11 Replies Latest reply on Sep 1, 2020 9:27 PM by J. Andrew

    Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa

    Bettee Boyd Newbie

      My uncle died of wounds (DOW) on April 9, 1945 of head injuries sustained in the fighting, but we do not know when those wounds were inflicted as opposed to when he died.  We also heard rumors of "friendly fire".  Is there any way to find out additional information about his death?  His mother never received any additional information or talked to anyone who had actually been there although she talked to a cousin who had been on Okinawa at the time, but not at the same precise location.

        • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
          Elliot Schneider Navigator

          Bettee,

           

          Do you have any additional information on your relative? DOB, place of birth and name.

           

           

          Thanks,

           

          Elliot

            • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
              Bettee Boyd Newbie

              Elliot,

              Thank you for the info on both my grandfathers in the Civil War.  I already have the information you sent and was seeking info about a hospital stay only.   Also, the Ellen Polk Widow's Pension is not my Elias Polk, but thanks anyway.

                As to my uncle in WWII.   His name was Sgt D T Cribb, Jr, born March 29, 1921 in Darbun, MS (possibly listed as Kokomo, MS).  We know he died in a hospital on April 9, 1945 on Okinawa after heavy fighting on Kakazu Ridge of head sounds received from Artillery shell fire.  What we don't know is whether we was wounded on April 9 or earlier than that and died on that date.    His SErvice Number was 34480170, and hee was part of the 7th Infantry,  184th Infantry group originally Company E but they may have been combined into only companies A - B - C by then.    I have the Hospital Admission Card File (1942 - 1954), but it does not give the date he was wounded or admitted to the hospital.    Any help appreciated.    thanks,  bettee

                • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                  Elliot Schneider Navigator

                  Bettee,

                   

                  Here is his headstone application. When the NPRC opens back up I would suggest requesting his IDPFs File, morning reports, and 184th Infantry Unit AARs also known as After Action Reports. My grandfather was on Okinawa as well but he was with the 382nd Infantry, 96th Division just north on Okinawa and south from where your uncle was. They landed on Okinawa April 1945 I believe the 7th Division was part of the initial landing that day as well from Field Orders.

                   

                   

                   

                  Thanks,

                   

                  Elliot Schneider

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                    • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                      Bettee Boyd Newbie

                      Elliot,    thanks again - I'm not sure what NPRC stands for or when it will be open again, but i think this is the resource I will need to continue my quest.   bb

                      • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                        Bettee Boyd Newbie

                        Elliot,

                           I figured out the NPRC and went on their site.  I got some useful information but D T falls into that category of records that were destroyed in the fire.  It looks like the morning reports and AAR  might be my best bet.  bb

                          • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                            joan stachnik Scout

                            Bettee, just to add to Elliot's information, I do not believe the IDPFs (or burial case files) were destroyed in the 1973 fire; mostly service records (OMPFs) were affected. The IDPF (Individual Deceased Personnel File) usually contains information on burial overseas, an inventory of the soldier's personal effects, and correspondence to family regarding return for burial in the United States. It is definitely worth requesting from the Archives once the offices reopen. Information on how to request should be on the National Archives website. Hope this is of some help. joan 

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                              • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                                Bettee Boyd Newbie

                                Joan,   that is definitely helpful.  thanks,  bb

                                  • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                                    J. Andrew Scout

                                    Some more advice:  While about 80% of Army OMPFs records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, some were not.  Until you actually get a response saying that the file can't be found you can't be sure.  It doesn't cost you anything (save for postage and a little bit of time) to submit a request.  You only get charged if they find something and you want a copy. So you might as well submit a request, as long as your expectations are realistic. You can also still snail mail the request now, its just that it is going to go into a big "to do" stack until conditions permit NPRC to bring back enough staff to address non-emergency requests.

                                    https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/military-personnel/ompf-archival-requests

                                     

                                    The After Action Reports are not at NPRC but are at College Park and are part of the WWII Operations Reports referenced by Michael Hancock in his reply. On the topic of setting realistic expectations, the amount of information in AARs about any given casualty can vary greatly.  I've seen everything from mentions of individual casualties by name to a simple listing of the number of people killed in any given time period.  You have to keep in mind that the sheer number of people that died during the World Wars means that there might not be a much documentation on any one person as relatives researching their lives would like to have.

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                              • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                                Bettee Boyd Newbie

                                Elliot,

                                   As I was sorting through all D T Cribb's personal effects sent home with his body after WWII, I was curious as to what becomes of all the letters and pictures that are sent to a soldier when he leaves his base to go into active fighting.  I have all the letters D T sent home in four years of active duty, but just wondered what became of everything that was sent to him.    His personal effects that came home with his body in 1949 were his razor, lighter, ID tags, and billfold which contained to pictures.    thanks,  bb

                          • Re: Seeking how/when a relative died on Okinawa
                            Michael J. Hancock Wayfarer

                            Dear Ms. Boyd,

                             

                            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

                             

                            The information you seek may be contained in his Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF). IDPFs from 1940- 1976 for personnel with surnames that begin with A-L are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL), P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. For access to these records, please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov.

                             

                            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a 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) that includes 83 file units of the 7th Infantry Division during the 1940s. We also located the World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917-1985 (Record Group 407) that includes records of 184th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division during WWII. For access to these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

                             

                            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 and RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

                             

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

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