4 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2018 6:20 PM by Martha Collins

    Where can I find an explanation of discharge documents for WWII until 1950?


      I am looking for a reference site that explains who received a separation document prior to 1/1/1950 (when the first DD 214 form was put in place). Questions I am trying to resolve:

      1. The WD OAG 53-55 was only for Army/Army AC/Army AF/AF enlisted personnel. Was there a similar form for officers?
      2. Did the separation documents for all the branches differentiate between enlisted and officers, or was it only Army/Army AC/Army AF/AF?
      3. Personnel serving in the Reserves of any of the branches—they did not receive a DD 214 unless they had also served some active duty time. If so, I understand the separation documents would be for each time a change was made between active and reserve duties. I need an explanation of how that works.
      4. Is a National Guard separation document always filed at the state level, or are there instances when it would be found in an OMPF?

      In other words, if there is one site that explains these for the WWII years prior to 1950, please let me know where to check.

        • Re: Where can I find an explanation of discharge documents for WWII until 1950?
          Holly Rivet Tracker

          Dear Ms. Collins,


          Thank you for posting your question to the History Hub!


          You are correct, the WD AGO 53-33 was used for Army and Air Force enlisted personnel.  All officers, which includes commissioned, warrant (male and female), dietitians, and physical therapists received the 53-97 form. Organizational Unit Records, 1943-1947  includes a whole section on Adjutant General Forms for Army and Air Force.  This publication has also been scanned into Fold 3.


          Separation documents issued for federal service of Reservists or Guardsmen would be done so for each term of at least 90 days.  In some cases (depending on the time frame, branch of service, or even at the clerk level) these individual separation documents may have been combined into one document.


          The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) does maintain some Army and Air National Guard personnel records. NPRC provides records in their holdings to veterans and refers veterans to their states of National Guard service where the veteran served for those not in NPRC holdings.


          There is no overarching website to address all of these questions for all of these branches, modes of service, state localities, and time frames.  Each branch will have to be investigated independently. For more information on the history of separation documents, please explore administrative military publications from the time frames you are most interested.


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


          Holly Rivet


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