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Well I finally did it and I must thank Bill Carr for giving me the specifics so I would know exactly what to do. So I visited this page and emailed the facility at College Park, Maryland.


If you are looking for info on a specific unit, then you scroll down the page until you see the section:


I have a question about research and records at NARA


Then you simply fill in your request being specific as you can. When you are finished, then you fill in the Contact Info located at the bottom of the page. That's it.


They say it usually takes several weeks, depending on the information that you are seeking. Please note that this is not a FREE service. Bill wound up spending approximately $260.00 to get his father's unit records.


NARA will contact you and let you know what they have found and how much it will cost.


I will keep you posted on the results. I am very excited about this leg of my journey. This was something I had wanted to do for months. Wish me luck! :pdt34:

I sent away to St Louis for my fathers records of the Army(WW2) and his Air Force service (Korea)and it was free. Are the records you are talking about for his unit or his personal service?

No these are army unit records, not my dad's records.

Well you always run into one of them... <_<


I did hear from NARA the very next morning (that made me a bit suspicious already) and the guy said this,


"There are no company level records for the 540th Engineer Combat Regiment/Group. What INFORMATION are you seeking-- be specific and provide details."


Well I thought I had given him enough info, but I wrote back and...


"Hmmm. That has me concerned because the 540th Combat Engineers were one of the longest active engineer units during WWII. I was even able to obtain certain records from the Army Corps of Engineers.


Well, what more can I tell you? Let's see...


They started out as the 540th Combat Engineer Regiment. They consisted of two battalions, 1st and 2nd and a Headquarters and Service Company. Later in the war (approximately Jan of 1945) they became 540th Engineer Combat Group and the 1st Battalion became the 2832nd and the 2nd Battalion became the 2833rd, which my dad was part of.


The unit was a "bastard" unit and not a permanent part of any division, but mostly functioned as a independent unit, but attached to various divisions, etc. on a need-as basis. They were part of the 5th Army, 7th Army and also part of VI Corps.


They began their tour of duty in North Africa in 1942 and then went onto Sicily, Italy (Salerno, Naples, Anzio, Rome/Arno) then onto the invasion of Southern France, up through France, took part in the Ardennes/Alsace Campaign and then into Germany and remained there until fall of 1945.


The unit covered much of the same ground as their fellow VI Corps regiment, the 36th Combat Engineers.


I am looking for after-action reports, morning reports, etc. Actually anything I can get my hands on for the research for my website and the book I will be writing.


Specifically my dad was 540th Combat Engineer Regiment/Group, 2833rd Battalion, H & S Company, Fourth Platoon.


If there are no records in Maryland, do you have any other suggestions on where to look? I hope you are able to find something, because many of my friends have found info on fellow engineer regiments such as the 48th, 85th etc.


Thanks and let me know if you need any more assistance from me. I am more than happy to help."


So I get a reply back the very next day saying this,


"Few Engineer Combat Battalions have extant records at company level. Moreover, what records that do exist document unit organization and operations, not activities of individual service members. You still have not indicated the sort of INFORMATION you are seeking."


Well golly, what the heck more could I tell him?? So I wrote back to my buddy Bill who is helping me with this and said HELP! He wrote back and said it sounded like I was getting the run around for some reason and gave me the name of the gentleman at College Park who helped him. So I sat down two days ago and snail-mailed a letter to him.


I don't know, it just didn't seem right that the National Archives wouldn't have ANY INFO on the 540th!? My husband said, well how hard did this guy look? Sounded that way to me too. Could be wrong but... If they have history on other engineer units from that era, I'm sure there are records on my dad's unit too.

Marion I had similar problems when I was looking up stuff about my Dad. I got very lucky and hooked up with one specific person I think his last name was Burns and he was a saint. He helped me find quite a lot of info. But they do want you to be so specific its kind of ridiculious. If you dont get any results let me know and I will see if I have any contact info for the man I had. I dont actually know if he would still be there but ya never know...

I forgot it did end up costing me some money. I think if you just want limited records its free but if yoou are asking for unit rosters, morning reports and they dint come across them real quick then they ttell you it will have a fee for them to go throught he microfilms. I dont remember how much I ended up paying but it was a 3 figure amount I think... should be free

Thanks a ton my dear. I am thinking it will probably cost me about $300.00 or so depending on what they find.


Yes, I don't know what bug the guy had up his rear, but it seemed that he didn't want to be bothered. I am sure that the gentleman that Bill referred me to will work out, but if for some reason he doesn't, I will keep you in mind.



Wow! That did sound like he was giving you the run-around.

Few Engineer Combat Battalions have extant records at company level

Well, you were requesting info on a Battalion; not a company. Gee whiz, guy. And I have the operational reports (not the After Action reports) for the 310th Engeerings, so that guy must be incompetant.


I am sort of surprised at their reply. I'm very interested the best way to go about this. I wonder if it would be cheaper to hire a local researcher to go copy the records I want?

I know a guy who was working on a site for the 88th Division and somehow and somewhere he quickly accumulated the records for his website.


A few months back, I contacted the Smithsonian Museum to ask them for the Serial Number of the German Me-109 that they have at their DC facility. I got a quick email reply that said they were passing my question on to another department and then I got another reply. But I never got an answer. Bummer.

I just wanted them to go out and read the serial number so that I could check it with an aircraft in a book "Air War in Italy; 1944-1945". The book said that an Me-109 that defected from Hungary to Italy was sent to US and ended up in the Smithsonian. That would be interesting to know if the book is right.



Yes Steve it sounded like a bunch of "hooey" to me. That is why I wrote to a different fellow. I am hopeful that he will come up with info for me. :D


It's not like I'm asking for things that don't exist. Many other sons, daughters, researchers, etc. have already requested info and received it regarding inf and engineer units.


I was getting darn right pissy when he kept saying he didn't know what I wanted, even after I spelled out morning and after-action reports. Well how the heck more specific am I supposed to get? If I knew exactly what they had, then I wouldn't be asking them to do research. Sheesh!


As I said, I'm hopeful because I know of many other success stories. The glass is always half-full! :coffee:

Well Steve it was a bunch of "hooey". I received a letter and documents detailing what was available from NARA on Saturday. Seems there are numerous documents at my disposal. Because of the volume, I think I will contact Georgetown University and have a research student copy the designated docs. I could have NARA copy the files, but I am limited to five and it wouldn't do me much good unless I could get ALL of them.


I'll keep you guys posted on all the latest. As you can well imagine, I am one HAPPY CAMPER! :D:D


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