Monday, March 26, 2012

Dad's Military Records

After a long wait, I finally got copies of Dad's military records.  Most of the records for World War II veterans were destroyed by a fire. I wrote for them once and got a form letter telling me of this. Other vets told me I needed to ask for his DD-214. It is a document produced at the time of a veteran's separation from service that summarized their service. It took four months, but the records finally arrived.You can click on these images to enlarge.

This document interests me because it verifies certain things I thought I knew.

  1. Dad did not complete high school.  It says the last grade completed was 10th Grade.  It also identifies his high school as West Night High School.  The last year of attendance was 1937.  Interestingly, it appears as if he stopped attending in the same year as the 1937 Flood.  Also, we have to remember that these were the years of the Great Depression.  Perhaps he worked during the day and attended school at night.  Tim and I went to the library and looked at the yearbook for West Night High School for 1937.  Dad was not a senior and we could not find him listed, although it is clear that the program was academic in nature.  I remember Dad attended "trade school".  I don't have any specifics on that.
  2. Pre-draft, Dad's job was truly that of a laborer.  He assisted in trolley maintenance but also "scrubbed out street cars."  Tom still has a $5.00 bill he kept his entire life that he found while cleaning a street car.
  3. He did have training in Colorado.  Dad used to say that when the conditions were right that he could pick up the WLW-T Clear Channel radio station from Cincinnati in Colorado.
Dad received a ribbon with a Bronze Star, a Good Conduct Ribbon and a Distinguished Unit Citation. Although his job was to load bombs on planes and some aircraft maintenance, his unit was responsible for some of the most important battles in Europe.  When he was discharged, he had the rank of "Corporal."  I love seeing his thumb print and that all-too-familiar signature. Below is a document recording his ranks and pay rates.

Sadly, they also sent a copy of the application for Dad's military headstone following his death in 1978.

I was glad to receive a copy of his Honorable Discharge papers.  Dad had a copy of this and I've published it before.  To keep the file complete, I post it again here -- with pride.  He was part of the Greatest Generation.

If you are interested in reading more about the 44th Bomb Group and the Flying Eight Balls, go to this link in the Jones Family Matters blog  Should you want your own copies of these records, just click on the print friendly button and print them out.

Note:  After a comment (see comments) received from John Darby, I decided to do a little research on the Lowry Base in Colorado where Dad was trained.  Here is a link:  There is a lot of additional information on this base which is now used only for administrative functions.  It has an interesting history.


  1. Great to get all that information on your dad. I notice that he was in the 10th grade in 1937, just as my mother was! I could have put that in my time line :-)

  2. This comment was sent to me by John Darby. I've asked his permission to repost it here.

    Kathy, I was just looking over the blog on your dad John. It is a small world. Your dad trained at Lowry Field in Denver in the Armament School and became an Armorer. I trained at Lowry after the Armament School had been moved to Buckley Field. I was in a special B-29 Gun Turret School and on graduation was an Instructor until the war hostilities had ceased in 1945. I was discharged and re-enlisted at Lowry and married 2 days later in the Denver Juvenile Court Judges Chambers.

    Three months later, my ship landed in Yokohama and I spent the next 8 months of my first marriage year on the scenic island of Okinawa

    Your dad was a pre-war streetcar mechanic. I was a Post-War Occupation veteran in 1946 when I worked on the Los Angeles Transit Lines street cars. I made $1.08 and 1/2 an hour.

    1. Thanks so much for putting my Dad's service in context. I have a brother who is totally fascinated by this concept of 1/2 cent. There was a grocery store that used to price canned goods at 13 1/2 cents to encourage you to buy two.