945. Relieved on the Mulde, the 2nd moved 200 miles, 1 – 3 May 1945, to positions along the German-Czech border near Schonsee and Waldmunchen, where the Warrior Division relieved the 97th and 99th divisions. The division crossed over to Czechoslovakia on 4 May 1945, and attacked in the general direction of Pilsen, attacking that city on Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

    The 2nd Infantry Division returned to the New York Port of Embarkation on 20 July 1945, and arrived at Camp Swift at Bastrop, Texas on 22 July 1945. They started a training schedule to prepare them to participate in the scheduled invasion of Japan, but they were still at Camp Swift on Victory in Japan (VJ) Day.
    As your uncle joined the Army in November 1943, his ASR (Adjusted Service Rating) score would have been too low for him to return to the US and be demobilized at the end of the conflict in Europe.  ASR points were awarded as follows:

    Points were awarded according to the following formula:

    - One point for each month in service in the Army

    - One additional point for each month in service overseas

    - Five points for each campaign

    - Five points for a medal for merit or valor (Silver Star for example)

    - Five points for a purple heart (awarded to all soldiers who were wounded in action)

    - Twelve points for each dependent child up to three dependent children

    Below is an excerpt from the May 11, 1945, Stars and Stripes edition with the ASR card calculation.  It also states that Engineer Units would be the first to leave Europe for the Pacific Theatre of Operations.  Combat troops would go to the PTO via the United States while service forces including construction and aviation engineer units were redeployed directly to the PTO.  The 740th Engineer Base Equipment company was stationed in Manila.  If you have your uncle's discharge papers, box 36 on Form AGO 53-55 will state the dates when your uncle was stationed overseas.  His ASR score will be to the right of the thumbprint.
  • Hi Jo - thank you for the information and time you spent compiling this. Regarding his injury - his Form 53-55 says that he was injured in Belgium 19 Oct 1944. This matches the October timeframe that you also showed on your summary. His paperwork says he arrived Aug 22, 1944. So, he was likely there for all of the Battle for Brest and injured soon after. Thank you for the 2nd division history and for the information that the 740th Engineer Base Equipment company was stationed in Manila. His arrival back in the states seems to have been Dec 15 1945. His ASR score as of Sept 2 1945 appears to have been 73. 

  • I would go with the 9th Infantry Regiment. It would be unusual for a record to note just the division, because that's not how soldiers were accounted for. They were assigned to regiments, battalions, or companies, as appropriate for their branch, and those would then be assigned to a higher headquarters--in the case of the 9th Infantry, the 2d Infantry Division.

    Additionally, "9th Infantry" is the typical way of referring to a regiment (similarly, 7th Cavalry, 5th Artillery, etc.) So, if he were assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, it would likely say just that--"9th infantry Division."