3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2019 8:54 AM by Rebecca Collier

    Seeking proof of Father's military service


      I am trying to prove my Father's military service. I've contacted the NPRC, but they say his records were destroyed in the great fire of 1973. My Father served in the 3rd Infantry at Fort Snelling, St Paul, Minnesota. I believe he served in the late 1930's (1938/1939). I also believe that he left the service prior to the beginning of WW II (and since he had already served, he was exempt from military service, but I don't really know). He died in in 1986 and rarely spoke of his military service, however he regularly attended reunions of his unit, His name is George P. Wilson. I'm hoping to find a duty roster, muster list or any artifact with his name proving his service with the 3rd Infantry at Fort Snelling.


      This is important to me as my Father was an "Orphan Train" orphan. He was born in New York City and placed in the New York Foundling Home at age 2 weeks old. He was placed in the home of the "Wilson's" at age 9. (I've been able to find this information from the records of the New York Founding Home.) From the age of nine, he was raised be the "Wilson's" in Mitchel, South Dakota.


      Thanks for any assistance.

        • Re: Seeking proof of Father's military service
          Holly Rivet Tracker

          Dear Mr. Wilson,


          Thank you for posting your request to History Hub!


          First, you will require more information regarding his military service.  Since he passed prior to 2006, there should be a U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010  record of him on the Ancestry site.  This site does have a fee but you may access it for free at any National Archives public research rooms or your local library may have a subscription.  Records from this series typically include name, dates of birth and death, service number, branch of service, and dates of service.  If any of the information you find is new to you, please resubmit your request to the National Personnel Records Center. 


          We then suggest searching the Morning Reports, U.S. Army (Record Group 338, Records of the U.S. Army Commands) in the custody of National Archives at St. Louis. This series covers the years 1912-1943.  These are daily reports created by the Army for routine administrative purposes.  They contain the following information: date, name of reporting unit, parent unit location, arm of service, and a tabular breakdown of the unit’s composition by rank.


          An individual will only be reported if they caused a change in the unit’s strength (transfer, sick, AWOL, etc.).  If a person is mentioned, the report will include their name, rank, and service number. When a date and location of discharge is known, a researcher can track a service member by going through this series backward in time.


          Researchers must specify the organizational unit and date. A battalion, regiment, or company within the 3rd Infantry would be most helpful.  NARA staff can then use an index to locate the microfilm reel or paper report for the given unit on a particular date.  Upon request, we will provide digitized images on DVD of organizational records, each taken from a roll of microfilm created by the U.S. Army.  The original paper documents no longer exist. The response time for future requests may be twenty or more months, depending upon our available resources and the total volume of requests received. You may also hire a private researcher to locate this information for you.  This page lists researchers in the St. Louis area in no particular order.


          In order to answer your request for Morning Reports, please provide the specific month and year you would like to request for the unit you seek. You may mail your request to:


          National Archives and Records Administration

          National Archives at St. Louis

          ATTN: RL-SL

          PO Box 38757

          St. Louis, MO 63138

          Or email stl.archives@nara.gov


          If you would like to personally view the rosters or morning reports, we will make them available, by appointment only, in our Archival Research Room located at the National Personnel Records Center, Archival Research Room, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138. For a small fee, you may print copies of the pages you want from the microfilm. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Archival Research Room in advance, by phone at (314) 801-0850 or by email at stlarr.archives@nara.gov.


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


          Holly Rivet

          St. Louis, MO


          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking proof of Father's military service

              Ms Rivet,


              Thank you for the information. Since I live in Northern Virginia (35 miles west of D.C.) I assume that I can access a public research room at the National Archives. I will try to pursue the research you've outlined


              There is one thing I do not understand about the information in your response. You state: Since he passed prior to 2006, there should be a U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 record of him on the Ancestry site.


              Why would there be a record of him there? He was not a retiree and to my knowledge never received medical treatment at a VA facility. When he passed, we never notified the VA, so how would they have this information?


              Again, thank you for responding to my post.


              I am hopeful that this will lead me to the information I'm looking for.



              Jay Wilson