10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 11, 2022 9:55 AM by Kristin Brooks Barcomb Branched to a new discussion.

    Seeking explanations of information on Form WD AGO 53-55

    SUSAN STEINBERG Wayfarer

      My dad passed away in 1984 and I so wish I would have known before then to ask him more questions about his service in the Army during WW2. All we have (my 93 yr old mom and myself) is his discharge record. The form is WD AGO 53-55 and titled "Enlisted Record and Report of Separation: Honorable Discharge." I found a document online "Reading and Understanding WW2 Discharge Document" which contains a lot of good information, but unfortunately does not reference any of the abbreviations used in my dad's document.

       

      Below are my first questions that I would like very much to know.  They have to do with Items 6 and 36 on WD AGO Form 53-55:

      My dad always said he was stationed in Hawaii during the war.

      • Item 6: "Organization"is listed as "544th Sig Base Dep Co."
        • My internet search for information regarding this organization comes up blank.
        • I want to know where in Hawaii he was based and anything about the base he was stationed at.
        • If anyone knows anything about this, I would appreciate it.
      • Item 36: "Service Outside Continental US and Return" contains the following information:

       

      DATE OF DEPARTUREDESTINATIONDATE OF ARRIVAL
      20 NOV 44CPTO2 DEC 44
      27 NOV 45USA10 DEC 45


      Questions about Item 36 above:

        • Hawaii was not yet a state and was outside the continental US when my father was stationed there but there is nothing about this in Item 36? Is this possibly because it may just show the last destinations and not all? Is there any way to find out where he departed the US for Hawaii and when?
        • What does 'CPTO' stand for? I wonder if it means "Capetown South Africa?"
        • It appears that my dad was at CPTO for almost one year before coming back to the US. Can anyone shed any light as to where he was, what was there, and why he might have been there?

       

      Here are the rest of my questions:

      • Items 22: "Date of Induction" is blank. Does this mean he WAS NOT drafted?
      • Item 23: "Date of Enlistment" is listed as "9 OCT 41" - Does this mean that my father enlisted and WAS NOT drafted into the service?
      • Item 30 - "Military Occupational Specialty and No." is listed as "Warehouse Foreman" which is self-explanatory, but what does the #"252" mean?
      • Item 31 - "Military Qualification and Date" listed: "Pistol 45CAL MKM63 4-15-44' M1 RIMKM 128 8-31-44" ? It appears that these are firearms, but does the listed date tell when he learned how to use them? He started military service in 1941? Does this possibly signify that based on Item 36, he was certified or re-certified for use of these firearms because he was being sent into active duty in Nov 1944 ("CPTO")? Or are there other possible explanations, and if so, what?
      • Item 39 - "Prior Service" is listed as 'AUS' 3 Days? I know that AUS stands for Army of the United States, but this seems odd - that it is listed under prior service with a time frame of 3 days?

      What do the following abbreviations stand for?

      • Item 3 - "Grade" is listed as 'T-SGT" ?
      • Item 4 - "Arm or Service" is listed as "SC" ?
      • Item 5 - "Component" is listed as "RA"?

       

      If anyone can answer any of these question, I'd be grateful. Thank you.

        • Re: Seeking explanations of information on Form WD AGO 53-55
          Elliot Schneider Guide

          Susan,

           

          If you had more information on the individual such as a name, DOB, and place of birth I can check other sources.

           

          Item 6: "organization is listed as "544th Sig Base Dep Co.

           

          ***** 544th Signal Base Depot Company***********

           

           

          Item 36: "Service Outside Continental US and Return" contains the following information:

           

          ********Central Pacific Campaign also known as Central Pacific Theatre of Operations (CPTO)1941-1943******

           

          Item 30 - "Military Occupational Specialty and No." is listed as "Warehouse Foreman" which is self-explanatory, but what does the #"252" mean?

           

          ******* #252 is the designation number they gave for his Military Occupational Specialty********

           

           

          What do the following abbreviations stand for?

          • Item 3 - "Grade" is listed as 'T-SGT" ?              *********Technical Sergeant*******
          • Item 4 - "Arm or Service" is listed as "SC" ?     ******Signal Corps************
          • Item 5 - "Component" is listed as "RA"?           ******  Regular Army**********
          2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Seeking explanations of information on Form WD AGO 53-55
            Lisa Sharik Tracker

            Susan:

            He would have learned to shoot a pistol and rifle during basic in 1941, however since his unit was eventually shipped out to the Central Pacific Theater in November 1944, he likely was given refresher training in 1944 as he was going from a well behind the lines post (Hawaii) to an area where combat might still occur. He qualified as a Marksman on the 45 pistol (a Model 1911A1) and the M1 Rifle, commonly known as a Garand. The numbers indicate his score (63 on the pistol and 128 on the rifle)

            • Item 31 - "Military Qualification and Date" listed: "Pistol 45CAL MKM63 4-15-44' M1 RIMKM 128 8-31-44" ? It appears that these are firearms, but does the listed date tell when he learned how to use them? He started military service in 1941? Does this possibly signify that based on Item 36, he was certified or re-certified for use of these firearms because he was being sent into active duty in Nov 1944 ("CPTO")? Or are there other possible explanations, and if so, what?

             

            Lisa Sharik

            Texas Military Forces Museum

            • Re: Seeking explanations of information on Form WD AGO 53-55
              Zachary Dabbs Tracker

              Dear Ms. Steinberg,

              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

               

              We searched the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) and located the World War II Army Enlistment Records database that includes a file pertaining to Harold Simon. This indicates that he enlisted and was not drafted.

               

              We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series  World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in Record Group 407 that includes histories of the 544th Signal Base Depot Company for 1944-1947. We also located the series Classified Central Decimal Files, 1940 - 1948 in the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (Record Group 111) that may include records regarding the 544th Signal Base Depot Company during WWII in box 474.  For more information about these non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

               

              Unfortunately with regard to your questions concerning where and when your father departed for and returned from Hawaii, in 1951 the Department of the Army destroyed all manifests, logs of vessels, and troop movement files of United States Army transports for World War II and most of the passenger lists. The information may be included in the unit’s history. The AUS 3 days may indicate that he was on leave for 3 days prior to being shipped out.

               

              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 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. 

               

              For general information regarding the organization and operations of the Signal Corps and its base depot companies during World War II, we suggest consulting the publications of the U.S. Army Center of Military History. Their U.S. Army in World War II: The Technical Services series includes three volumes regarding the Signal Corps, The Emergency (To December 1941), The Test (December 1941 to July 1943), and The Outcome (Mid 1943 through 1945) that may be particularly useful and are available online.

               

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

               

              • Re: Seeking explanations of information on Form WD AGO 53-55
                Robert Scherer Wayfarer

                Susan,

                Everyone has provided you excellent information. The one question I don't think was addressed was Item 39 - why your Dad was credited with 3 days in the AUS. Block 5 shows him as a member of the Regular Army (RA) and his Service Number indicates he was drafted since it begins with a "3". I think he was drafted into the AUS and then 4 days later transferred into the Regular Army.