Here is the problem with NARA
at St. Louis as it pertains to records for WWII
Soldiers and their family members.
When a request is made for
Verification of Military Service the Archivist
Technicians based it off of Discharge Paper 53-55.
The problem with that is that the 53-55 Discharge
was done by an overworked typist back here in the
states and the information was supplied many times
by the Soldier themselves. The Durning Case is the
perfect example of what can go wrong.
A St. Louis Archivist used the
53-55 Discharge as the basis for the Verification of
for the Purple Heart, Silver Star Medal and Bronze
Star Medal (on line 10 for Decorations) which was
based on the Combat Infantry Badge.
It took a year plus to get St.
Louis at NARA and NPRC to correct this issue.
Durning was only qualified for the Purple Heart,
nothing else. When St. Louis did their due
diligence they finally discovered the error. The
only way it came to light was when a Researcher
discovered that. Even then St. Louis Archivist Paul
Simon said due to the fact the Durning was in the
398th Inf he was entitled to the CIB.
When he was told that was not true and that a
Soldier was only eligible during War time he
I then contacted Scott Levins
the Director and he stated the same thing.
Even though the documentation had been sent to Levins he also stated that Durning was entitled to
the CIB. He had the documentation right in front of
him and wouldn’t read them.
Then it was sent to the
Director, National Archives at St. Louis. Even then
it took months to get this straightened out.
Durning is entitled to the Purple Heart and no
Why St. Louis doesn’t go to the
source material is unknown. If Archivist Paul Simon
had just used original sources (Morning Reports in
this case) none of this would have happened. The
53-55 Discharge is only a starting point, not the
end point. St. Louis needs to have a set standard
when working on records.
It has happened once again it
seems. Plumley is listed as having two CIBs
including WWII. As mentioned in my article
Plumley Arm of Service was Artillery not Infantry.
How long will it take this time to be corrected and
how many other people are allowed to have a CIB and
the Bronze Star Award for Meritorious Service? I
contacted Archivist Technician Barrera three weeks
ago and still no response.
I just received a call from St.
Louis and it turns out the Mr. Barrera has left the
NPRC. The person I spoke with the other day
was very helpful. I know that the employees at
the NPRC have a long backlog for requests and
understand that. I look forward to having the
the Plumley case completed.
September 18, 2015