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WWII Rank and Co. Question


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#1 dighsx

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 01:22 AM

Hello there, My grandfather was killed on Okinawa on April 11th 1945.
I visited his grave a few years back and have a few questions.

I found on this site a listing for him: http://files.usgwarc...mil_ww2othi.txt
It says he was a Captain. Is there an organization chart someplace
that I can look at to see what that rank means? I.E. What was his job, what ranks reported to him, etc.

Also it says is Co. was ING. Does ING stand for engineering?

I've seen the silver start and the flag that was given to my grandmother. But past that
I really don't know much about him. My dad never met him and my grandmother never really shared
any info. His name was Irven T Larsen.

Thanks for your time and any info you can send my way.

Jay

#2 Slipdigit

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 03:55 AM

Jay,

I would need more info as to what unit he was attached. Captains had varying command duties, usually leading company-sized formations (+/-200 men), but they could also have staff positions. In the infantry, they had high mortality rates.

I do not think the heading "CO" in the chart means "company." The items in the column do not match any abbreviation normally seen in a military formation. I would suspect it possibly has something to do with the dispostion of the bodies, since all the men listed were deceased, except for a few who were missing (and I suspect assumed dead).

The Silver Star medal is the third highest award for valor in the face of the enemy awarded to the US military. Did give his life earning the medal?

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JW :slipdigit:

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#3 Buten42

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 04:25 AM

dighsx, Welcome to the forum, Looks like your just getting starting. Suggest you look through the 'military Service and geneological research part of this Forum, and look at the "requesting copies of military records" thread--it gives a lot of information. The acronyms are always tricky as each branch of service has it's own. You didn't indicate whether he was Army or Marine, both were on Okinawa, but a Capt. is usually in charge of a company (about 100-120 guys. It seems logical he was the CO of an Infantry company. CO usually indicates "Commanding Officer" or Co. for company. Think you may have read the ING wrong, believe it should say INF, which stands for Infantry.
Your Grandfather was KIA and the VA should have a complete record, also NARA if they wern't burnt in the 73 fire. Your best bet is to write to,

Department of the Army
U.S. Total Army Personnel Command,
200 Stovall Street
Alexandra, VA 22332-0404

Ask for your grandfathers Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF)
This is a freedom of information file, so you'll have to be the next of kin, or have his next of kin sign the letter. Give them all the information you can, especially his name, rank, service number, (O-385456) and date of birth and death if possible.
This will tell you about his death and the disposition of his body and personal effects.

Also write to NARA--get a form-180 off their website and see if they have his records. In the same request, ask for a replacement set of his medals and awards.
I always send a letter with the form-180-you can ask for his awards in the letter.
There should be a lot of information out there. Check back if you need some help.

#4 dighsx

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 12:37 PM

Thanks for all the info guys. Looks like I've got some leg work to do.

Thanks again,
Jay

Oh and to answer your questions. I believe he was in the Army 96th - 383rd. And it is my understanding that he did die earning his silver star. My grandmother (who has now passed) never really talked about him and my dad doesn't like to say much. I understand it's not an easy topic but it seems a shame to not honor him by passing on this part of our families history to future generations.

Edited by dighsx, 24 October 2009 - 12:54 PM.


#5 luketdrifter

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 12:44 PM

In this instance, the CO means "County" as in the county from Michigan that your grandfather was listed as being his home county. I used a list like this for every soldier, sailor and airman killed in WWII from Michigan to research a project I'm working on for Cheboygan County. ING=Ingham county. I hope this helps. You can request information through the channels listed above, but it takes a while to get anything. It's a paper and pen system in a digital world. But very thorough. I was able to find records of many many KIA's from my county, and with help from relatives I have put in requests for several more. It's an amazing project and very worthwhile.

Edited by luketdrifter, 24 October 2009 - 12:48 PM.
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#6 Buten42

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 04:35 PM

In this instance, the CO means "County" as in the county from Michigan that your grandfather was listed as being his home county. I used a list like this for every soldier, sailor and airman killed in WWII from Michigan to research a project I'm working on for Cheboygan County. ING=Ingham county. I hope this helps. You can request information through the channels listed above, but it takes a while to get anything. It's a paper and pen system in a digital world. But very thorough. I was able to find records of many many KIA's from my county, and with help from relatives I have put in requests for several more. It's an amazing project and very worthwhile.


Thanks for the clearification on the acronyns Luke-seems the same letters mean different things for each application. I've had such good luck with records by writing, but you're right, it's much slower. I need to try to break old habits and get into the 21st century. But whatever it takes, it's very rewarding.

#7 luketdrifter

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 04:37 PM

Actually, it's the record holders that need to get into the new world! It's frustrating to contact them by email only to be told any requests must be made in writing. Oh well, it's well worth it in the end!!
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#8 Slipdigit

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 04:49 PM

In this instance, the CO means "County" as in the county from Michigan that your grandfather was listed as being his home county. I used a list like this for every soldier, sailor and airman killed in WWII from Michigan to research a project I'm working on for Cheboygan County. ING=Ingham county. I hope this helps. You can request information through the channels listed above, but it takes a while to get anything. It's a paper and pen system in a digital world. But very thorough. I was able to find records of many many KIA's from my county, and with help from relatives I have put in requests for several more. It's an amazing project and very worthwhile.


There ya go! County. That makes sense, since it was a listing of losses from the state of Michigan.

Best Regards,  
JW :slipdigit:

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#9 formerjughead

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 05:06 PM

In this instance, the CO means "County" as in the county from Michigan that your grandfather was listed as being his home county. .....


Good job Luke.........I am glad I read the thread before I posted that as my answer. I ran into the same problem when I was getting stuff together for my step dad.

#10 Buten42

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 08:41 PM

Actually, it's the record holders that need to get into the new world! It's frustrating to contact them by email only to be told any requests must be made in writing. Oh well, it's well worth it in the end!!


Your right, the few times I tried to file on line I had the same experience, seems the Freedom of Information Act requires requests to be signed by the Next of kin and I end up downloading the forms and doing it the old way. I think once he gets his grandfathers records, however he does it, everything will fall in place and make sense.

#11 applevalleyjoe

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:46 AM

Luke, you are right on...the ING is in the county column and means Ingham County. Well-done.

#12 dighsx

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 09:04 PM

Just thought I'd give you guys an update. I filled out the NARA online form, printed out, had my dad sign it and faxed it over to them. Next I've got to contact the VA and see what info they've got.

Thanks again for the help, I'll let you know what I find out.

Jay

#13 dighsx

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 12:52 AM

Well heard back from the NARA today. Looks like my grandfathers records got cooked in the 1973 fire. I guess if you don't try you'll never know but I gotta say I'm a little disappointed.

Thanks again for all your help.
Jay




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