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itsnotyou

Son of a 393d Engineer S.S. vet

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I am trying to find out about my father's military service. My children and grandchildren have asked questions I cannot answer about his military duties during WW II. Dad would rarely speak of the war.

His name was James E. Phillips from San Diego California army serial number 39282202 on his separation paperwork is JAMES E. PHILLIPS 39 282 202 Technician Fourth Grade 393d Engineer Special Services Regiment. He separated at Camp Clairborne Louisiana 13 November 1945.

He is listed in the roster of the burgundy book of the 393d that I have seen on line. I also believe in the picture of Company "C" he is in the front row all the way to the end of the row on the viewer's right. I have the jacket they are all wearing hanging in my closet, it was dad's jacket. I am just starting my search so in advice or info would be appreciated.

Thank you

Jack Phillips

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Welcome to the forum Jack, glad to have you aboard! Here are a couple of things that might get you started. Look at box #30 on your father's discharge paper entitled "Military Occupational Specialty and No.". This would be his job title and code number for that particular job. You can look that up on the following link to get a description for what his duties would have been within the unit.

 

https://militaryyearbookproject.com/references/old-mos-codes/wwii-era/usmc-wwii-codes/artillery/596-heavy-antiaircraft-fire-control-man

 

Here is a link to a thread on this forum about the 393rd that I think you'll find some interesting reading.

 

http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/engforum/index.php?showtopic=6537

 

 

Hope this has helped you some, I'm sure others will chime in with more suggestions. Good luck with your search Jack!

 

Randy

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Sure appreciate your help Randy!

 

Welcome to the forum, Jack. It's so cool that you still have his jacket. Wish I had my father's, but my mom got rid of a lot of his things, including his German officer's sword and his Luger, both treasured items that he brought back. I have many fond memories of them as a child and the stories that went along with them.

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Thank you for the replies. Dad was an Automotive Mechanic 014, I am trying to figure out what the second echelon part means. Dad told me he was part of the engineers because he knew about cars and was building hotrods when he went into military service.

I am trying to figure out if the 39 282 202 after his name has any real meaning.

The things I remember was, he went overseas on an English ship and ended up in "Buzz Bomb Alley".

He told me about being on the front lines and building bridges under fire. They had received orders to go to the south pacific two weeks before the war ended.

Most of these short conversations were when we were watching "World at War" and happened more than 40 years ago so I cannot fully remember.

Most of the patches that were in dads stuff have disappeared. I remember a triangular patch with a lighting bolt and a number, a round patch that reminded me of a flower then the blue patch with an eagle sitting on a machine gun that was on his jacket.

 

Jack

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Thank you for the replies. Dad was an Automotive Mechanic 014, I am trying to figure out what the second echelon part means. Dad told me he was part of the engineers because he knew about cars and was building hotrods when he went into military service.

I am trying to figure out if the 39 282 202 after his name has any real meaning.

The things I remember was, he went overseas on an English ship and ended up in "Buzz Bomb Alley".

He told me about being on the front lines and building bridges under fire. They had received orders to go to the south pacific two weeks before the war ended.

Most of these short conversations were when we were watching "World at War" and happened more than 40 years ago so I cannot fully remember.

Most of the patches that were in dads stuff have disappeared. I remember a triangular patch with a lighting bolt and a number, a round patch that reminded me of a flower then the blue patch with an eagle sitting on a machine gun that was on his jacket.

 

Jack

 

 

Hello Jack,

 

If the 014 is what you are referring to as the "second echelon part", that is just the code number for that particular MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). The 39282202 number you are wondering about is his Army Serial Number (ASN). The first two digits do have a specific designation.

 

The first digit means:

 

1 = Volunteer

2= National Guard

3= Draftee

4= Draftee

 

Your dad's is a 3 which means he was drafted into service. The second digit is for the enlistment zone (also referred to as "Corps Area"), the Army divided the country into 9 enlistment zones based upon population density. California was within enlistment number 9, your father's second number. The rest of the digits were just the next in sequence to be assigned. Here is a link to give you some more detail about Army Serial Numbers.

 

http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/engforum/index.php?showtopic=4555

 

The 393rd probably would have been assigned to a Division or Corps, and also to an Army. It would have been the patches from these "parent" organizations that he would have wore. I did a quick search on the 393rd but could not readily find which parent organizations it may have belonged to. The triangular patch you mention perfectly describes the patches worn by the Armored Divisions. They were all the same except for their respective division number, and some had their mottos added across the bottom.

 

150px-2nd_US_Armored_Division_SSI.svg.pn150px-4th_US_Armored_Division_SSI.svg.pn

2nd Armored Division patch 4th Armored Division patch

 

There are a number of circular patches with flower type designs in them, if we can determine the parent organizations, we will know which patches. The blue patch with the eagle and machine gun might take a bit more digging. Have a good one!

 

Randy

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Randy thanks for the reply.

Sometimes we just miss the obvious. That is his army serial number with spaces between the numbers. I must be getting old. The patches you show look like what I remember. I did find the blue patch with the eagle on the machine gun. It was the "Engineer Special Brigade" patch.

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We found something interesting today it Dad's stuff. It is a 8" X 10" portrait of Lieutenant Colonel James J. Kinsella sent by dads uncle, John Phillips in Ohio to Dad or my grandfather. Dad and grandpa have the same name but the address did not specify Sr. or Jr. and the postmark is missing so we are unsure of the date. On the back is James Kinsella's address in La Mesa, Ca. and his home phone number(It was a Heartland Number before area codes) James Kinsella was a WWII flying ace.

 

It just so happens that my wife went to school with his grandchildren, and they confirmed it is the same picture they have of their grandfather. But both their father and grandfather have passed away, so they have no one to ask about this.

 

I just seem to find more mysteries but few answers.

We are trying to figure out if he was a family friend, or maybe a shirt tail relative?

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Really interesting, but as you state, sometimes the more you discover, the more questions you have. You look at everything and say, there must be a way to tie this altogether.

 

Feel free to post any images or docs that you may have.

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Yup, in our help section, but it's very easy. When you start a post, look down on the lower right of said post. There's a button that says, MORE REPLY OPTIONS. That gives you the ability to upload images. It will bring up a box on the lower left of post, that says, "ATTACH FILES".

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I have applied for Dad's full military record. These are the things we do have. Dad's DD214, a portrait of lieutenant Colonel James J. Kinsella addressed to my Dad or Grandfather (the name on the envelope did not specify SR or JR) I think he may have been a personal friend of dad's. Dad grew up in the San Diego Mission De Acala's "Nazareth House" known originally as "The Orphanage" after his mother passed away in 1928. My wife went to Catholic school with James Kinsella's grandchildren and they confirmed that they have the same portrait of their grandfather. They only know he drown in the early 50's during a military dive. A search I did came up with a James J. Kinsella from San Diego that was a WW II & Korea decorated flying Ace. The other picture is one of the only pictures we have of dad in his uniform. Dad should have been 19 to 21 when this picture was taken. The patches posted are the same as the ones mom had in dad's things. The "Black Cat" patch was in with them but I do not know if it had anything to do with the military. I remember about 1970 dad took some patches to the VFW 2082 post because people were trying to identify all the different patches the military had. One he put up on the board he stated "No one can guess this one because only eighty men ever had it" I cannot remember what that patch looked like. It may have been the cat patch? There were other patches that I remember when I was a child as I find pictures, I will post copies of them.

Jim Phillips DD214.pdf

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These are similar patches I seem to remember playing with when I was small. They were kept in dads bottom dresser drawer and he would let us look at them if we asked. I do not know what happened to them.

I remember always thinking the one was a cannon with a lighting bolt but I see it is a tank track. I do not remember the number on it.

I am pretty positive of the other one also. There were a couple more but I am having a hard time recalling them.

 

Jack

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The 393rd would have been an independent or "bastard" unit, as they called them in WWII. Simply put, the unit acted on its own and was NOT part of a division. There were many units like this during the war, including my dad's, 540th Engineer Combat Regiment. They were often assigned to other units, such as the 3rd, 36th, and 45th Inf Divs. Sometimes they were simply under the COMMAND of VI Corps or the 5th or 7th Armies.

 

Other engineer units were permanently part a division or ORGANIC to that unit. To give you an example, the 10th Engineers were organic to the 3rd Infantry Division.

 

As with my dad, he had other patches due to the fact they were attached to infantry, tank or airborne units. Hope that helps.

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