Dear Mr. Mitchell,
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 (NPRC) 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. 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. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.
For Air Force (including Army Air Corps), Army, and Navy personnel, NARA's National Personnel Records Center will verify the awards to which a veteran is entitled and forward the request with the verification to the appropriate service department for issuance of the medals. For requesting medals and awards, please use eVetRecs on NARA’s website at https://www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/ or complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and send it to NARA's Military Personnel Records, National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Provide as much information as possible in Section II under "other."
Determining entitlement to a Purple Heart Medal from a damaged record relies on additional records showing medical treatment from a combat wound. The admissions records contain limited medical treatment information, but diagnosis, type of operation, and dates/places of treatment or hospitalization are frequently included. They are not specific or detailed medical documents, but summarized information indexed by military service number. Although no names are shown, patients are identified by military service number and certain personal data including age, race, sex, and place of birth. These records are not duplicates of the original medical treatment files lost in the 1973 fire. They were created using data sampling techniques for statistical purposes. Therefore, the listings are not complete and many admissions were skipped during the sampling process. If you wish to request a search of these records, please include the name of the service member and military service number on a GSA Standard Form 180 and send it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.
Any documents you currently possess can aid in your research process. If you know the veteran’s service number, you can search the Award Cards 1942-1963 record series. It is a fully digitized collection of cards indicating what medals a veteran received while serving in the Army and Army Air Force. This collection is used to aid in reconstructing service summaries from damaged WWII records. If the veteran received a Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medic Badge, he automatically receives a Bronze Star Medal. Any additional Bronze Star awards will be denoted by an Oak Leaf Cluster.
You also may contact the local county records office where he returned to following his discharge. Returning WWII veterans often submitted a copy of their separation document to the county for any VA and government benefits purposes. The separation document will contain a list of medals he received.
For additional information on how to request replacement medals, you may contact the service branch he served with during WWII and initiate a request with them. They will require providing the veteran’s service record and any documentation supporting the claim for a Purple Heart Medal. Information on how to contact the respective service branch is located on the National Archives website titled Military Awards and Decorations.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!