2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 12, 2021 4:11 PM by Grace Yuhasz

    Seeking information on Captain William Draper

    Glenn Holliman Newbie

      I am seeking information on former father-in-law, William Estell Draper (1918-1970). He was discharged as a captain in the US Army Air Corps after service as an engineer from 1941-1945.  He constructed airfields in North Africa, then Sicily and then Italy.  What was his outfit and his service record?  I would appreciate a history of Army companies that built and maintained air bases in this theater in WWII.  Family lore is he sailed overseas from New York on the Queen Elizabeth and later landed the second day of Operation Torch. I have an undated newspaper clipping of constructing an air field in Sicily, assumed it was July 1943. Thanks

        • Re: Seeking information on Captain William Draper
          Thomas Richardson Navigator

          Dear Mr. Holliman,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were separated from the service before 1959 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where Army and Army Air Corps 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. The personnel record will also contain information on what unit he served with while overseas. Navy and Marine Corps OMPFs were not affected by the fire. 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. You also may fax the form to 314-801-9195 OR view the record by visiting the NPRC Archival Research Room in St. Louis, MO. Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


          We searched the National Archives online catalog and located the Records of Mediterranean Theater of Operations, United States Army 1942-1947 (Record Group 492) and located 11 file units relating to construction. For access to these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) by emailing: archives2reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. Also, the NPRC is closed except for emergencies. Currently, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, and homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels. Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for any inconvenience.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!


          • Re: Seeking information on Captain William Draper
            Grace Yuhasz Adventurer

            In the meantime, you may be able to find out some more specific information from newspapers.


            Was he called Estell?  On Newspapers.com, a cursory search for Estell Draper in Tennessee newspapers resulted in several articles/mentions from the WWII era.  It would be worth seeing if his actual unit was mentioned.  Other newspaper sites may have results as well.