8 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2021 10:00 AM by Elliot Schneider

    Seeking context for Military records

    Jacob Kimmerling Newbie

      Hello,

       

      I am looking into the records of my Grandfather's military service. Some of the records were damaged in the 1973 fire, but his discharge and medical papers were intact for the most part. On his discharge papers it has listed that he received 6 bronze stars and a bronze arrowhead. From what I have been reading the Bronze stars might not be the actual medal but for the service ribbons. This would make sense since he was involved in 6 campaigns, those being Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, and Central Europe. According to my family he refused at least 2 purple hearts as well. Is it possible to get any record of the purple hearts he refused? Any other information would be incredibly appreciated. He served in the 65th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, so any information on how to find their after action reports or history would also be appreciated.

       

      Name: Wilbert E Vollmer

      D.O.B: February 15th 1919

      Rank: PFC

      Place of Birth:  Pittsburgh PA.

       

      Thank you,

       

      J.A.K.

        • Re: Seeking context for Military records
          Elliot Schneider Pioneer

          Jacob,

           

          Here is some information below. You are correct that the Bronze "Battle Stars" or "Campaign Stars" were used to the campaign ribbons and the Bronze Arrowhead signifies that he was apart of an assault landing, amphibious landing, or by air.

           

          https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/153798480/wilbert-edward-vollmer

           

           

           

           

          Name:Wilbert E Vollmer
          Birth Date:15 Feb 1919
          Death Date:23 Mar 2001
          SSN:191016792
          Enlistment Branch:A
          Enlistment Date:2 Dec 1941
          Discharge Date:3 Oct 1945
          Page number:1

           

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking context for Military records
              Jacob Kimmerling Newbie

              Elliot,

               

              Thank you for the clarification, I appreciate the quick response! I'm fairly certain the bronze arrowhead would have been from D-Day, though I was going over the medals and noticed that there were pins on one ribbons attached to the medal. One bronze star shape, one silver star shape, and then the arrowhead. Any ideas what the pin on the ribbon would be for? (Aside from the arrowhead, of course). I can post a picture for clarification as well. There was also one medal that I didn't recognize pictured here:

               

               

              Any idea what it would be? (It's possible that one wasn't his, my other grandfather's medals were mixed in with his stuff)

               

              Thank you,

               

              Jacob K.

                • Re: Seeking context for Military records
                  Elliot Schneider Pioneer

                  Jacob,

                   

                  The mini silver star you see on the campaign ribbon was given if the individual participated in more then five campaigns which then the army issues a mini silver battle star instead of 5 separate bronze mini battle stars.

                   

                  Silver and Bronze Service Stars.PNG

                   

                   

                  A service star is a miniature bronze or silver five-pointed star 316 inch (4.8 mm) in diameter that is authorized to be worn by members of the eight uniformed services of the United States on medals and ribbons to denote an additional award or service period.[1] The service star may also be referred to as a campaign star or battle star depending on which award the star is authorized for and the manner in which the device is used for the award.[2]

                  Service stars, campaign stars, and battle stars are worn with one point of the star pointing up on the suspension ribbon of a medal or service ribbon. A silver star is worn instead of five bronze stars.[1] A service star is sometimes mistaken for a Bronze Star (Bronze Star Medal) or Silver Star (Silver Star Medal). The service star is also similar to the gold and silver 516 -inch stars that may be authorized to be worn on specific individual decorations of certain services to denote additional decorations.

                   

                   

                   

                  Hope this helps,

              • Re: Seeking context for Military records
                Lisa Sharik Adventurer

                Here is a memorial to the unit near Ft. Sill: 65th Armored Field Artillery Battalion | The American Legion

                 

                Ft.Sill has the Field Artillery museum: U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum | Fort Sill | Oklahoma | Fires Center of Excellence You might contact them to see if they have a copy of the After Action Reports for the 65th FA BN otherwise one of the National Archives personnel who answer questions here will give you the specific information on where those records can be found in their files.

                 

                Respectfully,

                Lisa Sharik

                Deputy Director

                Texas Military Forces Museum

                • Re: Seeking context for Military records
                  Eric Kilgore Wayfarer

                  Dear Jacob Kimmerling,

                   

                  Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!

                   

                   

                  Since you've obtained your grandfather's sepdoc and medical records, I'm assuming that you requested them through the National Personnel Record Center / National Archives at St. Louis.  You are correct that the Bronze Stars were given as campaign ribbons.  A Bronze Star Medal with "V Attachment for Valor" would be noted in the awards section of the separation document.  As far as the Purple Heart(s) are concerned, if a veteran was treated at an aid station for a combat wound received in action, they would have been awarded the Purple Heart.  While a veteran may chose not to keep or display the award, it would have been awarded nonetheless and reflected on his separation document.  However, it was common for combat soldiers to refuse to go to an aid station for treatment of minor wounds, especially given the more severe injuries they may have witnessed.  In these cases, no award would have been issued since there was no record of an injury.  Many veterans in the years since, have attempted to get the Purple Heart medal for injuries received in combat that went untreated, only to encounter difficulty in proving their case.  This was made more difficult by the 1973 fire at the NPRC. 

                   

                  The WWII Army Morning Reports were microfilmed and are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis.  These records provide a daily accounting of troop levels, locations, and status changes for personnel such as transfers, wounded, KIA, etc. There is a possibility that these records may contain some of the information you're looking for.  However, if your grandfather didn't report an injury, or didn't receive treatment, the chances of it being reflected in these records is slim.  Unfortunately, the Morning Reports are generally only accessible in-person and right now, the facility is closed due to the pandemic.  We're planning on digitizing these records and making them available online, but at this point, we do not have a timeline of when they might be available in that format. 

                   

                  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 RRPO. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

                   

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

                   

                    • Re: Seeking context for Military records
                      Jacob Kimmerling Newbie

                      Eric,

                       

                      Thank you for the response/information, it helps tremendously. You would be correct in regards to having requested the information from the NPRC, my uncle had the request put in and sent us the information. As for the morning reports you mentioned, is there anywhere I can check to see if they've been uploaded in the future? I know you mentioned there's no timeline as of now, but if there's a specific place I can follow up in a few months or sometime in the future that'd be awesome.

                       

                      Thank you,

                       

                      Jacob K.