4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 23, 2021 9:35 PM by Jo Shipley

    Seeking military information about Harrison Pinkston

    Ryan Pinkston Newbie

      Greetings, I am looking for something special to give my Dad for Christmas, and it's something about his father during WWII.  My idea was to find out his battle group, squadron, and maybe even some pictures.  My Grandfather's name was Harrison Ernest Pinkston.  I have been told by my mother that his records were lost in a fire.  I have a picture of him as a Corporal from 1944.  I know he was in the 8th Army Air Corps, but that's big, I know.  He was on the crew of a B-17 on the European front.  He was from Tennessee, and the 8th Army badge, and I know he crewed a B-17, and that he survived the war.  Although I never met him, my father was born in 1949, so I'm assuming my grandfather, Harrison Pinkston survived flying who knows how many missions in a B-17 to Germany was a draftee. I've been working through google trying to find lists of names.

        • Re: Seeking military information about Harrison Pinkston
          Jo Shipley Adventurer

          Your grandfather's Army Serial Number was 34502901.  This is a link to his enlistment record:



          Even with this information it is difficult to find information without knowing the Bomb Group/Bomb Squadron.  You mentioned you had a picture of him with corporal stripes.  Based upon him not being an officer, he would have been a radio operator, or gunner - top turret/flight engineer, ball turret, waist or tail gunner.  He probably was not a ball turret gunner due to his height of 6'4" listed on his registration card.


          Front of registration cardRegistration Card back page


          I suggest you try to obtain a copy of your grandfather's discharge papers (WD AGO 53-55).  The local courthouse in Memphis Tennessee may have a copy if your family does not.  Military discharge documents were filed in the register of deeds in the veteran's county of residence.  This is a long shot based on my experience of county employees having no idea what I was talking about. If you find someone who knows what you are talking about, they may insist that the discharge document is only available to the veteran or next of kin.

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking military information about Harrison Pinkston
              Ryan Pinkston Newbie

              Thank you so much for your detailed reply!  I looked through lists of thousands of names just trying to find him.  That is indeed all his info.  Any suggestions as to finding the bomb group and squadron?  I can go back to Google searching, which is really all I knew how to do.

              Thanks so much,


                • Re: Seeking military information about Harrison Pinkston
                  Jo Shipley Adventurer

                  Below is a newspaper clipping from the Memphis TN Commercial_Appeal_Sun__Nov_5__1944_Section II P9.  regarding a commendation for aircraft repair.  I don't think Sgt. Pinkston was a member of an airplane crew.  Rather he may have been a member of a service squadron or service group and worked on B-17s at any of the 30 or so B-17 bases in England.  More complicated/major repairs were done at repair depots. In my experience, it's very difficult to find any information on a support unit without knowing the unit's name.  The support units seem to be particularly obscure.  If you have any old letters from WW2 with an APO number, that could help identify the location.

                  B-17 mechanics were trained at Amarillo Air Field in Texas.  This is a link to a Class book for mechanics class, 409th Technical Squadron at the Amarillo Army Air Field, Amarillo, Texas.





                  Newspaper article about Pinkston

              • Re: Seeking military information about Harrison Pinkston
                Jason Atkinson Guide

                Dear Mr. Pinkston,

                Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                Based on the information you provided, he was most likely a member of the Eighth Army Air Force, which operated multiple B-17 squadrons in the European Theater of Operations. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to narrow down his specific unit assignment, and there are no options that we are aware of that would allow you to locate this information by Christmas.


                His unit information may be in his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) if it was not destroyed in the 1973 fire.  If your family has not already requested his OMPF, we suggest that you do so, as some of these files did survive or were reconstructed. OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army (to include the US Army Air Force) 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 some cases where personnel records were, 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. Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


                Copies of most of the monthly rosters from November 1912 - 1943 and morning reports for Army units (to include Army Air Force units) from November 1, 1912 to 1959 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). Rosters for units serving in World War II from 1944 - 1946 were destroyed in accordance with Army disposition authorities. These morning reports and remaining rosters have not been digitized or indexed by name. They are NOT  searchable by name of the individual, only by unit. For more information about these records, please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov.


                The National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) has custody of microfilm copies of operational records relating to U.S. Army Air Force and U.S. Air Force units. We searched the Air Force History index to the microfilm and located 21 files for Eighth Air Force that includes rosters. Please read the brief Abstract to determine which records you are interested in and click on the specific PDF icon. In the PDF listing, the IRISREF is the microfilm reel number and note the FRAME and FRAMELST numbers for the location on the reel. If the reel number begins with A, B or C, please contact RDT2 via email at archives2reference@nara.gov for more information about them.


                If the reel number begins with K, the microfilm is still security classified and RDT2 will not be able to make the reel available to you. The original paper copy from which the film was created is still in the custody of the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) and has been declassified. To obtain copies of these records, please follow the instructions on this page.


                Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL and RDT2.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.  Also, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter, and those involving the VA Home Loan program. 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.


                We hope this is helpful.