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Rmb2

William "Bill" Brinkley (my grandfather)

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Hello all, 

I am trying to gather information on my grandfathers service. He didn't speak much of it. 

I found his separation paper. On separation papers he's attached to company a 125th Armored Engineers Battalion. I read on this site, that may just be the unit/group he left with and not served in.

The separation paper had interesting info we didn't know: occupation electrician (078), marksmen rifle, and that he had some medals. The medals may have been standard: American Theater Campaign, EAME Campaign with 2 bronze stars, Good Conduct, & WW2 Victory.

(He arrived EAME 28 Oct 1944)

(He left for US 2 September 1945).

None of our family knows where his medals are. But looking at his army photo he is wearing them. I never really noticed before. I always assumed the photo was pre-war. In the army photo he has the Thunderbird unit patch.

Would the Thunderbird unit patch mean he was in the 45th?

Any other suggestions ?

Thank you.

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Warmest welcome to the forum Rmb2! We are certainly glad to have you here with us,I will try to help you out with a little information. According to Stanton's, the 125th Armored Engineer Battalion:

Activated:  15 NOV 1942 at Camp Chaffee Arkansas

Departed NYPE:  14 OCT 1944

Arrived ETO:  28 OCT 1944

August 1945 Location:  Ampfling Germany

Deactivated:  19 SEPT 1945 at Camp Myles Standish MASS

 

Your grandfather's separation papers matches the ETO arrival date of 28 OCT 1944 for the 125th AEB, no guarantee, but most likely this was his unit. The 125th AEB was attached to the 14th Armored Division, which was also founded at Camp Chaffee. You do not mention what your grandfather's induction date into service was, it's possible that he was trained in the Thunderbird (45th) Division and then transferred to the 125th. Our gracious host Marion, may be able to shed more light on this, Good luck with your search.

 

Randy

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8 hours ago, buk2112 said:

Warmest welcome to the forum Rmb2! We are certainly glad to have you here with us,I will try to help you out with a little information. According to Stanton's, the 125th Armored Engineer Battalion:

Activated:  15 NOV 1942 at Camp Chaffee Arkansas

Departed NYPE:  14 OCT 1944

Arrived ETO:  28 OCT 1944

August 1945 Location:  Ampfling Germany

Deactivated:  19 SEPT 1945 at Camp Myles Standish MASS

 

Your grandfather's separation papers matches the ETO arrival date of 28 OCT 1944 for the 125th AEB, no guarantee, but most likely this was his unit. The 125th AEB was attached to the 14th Armored Division, which was also founded at Camp Chaffee. You do not mention what your grandfather's induction date into service was, it's possible that he was trained in the Thunderbird (45th) Division and then transferred to the 125th. Our gracious host Marion, may be able to shed more light on this, Good luck with your search.

 

Randy

Thank you Randy!

Date of induction: 8 December 1942

Date of entry into active service: 15 December 1942

Place of entry into service: IND STA Jefferson Barracks MO

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I believe this is your grandfather from the online enlistment database.

 

Field Title Value Meaning
ARMY SERIAL NUMBER 37402689 37402689
NAME BRINKLEY#WILLIAM######## BRINKLEY#WILLIAM########
RESIDENCE: STATE 75 MISSOURI
RESIDENCE: COUNTY 223 WAYNE
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT 7545 JEFFERSON BARRACKS MISSOURI
DATE OF ENLISTMENT DAY 08 08
DATE OF ENLISTMENT MONTH 12 12
DATE OF ENLISTMENT YEAR 42 42
GRADE: ALPHA DESIGNATION PVT# Private
GRADE: CODE 8 Private
BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION BI# Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
BRANCH: CODE 00 Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
FIELD USE AS DESIRED # #
TERM OF ENLISTMENT 5 Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
LONGEVITY ### ###
SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL 0 Civil Life
NATIVITY 75 MISSOURI
YEAR OF BIRTH 22 22
RACE AND CITIZENSHIP 1 White, citizen
EDUCATION 0 Grammar school
CIVILIAN OCCUPATION 830 Unskilled lumbermen, raftsmen, and woodchoppers
MARITAL STATUS 6 Single, without dependents
COMPONENT OF THE ARMY 7 Selectees (Enlisted Men)
CARD NUMBER # #
BOX NUMBER 1210 1210
FILM REEL NUMBER 4.120

4.120

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Found this on WikiTree, think you will find this interesting. This gentlemen is talking about his father who was in the same Company A as your grandfather.

 

"My father Carl William Bailey , was a member of the 125th Armored Engineers Battalion, Company-A, 3rd Platoon. Army Engineers fought in the front lines persistently ahead of the Infantry and Armored units. As a result, their casualties were comparable or higher then any other combat units. Twenty-two member of the 125th AEB would be killed in action, two would die due to non-combat accidents, fifteen would be captured by the enemy, one of which would die in captivity and one hundred and three would be wounded. Many of these seriously wounded requiring amputations. The 125th AEB was part of the 14th Armored Division. After World War II, it would be designated the “The Liberators”. The Division received this designation for liberating one hundred and ten thousand allied prisoners of war. They were also the first American troops to view the horror of a Concentration Camp at Natzweiler Struthof. In brutal fighting in France and Germany, the 14th Armored Division would engage and destroy three German Armies. The 14th Armored was part of the Seventh Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch. They landed along the coast of Southern France in August of 1944 and advanced up the Rhone Valley in pursuit of the German 19th Army. By November 1944, the 7th Army was the leading Allied ground gainer on the Western Front. It was the first Allied Army to penetrate the German Reich. The 7th Army’s capture of Strasbourg and its pushed through the Vosges Mountains was one of the best planned and most difficult of all military operations during the European Campaign.

In January 1945, the Seventh Army fended off the last organized German offensive in the West. It was a fierce defensive battle that would make the Province of Alsace, France the scene of some of the bloodiest combat in the European Theatre. My father was among those captured during the battles of the Ardennes-Alsace were Carl William."

 

Here is the link where I found this, there is more I'm sure you will find interesting. 

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:125th_Armored_Engineer_Battalion

 

Have a good one!

Randy

 

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Yes sir, that is my grandfather. 

When I originally searched, I could not find anything. And I was told, the fire must have destroyed.

But I was searching using his correct birthday & middle name.

But both his parents died when he was a young boy; he didn't know his "correct" birthday or that he had a middle name until he retired.

Is there any place/database to use his army serial number to find any additional info.

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10 hours ago, Rmb2 said:

Yes sir, that is my grandfather. 

When I originally searched, I could not find anything. And I was told, the fire must have destroyed.

But I was searching using his correct birthday & middle name.

But both his parents died when he was a young boy; he didn't know his "correct" birthday or that he had a middle name until he retired.

Is there any place/database to use his army serial number to find any additional info.

 

A fellow Missourian, cool!

The enlistment cards this online database is made up of was not affected by the infamous 1973 fire, however it is not 100% complete because many of these were handwritten and were not used in the database if all information was not readable. Luckily your grandfather's was included, some you search for may not be. There is no other online database that I know of where you can use his serial number to search for information. If your grandfather had been wounded or spent time in a VA Hospital, the VA Administration may have records. I would encourage you to go ahead and request your grandfather's personnel file from the NPRC in St. Louis. Yes, the fire destroyed most Army records but not all, fragments found in the aftermath have been used to try and reconstruct some files. It is my understanding this reconstruction work continues to this day. When I requested my grandfather's file the only item contained in it was a copy of his final pay voucher, it wasn't much but it still was an interesting item that had his signature on it. If your grandfather's file were to  contain one of these vouchers, it may just show the unit in the 45th ID he belonged to. There is the chance that they may have nothing, but you will never know unless you ask. Here is a link to help you request that record, also check out the help section here on the forum for researching records.

https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html

Good Luck!

Randy

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9 hours ago, Rmb2 said:

Here is my grandfather's picture.

 

IMG_20170711_081516.jpg

Great picture, thanks for sharing it with us! That is definitely a Thunderbird patch he is wearing, I'll give my thoughts on that in my next post. This photo would have probably been taken shortly before or after his time in service since he is wearing all of his service ribbons. Speaking of which, I don't know if you have noticed or not but he has on five ribbons instead of the four listed on his separation paper. Can not tell from the picture what the fifth one might be, another question! Not sure what the patch is above his right breast pocket either, that could provide another clue or yet another question.

Take care,

Randy

 

 

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10 hours ago, Rmb2 said:

This is the other document I found. 

IMG_20170711_081815.jpg

Thanks for sharing this with us, these separation papers can of course provide important clues to answering questions. It appears to me that your grandfather started his military service with the 125th AEB and finished it with the 45th ID. The 125th AEB was deactivated at Camp Myles Standish on 19 Sept 1945, but according to your grandfather's separation paper he continued to serve stateside until 14 Nov 1945. The 45th ID might have been where he completed his service, hence the Thunderbird patch he is wearing in your photo. I also think that maybe he was transferred into the 45th ID before returning stateside because his return date to the US of 10 Sept 1945 is the same as the 45th ID's return to the Port of Boston. The 125th AEB did not return until a week later on 17 Sept 1945 and was deactivated two days later. The 45th ID was moved to Texas after reentering the US and later deactivated on 7 Dec 1945. This fits with your grandfather's separation at Camp Fannin Texas on 14 Nov 1945. This is just my theory, but I'm sticking to it! ;)

All units a soldier served with would not be reflected in the separation paper, that info would be contained in his personnel file which unfortunately may have been destroyed in the NPRC fire. Perhaps other clues will be found to support this theory. Has your family saved letters from your grandfather during this time period that may have address or unit information on the them? Just a thought.

Have a good one!

Randy

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Sorry for delay, I have been getting back into routine after a 2 week roadtrip with my 2 year old., I appreciate all your responses Randy!

We stopped by the 45th division museum in Oklahoma City. It was an amazing museum!

They said the thing over his right pocket was his Ruptured Duck pin. One of his collars, I believe his left, was his engineers castle.

They said he would have been in the 45th (perhaps 120th engineers), then "transfered" to 125th just to be shipped home.

They gave me a copy of the paper to request his records. They said it normally is a long game of waiting & resending. Said it was typically to get the "Destroyed in the fire letter" the first time you request. And suggested making copies & to continue to resend.

 

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