7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2017 7:22 AM by Hal Barker

    RG 407.3 Korean War Command Report Microfilms

    Hal Barker Newbie

      RG 407.3 - Korean War Command Report Microfilms. I've obtained a number of scans of Korean War Command reports on microfilms held by the Fort Benning Library. For reference, NARA refers to 170 rolls of microfilm that may be the same type of films that Fort Benning holds. My question is how can I get an index of the 170 microfilms noted below?

       

      407.3 REPORTS RELATING TO WORLD WAR II AND KOREAN WAR COMBAT OPERATIONS AND TO ACTIVITIES IN OCCUPIED AREAS
      1940-54

       

      Textual Records: Reports and supporting documents detailing combat operations at all levels (theaters, base commands, corps, divisions, and individual units), for World War II ("Operations Reports"), 1940-48 (8,219 ft.), with microfilm copies, 1940-46 (731 rolls), and an index; and for the Korean War ("Command Reports"), 1949-54, with microfilm copies (170 rolls), and indexes. Foreign (occupied) area reports relating to economic matters, education, intelligence work, and natural resources in the Far East; and to civil affairs and military government in occupied areas, 1941-54.

        • Re: RG 407.3 Korean War Command Report Microfilms
          Ryan Bass Adventurer

          Dear Mr. Barker,

           

          Thank you for your question to History Hub. The information you found is from our guide to federal records. This guide is a broad overview of the records that are held at the National Archives. The particular series that you are interested in can be found here. This series is the index to the command reports. If you are looking for the particular unit, the command reports are described at the file unit level and are searchable by clicking on the search within series button. This will allow you to figure out which box has the command report for the unit you are looking for. 

           

          If you have any more questions regarding this series, or if you would like a reproduction of a specific file, please email us the Textual Archives II Reference Branch at archives2reference@nara.gov.

           

          Best of luck in your research!

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          • Re: RG 407.3 Korean War Command Report Microfilms
            Hal Barker Newbie

            Thanks. I've been going through the Korean War Command Reports since 1982 and was told then and recently that no microfilms existed. But they do exist.

             

             

            What I am looking for is some sort of confirmation of the physical existence of the 170 microfilms noted in the RG 407.3 description. The films won't be in any of the actual boxes. I've been through at least 500,000 pages of the Command Reports and never saw a microfilm.

             

            In other words, if I were to show up at College Park would the actual microfilms be available?

              • Re: RG 407.3 Korean War Command Report Microfilms
                Rachael Salyer Adventurer

                Dear Mr. Barker,

                 

                Thank you for sharing your question with the History Hub.

                 

                Information about the index to the records you are interested in can be found here in the National Archives Catalog, and information about the microfilmed records themselves can be found here. If you look at the “Access Restriction” note for each of the Catalog entries, you will see that access to the index is “Unrestricted,” but access to the microfilm itself is “Restricted - Fully” under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) restriction “FOIA (b)(1) National Security, Top Secret.” If you visit the National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II), you would only be able to view the index, not the microfilm.

                 

                As Ryan Bass indicated, you can contact the Textual Reference Branch at Archives II with questions about the index and records at archives2reference@nara.gov.

                 

                You can also find more information about FOIA and National Archives here on our website.

                 

                Thank you, again, for posting your question to the History Hub.

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              • Re: RG 407.3 Korean War Command Report Microfilms
                Hal Barker Newbie

                Thanks. Interesting that the microfilms would be "Top Secret." When I first started going through the exact same paper records in 1982, the documents were noted as Secret but declassified. I now have approximately 750,000 pages of the exact same declassified pages either on my computer or online at the Korean War Project.

                 

                Having viewed a number of the exact same master microfilms, the actual stamp is "Secret" rather than "Top Secret," and all of the files were declassified well before 1982.

                 

                I wrote the Textual Reference Branch at the email address and was told it would take approximately 6 weeks for a reply. I was hoping I would not have to go through the FOIA process since that is always extremely painful and discouraging as well as months or years of work.

                • Re: RG 407.3 Korean War Command Report Microfilms
                  Hal Barker Newbie

                  I filed for an evaluation of the Top Secret status. Based on past experience, it looks like about two years before there can be any determination.

                   

                   

                  Interestingly enough, several years ago I obtained a 25 CD set of scanned Marine Corps Korean War files that I converted to PDF for free use online. Anyone can view and download about 250,000 pages of these records on the Korean War Project.

                   

                  I found a number of regimental files were missing so I sought to determine if the files were in the NARA holdings. Originally the Marine Corps had the files but after the CD's were cut, the files were sent to NARA.

                   

                  By some sort of clerical error, I think they checked the wrong box on a form sending the files to NARA, the whole shebang was reclassified from open to the public to Secret or Top Secret and remained unavailable to the public for quite some time. Several years I am told. Only after I made personal contact to a Senior Archivist at NARA were the Marine Corps records made available again.

                   

                   

                  You could buy the CD's of the exact same Marine Corps records from NARA but you could not view the same records at NARA if you showed up to College Park. My guess is this is what happened with the 170 microfilms I requested.

                   

                  In other words, you could go to one window at NARA and pay $125 and get the 25 CD's. Then you could walk down the hall and ask for the same records on paper and you would be told all the exact same records are Secret or Top Secret.

                    • Re: RG 407.3 Korean War Command Report Microfilms
                      Hal Barker Newbie

                      One more anecdotal story about NARA records. In 1995 I filed a FOIA on certain files. After a year, I did receive some of the files after filing a complaint with the White House.

                       

                      Then in 2014, 19 years later, a FOIA package shows up with the rest of the records I requested in 1995.

                       

                      So if you request records under FOIA, don't give up. Better 19 years than never. Hope I don't seem too frustrated. As a Korean War historian, I fully understand why Korea is called "The Forgotten War."