3 Replies Latest reply on Jan 7, 2021 3:22 PM by Shannon Kerner

    Seeking military & civilian records of Walter Swarthout

    Tony Swarthout Newbie

      I started thinking about my own father's history recently. I know he retired a Lt. Col. in the Army but the rest of his military record is mostly a mystery to me. I was hoping to get some pointers on where I might start looking. His name was Walter Emmet Swarthout; born on March 1, 1902 in DeKalb, IL; and died on Sept. 16, 1985 in San Jose, CA. This military information was retrieved from some sort of database a few months back -- His Army Enlistment Date was March 1941 and was released in Aug 1955.


      I'd also be interested in whether there would be any record of his government work after the military. I believe he was a public safety advisor, possibly with the Department of State. It sent him through numerous countries in the 1960s, and I think it was this work that brought him to Vietnam, where he met my mother in 1968. Attached is a record I found but I'm not sure how to interpret the abbreviations. Also, I see an enlistment date above for 1941 but this record shows he started serving in 1924. Could this possibly mean he re-enlisted for WWII? Thank you in advance!

      Military record excerpt

        • Re: Seeking military & civilian records of Walter Swarthout
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Your father served in the National Guard (NGUS) The information you provided cane from what Army printed on an Annual basis was Registries for Officers of the Army they had both National Guard and Regular Army registers printed yearly, The one above was printed in 1943. The information seems like he was in school possibly ROTC and then He received a direct Commission to the 2ndLt 1932 in what was called the ORC (Organized Reserve Corps).


          I would also try contacting the following below here.


          For further information call:  (217) 761-3910, fax (217) 761-3709, email us at, or write us:

          Illinois State Military Museum
          Department of Military Affairs
          1301 N. MacArthur Blvd.,
          Springfield, Illinois 62702-2399



          Here is the 1972 Registers fro the US Army:



          1966 Register:



          Name:Walter Swarthout
          Birth Date:1 Mar 1902
          Death Date:16 Sep 1985
          Branch 1:ARMY
          Enlistment Date 1:5 Mar 1941
          Release Date 1:31 Aug 1955




          Hope this helps,


          Elliot Schneider

          2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Seeking military & civilian records of Walter Swarthout
            Shannon Kerner Adventurer

            Dear Mr. Swarthout,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            Besides what a previous poster stated, we have some additional information that may be of help to you in your research.


            We suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for officers of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after June 1917 and prior to 1959 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.  Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPRC is closed except for emergencies. Currently, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, and homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels. Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for any inconvenience.


            For records while he served as a public safety advisor for the State Department, we suggest that you request a copy of his Official Personnel File (OPF). OPFs and medical information for individuals who worked for the U.S. government in a civilian capacity since 1952 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center. Written requests may be mailed or faxed to National Personnel Records Center Annex, 1411 Boulder Boulevard, Valmeyer, IL 62295. Please include the full name used during Federal employment, date of birth, Social Security Number (if applicable), name and location of the employing Federal agency, and beginning and ending dates of Federal service. Certain information in the OPF may not be available to the general public without the written consent of the individual. For more information, please check their website at https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/civilian-non-archival.


            NARA closed the Civilian Personnel Records Center (CPR) in Valmeyer, IL, until further notice. The local jurisdiction where CPR is located (Monroe County, IL) reported public health metrics that exceeded NARA’s targets for safe operation of our facilities. CPR will remain closed until local public health conditions improve. During the closure, CPR will maintain minimal staffing levels to support emergency reference requests only. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


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