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37th Infantry Division

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Fallschirmjaeger, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    If that is how the date is written on the photo, it may be 4 Dec 1942 rather than Apr 12, 1942. The 37th was still in the USA in April 1942. By December 1942, they were in the Fiji Islands.

    There was an advanced detachment that was sent to New Zealand (the original PTO destination of the 37th), but they didn't arrive in Melbourne, Australia until 14 May 1942. The spent about a week in Australia before heading to Wellington, New Zealand. The Division history only states there were 20 officers and 60 EMs in the advanced detachment. There is no more detail than that. If the date was written on the photo later on, it's possible it is off by a month, which might suggest he was part of the advanced detachment.
     
  2. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    I think the natives on Bougainville of the Solomons were also rumored to be headhunters.

    The boots in the photo makes me think he rode a motorcycle.
     
  3. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Thanks again for the info and replies. I am attaching a jpg of the other photo with the date I also found another photo of my Dad in the same pose and uniform, standing with an unknown woman. On the back of it is written: 'Taken in March 1942 after having been Mt. climbing.' There is a little more written on the bottom, in my Dad's hand, I think. but it is barely legible. I think it was a note to whomever received the photo.

    Also, as a PS, yes, my Dad rode a motorcycle as an MP. My mom remembers him telling her that.

    Marla
     

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  4. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    I wanted to TD-Tommy776 for suggesting I contact the 37th Division Vets organization. I did so by email and had a response in less than an hour from Mandy Oberyszyn. She even gave me her phone number in case I wanted to chat.

    While replying to her email, I pulled the copy of my Dad's discharge paper from the notebook I keep it in and discovered that it was folded back and there was a little more info on the bottom. I have attached a .jpg of the paper to this post. I wondered if anyone could explain this part '#55 Remarks (this space for completion of above items or entry of other items specfied in WD directives - 17 days lost under AW 107 Lapel button issued ASR 2( Sep 45) 100'

    Thanks for your help and you continued patience with all my questions!
     

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  5. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Thank you Marla for stickin' around long enough for us to make the connections and check our sources. So many post once or twice and are gone before we have a chance to put the pieces together.

    I will point out the discharge document shows he left the US on 26 May 1942. That could be an error but it is worth seeing how that might fit with other information. It also shows his pre-war occupation as 'Truck Driver' so either the 'Actor' on the enlistment record was an error or your father's sense of humor.

    Say Tommy, does the division history say anything about R&R from Fiji to Austraila? That might sound odd but the GI's were craving civilization after several months on Fiji.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Hi again, Marla. The last box indicates that he lost 17 days credit for some infraction of the published articles, ranging from AWOL (unlikely) to brawling, etc.He was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, so I would guess that the infraction was not too serious. "Lapel button issued" simply refers to him getting an Honorable Discharge Pin, commonly called a Ruptured Duck.
     
  7. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Mandy is definitely top notch. Hopefully, she'll be able to provide some useful info for you, Marla.

    The date, 26 May 1942, is the date the 37th Division left San Francisco for the Fiji Islands. I came across the following in looking that up:

    It doesn't state it explicitly, but I believe the MPs (et al) would have been on the SS James Parker. That was the only ship with only one battalion boarding. Later in the chapter, I found the following:

    The map in post #12 of this thread confirms that the James Parker was one of the ships that went to NZ.

    They arrived in NZ on 12 June 1942. Between 25 Jun and 31 July 1942, the Coolidge made three trips moving the rest of the 37th Division to Fiji. I scanned through the chapter on Fiji and saw no mention of R&R at all.
     
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  8. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Great work, Tommy.
     
  9. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Still can't figure out the Australia connection -- if any. I would not rule out the Advance Detachment to Australia in 1942 despite the discharge document. Dates recorded in the individuals record could reflect the date recorded for the unit headquarters -- simple for the clerks that way.

    To bad there are no Kangaroos in the picture -- just a chain link fence.
    The writing on the front might be AEF - American Expeditionary Force
    His address (the one used by his family) should have been something like:
    Cpl Dale Cummins
    HQ and MP Company
    APO 37
    c/o Postmaster San Francisco, California

    I recall the 37th ID was slated for a rest in Australia after Bougainville in 1944 but that was canceled by MacArthur.


    Between 18 February 1942 and 10 May 1942, the 37th ID was at Indiantown Gap, PA. I think there are some mountains nearby -- certainly so, compared to Findley, Ohio.
     
  10. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Thanks again (I seem to say that alot! <G>) to everyone who is helping me with my quest to understand my Dad's service. Being an historical interpreter who does research for the site where I work, I understand how long it takes to look, search, and pull info together. I am so happy with, and excited by the info you all have been providing, I will be 'stickin' around' for some time and will also post any info I find re: other sources. I just hoped all of you weren't getting tired of all my questions!

    Thanks for the answer, Lou, on what the 'days lost' meant. My mother told me that my Dad got in trouble once for punching someone. I guess this is a good clue that whatever the fight was, it actually happened. When I first requested my Dad's records back in 1996, that was one of the things I was looking for - some reference to what happened. (Just curious, you know?)

    Thanks also to everyone else on the info re: Dad's departure, record dating, and the ship he might have sailed on. I will note all of this and keep adding pieces to the puzzle until I have some kind of picture - hopefully a clear one.

    It's interesting that there seems to be no reason for the photo to be marked 'Australia', unless he was a part of that early deployment. It would certainly be an interesting bit of info if he had. If the photo was taken in the US, then I wonder why in the world it would have had 'Australia' on it? Oh well, perhaps all of this will get cleared up in the end. I dismissed the idea earlier that he was in New Zealand after noting the dates for the division departure and arrival, but now I wonder if my Mom did remember it right and he was in New Zealand and New Guinea. There is a photo of the 37th in Auckland on parade and the guy in the front looks like my Dad, but I know that is just wishful thinking. <sigh> It would be so neat to find an image of him somewhere that I don't already have. I'm sure everyone who had a Dad that served in WWII thinks (and hopes) the same thing.

    Mandy has contacted me several times and actually given me a couple of leads concerning some guys who might have served with my Dad. They were MPs. I am going to see what I can find using the info she gave me. Again, I will relate anything I learn here to add to the general knowledge of the Division.

    Thanks again,
    Marla
     
  11. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    I decided to pull a photo of my Dad from the wall in my mothers apartment so I could check the back of it. No big surprise as to what it said, but I thought I would share it in case it added anything to the general discussion here. I have not found the original yet. Sometime back I made a larger copy for my mom so she could hang it on the wall and that is the one I have. On the back in my handwriting it says "Dale Lewis Cummins, April 1st, 1942, Bougainville, South Pacific, Solomon Isles, in front of a fox hole." I realize now that the year and month are off if that is indeed where he was. Don't know if I copied it wrong or if my mom wrote it remembering what my Dad said and got both wrong. Most likely the latter. However, I am sure I would not have made up the name 'Bougainville' as I knew nothing of it until I started searching for info just recently. I doubt my mom would have pulled it out of the air either.

    Marla
     

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  12. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Reviewing the information above I believe your father made it to New Zealand whether he traveled with the division advance detachment or the MP Company.

    I checked the division history and the 37th ID did conduct a landing rehearsal in Huon Bay, New Guinea. I don't think anybody got off the boats but they did see the coast.
     
  13. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    I tried a few internet searches related to the 37th ID. I did not find anything particular to the recent discussion but since this is the "37th Infantry Division" thread/topic I will go ahead and post this link.


    I was searching: "37th infantry division" 1943 staff diary, because I figured the activities of the division MP's might be tied to the division headquarters.

    The BGSU library has the papers of a officer on the G-2 (Intelligence) staff. I am not sure of any relationship between the G-2 staff and the MP's but I thought maybe the MP's handled prisoners while some part of the G-2 staff conducted interrogations.

    This link has an inventory of the documents the library holds. Personally I would like to see those topographic maps of the Philippines.

    http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/cac/ms/page45665.html
     
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  14. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts about New Zealand. As I said, my mom told me my Dad had said he was there. Her memory is pretty well shot now, so I have to try to back everything up that she says, and all of you are helping me do that.

    I took a look at the Bowling Green University link. The Sears collection there screams 'road trip!' <G> The drive would take less than 2 hours from where I live and Findlay, where my Dad grew up the latter part of his young years, lies in-between. I have been wanting to go to Findlay to check in with their historical society, etc. I am off work as of Dec. 1st (laid off for the winter), so I may try to make the trip before the weather gets bad and go look at the collection of Demas Lindley Sears. I would really like to see all of the photos in it as well as check out some of the correspondance. Thanks for the link!

    Marla
     
  15. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Earthican's excellent Bowling Green find jogged my memory. I had completely forgotten about the Robert S. Beightler Papers collection held by the Ohio Historical Society. If you download page 6 of the finding aid, Folder 5 of Box 3 contains:

    Maybe another potential road trip? ;) It may be worth contacting them to find out how many pages there are in the MP history. Depending on their answer, it may be worth considering asking them to copy it for you.

    I hope to go there myself some day, but it's a long haul from MN to Columbus so that probably won't happen anytime soon.
     
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  16. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    At Huon, they only landed on the beach as part of the amphibious landing training. However, a couple days later when they reached the Admiralty Atoll, they were allowed ashore and proceeded to liberate the Navy of a substantial quantity of it's "seemingly inexhaustible supply of beer." :cheers:
     
  17. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Good find, Historian TD. A home run for sure.
     
  18. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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  19. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    I think I have to admit that I have egg on my face. <G> I work for the Ohio Historical Society! LOL It never occurred to me to check the archives there. Sheesh.... I work in Piqua, OH, at the home of John Johnston who was an Indian Agent in the 19th century, so I am not well acquainted with the holdings at the main building in Columbus, but you would think it might have dawned on me to look. Oh well.... I am only about 1 hour from Columbus and my husband sometimes goes there on business, so it should prove fairly easy to take a trip and look through this information. When I do, I will let everyone here know. If there is anything specific anyone would like me to look for, just let me know. You can email me at my personal address at dfair@woh.rr.com as well as sending a message through here.

    On another note, I found the cache of my Dad's images from the Pacific Theater. The vast majority are of Figi. I have scanned them and added captions, including the info he wrote on the back of each. Do you think I should post them to the photo section here? I thought they might be of interest to the main list as well as those on this thread. Most are of Figi, though there is one of a beautiful girl from Manila.....<G>

    Thanks for all the leads!

    PS Here are a couple of examples
     

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  20. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Well, that took an unexpected turn! I didn't mention this earlier, but there is also a Beightler Audio-Video collection at the OHS that would be very interesting as well. Your offer is very generous. I personally have too many areas of interest to make a reasonable request. :)

    I just came across something that may help with the Australia reference. According to the memoirs of a 37th Division veteran in Pacific Memories blog:

    If the photo was taken in Pennsylvania sometime before they left for San Francisco, it may have been sent home with his new mailing address and expected destination at the time.
     

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