3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 24, 2020 11:05 AM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking unit & specialties of grandfather during WWII

    Jordan Ottwell Newbie

      I have a picture of my grandfather in uniform from World War II. I would like to know if someone can identify what unit and specialties he had during that time.



        • Re: Seeking unit & specialties of grandfather during WWII
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Looks like his left shoulder reads the following, however cannot identify war patch under that.




          Here is the unit on his right shoulder sleeve. 78th Infantry Division. The collars unit insignia are hard to make out but look similar to this of the 307th Field Artillery? Look at the top of the crest and the top of the crest on your picture.


          US Army 307th Field Artillery BN German-Made DI in 935 Silver: Flying Tiger  Antiques Online Store


          WWII US Army 78th Infantry Division (aka "Lightning) Patch: Flying Tiger  Antiques Online Store



          Hope this helps,


          Elliot Schneider

          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: Seeking unit & specialties of grandfather during WWII
            Lisa Sharik Adventurer

            Right hand ribbon is Army of Occupation. The patch on  his right hand side( left as you look at the picture) ( 78th Infantry Division) is the unit he saw combat with but was not part of, at the time the photograph was taken. Photo likely taken 1946. The patch on the left is the unit he is with at the time the photo was taken. I can't make out what it is. Constabuary were a US military force which  acted as an occupation and security force in the U.S. Occupation Zone of West Germany and Austria.


            Lisa Sharik

            Deputy Director

            Texas Military Forces Museum

            • Re: Seeking unit & specialties of grandfather during WWII
              Jason Atkinson Ranger

              Dear Mr. Ottwell,


              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

              The patches on his left shoulder (viewer’s right) are those of the US Constabulary.  As Mr. Schneider and Ms. Sharik already indicated, the top patch is a Constabulary Tab.  Below that is the shoulder sleeve insignia of the US Constabulary. This "Lightning Bolt" insignia in yellow, blue, and red combined the colors of the cavalry, infantry, and artillery.


              The patch on his right shoulder (viewer’s left) is, as Ms. Sharik already indicated, that of the 78th Infantry Division. In regards to his ribbons, we concur with the identification of the one of the viewer’s right as the Army of Occupation Medal. The one to the viewer’s left is too blurred to make out with any certainty in black in white, but given the context it might be the World War II Victory Medal.


              We are unable to identify the distinctive insignia (DI) on the lapels with any certainty. Mr. Schneider’s guess that it might be the US Army 307th Field Artillery Battalion is a reasonable one, as this unit was assigned to the 78th Infantry Division. Unfortunately, the branch insignia on his left collar (viewer’s right) is too obscure to make out with any certainty.


              If you have not already done so, 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. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may leave it blank or provide estimates (such as for the dates). The more information you provide, the easier it will be for NPRC staff to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


              We searched the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) and located the World War II Army Enlistment Records database that may include a file pertaining to your father. Please note that there are gaps in these records, therefore, some people that enlisted during this time period are not in the database.  If you find a listing for him, please use the information in this file (such as his service number and enlistment date) when requesting a copy of his OMPF. If you require assistance, please provide his name and additional information such as his date of birth and we can search the database for you.


              Due to the coronavirus public health emergency, the NPRC closed again as of November 7, 2020 until further notice. NPRC will respond only to requests involving burials, medical emergencies, and homeless veterans.  You may still submit your request now, however it will be quite some time until NPRC can respond to your request.  Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for any inconvenience.


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