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Refference material, Book Review: Finding Your ... (Read 5049 times)
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Refference material, Book Review: Finding Your ...
Feb 3rd, 2009, 9:20pm
Review by Franz Tinio-Lopez

Finding Your Father's War: A Practical Guide to Researching and Understanding Service in the World War II U.S. Army (Paperback)
by: Jonathan Gawne
ISBN: 1932033149

"That's what this book is about. Advice on how to go about your own quest."... to find information on your own WW2 veteran in the US Army.

Finding Your Father's War is Jonathan Gawne's search for his father's story. Gawne's father was like many veterans who wanted to shield their families from the difficult experiences they lived through. His father did not speak about the war unless prodded seriously.

Some veterans feel that they can only be understood by others who have shared their experience. They gravitate towards their own fellow comrades, veterans, and other service members who have been in combat. Sometimes even to those who were on the other side of their gun. Once you earn their trust a veteran may tell you about what his comrades did. And sometimes what they did themselves and how they felt. When that happens, it is indeed a privilege.

For those of us whose veteran has passed away, this is the way we can discover their story. The book provides the guideposts in how and where to begin your research on your veteran.

The book is well illustrated and has many examples. There are even "booknotes" scattered throughout that provide links for additional references for the readers. It is divided into five sections and followed by appendices A to I.

Section 1 is the introduction to Army units. It gives a breakdown from the Army Group level down to the Squad, the smallest organization of personnel. On page 34 is the first item of interest to the Philippine Scouts reader. " Four of these Divisions (... the Philippine,...) were formed overseas. The Infantry Division organization is broken down on page 42; Regiments, Attachments, on Page 43; Battalions, Page 44; Company, Battery, Troop, etc.

Page 47 Explains Rank, for officers and enlisted personnel. Page 59, the Branches of Service; Infantry, Artillery, Engineer, Cavalry, etc.

Page 84 Starts with the Training Organization, followed by the Theaters of war (like the Asiatic Pacific Theater). For example, on page 93 it gives the dates of the Philippine Islands Campaign; from 7 Dec 1941 to 10 May 1942. Leyte; 17 Oct. 1944 - 1 July 1945. Luzon; 15 Dec 1944 - 4 July 1945. Southern Philippines; 27 Feb. 1945 - 4 July 1945.

Individual Personnel Records on page 97 explains the serial numbers assigned to personnel. A picture of the shoulder patch of the Philippine Department is shown on page 101. The book lists the Regular Army Personnel ID serial numbers from 10,300,100 - 10,399,999 (enlisted) P.102- Army of the US, Philippine Department; Serial Nos. 30,300,100 - 30,399,999. Officers were given different serial numbers.

Further topics covered by the book on the are as follows:
Dog Tags are described on page 104, and "Other individual records" on page 109.
Page 115 The Discharge, Page 121, Pay Records, Page123, Death Records.

Page 131 Section 3 Organization Records. -- Army Time Date.
Page 137 Company Records
Page 157 Unit Histories
Page 159 Finding Records Section 4
Page 161 Next of Kin and FOIA
Page 162 Records Everywhere
Page 178 NPRC National Personnel Records Center

Section 5 Tangible Evidence of Service page 187 Uniforms and Insignia,
Page 230 Finding Army Buddies

Appendix A: page 248 Philippine Division
Appendix D: page 291 USAFFE
Appendix G: page 320 Phil. Islands

The on-line companion to the book is at the website:

Link on Amazon books:

The book includes detailed appendices, bibliography, color illustrations. 256 pages, 9.4"x 6.6", softcover.

The War in a Nutshell
Section 1: Introduction to Army Units ; Background information on the composition of the World War II US Army

Section 2: Individual Records; The various Army records pertaining to an individual soldier

Section 3: Organizational Records; The Army's record of what a man did during the war

Section 4: Finding Records; Places around the country where you can find records of your soldier's service

Section 5: Introduction to Army Units; Identifying what you may already have and what it can tell you about your relative's service.


Appendix A: The Infantry and Airborne Divisions in World War II
Appendix B: The Armored and Cavalry Divisions in World War II
Appendix C: Army Groups, Armies, and Corps in World War II
Appendix D: Major Army Commands of World War II
Appendix E: The Army Air Forces in World War II
Appendix F: Vehicle Markings in World War II
Appendix G: The Campaigns of World War II
Appendix H: Official Abbreviations Used in World War II
Appendix I: The Green Books and Select Bibliography
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