6 Replies Latest reply on Mar 26, 2021 8:15 AM by Rachael Salyer

    Seeking unit information from WWII POW Records

    Robert Anderson Wayfarer

      I am looking at a cousin's POW record as shown in AAD:


      File Unit: World War II Prisoners of War Data File, 12/7/1941 - 11/19/1946

      in the Series: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created 1942 - 1947, documenting the period 12/7/1941 - 11/19/1946. - Record Group 389 (info)


      There is a code for the parent Unit number. Is there a table that connects the code to an unit ie. regiment, division?

      DATE REPORT: DAY (DD)0909
      DATE REPORT: YEAR (Y)51945
      PARENT UNIT NUMBER02420242
      PARENT UNIT TYPE42Sector/Squadron
      AREA76European Theatre: France
        • Re: Seeking unit information from WWII POW Records
          joan stachnik Tracker

          HI Robert, I'm not entirely certain but could it possibly be the 242nd Infantry Regiment, of the 42nd Infantry Division?  joan

          • Re: Seeking unit information from WWII POW Records
            Lisa Sharik Scout

            If it meant 242nd Infantry Regiment then the code would be "Parent Unit Type '6" "Group/Regiment/Commands/System"


            I can't find a 242nd Squadron in the US Army in WWII. The most likely choice would be a Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.


            So there is as Joan noted, a 242nd Infantry Regiment in the 42nd Infantry Division, the would also have a 42nd Cavalry Recon Squadron. There were engaged in Operation Nordwind at the time your cousin was captured.


            It seems like there must be an error, either the parent unit type is wrong or the parent unit number is wrong.


            Lisa Sharik

            Deputy Director

            Texas Military Forces Museum

            • Re: Seeking unit information from WWII POW Records
              joan stachnik Tracker

              Hi Robert, this article might be of interest to you (see link below). It's from the Archives, discussing codes used for POW records and the system used for creating the codes. Some might still not be known. Hope this is of some help. joan



                • Re: Seeking unit information from WWII POW Records
                  Robert Anderson Wayfarer


                  Thank you for the link. Reading it did help me understand it a little more, although it seemed very convoluted. The fact that there were three different coding systems and what sounds like no definitive rules for which code to use makes it more difficult.

                  I do have a couple of other clues that lead me to believe your initial comment might be correct. He also received a Presidential Unit Citation and a CIB. The CIB confirms he was infantry. The 42nd did receive a Presidential Unit Citation for their participation in the war.

                  I guess I'll have to wait until the NPRC reopens to get his records.


                • Re: Seeking unit information from WWII POW Records
                  Elliot Schneider Ranger

                  Mr. Anderson,


                  Do you have the name of the individual and any other information that can be used to help you with your search and code/deciphering.

                  • Re: Seeking unit information from WWII POW Records
                    Rachael Salyer Pioneer

                    Dear Mr. Anderson,


                    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                    We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Records of World War II Prisoners of War, 1942-1947 in the Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal General (Record Group 389) that provides additional information about the prisoner of war (POW) records located in Access to Archival Databases (AAD).


                    Next, we located the series World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917 - 1985 (Record Group 407) that includes records of the  242nd Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry DIvision during WWII. The series also contains records of the 42nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 242nd Engineer Battalion, the 242nd Field Artillery Battalion, and the 242nd Medical Battalion. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov for access to and information about these non-digitized records.


                    In addition, we located the series Unit Histories, 1943-1967 in the Records of U.S. Army Operational, Tactical, and Support Organizations (World War II and Thereafter) (Record Group 338) that contains 5 files related to the 42nd Infantry Division that might contain some relevant information. These records have not been digitized. Please contact RDT2 for assistance with them.


                    Plus, we located the series Moving Images Relating to Military Activities in the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (Record Group 111) that contains 2 files related to the 242nd Infantry Regiment that may be of interest to you. These records have been digitized and may be viewed online via the Catalog. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Motion Pictures (RDSM) at mopix@nara.gov with any questions you may have about these records.


                    If you have not done so already, we also suggest that you request a copy of your cousin’s 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 1959 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. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


                    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 and RDSM. Also, 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 this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


                    Finally, the U.S. Army Center of Military History has an online Order of Battle of the United States Army - WWII - European Theater of Operation (ETO) that may provide some helpful information about specific Army divisions during the war.


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