4 Replies Latest reply on Jul 14, 2020 10:56 AM by Don Hill

    Seeking Distinguished Flying Cross with Clusters & Air Medal for Sgt Joseph D Heleman

    Don Hill Newbie

      Seeking information on medals assigned to my great uncle Sgt. Joseph D Heleman from Abilene, Taylor County, Texas during WWII with the Army Air Corps. He received the Air Medal as well as Distinguished Flying Cross with Clusters. He was a top gunner on a B-24 and I know he was based in Italy for part of his assignments. I have his Air Medal. But, I know nothing more about the history of it being awarded, when, etc. Unable to locate anything online beyond newspaper articles that states he was awarded those medals. He died with his brother while both were on furlough in a motorcycle accident in Taylor County, Texas to visit their mother. Appreciate it.

        • Re: Seeking Distinguished Flying Cross with Clusters & Air Medal for Sgt Joseph D Heleman
          Elliot Schneider Pioneer

          Don,

           

          The DFC typically did not give a narrative like a silver star or bronze star. Typically all that was shown for a narrative was showing the the unit or group flew certain amount of missions within enemy territory. However was able to fins his award card for all the Air Medals. Please see below, if you request his full military file you may find something within his file more substantial relating to the DFC. You may want to try reaching out to the 15th AF WWII group organization. They sometimes have historians that may offer some assistance.

           

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          • Re: Seeking Distinguished Flying Cross with Clusters & Air Medal for Sgt Joseph D Heleman
            Jason Atkinson Pioneer

            Dear Mr. Hill,

             

            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

             

            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Award Cards, 1942 - 1963 in the Records of the National Archives and Records Administration (Record Group 64). Based on the arrangement of the records, a Distinguished Flying Cross card for a person with the last name of Heleman should be in the file unit Air Force Award Cards [Distinguished Flying Cross]: Heil, Charles - Hesson, Charles that has been digitized and is available online. But we were unable to locate an image of such a card for your great uncle. It may be that the newspaper article you located was mistaken, or it may be that the US Army Air Force inadvertently failed to create a card or that the card was misplaced sometime prior to the records being scanned.

             

            Therefore, we suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army (to include US Army Air Corps) who were separated from the service after October 1912 and prior to 1958 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. 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. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.

             

            Also, the U.S. Air Force (to include US Army Air Corps) Individual Deceased Personnel Files (IDPFs) from 1940-1973 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis, ATTN: RL-SL, P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. IDPFs were unaffected by the 1973 fire. Please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov for information about these records.

             

            The National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) has custody of microfilm copies of operational records relating to U.S. Army Air Force units.  We searched the Air Force History Index to the microfilm and located 35 records of the 15th Air Force that include general orders from 1944 and possibly the citation for your great uncle’s Air Medals and Oak Leaf Clusters for the Air Medal. Please read the brief Abstract to determine which records you are interested in and click on the specific PDF icon. In the PDF listing, the IRISREF is the microfilm reel number and note the FRAME and FRAMELST numbers for the location on the reel. Please contact RDT2 via email at archives2reference@nara.gov and provide that  information.

             

            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL & RDT2. Also, the National Personnel Records Center is servicing only urgent requests related to homeless veterans, medical emergencies, and funerals which may be faxed to 314-801-0764.  We thank you for your patience and look forward to resuming normal operations when the public health emergency has ended.

             

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

            1 person found this helpful
              • Re: Seeking Distinguished Flying Cross with Clusters & Air Medal for Sgt Joseph D Heleman
                Don Hill Newbie

                Thank you, Mr. Atkinson. I sent the GSA Standard Form 180 and mailed it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center last week. My father said he has seen the medal while visiting his grandmother who had it in her possession when she was still alive during his youth. However, that generation doesn't seem to know what happened to the medal and who may have inherited it or if still in possession. I'm only interested in learning more and getting a card documentation or other for genealogical purposes. I appreciate the tips. If Form 180 doesn't pan out, I'll try the other avenues as well. Much obliged!