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Clay Butler

Wanting to know about my dads service while in europe

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To All,

 

I am presently performing genealogical research with regards to my dads family. Part of that research is his military service in WWII. Unfortunately when I requested his OMPF (Official Military Personnel File) from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri I was informed via mail that his record was not in their files due to the fire of July 12, 1973. Fortunately I have his Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge papers from the Army. On them it shows the "Organization" as Headquarters Co. 370th Engineer Combat Battalion, "Battles and Campaigns" Rome Arno-Rhineland-Central Europe, "Decorations and Citations" Good Conduct Medal SO#59 HQ. 74th AAA Gun BN 1944 and American Defense Service Medal European, African, Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon. Based on this information I was hoping someone might be able to enlighten me as to where his unit was in North Africa and Europe or at least inform me of where I might be able to obtain that information. I was told by an only surviving relative that at the close of the war he entered Dachau POW Camp.Since he passed away in 1994 I have no way to confirm that. He was born and raised in Nashua, NH and enlisted in the New Hampshire National Guard in 1939. I am also hoping that there might actually be someone out there who served with him.

 

Regards,

Clay Butler

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Hello Clay, welcome to the forum. it appears that your father was in 2 separate units during the war, first with the 74th AAA Gun Batalion in Africa & Italy then joined the newly formed 370th engineer combat battalion in Dec 44.

The 74th AAAGBn has campaign credit for Rome-Arno and the 370th ECB has campaign credits for Central-Europe and Rhineland.

If i have time tomorow, i`ll see what else i can find for you. I do know unit histories for both units are available at the Eisenhower Library.

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Hello Clay, welcome to the forum. it appears that your father was in 2 separate units during the war, first with the 74th AAA Gun Batalion in Africa & Italy then joined the newly formed 370th engineer combat battalion in Dec 44.

The 74th AAAGBn has campaign credit for Rome-Arno and the 370th ECB has campaign credits for Central-Europe and Rhineland.

If i have time tomorow, i`ll see what else i can find for you. I do know unit histories for both units are available at the Eisenhower Library.

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Hi SonofaMP,

 

Thank you for your quick reply. What ever you can come come up with would be great. Can I access the Eisenhower Library online? I do know that when he shipped out he had been stationed at a Curtis Wright Aircraft Plant in East Paterson, NJ apparently with the AAA battalion. He did mention to me that he first shipped out to North Africa and Libya and then went across into Sicily.

 

Regards,

 

Clay Butler

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Hello Clay, from the homepage of the Eisenhower Library: http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov the "research" tab will give you info on ordering records. This link to the finding aids will give you the Box number where the unit records are located: http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/Finding_Aids/PDFs/US_Army_Unit_Records_Index.pdf

 

You can get some info on the 370th from Richard Fietz`s page on the main site:

http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/RichardFietz.htm

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found a few pieces to the puzzle but it brings to light that the 74th AAA gun Bn was Not his original unit.

According to this document: http://www.cgsc.edu/CARL/nafziger/941UXAD.PDF the 74th had a short life.

Date

Raised Unit Name Notes

1 Apr 44 74th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) Disbanded 23 Dec 44

 

the raised date indicates the 74th was redesignated, most likely from a 1st Battalion of an AntiAircraft Regiment or Coast Artillery Regiment that was reorganized into the Group/Battalion form in Italy.

Now we have to figure out which regiment it was.

I havent found the 74th listed in any 5th Army Order of Battle which means they were probably under command of the Peninsular Base Section in Italy.

 

A document posted by janis337 in post#10 at; http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/engforum/index.php?showtopic=5268

The 370th Engineer Combat Bn was formed from the 74th AAA Gun Bn on 31 December 1944 at Gignac, France. 370th`s location in August 1945 was Ulm, Germany. Arrived Boston Port of Embarkation 13 Nov 45, Inactivated 14 Nov 45 at Camp Miles Standish, Mass.

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Hi:

 

Sorry, wasn't on the forum yesterday. Had a ton of work I had to get done, so sorry for the delay.

 

Clay I am still going to call, but have had a very heavy work load the last several days, as well as company from out of town. Whew!

 

I did email you and added your name to the 370th mailing list, one in fact is a veteran from that unit. I told him to expect an email from you, but he wrote twice saying you have not contacted him yet. His story is also on the main site.

 

http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/RichardFietz.htm

 

Please get in touch with him ASAP!

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Hi:

 

Sorry, wasn't on the forum yesterday. Had a ton of work I had to get done, so sorry for the delay.

 

Clay I am still going to call, but have had a very heavy work load the last several days, as well as company from out of town. Whew!

 

I did email you and added your name to the 370th mailing list, one in fact is a veteran from that unit. I told him to expect an email from you, but he wrote twice saying you have not contacted him yet. His story is also on the main site.

 

http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/RichardFietz.htm

 

Please get in touch with him ASAP!

Marion,

Good morning whenever you get a chance is fine with me. Thanks for your email it was ironic because I had just got online and went to find Dick Fietz's email address and was going to email him this morning. Thanks once again looking forward to speaking with you.

Regards,

Clay Butler

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Hi Clay, can you give me the travel dates listed in Box 36- 'Service Outside Continental US and Return' on your dad`s discharge document., or email me a copy of the document(s)? It will help in tracing the movements of his units.

Thanks

Larry

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Hi Clay, can you give me the travel dates listed in Box 36- 'Service Outside Continental US and Return' on your dad`s discharge document., or email me a copy of the document(s)? It will help in tracing the movements of his units.

Thanks

Larry

 

Hi SonofaMP,

 

The dates are as follows:

 

29 April 1943 Eur AFR Mid ET 11 May 1943

18 July 1945 United States 7 Aug 1945

 

I will also email copy of separation papers.

 

Regards,

 

Clay Butler

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I think we got it, found this info: the 74th AAA Gun Bn was the 1st Bn of the 74th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment. Here is the lineage:

74th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment

Constituted 7-29-21 in OR as the 503rd Arty (AA), CAC, and organized March 1922 at Tyrone, PA. Redesignated 6-3-24 as 503rd CA (AA) Regt. Withdrawn from OR and allotted to RA inactive 10-1-33. Redesignated 74th CA (AA) Regt 7-1-40 and activated at Ft. Monroe, VA 1-3-41. Transferred to Cp. Pendleton, VA, 7-19-41 until deployed to AA positions in Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA, area 12-14-41 to 11-19-42; moved to A.P. Hill M.R., VA. Transferred to Ft. Meade, MD, 4-28-43, then to Cp. Myles Standish, MA, until departure from NYC. Landed North Africa 5-11-43 and deployed to Sardinia 10-27-43. Inactivated 5-1-44 and HHB redesignated 74th AAA Gp; 1st Bn, 74th AAA (Gun) Bn; 2nd Bn, 896th AAA (AW) Bn. The 3rd Bn was disbanded.

 

on the travel dates you gave, it appears that he was on convoy UGF-8. The convoy is listed as leaving Hampton Roads, VA. on 29 April 1943,but some of the ships loaded & sailed from New York then joined the convoy.

UGF-8 arrived Oran, North Africa 11 May 1943. I have the list of ships in the convoy & i`ll try to find out which one carried the 74th. Usualy they will just say "carried 5,500 troops" without giving the units aboard.

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I think we got it, found this info: the 74th AAA Gun Bn was the 1st Bn of the 74th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment. Here is the lineage:

74th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment

Constituted 7-29-21 in OR as the 503rd Arty (AA), CAC, and organized March 1922 at Tyrone, PA. Redesignated 6-3-24 as 503rd CA (AA) Regt. Withdrawn from OR and allotted to RA inactive 10-1-33. Redesignated 74th CA (AA) Regt 7-1-40 and activated at Ft. Monroe, VA 1-3-41. Transferred to Cp. Pendleton, VA, 7-19-41 until deployed to AA positions in Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA, area 12-14-41 to 11-19-42; moved to A.P. Hill M.R., VA. Transferred to Ft. Meade, MD, 4-28-43, then to Cp. Myles Standish, MA, until departure from NYC. Landed North Africa 5-11-43 and deployed to Sardinia 10-27-43. Inactivated 5-1-44 and HHB redesignated 74th AAA Gp; 1st Bn, 74th AAA (Gun) Bn; 2nd Bn, 896th AAA (AW) Bn. The 3rd Bn was disbanded.

 

on the travel dates you gave, it appears that he was on convoy UGF-8. The convoy is listed as leaving Hampton Roads, VA. on 29 April 1943,but some of the ships loaded & sailed from New York then joined the convoy.

UGF-8 arrived Oran, North Africa 11 May 1943. I have the list of ships in the convoy & i`ll try to find out which one carried the 74th. Usualy they will just say "carried 5,500 troops" without giving the units aboard.

 

SonoaMP,

 

Does it reference any time spent in NJ. I can't remember if my mom said he came down from Camp Drum in NY and that's when he met her. I know according to the both of them he was stationed at a Curtis Wright aircraft plant in East Paterson supposedly with an AA battery. I guess protection for the plant due to it's proximity to the coast line.

 

Regards,

 

Clay

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No theres is no indication of the 74th being at FortDrum or in New Jersey. What was the time frame they met?

 

Here is the timeline i have:

Clayton J Butler

ASN 20142149

Enlisted 29 Sept 1939 in the New Hampshire National Guard

Inducted to Active Service 16 Sept 1940 at Nashua, NH

ASN 20142149

BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION CAC Coast Artillery Corps

Assigned to 74th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment probably at Fort Monroe, VA. about Jan 1941.

The 74th transferred to Cp. Pendleton, VA, 7-19-41 until deployed to AA positions in Norfolk- Portsmouth, VA, area 12-14-41 to 11-19-42;

The 74th moved to A.P. Hill M.R., VA. Transferred to Ft. Meade, MD, 28-April-43, then to Cp. Myles Standish, MA, until departure from NYC.

The 74th sailed from New york and joined Convoy UGF-8 29 April 1943 at Hampton Roads, VA.

Convoy UGF-8 arrived at Oran, North Africa 11-May-43.

The 74th deployed to Sardinia 27-Oct-43.

The 74th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment was inactivated 1-May-44 and HHB redesignated 74th AAA Gp; 1st Bn, 74th AAA (Gun) Bn; 2nd Bn, 896th AAA (AW) Bn. The 3rd Bn was disbanded.

The 74th AAA (Gun) Bn moved to Southern France, date unknown.

74th AAA (Gun) Bn disbanded 23 Dec 44 & redesignated as the 370th Engineer Combat Bn, 31 December 1944, at Gignac, France.

The 370th ECB participated in Central Europe & Rhineland Campaigns with the Seventh Army.

Claton left the 370th, probably with enough points for discharge, and returned to the US on 18 July 1945, arriving 7 Aug 1945.

I dont have his discharge date, i didnt show on the document you sent.

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SonoaMP,

 

Does it reference any time spent in NJ. I can't remember if my mom said he came down from Camp Drum in NY and that's when he met her. I know according to the both of them he was stationed at a Curtis Wright aircraft plant in East Paterson supposedly with an AA battery. I guess protection for the plant due to it's proximity to the coast line.

 

Regards,

 

Clay

 

SonofaMP,

 

I believe he had met my mother in NJ sometime during 1941 and they were married in NJ April of 1942. My sister was born May of 1943 so he actually was in the greater NY metropolitan area for a while. I have a telegram he sent home to my mom on Sept 17,1943 from overseas, where I don't know it doesn't state where sent from I guess for obvious reasons. I believe I asked this earlier was it possible that the 370th were in Dachau at the close of the war?

 

Regards,

 

Clay

 

Regards,

 

Clay Butler

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First off, without his personel records or any of the unit records we dont know for sure exactly when he joined the 74th AAA Gun Bn. It is very possible he was in another AA unit between the time of his Guard service,`39 -`40, being drafted into the regular army, 1940, till the 74th went overseas in 1943.

 

One possibility i found is the 67th CA (AA) Regt.

"On 12-12-41 elements of the 67th CA (AA) regiment moved to Mitchel Field, NY, as air defense for the New York area, also deploying to Cp. Upton and Patterson, NJ. Concentrated at Patterson 12-16-41 and 3rd Bn activated 6-15-42. The 1st & 2nd Bns moved to Ft. Hancock 10-31-42 for training until 12-27-42, when 1st & 2nd Bns moved to Ft. Dix, NJ, while 3rd Bn took up position at Teaneck, NJ, until 12-27-42, when it was ordered to A.P. Hill M.R., VA, and then Portsmouth, VA, 1-6-43. The personnel of 3rd Bn were changed from general service to limited service. On 5-24-43, 3rd Bn was inactivated and personnel and equipment reassigned to 371st AAA (SL) Bn."

 

When the 3rd Bn moved to Camp A.P. Hill M.R. on 27 Dec 1942, the 74th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment was at Camp A.P Hill M.R. at that time.

 

Again, this is just a possiblity for his being in New Jersey.

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SonofaMP,

Paterson, NJ was just across the Passaic River from the Curtis Wright Plant of which I spoke. For all I know the location where the plant sat very well at that time could have been part of Paterson

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Thru a contact i made on Ancestry i have confirmed the fact that the 67th CA (AA) regiment was assigned to antiaircraft protection of all the Wright Aeronautic Plants around the Paterson, NJ. area from 12 Dec 41 until October 30, 1942. The fellow has a war diary of the 67th that he`ll look through.

more later.

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SonofaMP,

 

Thanks that is just fantastic for a moment I thought totally misunderstood what my parents had always told me Thanks so very much. Any other info. would be the so called icing on the cake. Once again thanks look forward to hearing from you again.

 

Regards,

 

Clay

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Jack Keane has sent me the part of the 67th`s war diary for the time frame we are looking at. He did not find any mention of Clayton`s name in the diary.

 

"Here’s what I’ve found from the 67th War Diary."

 

"On 7 December 1941 the unit received orders to move to Mitchell Field, NY. They departed Fort Bragg on 9 December and arrived at Mitchell Field on 12 December. On 16 December the entire unit was ordered to Paterson, NJ where they were ordered to protect the Wright Aeronautical factories.

 

During January and February 1942 the gun and automatic weapons batteries conducted firing practice at Fort Hancock, NJ. During May 1942 the permanent station of the regiment was changed from Fort Bragg, NC to Paterson, NJ.

 

“At this time a drastic change in the organization of the antiaircraft regiment provided the 67th CA (AA) with a third battalion. This battalion was composed of a headquarters and headquarters battery and two light batteries. In company with this change in organization, old “A” battery became another gun battery commanded by Capt. Chalmers H. Armstrong, Jr. Thus the organization of the regiment became that of a headquarters and headquarters battery and three battalions each armed with a different characteristic weapon or weapons.”

 

Between 31 October and 2 November, the 67th moved by battalion and battery serials to the military reservation on Sandy Hook, NJ, Fort Hancock. Immediately after arrival the regiment, the 67th was divided into two sections, the 1st and 2nd battalions at Fort Hancock, NJ and the 3rd battalion at Teaneck Armory, Teaneck, NJ. On 17 Nov 1942, the 67th was ordered to A.P. Hill Military Reservation, Fredericksburg, VA. They departed on 18 Nov and arrived on 20 Nov.

 

In the middle of December, all the standard trucks of the 1st and 2nd battalions were turned in to the 3rd Service Command at Richmond, VA or to the 74th CA (AA) at A.P. Hill. On 26 December 1942 all heavy guns and power plants left A.P. Hill by motor convoy. The regiment, less the 3rd battalion, arrived at the staging area on 28 December. The advanced party for embarkation left the staging area on 9 January 1943. The regiment embarked on 14 January 1943 and arrived at Mers-el-Kebir, French North Africa on 26 January, disembarking the next day."

Jack Keane

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Jack Keane has sent me the part of the 67th`s war diary for the time frame we are looking at. He did not find any mention of Clayton`s name in the diary.

 

"Here’s what I’ve found from the 67th War Diary."

 

"On 7 December 1941 the unit received orders to move to Mitchell Field, NY. They departed Fort Bragg on 9 December and arrived at Mitchell Field on 12 December. On 16 December the entire unit was ordered to Paterson, NJ where they were ordered to protect the Wright Aeronautical factories.

 

During January and February 1942 the gun and automatic weapons batteries conducted firing practice at Fort Hancock, NJ. During May 1942 the permanent station of the regiment was changed from Fort Bragg, NC to Paterson, NJ.

 

“At this time a drastic change in the organization of the antiaircraft regiment provided the 67th CA (AA) with a third battalion. This battalion was composed of a headquarters and headquarters battery and two light batteries. In company with this change in organization, old “A” battery became another gun battery commanded by Capt. Chalmers H. Armstrong, Jr. Thus the organization of the regiment became that of a headquarters and headquarters battery and three battalions each armed with a different characteristic weapon or weapons.”

 

Between 31 October and 2 November, the 67th moved by battalion and battery serials to the military reservation on Sandy Hook, NJ, Fort Hancock. Immediately after arrival the regiment, the 67th was divided into two sections, the 1st and 2nd battalions at Fort Hancock, NJ and the 3rd battalion at Teaneck Armory, Teaneck, NJ. On 17 Nov 1942, the 67th was ordered to A.P. Hill Military Reservation, Fredericksburg, VA. They departed on 18 Nov and arrived on 20 Nov.

 

In the middle of December, all the standard trucks of the 1st and 2nd battalions were turned in to the 3rd Service Command at Richmond, VA or to the 74th CA (AA) at A.P. Hill. On 26 December 1942 all heavy guns and power plants left A.P. Hill by motor convoy. The regiment, less the 3rd battalion, arrived at the staging area on 28 December. The advanced party for embarkation left the staging area on 9 January 1943. The regiment embarked on 14 January 1943 and arrived at Mers-el-Kebir, French North Africa on 26 January, disembarking the next day."

Jack Keane

 

 

SonofaMP,

 

Out of curiosity why might my dads name appear in a diary that encompasses an entire unit etc. My dad met my mom at a local ice skating rink in Paramus, NJ which is roughly some 5 to 8 miles from Teaneck so it is conceivable that he was in the 3rd batallion per your research facts and stationed at the Teaneck Armory. I also remember clearly he and my mom telling me that when he drove to skating ring on the night they met that he was driving a "Prime Mover" I remember because my mom couldn't get over how big it was. I'm sorry that I didn't get back to you sooner but with father's day and my grandsons staying over I just couldn't.

 

Regards,

 

Clay Butler

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Clay,

Is Pfc. Ralph W. Butler your father? If so, he is listed on a roster assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 253rd Infantry Regiment, 63rd Division and the 370th combat engineers. If your father's name isn't Ralph, he was not assigned to the headquarters company, only assigned to 370th.

I had joined Marion Chard's website and unfortunately misfiled an email that she had a subgroup for the 370th engineers and email addresses.

 

I also noted that you had posted a question regarding the Dachau Concentration camp. You father probably saw the Dachau

"The Death Train"; my father had taken several photos of this train. Google "Dachau Death Train" for photos and information.

Also, your father probably entered part of the concentration camp, I know my father did and took several photos.

Hopefully we can exchange additional information and stories regarding the 74th AAA and the 370th.

 

PS: presently trying to locate a copy of the 74th AAA battalion history through AHEC.

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Keith,

Good morning, no my dad's name was Clayton James Butler from Nashua, NH. I have only recently learned about his possible link to Dachau thru his brothers son (his nephew and my cousin) he never spoke much about his time in the service. I know he had a best friend who went by the nickname of cookie. Also that he was in North Africa (Libya) and Sicily (Sardina). I do have pix from his time in Europe (I suppose it Europe). I know something affected him greatly from his time their. When I was drafted in "65" for Nam he cried I nhad never saw him cry before that moment. Please stay in touch. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard from Marion yesterday it has been along time 3 or 4 years since anyone contacted me regarding my posting.

Regards,

Clay Butler

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