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My father was a Private First Class in the HQ BTRY 793rd Field Artillery Battalion of the US Army. His military occupation was Salvage Technician 194 and was inducted in January 1943. Where can I find a record of the medals he was issued?

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    Was your father not issued the medals?
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Jun 6 at 17:20
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    I'm confused. Are you looking to get the physical medals, or just a list of all the medals he was awarded?
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 6 at 19:35

2 Answers 2

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You can start at the National Archives site for requesting Military Service Records. An expandable menu item gives you an idea of what you will need to request the information:

  • The veteran's complete name used while in service
  • Service number
  • Social Security number
  • Branch of service
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).

All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or next of kin. If you are the next of kin of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary.

From the same page there is a link to a page on how to Replace Veterans' Medals, Awards, and Decorations.

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Another possibility is to check with the courthouse, city, town, county, of the locality to which he returned after discharge. Separating personnel were advised to have their separation form recorded at their local courthouse. This was to ensure there would, probably, always be a copy. Many returning veterans did so.

What you are looking for is his Form WD AGO 53-55. Don't let anyone tell you you need his DD-214 because DD-214s did not exist for Army veterans discharged after the war. "DD" is Department of Defense which did not exist until 1947. "WD AGO" is War Department Adjutant General's Office . . . the Army was run by the War Department in the years prior to establishment of the Department of Defense with it's Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. An example of a WD AGO 53-55 is shown below.

The biggest problem you will find is related to the St Louis National Records fire in which some 80% of personnel records for Army personnel discharged between 1912 and 1960 were destroyed or irreparably damaged.

Sincerely wish you luck.

WD AGO 53-55 sample below, note that medals and decorations to which he would have been entitled in Box 33 in the center of the form.

If you can get the WD AGO 53-55 in hand, that would go along way in obtaining replaced decorations from the government (as justCal points out) or you can bite the bullet and buy what you need commercially . . . with the caveat that you might end up with copies, not real ones.

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    What is the source of the document in your answer? Is it in the public domain? Commented Jun 8 at 11:52
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    Buried in the info on this site historyhub.history.gov/military-records/…. Is there a problem?
    – R Leonard
    Commented Jun 8 at 18:34
  • Maybe, maybe not. It is always necessary to cite your sources and to never post anything that is not in the public domain. I do wonder if the person who posted her father's record had any idea it can now be seen by the general public (and is now posted on another site). Many times when people post things on sites, they think what they post is only visible by a dedicated support team. This is especially true on government and business websites. You'll have to use your discretion and best judgment in how you would like your family's personal records to be handled, and treat others' similarly. Commented Jun 9 at 6:19
  • @EndAntisemiticHate, US government forms are always public domain by virtue of being works of the US government. The contents of the form are public domain because they do not involve creative effort.
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 9 at 21:47
  • Thanks for the details. I thought only next of kin could request the forms. I want to obtain WWII military records of a deceased American relative, but I've read that I cannot because I am not the immediate next of kin. Commented Jun 9 at 22:46

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