7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 29, 2022 8:35 PM by Tommy Johnson

    Seeking help understanding grandfather's DD-214

    Karin Wells Wayfarer

      I recently received my grandfather's DD 214 from his discharge from the military in 1953. He served from 1950 to 1953 in the Korean War. As a civilian, I am having trouble understanding some of the language on the form and I am seeking assistance with a couple of things.

       

      First, I have seen on other records that he was wounded in 1951, but this is not listed on his DD 214. I was told that this separation document is not comprehensive and that some information may be missing. Is this true?

       

      Second, what does APO refer to? Listed under his most significant duty assignments it states "Co K 110th Inf APO 111." I am trying to see if I can find any more information about this specific assignment.

       

      My last question does not necessarily pertain to the DD 214, but just a general military question. My grandfather enlisted as a Private First Class and left three years later as a master sergeant. This seems like quite a short amount of time to move up in rank. Under what circumstances might something like this happen? Thank you for your assistance!

        • Re: Seeking help understanding grandfather's DD-214
          Kevin Wengler Wayfarer

          Hi Karin,

           

          My grandfather was in Korea also. I served in the Army myself.

           

          A DD-214 will only reflect the most basic data that is reported by Personnel (individual unit admin people) to central records. Back in that day, there are any number of reason that his wound was not listed- the biggest would be that he didn't receive a purple heart. If he did then Personnel somehow didnt get it on the record. When I served 96-01, leaders who cared would remind you to make sure everything is in your file. Since it is all government bureaucracy and especially during the fog of war, it could have got skipped, forgotten, etc.

           

          With that said, the same could reveal why he left as a master sergeant, if his rank was correct, they were loosing soldiers in battle including higher ranking non commissioned officers ( sergeant ranks) and the needed the battle experienced and hardened to move up in rank quickly and take charge.  Even if he was later out of combat - if he stayed in until the end of his obligation or contract- it could be they needed experienced people to move up and take charge in general. Think high turn over rate.

           

          APO = Army Post Office- so all that means is where his mail was delivered to.

           

          My hunch is that he kicked butt, saw lots of young men die and didnt expect much for a simple wound or even a grave one if he was able to survive and enter battle again. They dont call the Korean War - the forgotten war for nothing.

           

          Hope this helps.

           

          Kevin

          PS - I went from Pvt E1 to Sergeant E5 in 3.75 years with a modicum of initiative in relative peace time.

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking help understanding grandfather's DD-214
              Karin Wells Wayfarer

              Hi Kevin,

              Thank you so much for your help! I have made a request for medals and hope that a Purple Heart will be included if he was in fact awarded one. The only information I have on his medals is what was included on the DD214 and the story I have always been told was that his parents got rid of the originals (not sure why or how) before he got a chance to save them.

               

              I was only able to get a DD214 and not much else. I was told that the records were lost in the 1973 fire. I'm wondering if this means that what is on the discharge form is all the information they have... It seems like there must be some additional information on him somewhere, since I was able to find that he was wounded in action by a missile in North Korea. When I called the other day, they said there is nothing else that could be given to me other than to request the medals and see what comes.

               

              I sincerely appreciate your help and thank you for your service! I wish that I could have asked him these questions myself but he unfortunately passed away in 1975 (way before my time) and even before that he wouldn't talk about his time in the service.

               

              Take care and thank you again!

            • Re: Seeking help understanding grandfather's DD-214
              Zachary Dabbs Tracker

              Dear Ms. Wells,

              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

               

              We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a series titled Command Reports, 1949 - 1954 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917 - 1985 (Record Group 407) that includes command reports, journals, and supporting documents regarding the 110th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War. We also 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 include command reports, general orders, and a historical file of the 110th Infantry Regiment during the 1950s. For more information about these non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov. We were unable to locate specific records of Company K. Records of lower echelon units sometimes were incorporated into the files of the regiment.

               

              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.

               

              You also may wish to review the National Archives Records Relating to the Korean War (Reference Information Paper 103) for more resources.

               

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

               

                • Re: Seeking help understanding grandfather's DD-214
                  Karin Wells Wayfarer

                  Thank you very much for your help. If I contact RDT2 about these specific references, how do they help? I guess what I am trying to ask is if it is possible for a researcher to look through these references for mention of a specific veteran and compile that information for me? I was told when I called after receiving the DD214 that the other reference material would not be available to me, but I am hoping to get a better picture of what my grandfather was doing during the war.

                   

                  Thank you again for your help!

                    • Re: Seeking help understanding grandfather's DD-214
                      Zachary Dabbs Tracker

                      Dear Ms. Wells,

                      Thank you for posting your follow-up request on History Hub!

                       

                      The command reports and unit history records we located in our previous response regarding the 110th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War period will document the location, operations, and activities of the unit. The records will not document the service of individual soldiers. If you wish to review the unit records of the 110th and because of the quantity, making copies of the records would be very expensive. We suggest viewing them in person.

                       

                      To determine if your grandfather was involved in a particular action, we suggest reviewing morning reports and rosters. Morning reports from November 1, 1912 to 1959 and copies of most of the monthly rosters from 1947 - 1959 for Army units are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). For more information about these records, please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov

                       

                      You may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL. 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.

                       

                      Please note that National Archives research rooms will be open on a limited basis and by appointment only as local public health metrics allow. You must have a virtual consultation before the on-site visit. Please refer to NARA’s Frequently Asked Questions and COVID-19 Updates pages for further information.

                       

                      If you are unable to visit RDT2 or RL-SL in person, you may hire a private researcher to conduct research for you. There is a list of private researchers who are familiar with National Archives facilities available on NARA’s website.

                       

                      We hope this is helpful.

                       

                  • Re: Seeking help understanding grandfather's DD-214
                    Tommy Johnson Adventurer

                    Regarding your grandfather's "most significant duty assignment" it is most likely when his tour was finished in Korea he was transferred to a unit stateside and this is the unit he was serving with at the time of his separation.