It’s helpful to get a quick look at what military service records can or do exist for your ancestors, as these records can provide a wealth of information.
While I intend to take this list of ancestors back to the French-and-Indian Wars, tonight, I will just go back to the first World War.
My father served in the US Navy during World War II, but never left the continental U.S. He spent most of his time in NAD Hastings, Nebraska and NAS Norfolk, Virginia. There was also a stint in the brig.
His father, Lawrence Lake Jones, fought overseas in World War I, and served in the occupation of Germany, or at least that is what the lore says. This is supported by what appears on his military-issued gravestone, as it lists him as having served in the 26th Infantry, which fought in France and occupied Germany.
Ernest Melvin Hill, my maternal grandfather, was in the 31st Balloon Company, Aviation Section, U. S. Signal Corps, stationed at Fort Henry Knox, Kentucky. He was a chauffeur 1st class and a mechanic.
I realized by looking at these folks that I had not pulled Ernie Hill’s military service record, which is probably available. I also know that sometimes a record is recovered from the freeze-dried records of the St. Louis personnel office. So I should ask about my grandfather Lawrence Lake Jones’s records … just in case.
As part of the first American soldiers to arrive in France, the regiment immediately left for the front. Along with its sister regiments of the division, it earned more campaign streamers than any other regiments during theWorld War I However, they came at a terrible cost. Over 900 Blue Spaders lost their lives in a six-month period. At Soissons alone, the regimental commander, executive officer, two of three battalion commanders and the regimental sergeant major were killed in action; sixty-two officers were killed or wounded; and out of 3,100 Blue Spaders that started the attack, over 1,500 had been killed or wounded. But the battle was won and this turned the tide for the Allies at a crucial period during the summer of 1918. By war’s end, the soldiers earned seven battle streamers and two foreign awards. Following a brief occupation duty in Germany, the regiment returned to the United States and served as a part of a smaller peacetime Army.”
“26th Infantry Regiment (United States),” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/26th_Infantry_Regiment : Accessed 23 Jun 2010