7 Replies Latest reply on Jan 19, 2021 12:58 PM by Shannon Kerner

    Seeking military records of John G. Jacobs, Jr & Phillip Schmidt

    Daniel Schmidt Newbie

      Dear all, I'm trying to track down military records for two members of my father's side of the family:


      John George Jacobs, Jr. (my paternal grandmother's brother)

      Born December 24, 1922 or 1923 in Pittsburgh, PA (from National Archives SS-5 and death files); enlisted as a private in the US Army Air Corps on October 29, 1942 (ASN 13155505); marries Vyvyan Matthews on February 23, 1944, while stationed at Abilene Army Air Base (now Dyess Air Force Base) in Texas with the 474th Base HQ and Airbase Squadron (Texas marriage license), This did not last / he never wanted kids (John remarried much later); deceased August 17, 2001 (National Archives death file). My great uncle John ended up in the OSS, and was at some point posing as a race car driver in Spain / traveling all over Europe, then stayed in the service and also ended up in southeast Asia at some point.  I have also found his name on a USAF incident and accident personnel list (http://www.accident-report.com/crews/alpha/namej.html).


      Phillip Peter Schmidt (my paternal grandfather's brother)

      Born September 9, 1909 in Pittsburgh, PA; enlisted as a private in the US Army Air Corps on November 7, 1942 (SN 13156195); deceased January 4, 2001 (Social Security death index / Findagrave.come). My father's uncle Phil interrogated German prisoners at some point during WWII. My hope here would be to find any records concerning the military service of either of my great uncles - anything at all would be of interest. Thanks in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide!

        • Re: Seeking military records of John G. Jacobs, Jr & Phillip Schmidt
          Elliot Schneider Ranger

          Hello Mr. Schmidt,



          Do you have any information beside the link you provided on Jacobs incident? It could be he was involved in a training accident I looked for Missing Air Crew reports (MACRs)  and found nothing.


          On another side not doing some research I found quit a history on Jacobs Family in Massachusetts I remember from history class about the Salem Witch Trial about a George Jacobs that was executed


          About George Jacobs, Jr.

          George Jacobs, Jr. (1649 - 1717) - George Jr., son of George Jacobs, Sr. (c1612 - 1692) and his first wife (c1627 - before 1673), was born in 1649 at Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts; he died in 1717 at the age of 68 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts. He married Rebecca Andrews, daughter of Thomas Andrews (c1610 - 1647) and Rebecca Craddock Fox (1623 - 1698) on 12 September 1674 at Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts; they had six known children.

          Marriage and Children

          George Jacobs, Jr. married Rebecca Andrews (18 April 1646 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 1717 Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts), married on 12 September 1674 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts

          1. Margaret Jacobs (born 26 November 1675 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
          2. George Jacobs, III (born 29 July 1677 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
          3. John Jacobs (born 18 September 1679 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
          4. Jonathan Jacobs (born 29 July 1681 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
          5. Mary Jacobs (born 20 May 1683 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)
          6. Joseph Jacobs (born 1690 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts)

          Accused of Witchcraft

          George Jacobs, Jr., his wife Rebecca, his father, and his daughter Margaret were all accused of witchcraft in May of 1692. George Jr. fled before he could be arrested, abandoning his wife and four children in spite of his wife's long-standing mental illness. When the constables seized his wife and eldest daughter, the other children were left behind, including the unweaned child about two years of age) . Those old enough to walk followed behind the carriage for some distance, crying. Neighbors eventually took responsibility for caring for the children.

          George's father was tried and convicted, and was executed on 19 August. It is not known when George Jr. returned to Salem, but his wife and daughter were not released from prison until January or February 1693, after at least eight months incarceration. Rebecca Andrews Jacobs died insane.


          Just thought I would share a little history.



          Here is some information on John George Jacobs, Jr.



          ARMY SERIAL NUMBER1315550513155505
          GRADE: CODE8Private
          BRANCH: CODE20Air Corps
          TERM OF ENLISTMENT5Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
          YEAR OF BIRTH2323
          RACE AND CITIZENSHIP1White, citizen
          EDUCATION11 year of high school
          CIVILIAN OCCUPATION222Bellmen and related occupations
          MARITAL STATUS6Single, without dependents
          COMPONENT OF THE ARMY6Army of the United States - includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of the United States under Army Regulations 605-10
          CARD NUMBER##
          BOX NUMBER01330133
          FILM REEL NUMBER1.1331.133




          Phillip Peter Schmidt


          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking military records of John G. Jacobs, Jr & Phillip Schmidt
              Daniel Schmidt Newbie

              Dear Mr. Schneider,


              Thanks so much for the quick, helpful and thorough reply!  Going point by point:

              * Nothing else concerning the apparent accident involving John George Jacobs, Jr.; I would tend to agree with your assessment, though, I'm guessing this was a training accident, and I guess not that serious, since he went on to have a long career in the military, apparently, and never complained about old injuries or moved in any way that made me think he was suffering from them when I knew him...


              * Concerning George Jacobs, Jr. et al in Massachusetts, according to my information this should be another family of the same name but no relation - I am able to trace the Jacobs branch of my family back to a man named Conrad Jacobi who immigrated from Germany to the US in 1880, and I've additionally located records on the German side indicating that his family originated from a small village in Germany and had not made any major moves prior to his emigration to the US (though I do appreciate the effort nonetheless!)


              * The DSS-1 forms are a great find, thanks for that!  I had the digitized text only, not the original images, so this is a very nice addition.


              Thanks again!



                • Re: Seeking military records of John G. Jacobs, Jr & Phillip Schmidt
                  Elliot Schneider Ranger

                  Mr. Schmidt,


                  Do you happen to know any of their War Unit Information if they were in European Theater of Operations or in the Pacific, or Mediterranean. Guessing that the unit in Texas was most likely his training unit. But he should have a war unit squadron, or bomb group. Anything else you can provide may help. Have you looked at obtain records from the NPRC in St. Louis MO?



                  Elliot Schneider

                    • Re: Seeking military records of John G. Jacobs, Jr & Phillip Schmidt
                      Daniel Schmidt Newbie

                      Dear Mr. Schneider,


                      Dan is fine - thanks again for writing! Concerning the question of the units and / or theater John and Phillip served in, I will ask my father when next we speak, but my impression is that they were both in the European theater - though whether that means central Europe or the Mediterranean, there I'm less sure. Yes, I came to the same conclusion with regard to the unit in Texas - as far as I can tell, it was indeed for training. I have looked into a request to the NPRC, yes, but by my understanding of the rules described here (under "Who may request military service records?"):



                      ...I'm a bit blocked - as both are my great uncles, I'm not closely related enough to legally qualify as next of kin according to the definition provided in the above link - indeed, even my father would not qualify-  and while in Phillip's case I know that 62 years has passed since he was discharged and I could therefore make a public access request, I'm pretty sure John served considerably longer, meaning this approach would not (yet) work with him (though as you can imagine from my description, his service record is the one that interests me the most). That said, I've never done this sort of thing before, so it's possible I've missed something or there's another way - if you think it's still worth a shot, therefore, or have other suggestions, I'd welcome any advice. Much obliged!


                      Best wishes,



                • Re: Seeking military records of John G. Jacobs, Jr & Phillip Schmidt
                  Shannon Kerner Adventurer

                  Dear Mr. Schmidt,


                  Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                  We suggest that you request a copy of their Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs). 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 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 for each one and mail them to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. 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.


                  We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Personnel Files of the Office of Strategic Services, 1942 - ca. 1962 in the Records of the Office of Strategic Services (Record Group 226) but were unable to locate a file for John George Jacobs, Jr.


                  The National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) has custody of microfilm copies of operational records relating to U.S. Army Air Force units and bases.  We searched the Air Force History Index to the microfilm but were unable to locate records of the 474th Base HQ and Airbase Squadron or Abilene Army Air Base during WWII. The unit histories and supporting documents of the 474th may be in the custody of the Air Force Historical Research Agency, 600 Chennault Circle, Building 1405, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL 36112-6424.  These files often include historical reports.  Please write to that office for further information concerning these records. The web site is https://www.afhra.af.mil/.


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

                  1 person found this helpful
                    • Re: Seeking military records of John G. Jacobs, Jr & Phillip Schmidt
                      Daniel Schmidt Newbie

                      Thanks so much for the helpful response, and for all of the information! As per your suggestion, I have completed the relevant GSA-180 forms and will send them to the NPRC as you've suggested. In Section II I asked for everything (DD-214, medical records and "other", where I indicated that I would like all available records), and I indicated that this was for genealogical and personal reasons. If you would recommend another approach - for instance, if it's better not to check "Medical Records" to avoid delays / rejections because this is considered more sensitive information, though, I welcome suggestions here - especially since I am not "next-of-kin" according to the government definition, I don't know how much I can reasonably ask for.


                      Concerning the OSS personnel files, thanks for checking into this!  Just to follow up on this point, would this mean that John George Jacobs, Jr. was not a member of the OSS after all, or are there instances where he would've been but would not appear in that particular set of records? I can imagine there are certainly people who claim to have done more than they did when it comes to military service, so I don't insist that what I was told is absolutely and for sure what happened, but given the evidence I've seen, it does seem likely, hence I ask...


                      Finally, concerning the 474th Base HQ and Airbase Squadron at Abilene Air Base during WW2, I did some research on this myself, and while I'm not sure whether it helps or not, I would note that the base in question is now Dyess AFB (renamed in 1956):



                      The 474th is listed among the operating units stationed there during the period in question:



                      ...but since this has changed over time, it may be that it's necessary to look this up in association with Dyess AFB / with some of the other units rather than Abiline AAB. More info here:



                      Does this change things on your side, or would you still recommend to reach out to the AFHRA?  Also, if I would do so, is it possible to e-mail them, or is it better to write an actual letter? Sorry for all the questions, and thanks again for your assistance!