Dear Mr. Purtell,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched National Archives Catalog and located the World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917-1981 (Record Group 407) that includes records of the 5th Infantry Division and its subordinate units. We also located 92 file units of the 5th ID in the series titled Unit Histories, 1943 - 1967 in the Records of U.S. Army Operational, Tactical, and Support Organizations (World War II and Thereafter) (Record Group 338). While unit records do not necessarily include information about each soldier in the unit, they sometimes mention individual soldiers in records such as general orders for awards. Also, if there are any unit histories or after action reports for his regiment for April 1945, they may provide information about his unit’s activities at the time of his death. Sometimes they list individual casualties by name, or simply give the number of persons killed on a given date. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morning reports for Army units from November 1, 1912 to 1959 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). For information about these records, please contact RL-SL via email at email@example.com.
Individual Deceased Personnel Files (IDPF) IDPFs from 1940-1976 for personnel with surnames that begin with A-L are also in the custody of RL-SL.
We also located Headstone Inscription and Interment Records for U.S. Military Cemeteries on Foreign Soil, 1942 - 1949 in the Records of the American Battle Monuments Commission (Record Group 117) which includes a record for him. We are attaching it to the end of our reply.
Plus, we located Draft Registration Cards for Pennsylvania, 10/16/1940 - 03/31/1947. In the Records of the Selective Service System (Record Group 147) which includes a draft registration card for him. We are attaching it to the end of our reply. You may also be interested in a copy of his selective service classification ledger. Classification Ledgers (SSS Form 102), also known as a Classification History, chronicle the status of each man’s eligibility, exemptions, tests, entry, and final disposition from service. The codes for these classification ledgers can be found on the Selective Service System’s website. Supplementary information provided by registrants (medical records, school enrollment forms, or other documents supporting reasons for classifications) was not considered permanent record material and as such was not retained by the Selective Service Commission. For example, the National Archives cannot provide documentation or a reason for why someone was classified as “4F”. To access draft registration cards or classification ledgers for 1940 – 1975, please fill out the Selective Service System Records Request form and send it to: National Archives & Records Administration, National Archives - St. Louis, ATTN: RL-SL P.O. Box 38757. For more information see Selective Service Records.
If you have not done so already, 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 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. Because you have his service number (see AAD and ABMC links) it is not necessary to include his social security number if you do not know it. Use his date of death as his “date released”. We suggest that you also attach a memo with his unit information. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.
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 RDT2 and RL-SL. Also, the National Personnel Records Center is currently only servicing emergency requests and will soon expand its service to include time-sensitive requests from veterans for records needed to secure VA home loan guarantees and employment opportunities.
We searched the American Battle Monuments Commission database and located their listing for Francis D. Lawler.
You may wish to search libraries and retailers for books about the unit. There are also a number of websites with information about the 5th Infantry Division and/or the 2nd Infantry Regiment, to include:
- https://archive.org/details/2Inf5thID/mode/2up (Pfc. Francis D. Lawler listed on page 112, events of April 1945 described on pages 76-77)
For general information about the division and World War II, you also may wish to contact that U.S. Army Center of Military History, the National Museum of the US Army, the National World War 2 Museum, and the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!