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Obtaining fathers medals before he dies!!!


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#1 92GTA

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 04:37 PM

My father (Vernon;Scott Claytor) flew P51Ds in the Euro theatre the last half of the war. He was awarded 2 Purple Hearts and half a dozen other medals. In the 50s his home burned down and he lost everything. We only have a couple photographs of him from that time that his mother had.

The VA has been worthless in figuring out how to obtain a list of all the medals he ever received and finding out how to obtain reproductions. Any idea what I can do on these medals?! The VA gave us some excuse like most would not have been documented because they were field issued and not very well kept track of. Is this true?! We are trying not to involve my father so it can be a surprise.

He is in bad health and won't last more than a few months. We have been wanting to do this for him before he passes. I was also trying to save $500 for him to ride in a P51 but finances won't allow :(

Also, how do I find out is he is eligible to be buried in Arlington National Cemetary? What does this cost? His first cousin is buried there, he was Secretary of the Navy for Carter and also Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Thanks!

Alex Claytor

#2 Skipper

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 04:58 PM

he was certainly elligible for the France and Germany Operations Medal, the Commemorative Medal and the Victory Medal.
Do you remember whether he was awarded the Air Medal and or the Distinguished flying Cross?

Posted Image
D.F.C.

Posted Image
Victory Medal
Posted ImagePosted Image
puple Heart Air Medal
http://www.acepilots...ww2_medals.html

to this could be added the French Croix de Guerre.

Vorsicht+Feind.JPG


#3 92GTA

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:15 PM

I know for sure he had a Distinguished Flying Cross. I don't recall the rest.

Thanks for the info!

#4 texson66

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:59 PM

Another source of records:

Military Personnel Records
__________________________________________
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
“The first lesson is that you can't lose a war if you have command of the air, and you can't win a war if you haven't.” - General Jimmy Doolittle

#5 92GTA

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 06:14 PM

Thanks!

He was U.S. Army and volunteered with the R.A.F.

Would they have all info or would I need to contact the RAF archives for the rest of it do you think?

#6 sandy1369

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 06:34 PM

Do you have a VA service officer for your county.. Mine was awesome and helped with my grandfathers.. we went throught the national arcives and got some info but that is slow so start on that right away.. some i had to buy for my Pa becaseu they were not on his dd-214 but in the pics you couls see he had them opn his ribbon bar.. the Croix De Guerre I had to buy.. I would have to say that Pa's box totaled about 500.00 or 600.00 when I was done.. with everything.. I wish you well. and I hope you father has nore than a few months.. Enjoy every moment with him and GOD BLESS him..

#7 bill39

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 12:55 AM

I've just gone thru this for my father's records, although he is deceased.

Go to this website and
Military Personnel Records to request his DD-214 (report of separation)

Go here Awards and Decorations to request a list of awards he is eligible for.

Then be prepared to wait. It took about 6 months for the gov't to respond, but they did. I thought they had forgotten me so I hired a private researcher and he got them to me in about 2 weeks. It was only about $120 and was well worth it. I used these guys: Aardvark Research - Military Research Home

Then you can order the medals for any number of places online.

Good luck, it's not too hard. Just need a little patience.

#8 Erich

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 01:13 AM

Alex what flying unit was he with flying P-51's ? if you know have you contacted the units representative to get his background information of service ?
:aceofspades: E ~

#9 Buten42

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 03:07 AM

I've just gone thru this for my father's records, although he is deceased.

Go to this website and
Military Personnel Records to request his DD-214 (report of separation)

Go here Awards and Decorations to request a list of awards he is eligible for.

Then be prepared to wait. It took about 6 months for the gov't to respond, but they did. I thought they had forgotten me so I hired a private researcher and he got them to me in about 2 weeks. It was only about $120 and was well worth it. I used these guys: Aardvark Research - Military Research Home

Then you can order the medals for any number of places online.

Good luck, it's not too hard. Just need a little patience.


Good advice, but the Dept. of Defense allows veterans to receive a replacement set of medals in the event the originals are lost--which is definitely your case. I have done this for vererans many times, and it doesn't cost a cent. Go to the NARA website link that bill39 posted. Download a form -180 and fill it out for your father and have him sign it. He can ask for a replacement DD-214, and all the documents in his Military Personnel file and his medical records. (you will not be allowed everything as a next of kin). They will have to pull his file so ask for everything while he is alive and can request the information. On the 180 is a box for medals/awards--check it. Also, include a letter explaining what happend and ask for a replacement set of medals and ask that the decorations be engraved--they also do this for free and it makes them personal. They will not replace the foreign medels if he earned them, but ask if he was awarded any. These will have to be purchased from a private dealer--there are some good ones on the net. I always use Medals of America, but I'm not advocating anyone.
If his records were burned, they are still able to determine what he is elgible for by using other records--they may not be able to replace the records, but the medals are no problem. Hope this helps.
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#10 92GTA

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 03:09 AM

That is fantastic news!!!!!! I'm going to jump right on it ASAP!!!!

Thank you guys!!!!!!!!!!

Alex

http://www.TheFOAT.com/92GTA

Son of a WWII P-51D pilot, European Theatre


#11 Buten42

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 03:30 AM

Sorry, I missed your question regarding Arlington. I believe the best way to deal with this is to ask your Federal Representative or better yet call or make an inquiry by letter to your Senator. The medals take time, but if you explain your situation they may try to speed things up. I'd start contacting people about Arlington right away. Thanks for doing this for him, all the vets deserve this love.

#12 sjkramer

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 02:16 PM

Just a note: I requested some records from NARA and they told me that they have drastically cut response time down from what used to be months to 10 or so days. Don't know if this is true yet but it seems like they've expedited the process for those that use eVetRecs.

Also, in addition to calling your senator, you might try your representative. I've spoken to A TON of veterans in my area who couldn't get a hold of their records or were having some issue and they called our rep. and he got it done immediately. I know my rep. (Ike Skelton) is very involved in our community and that might not be the case with yours but oftentimes they're less busy than a senator and can get right on it...

#13 bill39

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 01:04 AM

Alex,
Just as a followup to my original reply to you: One purpose of me getting my father's records was to look for info in his official records about him being wounded in WWII. He had never been awarded the Purple Heart (& never wanted one, really) but at home he had letter from the USMC and other papers saying he was wounded. (note:He died 30+ yrs ago).

When I rec'd his official records this summer, sure enough there was more documentation that he was wounded, but never an award of a Purple Heart.

I put all of this info together and sent it to my senator and in less than two months the Marine Corps amended his records and sent my family a Purple Heart. Kind of an emotional moment.

Here's a THANK YOU to Indiana's Senator Evan Bayh for getting this done!!!

#14 92GTA

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:47 PM

Ok, to follow up...

I'm going to try the direct route and simply download and mail in the form 180.

I'm going to fill it out for him and have him sign it. I checked the following:

DD-214
Complete OMPF
Medical Records
Other: Medals/Awards

For the DD-214, I'm confused if I should select "Undeleted" or "Deleted"???

I will include the letter stating what happened to the medals and asking that the replacements be engraved.

Someone mentioned also asking what overseas medals he might have gotten, do I include that in the same letter?

Thanks!

Alex

http://www.TheFOAT.com/92GTA

Son of a WWII P-51D pilot, European Theatre


#15 bill39

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 09:16 PM

Alex,
I don't remember needed to choose between "Undeleted" or "Deleted". Can't help you there. Maybe it is kinda like Uncensored and Censored??????

FYI: People keep referring to a DD-214. My dad's was called a "Report of Separation" instead. I'm thinkning DD-214 may have come after WWII, but they are basically the same thing.

#16 Buten42

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 12:25 AM

Ok, to follow up...


For the DD-214, I'm confused if I should select "Undeleted" or "Deleted"???

Someone mentioned also asking what overseas medals he might have gotten, do I include that in the same letter?

Thanks!

Alex


Alex, Ask for the "undeleated". The deleated version leave out some sensative information that you might want to know. The deleated form is more for geneologist who don't really care about a persons re-enlistment code, character of separation, etc.

The War Department made record of all decorations a servicemen earns including foreign decorations. Yes, include it with in the letter with the request for his replacement medals and to have the decorations engraved.
I think you said he flew for the RAF. I don't know if the American WD would have any information for this service. You will need to ask someone more familiar with the British records and how he might get a list of them.

#17 bsellers57

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 08:58 PM

Alex,
Your father can be buried at Arlington National and there is no charge for this. Any member of any military branch can be buried there. Just call the Arlington National Cemetery's main office to line this up. My father was just inurned there in the Columbarium along with my mother's ashes. Does not matter if you were an officer or not. ANYONE who served in the military can be buried there.

#18 92GTA

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 09:52 PM

I wanted to bring this thread back to thank everyone who had helped me. My father passed a year after I made this thread, early AM xmas morning of 2010 asleep in his study.

 

I was lucky enough to speak to him on the phone just the day or two before to tell him I loved him. Also just a couple months prior I had gotten my life long dream car, an original 1956 Corvette. Every since I can remember as a little kid, every time we went anywhere, gas station, stores, etc. and I saw a toy of a 57 Corvette he would buy it for me. I was very proud of that at only 30 years old, I sent my mother pictures to show him but I think he was too far gone to know. He had stopped eating and drinking anything but booze in an attempt to end his life sooner.

 

I was able to get his complete military record in its entirety. He signed the forms prior to his passing but made me promise not to read any of the documents until he passed. Which I honored. Funny thing, I can see why. Here is a funny story as an example, he had a ruptured disc in his back. He had always told us it was from a skiing accident after the war. Well, it wasn't. He had gotten stabbed in the back playing poker on base! I guess he pissed someone off! Also interesting to see that he was underage and I even have a copy of the release form signed by his mother for him going into the service.

 

I had spoken to him about burial at Arlington again and he had told me he didn't care. A decade or so prior tho I recall bringing it up and he said he would rather not be there as he didn't want to be in any form of military memorial. He never let me own so much as a water pistol growing up, I remember he was very anti-weapons, war, etc.

 

I still have his ashes, they are with his favorite dog, our family golden retriever he loved so much. He loved sailing and I have recently bought an old antique wooden sail boat, same as the one he had given my mother as a wedding gift. This next summer we are hoping to do an at sea memorial where my mother and I will spread his ashes with the dogs into the ocean off a specific island in the Caribbean that was his favorite.

 

Thanks again! I see the thread about applying for UK records which I may do this next year. He was US Army on volunteer to the RAF for a bit.

 

Alex 

 

P.S. We did not fill out and have him sign the form to get free replacement medals prior to his passing. It was difficult to get him to sign anything in his last few months and now that he is passed, it's difficult to see the point now since I wanted to do it for him anyway. I was lucky to barely get him sign the forms for his service record by promising not to read them until after his passing. - Oh, among his things after his passing, I did find the metal pins that went with his uniform. His mother had them. The "U.S." pins for each side of the collar, his flying wings, cuff links or some sort, etc.

 

I believe the P-51D he flew would have looked similar to this:

 

https://s-media-cach...e267d38c094.jpg

 

I remember as a kid when putting together a P-51D model, he specifically had me paint black stripes on the wings saying that's how his was painted. But I think his also maybe had stripes on the tail? Can't recall that part. He flew only a couple combat/escort missions from what I saw in his record. He mostly did photo recon with no radio or weapons, camera behind where the radio was and extra fuel tanks on his wings. He also was a flying instructor for foreign pilots and he was a tactical gunnery instructor as well. He made a first hand sighting report a then unknown ME-262, he test flew and evaluated the first captured ME-109 and made a report directly comparing it to the P-51. He stated is turned poorly at low speeds due to a too short vertical stabilizer? Shows he test flew some crazy dual prop?! P-51D experimental for evaluation, the report on that he made is directly to a general for some reason. He snuck on board a bombing mission on a bomber his best friend was flying out of another base, his friend and co-pilot were killed in the cockpit on the way back and he managed to land the bomber JUST on the UK side of the channel before running away from the scene and somehow getting back to his air base. He was caught and almost court-martialed for it but looks to have gotten out of it. There was a bunch of other paperwork with portions redacted in black labeled classified, etc. He flew lots of other aircraft like the P-38, etc. In one crash of his P-51D over France he had to have extensive work to remove plexiglass from his eyes, from the canopy I guess. Plus lots more I remember reading and him telling me. He also made several audio tapes prior to passing that were supposed to be filled with stories but most of the tapes are empty noise like he didn't know what he was doing with the recorder or forgot to talk, passed out, fell asleep, etc. who knows.


Edited by 92GTA, 24 December 2016 - 10:45 PM.

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http://www.TheFOAT.com/92GTA

Son of a WWII P-51D pilot, European Theatre


#19 Skipper

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 07:59 AM

Thank you for this fantastic posting. What you did as a tribute to your father is just great and deserves respect. It must have meant a lot to you. Those from the Greatest Generation are now passing away fast and your contribution allows them to live in our hearts :poppy:

 

Do you know where your father's P-51 crashed in France? 


Vorsicht+Feind.JPG


#20 Buten42

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 10:18 PM

I echo Skipper's post, well said. It's really great when someone updates an old post and confirms that the forum was helpful.
Thank you for your dedication to your father- he raised you well.
War is sweet to those who have never experienced it.
Latin Proverb

#21 LRusso216

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 05:03 AM

Good show Alex. Thanks for the update. I think you should get his medals and finish the shadow box. It will be a good memorial and a reminder to you of his service to his country.
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