I contacted Michael Brodhead in 2005, and was surprised and overjoyed with the package I received. It not only contained the written history of the 540th, but many images as well. What a great find!
Many of you are aware of the GREAT fire which occurred within the St Louis National Archives building in St Louis, in 1973. Yes, the fire DID destroy many of the individual veteran's records, but not ALL. But many of our readers are under the false impression, the unit records were also destroyed; THIS IS NOT TRUE! The unit records are not located in St Louis, but can be found at the Maryland location.
If you are looking for regimental/battalion records, please contact NARA's Maryland office. As with the Army Corps of Engineers Office of History, NARA in Maryland also has records available to the public. I also contacted them several years ago, and discovered they had over 2000 pages of information on my father's unit. WOW!
While NARA will mail some information free of charge, most individuals will have to schedule a visit to the facility. You can also hire a research student, or private researcher, who will copy the information for you. DO NOT visit the facility without contacting them first, for files must be "pulled" ahead of time, and will only be ready for you with a scheduled appointment!
I wound up hiring a private researcher. Yes I had to pay for the services, but in my case, it was well worth it.
The VA Facilities link enables you to locate your state/local VA facility. If you were unable to obtain your discharge papers from NARA in St Louis, then give the VA a shot. I wrote to them and obtained my father's discharge papers within two weeks.
OPA - ONLINE PUBLIC ACCESS - One of the central goals of Online Public Access is to let the public search multiple National Archives resources at once
The Online Public Access resource is the online public portal to our records and information about our records. The OPA prototype currently provides access to nearly one million electronic records currently in the Electronic Records Archives (ERA), which are not available elsewhere online. More electronic records from ERA will be included in OPA in the coming year.
This resource taps the following:
Dwight D Eisenhower Presidential Library
National Archives Online Database
Online Veterans & Military Documents
NARA, College Park, Maryland - official unit histories including daily, weekly and monthly journals, after-action reports, maps and much more
NARA -St. Louis - Discharge Papers/Morning Reports...
Written requests for archival Morning Reports and Unit Rosters are not accepted. Individuals may only access these records by:
- Visiting the NPRC Archival Research Room in St. Louis, MO, or
- Employing an independent researcher to examine the records on their behalf
Military Awards and Decorations - National Archives
Army Corps of Engineers - Office of History - revamped link - 01-2012
Fort Leonard Wood - Office of Engineer History
Professor David Ulbrich
Historian, U.S. Army Engineer School
320 MANSCEN Loop, Suite 043
Ft. Leonard Wood, MO 65473
United States Army Military History Institute
Historic Government Publications from WWII
WW2 Connections - private research site
Pike Military Research
Questia - World's Largest Online Library
Contacts for Engineer Units
US Army War College
Ben Myers Associations and Alumni Database
VA State Facilities - very often (as in my case), your local (state) facility will have a copy of your loved one's discharge papers
Burial Locations - if your veteran is buried in a national cemetery, this database covers almost all 120 of them. Burials abroad are not covered.
American Battle Monuments Commission - if the veteran you are searching for was killed in action and is still buried overseas he should be listed in this database. Burials in the domestic United States are not covered.
Edited by Walt's Daughter, 23 August 2012 - 11:48 AM.
updated links - reworded post, etc.