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Dear Mr. Burnett,
Thank you for sharing your question with the History Hub.
The information you are looking for may be part of the series Central Decimal Correspondence Files, 1940-1945 from National Archives Record Group 407: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office. One of the subseries contains “information about awards of decorations and medals (file 200.6),” and another series in RG 407 that may be useful is Approved and Disapproved Applications for Decorations and Awards, 1905-1951.
You might also be able to find some relevant information in the Records of the Personnel Division (G-1) in Record Group 165: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs.
These records are all in the custody of the Textual Reference Branch at the National Archives in College Park, MD (Archives II). You can email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Thank you, again, for posting your question to the History Hub, and best of luck with your ongoing research.
In response to a request from Archives II regarding my request for update status on on a prior request, I utilized your input as potential source information for the file(s) I am in urgently need of. Another researcher suggested I phone the Archives and speak directly with an archivist. Although I've been a researcher for more than six decades, I've never "cold called" the Archives and only spoken directly with archivists who have previously responded to me. In that the information I seek has some urgency, do you recommend that I allow the update status request to work its way through the system or contact the Archives directly?
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Dear Mr. Burnett,
We were happy to assist you with the requests you submitted to our office. We hope you received our response for each request you sent. Below please find a summary of our search:
We searched multiple correspondence series found in Records of the Adjutant
General’s Office, 1917- (Record Group 407) specifically Entries UD 16, PI-17 37-I, and PI-17 37-G.
We also searched RG 407 Entry NM-3 363-A, Central Decimal Correspondence Files under war department decimal 200.6 (awards of decorations and medals) (same series Rachael mentions above). This decimal is covered in boxes 421-464. Boxes 421 – 447 are arranged by date covering the period 1945 in box 421 through 1941 in box 447. The records for 1941 in box 447 are primarily legislation. Boxes 447-464 of the series are arranged by specific awards and then date. Medal of Honor recipients are found in boxes 459-460.
We searched RG 407 Entry NM-3 416, Approved and Disapproved Applications for Decorations and Awards, 1905-1951, which is is arranged alphabetically.
In addition to this we also searched Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (Record Group 165) and Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (Record Group 218).
We were not able to locate records for George Keene within these files. We also checked the records for the Distinguished Service Cross which your letter states was awarded to George Keene. The file for the Distinguished Service Cross covers January 1940 – December 1943 and is found in box 452 but there are only records for 1943 and later. We were not able to locate records for George Keene within these files either.
We also recommended contacting the MacArthur Memorial library and archives: (http://www.macarthurmemorial.org/31/Library-Archives).
At this point, your inquiry will require deeper research, which we are unfortunately not staffed to do. We will be pleased to make the finding aids to these records available to you or your representative in our research room at the National Archives in College Park, MD. The Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RDT2) is located at 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, near the University of Maryland--College Park campus.
Otherwise, you may hire a private researcher to do research for you. A list of private researchers who are familiar with National Archives facilities is available on our web site at http://www.archives.gov/research/hire-help/index.html. We hope you find this information useful.
Please accept this note as my personal thanks to you and the other staff
members who have diligently searched for this file. I may have to have a
third party come make an additional search but at this point am satisfied
that the records for the hearing referenced in Harry H. Woodring's letter
to Albert Thomas May 15 1940, if they still exist, either do not contain
the testimony and evidence presented on behalf of George Lawson Keene
(could have been spelled Kane), or that information may exist elsewhere.
Thank you for your suggestions and please share this note with others who
took undertook my request. We know from bits and pieces of records that
have been recovered from various sources, that the event took place and
while it is important to the verification of Mr. Keene's legacy as the Most
Decorated Soldier in World War I, contemporary records will have to suffice
in the near term.
Best personal regards,