5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2020 2:55 PM by Ronald Smith

    Seeking records of Ralph Edward Hart, Sr


      Hello, for years I have been trying to find information about my late grandfather, SSGT Ralph Edward Hart, Sr.  He died on June 23, 1964 in Mainz, Germany and was brought back the United States and buried with full honors in Raleigh National Cemetery on July 2, 1964.  He was married and divorced from my grandmother during his time in service and then remarried another woman who had children.  My mother, her brother, and my grandmother flew back to the US from Frankfurt, Germany in April, 1958 never to hear from him again.  My mother passed suddenly in February 2018 and thought her father had lived to be old, turns out he died at the age of 30.


      Any information or help would be greatly appreciated, my grandmother is in a nursing home diagnosed with COVID-19, so I am unable to even talk to her about anything and my mother has passed away.  My uncle is stonewalling me, but I have found relatives who were able to give me some information from newspapers and public records.  I have a plethora of information about my great grandfather, including pictures, but I have never seen a picture or information about my late grandfather.

        • Re: Seeking records of Ralph Edward Hart, Sr
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Here is some information.


          Also please copy and paste link into your web browser. Looks like he was with HQ Company 1st BN, 509th Infantry.





          Obituary for Ralph Ed ward HART -


          The 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment was kept on the Army's list of inactive units from the end of World War II, through the Korean War, and into the Cold War. Under the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS), implemented in 1957, combat regiments that were considered the most historically distinguished were selected to serve as the parent units of battalions. The 509th was chosen as one of these regiments whose heritage deserved to live on.

          In April 1963, the 509th was reactivated as the 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne/Mechanized) with 1st and 2nd Battalions assigned to the 1st Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division in West Germany. Stationed at Lee Barracks near the city of Mainz, the two battalions of the 509th PIR now had a dual role of both mechanized infantry and as an airborne "fire brigade" for contingency missions. Both battalions participated in "Project Partnership," an extensive training program that involved training with NATO forces' weapons and tactics. For a ten-year period, a new generation of gingerbread men fulfilled their Cold War mission of defense and deterrence in West Germany.





          This was information from 1940 census



          Name:Ralph E Hart
          Estimated Birth Year:abt 1934
          Marital Status:Single
          Relation to Head of House:Son
          Home in 1940:Centerville, Appanoose, Iowa
          Map of Home in 1940:
          Street:East State Street
          House Number:1010
          Inferred Residence in 1935:Rural, Poweshiek, Iowa
          Sheet Number:22A
          Father's Birthplace:Missouri
          Mother's Birthplace:New Mexico
          Attended School or College:Yes
          Highest Grade Completed:None
          Native Language:English
          Social Security Number:No


          Household MembersAgeRelationship
          Joal Hart30Head
          Edna Hart28Wife
          Ralph E Hart6Son
          James P Hart5Son





          Hope this helps,


          Elliot Schneider

          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking records of Ralph Edward Hart, Sr

              Mr. Schneider,


              Thank you so very much!  That's more information than I have gotten my entire 43 years on this Earth.  My mom was 3 when they came over from Germany so she had to rely on her older brother Ralph for information.  Sadly James Hart passed away before I learned I even had a great uncle also.  My mom was born in Wurzburg, Germany which is west of Mainz, but it fascinates me he was part of such a distinguished part of the Army.  His service has always been kept secret from me, so to learn this really put me in a happy place.  Thank you so very much for taking the time to help me gain some insight into in my grandfather, it is very much appreciated.


              By chance would you know who I should contact to find out his cause of death?  Seems like dying at the age of 31 in the 1960s wasn't as common as dying in the 1860s at the same age.  That part of this mystery has always bothered me and I am honestly not sure who to contact with him dying in Germany, but being brought back here and buried with full military honors.  I have reached out to the US Army to try and obtain records, but with the current COVID-19 pandemic they are only pulling records that are needed right now, which I fully respect and honor.




              Ronald Ray Smith

              • Re: Seeking records of Ralph Edward Hart, Sr

                One more question if I may Mr. Schneider.  I am familiar with the "gingerbread men" at D-Day that lured elite German forces away from the main landing zone, but cannot find anything about the "new generation of Gingerbread men" that you mentioned.  Is it the same thing that the Army used during WW2 at D-Day?  Sorry to bother, Google keeps showing cookies when I search, I have been trying different search parameters to get more information outside of culinary responses.




                Ronald R. Smith

              • Re: Seeking records of Ralph Edward Hart, Sr
                Shannon Kerner Adventurer

                Dear Mr. Smith,


                Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                We suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) and individual medical reports for those who served in the U.S. Army after 1958 and prior to October 16, 1992 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. 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. Certain information in the records is not available to the general public without the written consent of the veteran or his next of kin. For more information see Request Military Service Records.


                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). For access to these records, please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@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. Also, the NPRC is currently only servicing emergency requests associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans, VA Home loan guarantees, and employment opportunities. If this is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. We apologize for any inconvenience.


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


                1 person found this helpful
                  • Re: Seeking records of Ralph Edward Hart, Sr

                    Thank you so very much for this, I will put in a request and wait patiently for any information that they are able to provide pertaining to his service and his death.  I greatly appreciate this as now I know what forms to request and will get his only living son (closest relative) to sign the appropriate paperwork for me.  This makes me feel like I have made years of progress in just less than 24 hours.




                    Ronald Smith