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To the Secretary of the Army,

This concerns 92 men buried under the wrong Division when the Permanent Cemeteries were opened after WWII and the fact that the U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH) is not very well versed in WWII documentation.  I have attached a CD (or attached via email) with the Documentation to go with the information below.  Please see attached Official Documentation in the end notes. 

The Official History of the 401st Gli Inf shows when the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf left never to return.[1]  The 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf officially became the 3rd Bn of the 325th Gli Inf on March 1, 1945.[2]  It took that long for Washington, D.C. to catch up on their paperwork (506th Prcht Inf becoming organic to the 101st Abn Div).[3]  The 101st Abn Div never mentions the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf again even in the January 25, 1945 Reorganization.[4]

The 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was attached on 3 March 1944 to the 82nd Abn Div.  The second Official Documentation shows the Replacements for the Normandy Campaign on 21 July 1944 coming from the 82nd Abn Div.[5]  All Replacements came from Serv Co of the 325th Gli Inf for all Companies including the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf.  There are photos as well showing them wearing the colors of the 82nd Abn Div.  This photo was taken May 24, 1944.[6]

Researched all 92 of these men and have shown through Documentation that 84 were proven to be 82nd Abn Div men.[7]  I am still awaiting the last 8 IDPFs that will show that as well.[8]  Here is a complete listing as well.[9]

In the Temporary Cemeteries they were listed as 82nd Abn Div men who were correct.[10]  These pages will see that this Battalion was the 3rd Bn of the 325th Gli Inf after March 10, 1944.[11] 

There are 92 Soldiers buried as 101st Abn Div Soldiers who were in fact part of the 82nd Abn Div.  Below is email sent to a Niece of an 82nd man who is buried as a 101st Abn Div and would like this situation corrected as well.

"Pvt Reel was part of the 325th Gli Inf. The 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf became part of the 82nd Abn Div March 03, 1944 and became the 3rd Battalion. You uncle was killed on September 25, 1944. I have attached the Morning Report showing him MIA and also his EMT (Emergency Medical Tag) that was filled out at the Cemetery. Your uncle was killed in the area of Kiekberg Woods. The 325th Gli Inf anchored the right flank of the 82nd Abn Div.

Pvt Reel is buried as a member of the 101st Abn Div but that information is wrong. The ABMC refuses to change the Headstones for 92 men listed as 101st men when in reality were 82nd men. Because of that 92 families don't realize that they were in a whole different area as they were 82nd men. In the case of you thought your uncle was killed in the Eindhoven area but was in Nijmegen 40 miles north. I hope this helps."

In January of this year (2015) I applied to the Army Review Boards Agency in Arlington.[12]  I received a response in March of 13, 2015.[13]  It said to contact the Veterans Administration or the ABMC.  I sent the documentation and request for a change of Headstones.  It was sent to Public Affairs, Martha Sell.  More than three months passed and I then contacted Tim Nosal, Chief of Public Affairs July 20, 2015 concerning another matter as it pertained to the ABMC.

I had sent the same documentation to Ms. Sell as I had to Army Review Board Agency.  It was then received by Mr. Nosal, Chief of Public Affairs.  Instead of sending me to the proper location as it pertained to this request he tried to handle this himself after Ms. Sell had refused to respond.  Mr. Nosal was not up to the task.  His grasp of WWII History was lacking. 

Finally on August 4, 2015 he gave me the name of Mr. Robert Dalessandro.  Before he became Deputy Secretary at ABMC Mr. Nosal stated that Mr. Dalessandro was the Chief of the U.S. Army Center of Military History.  This was the contact at the ABMC I had been looking for since January of this year (2015).  It took 7 months to get the right person.  When I contacted Mr. Dalessandro, Deputy Secretary at ABMC, he passed me onto the CMH (U.S. Army Center of History).  I called and email Mr. Dalessandro again to no avail.  He didn’t want to speak with the general public.

As bad as Mr. Nosal was it was nothing compared to what was about to transpire dealing with the U.S. Army Center of History.  At first all I received from CMH was as a generic CMH Mailbox Answers and it took 6 weeks for that response with no name/signature of who I was dealing with.  Finally I was able to embarrass R. Scott Moore, PhD, Director, Field Programs at the US Army Center of Military History enough to identify himself on September 25, 2015.

Mr. Moore cites numerous examples about the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf that are wrong.  I have attached the mistakes he cites.  All I wanted was to have the 92 Soldiers who were 82nd Abn Div men buried with the correct Headstone.  Dealing with Mr. Moore was like being in the Twilight Zone.  The bottom line is both the US Army Center of Military History and the ABMC need to hire people suited for these jobs. 

Here are examples of his mistakes (not spelling or grammar, but substantive matters) in order; His emails are quoted and the mistakes highlighted in Green.[14]

“The 2d Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry was officially assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, but was attached to the 82d Airborne Division from 6 June 1944 to 1 March 1945, when it was consolidated with the 3d Battalion, 325th Glider Infantry”. 

No the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was attached to the 82nd Abn Div March 3, 1944 (paragraph 4 above).  The other mistake here in green in this sentence is when it was consolidated with the 3rd Battalion, 325th Gli.  It was not combined with the 3rd Bn it was the 325th Gli Inf 3rd Bn from March of 1944.

“That fact is substantiated by the official order of battle produced after the war and available for viewing at (page ETO Order of Battle – DIVISIONS) or link below;

http://www.history.army.mil/documents/ETO-OB/ETOOB-TOC.htm.

ORDER  OF  BATTLE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY

WORLD WAR II

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS

_________________________________

OFFICE OF THE THEATER HISTORIAN

PARIS, FRANCE

December 1945”

There are so many errors in this document it can’t be used stating that the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was part of the 101st Avn Div.  This was written months after the war ended and by Historians who didn’t have the complete documentation showing that the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was in fact part of the 82nd Abn Div.[15]

There are numerous mistakes in the late 1945 Manuscript itself.  Mr. Moore has based his argument on a flawed document.  I also had asked Mr. Moore repeatedly to tell me where the original Manuscript was housed.  He refused over and over saying this is just as good.  I also asked him for the names of the Historian who crated the Order of Battle and once again refused to share the information with me.  Here are the 82nd Abn Div mistakes in the Order of Battle Manuscript (not all, just the most obvious ones I could find;

307th Airborne Engineer Battalion should be 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion (C)

507th Prcht Inf (Non-Div)

14 Jun 44-1 Mar 45 (reorganization date when became organic element of 17th Abn Div)

2d Bn, 401st Gli Inf (101st Abn Div)

6 Jun 44-1 Mar 45

They have the 507th Prcht Inf listed as June 14, 1944 to March 1945.  The 507th Prcht Inf left the 82nd late in August of 1944, not months later.[16]  They were attached to the 17th Abn Div shortly after leaving the 82nd Abn Div.  Please remember that I had given the documentation to Mr. Moore and he claimed to have read them but obviously he had not as he used the June 6, 1944 for the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf for the date of attachment.

Mr. Moore uses the other attachments as proof that the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was no different that an other attached unit.  Two things, one they never went back to the 401st Gli Inf because there left never to return.  It took the Army months to get the 3rd Bn, 325th Gli Inf corrected.  They were always considered that after March 3, 1944.  The plan was for the 401st Gli Inf disbanded before Normandy but as mentioned the Army in Washington moved slowly at best.

“That the soldiers in the battalion were authorized by the 82d Abn Div to wear the

division patch  and saw themselves as members of that division in no way changes the historical fact that the 401st and its subordinate battalions”.

Did any of the attached units with the 82nd Abn Div or the 101st Abn Div given authorization to wear their patch?  No.

They in the next paragraph he states this;

“As for your point about the other Parachute Infantry Regiments, the official

MTOE for the airborne divisions did not catch up with the actual organization on the ground  until late in the war.

Mr. Moore then states “the 507th PIR was reassigned to the 17th Airborne Division in March 1945 for the crossing of the Rhine, and did not wear the 82d Airborne Division patch for that operation

No, they became part of the 17th Abn Div after August of 1944 (mentioned above).  The 507th Prcht Inf was attached to the 17th Abn Div well before the Ardennes, let alone Varsity.  So according to Mr. Moore the 507th men killed in Normandy should have been buried under the 17th Abn Div since the 507th Prcht Inf became organic to the 17th Abn Div like the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was organic to the 101st Abn Div.  Where Moore is getting some of his information is unknown.  The point I was trying to make with Mr. Moore is that the 507th Prcht Inf was buried in Normandy as the 82nd Abn Div Soldiers. 

After August of 1944 the men who died were members of the 17th Abn Div.  Yet the 401st Gli Inf were buried as 101st men up until March 1, 1945.  Here is a citation for the 101st Abn Div included this notation; 

CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT (World War II): Normandy (with arrowhead) Ardennes-Alsace Central Europe DECORATIONS Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered BASTOGNE (401st Glider Infantry [less 2d Battalion] cited per WD GO 17, 1945)

If the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was still part of the 101st Abn Div they would not have had them listed as [less 2d Battalion].  

“The 501st PIR is a very different case, and 2d Abn Inf Bde was not an operational unit; it was an administrative headquarters in England used to bring follow-on force into France”

Why are the Soldiers from 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf men buried under a different Division when the 507th and the 508th Prcht Inf Regiments were buried as the 82nd Abn Div?  Technically the 508th Abn Div was attached not assigned as well to the 82nd Abn Div like the 2nd Bn, 401st 2nd.  The 2nd Abn Inf Bde was not an Administrative Hq & Hq Co but went into both Normandy and then the Netherlands.

Of course the 508th Prcht Inf Soldiers are buried under the 82nd Abn Div, same for the 501st who were attached as well (101st Abn Div).  So technically the 501st and the 508th should be under the 2nd Abn Inf Bde Hq & Hq Co for burial in that case as they were suborned to the 2nd Abn Inf Bde Hq & Hq Co using the U.S. Army Center of History logic.[17]

“Often the official record does not agree with the memories and the unit histories that emerge after a war”.

Unit histories are official histories and use original source material.  Where Mr. Moore is getting the above information is once again unknown.  The Mr. Moore Citation ORDER OF BATTLE OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY as mentioned is flawed with numerous errors.

“401st GIR to be part of the 101st Airborne Division, as was the other battalions of that regiment

There was only one more Battalion in the 401st Gli Inf and that was the 1st Bn, 401st Gli Inf.  Mr. Moore work is not good.  Also the term GIR was not in the lexicon during WWII.

“retrieve any of the morning  reports or other unit reports, they may be found at the National Archives in College Park”

No, they are in St. Louis at NARA there.

“I cannot vouch for any graves markings- they are neither the responsibility

of the Center of Military History, nor are they considered source documents

for the purpose of the official history of the Army

These records are from the IDPFs which are source documentation for Army History as that is where the documentation came from.  Once again Mr. Moore is wrong and by saying it’s not the responsibility of his office is not true.  I have attached 6 Soldiers who were killed and buried in the USA after the War as 82nd Abn Div Soldiers.[18]  In fact the three of the Headstones mentioned in the previous sentence are in National Cemeteries (Long Island National Cemetery, Quincy National Cemetery & the Beverly National Cemetery).[19]

“many of whom in the 2d Bn, 401st GIR fought with (some of whom died)”

Some who died?  218 men in total were not “some of”.  That is just an insult to the men from the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf.

“a long-standing combat relationships of the battalion with the 82d does not

Change

It wasn’t a long standing relationship it was a permanent one.

Here are the last highlighted in green errors, “Siddell- You may be rude and abrasive”  I hope I didn’t hurt Mr. Moore’s feelings!  In the last two emails from him he spells my name wrong.  Didn’t hurt my feelings though.  He is trying to hide the fact he is not good at this part of his job. 

The ABMC and the U.S. Army Center of History don’t want to fess up and admit their errors.  They also don’t want to pay for the 92 Soldiers Headstone replacements needed. 

Two last notes of interest.  Mr. Moore cites the Manuscript of December of 1945 saying the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was still part of the 101st Abn Div until March of 1945.  The Army Historian S.L.A. Marshall who wrote the REGIMENTAL UNIT STUDY NUMBER 4 (Interviews done just after Normandy) mentions the 3rd Bn, 325th Gli Inf.[20]  They were published by History Section European Theater of Operations. 

S.L.A. Marshall has them listed as the 3rd Bn, 325th Gli Inf.  You can’t much more authoritative that the official Army Historian.  Yet Mr. Moore has based his records on someone whose name he refuses to furnish his/their names and the fact there are many errors. 

The second is that the General Orders for Awards for the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf were written by the 82nd Abn Div, not the 101st Abn Div.  I have a few examples listed.[21]  This shows the extract for F/Sgt Kneale and then the Citation on the next page. 

The 82nd and the 101st Abn Div wanted a full Gli Inf Regiment which means 3 Battalions.  The only way they could do that was to split the 401st Gli Inf.  The 82nd only had one Gli Inf Regt the 325th Gli Inf.

The request was sent ahead to SHAEF/Eisenhower office and the request was sent to Washington.  This was sent ahead before March of 1944.  On March 10, 1944 The 2nd Bn left the 101st Abn Div and was permanently attached to the 325th Gli Inf Regt in the 82nd Abn Div.  The 2nd Bn of the 401st Gli Inf became the 3rd Battalion of the 325th Gli Inf.  The designation was 2nd Bn 401st Gli Inf, 325th Gli Inf, 82nd Abn Div. 

It took Washington 10 months to give their official OK.  The 401st Gli Inf was disbanded on March 1, 1945 and officially became the 3rd Battalion of the 325th.  In reality nothing had changed since the year before because the 2nd Battalion of the 401st Gli Inf had been the 3rd Battalion of the 325th since the move in 1944.

The 1st Bn of the 401st Gli Inf was attached to the 327th Gli Inf, 101st Abn Div on March 7, 1944.  They became the 3rd Battalion of the 327th.  It became official when disbanded at the beginning of March 1945.

As of March 10, 1944 the 3rd Bn of the 325th Gli Inf was listed as follows;

Det A Hq Co
Det A Serv Co
Det A Med

Hq Co 2nd Bn
Co E
Co F
Co G

Acted as;
Hq Co 3rd Bn
Co I
Co K
Co L

The March 1, 1945 there name was changed officially to the 3rd Bn, 325th Gli Inf.

As mentioned there are numerous Army documents showing that the 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf was part of the 82nd Abn Div. 

At the very least they should be listed as 2nd Bn, 401st Gli Inf or just 401st Gli Inf Regt but that would still leave the average person confused to say the least on a Headstone.

Sir, if you have any questions please contact me.  This is a sad day when the U.S. Army Center of History and the ABMC uses excuses to hide there shabby work ethic.

 

Thank you,

Brian Siddall

December 3, 2015

_______________________________________________________

 

 


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