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GGUncle served in Germany, 1946-1948

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by StratasFan, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    My great-great-uncle, James D. Gillespie, served in Germany from 1946 -1948. He joined in March of 1946, as soon as he turned 18, served in Fritzlar, Geissen and Kassel (that I know), married a German girl and they came back to the USA December 1948. They returned to his native Tennessee for a year or two before heading up to Cleveland, Ohio where he worked at the big Ford Engine plant for the rest of his life. He died in 1977, a few months before his 50th birthday. They had no children, and he was the youngest child, and all his siblings are now gone. I have very limited information about him, but am trying to find out more. He has always been my personal hero, for as long as I can remember.

    I have no way of knowing what unit he was in or what he did over there. I do have three letters that he wrote to a sister. The return address does have lots of stuff listed, but I don't know what it all means. I transcribed them, and if it would help to see a scan of them, let me know!

    1: 820m. Ing. Co. 15 Ba. Virginia (This is during training, before shipping out)

    2: 3233 A.m. Sn. co. APO 169 - from Geissen, Germany

    3: Det.A 7801st S.C.V. Fritzlar Sub. post. A.P.O. 171 - from Kassel, Germany

    I have attached a picture of him while he was in Germany. The patch was identified as a European Theatre of Occupation Advanced Base Comminications Zone patch.

    I was wondering if anyone would know if the return address lingo gives any info about his unit, etc. I'm afraid most of my military knowledge is Air Corps, so I am not up on Army terms (no squadrons!). Also, I saw something about US Constabulary units. Would he has been in a constabulary unit? Really, I don't know much about the Occupation of Germany. I saw a medal that was Army of Occupation medal, and was wondering - would he have had one? What would he have worn or done, etc.?

    Thanks for any help or advice! Please feel free to ask any questions!
     

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  2. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Elizabeth, The picture is rather blurred, but I believe the patch to be "Headquarters,European Theater of Operations Comm Z"--not Occupation.
    This unit was headquartered in London and was originally "to prepare for and carry on operations in the European Theater against the Axis powers and their allies under strategical direction of the command of the combined US-British Chiefs of staff". After the formation of SHAEF, this unit relinquished it's planning and tactical l operational function to SHAEF and became primarily responsible for the administration and supply of U.S. troops being gathered for Operation Overloard. When this change occurred, the patch was changed to include the Army Service Forces insignia star. The shoulder sleeve insignia
    became the insignia for Commnications Zone Personnel, European Theater of Operation.

    You might try to research this unit, but it sounds like he spent his time in Germany on Occupation duty as the war in Europe ended in May 1945.
     
  3. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    The Occupation Medal with a Germany clasp--honorable service for 30 consecutive day in formerly held enemy territory between 1946 and 1955 for Germany.

    WWII Victory Medal--Honorable service in the US armed forces for at least one day between Dec.7th 1941 to Dec.31, 1946.

    European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal--Service in the EAME Theater of operations between 7 Dec. 1941 and 2 March, 1946 (probably didn't get there in time)

    Should get the Good Conduct Medal
     
  4. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Thanks! It probably was just a slip about "occupation" v. "operations". He would have only been occupation duty, as he enlisted March 1946. I am trying to find out what he was in over there. Would love to know! I haven't ever read anything about the post-war period, so this is all new to me. I bought a patch online, now that I know what it is, so I can include it in my scrapbook!
     
  5. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Thanks for all the help on the medals! Fabulous! I'll have to go look and see what the Victory medal looks like! Have not come across that!
     
  6. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Just wondering if anyone can take a stab at deciphering his return addresses? :eek:)
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    3233 A.m. Sn. co.

    Might be 3233 Qm. Sv. Co., 3233rd Quartermaster Service Company. although I have found nothing on the 'net about their activities post-1945.
     
  8. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Oh . . . thanks a ton! I will pull out the letter and take a picture of the writing. Maybe it would help, as I don't know what I am reading! This sounds very promising! I'll have to look into your suggestion!
     
  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Here's a picture of the WW2 Victory Medal.

    [​IMG]

    If you can post the letter, it might help. Sounds like you know more now than you did before.
     
  10. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Boy, this is great! I would love to unravel the mystery of his Army time. I will post the addresses from the letters tomorrow! Then, maybe you can really tell what he wrote! It does help, when reading something, to know a bit about the subject . . . ;o)
     
  11. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Hi, everyone! Thanks for all the help and here are the return addresses from the letter I have from him. The third one is from the base in Virginia, before he shipped out. Any ideas about these is great!

    Also, one other point. I contacted the NARA archives in St. Louis to see what I would get if I ordered his military records. A lady looked up his file and all that is there (due to lost records during the 1973 fire) a pay voucher and a page of medical data. Anyone know what exactly would be on these papers and if it is worth ordering at some point?

    Thanks!
     

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  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I will address your last question first. The pay voucher is unlikely to provide you with anything you don't already know. It's hard to say regarding the medical document. I believe they have a minimum fee, so if you decide to get one, you might as well get both.

    I think I can help some with the return addresses.

    The first two are, of course, from the same location. The unit info is just switched around (I will leave out some of the unnecessary punctuation):

    Det. A. 7801st SCU
    Fritzlar Sub Post APO 171

    I found a similar reference mentioned in relation to another WWII vet which explains some of the abbreviations:

    I had some trouble deciphering some of the third one:

    82 O(something) Tng Co 15 Bn
    Bldg T-619
    Camp Lee, VA

    Camp Lee was the location of a Quartermaster Replacement Training Center, so "Tng" would be "Training".

    The last one is:

    3233 QM Sv Co
    APO 169

    This would be the 3233rd Quartermaster Service Company. I came across a link for a PDF of the WWII narrative history for the 3233rd QM Sv Co: www.jraughley.com/Documents/Alan_H.../AHR_WWII.pdf‎

    It doesn't cover the period that your great great uncle was in the unit, but it may be helpful for someone else who comes across this thread.

    I know this doesn't help a lot, but the little bits of info do eventually add up.
     
  13. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Boy! What a wealth of knowledge you are! It is late, so I am going to study this tomorrow and if I have any other questions will let you know. This is fabulous! I knew someone might get more out of it than I did! Always helps to know a bit about what you are looking at . . . ;o) I am so excited! Thanks ever so much!
     
  14. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I'm not really that smart. Just remember, :google: is our friend. :D

    Also, some of my friends & relatives have awful handwriting, so I've some experience at translating cursive. ;)
     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I think the address on the third letter is
    82 QM Training Co Bn 15
    Since Camp Lee was the Quartermaster Training camp, it makes sense. If you look at the "n " in line 2, it looks like an "m" in the next line.

    I found this reference, but I'm not sure it helps.
    Between July 1940 and January 1946, 12,622 student officers were enrolled and 11,286 were graduated; 9,289 key enlisted men and women were enrolled and 7,549 were graduated; and a depot selection course trained 366 civilians, of whom 316 were commissioned.
    http://www.qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/WWII/qm_school.htm
     
  16. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    This is so fun! I've been reading up on the Quartermaster Corps all afternoon. Now, I have another question. Actually, two, but I'll post them in two replies. First --- Here is a photo of him in another uniform. Would you guess that the pin he is wearing on his collar would be the Quartermasters insignia (an eagle over a wheel with two crossed swords)?
     

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  17. StratasFan

    StratasFan New Member

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    Anyone want to guess what patch he is wearing in this photo? It looks like it is not the oval one that he is wearing in the first photo of him that I posted. Also, Does it look like the metal insignia on his collar is the Quartermaster Corp insignia?
     

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  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, in the last photo you posted, the collar disk on the lapel is a quartermaster one.

    Not much to go on with the shoulder patch. But it really does appear to be an

    You could always try contacting the US Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia
    http://www.qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/index.html
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    What can be seen of the shoulder patch really does appear to be an "Advance Section, Communications Zone" patch
     

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  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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