4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 1, 2018 10:40 AM by Rebecca Collier

    Army Pension Records for World War 1 veteran

    Joyce Sasse Newbie

      I am searching for the Army pension record of my grandfather a WW1 Army Balloon Corp member. Can you help me?

        • Re: Army Pension Records for World War 1 veteran
          Rebecca Collier Navigator

          Dear Ms. Sasse,

           

          Thank you for contacting the History Hub!

           

          Pension records would have been filed as part of your grandfather’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and prior to 1955 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, 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. For a copy of his OMPF or other personnel records, 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.  Or you may apply online at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

           

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

           

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          • Re: Army Pension Records for World War 1 veteran
            Jonathan Deiss Scout

            World War One soldiers did not always receive pensions, in the classic sense.  Some may have pensions granted by passage of private legislation through Congress, and others received perhaps only a small insurance payout or a death benefit to the family.  It can vary.  They were required to sign up for what was termed an Adjusted Insurance package, and were encouraged, but not required to set an allotment from their pay for family back home, and to designate a next of kin.

             

            The OMPFs for Army soldiers, if they survived the 1973 fire, don't contain a great deal of pension or benefits related data; but may have some.  The OMPFs for Naval personnel on the other hand, can have voluminous pension-related correspondence.  Navy BUPERs seems to have determined that data should be in what became their OMPFs, and perhaps the Army AGO did not do it as often.  So, in addition to requesting the OMPF, you may wish to request a search for his name in the "VA Master Index - Prior Wars" series from the same source in St Louis.  It is an alphabetical arrangement of index cards, abstracting the service and benefits details (pension, insurance, retirement) for soldiers from many periods, but a great many WW1 soldiers are included.  The card will indicate name and service number, unit designation, and the numbers and codes assigned to either pension, insurance or benefits.

             

            Here is an example of the type of card I am describing :

             

            Cobb, Tyrus: VA Master Index - Prior Wars index card, scanned by jdeiss, St Louis, MO

             

            It includes useful personal data, including soldier's name (Cobb, Tyrus Raymond), rank (Capt) and unit (CWS - Chemical Warfare Service), and residence at time of application (Menlo Park), and a birth date (12/18/86), the numbers along the right side indicate the benefits package number (XC21821765), the other series of numbers indicate various insurance and bonus pay voucher numbers, not all of which can currently be used to produce a file, or may be interfiled with the larger benefits package (XC-----).

             

            WW1 'benefits' case-files, and pension files are held partially in NARA custody and partially in VA custody, so depending on the circumstances surrounding your ancestor's benefits package, it may be in either place.

             

            If you're looking for information on Balloon Units in the AEF, you may wish to request a search of NARA Record Group 165 (Army HQ), entry 310 (Historical Section) and ask if there are any Balloon Corps records for your ancestor's particular unit in the series.  They will be records produced during the war, contemporaneously with the events they described, in general covering the basic details of the unit's service as a whole.  I have also seen Balloon files in the Records of the US Air Force (NARA Record Group 18, entry 767hh).  You can search them yourself at the facility in College Park, Maryland, ask staff to perform a cursory search, or hire an independent researcher to perform the necessary research.

             

            Here is an example of the history of the 58th Balloon Company, from RG165, entry 310, box 269 :

             

            NARA RG165, entry 310, box 269, 58 Balloon Company, scanned by jdeiss, College Park, MD

             

            So, start exploring and see what happens, and be prepared for the fact that there may not be a benefits package, or that it may be hard to access because of the need to file a FOIA request with the VA.  But it is possible.  Good luck!

            3 of 3 people found this helpful
            • Re: Army Pension Records for World War 1 veteran
              Rebecca Collier Navigator

              Dear Ms. Sasse,

               

              There also are balloon unit records in the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I), 1848-1942 (Record Group 120). A search of the National Archives Catalog located 8 series that may be of interest to you.

               

              We hope that this information is helpful. Again, best of luck with your family research!

               

              3 of 3 people found this helpful
              • Re: Army Pension Records for World War 1 veteran
                Rebecca Collier Navigator

                Dear Ms. Sasse,

                 

                As mentioned in Mr. Deiss’ reply, there XC files that may have information about WWI pensions. In the National Archives Catalog, there are three series that contain XC files in the Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs (Record Group 15) -- “Deceased Veterans Claims (XC Files), 10/1917 - ca. 1955, 10/1917 - ca. 1955”; “Deceased Veterans Claims Files (XC Files), 10/1917 - ca. 1949”; and “Deceased Veterans Claims (XC Files), 10/1917 - ca. 1945”. These three series are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). Please contact them via email (stl.archives@nara.gov) for access to these records.

                 

                We hope that this information is helpful. Again, best of luck with your family research!

                2 of 2 people found this helpful