Looking for info on my grandfather

Discussion in 'The US Marine Corps Forum' started by Revvv, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Revvv

    Revvv

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    I am posting this here because I want more info on my grandfather's military past. I'm not looking for genealogy.

    Guys, I am looking for info on my grandfather. I could ask my mom or my uncles, but no one ever talks about him. To be honest, the only thing I have ever been repeatedly told is that he was a mean man. I don't think anyone is talking because his death was a suicide inside his own living room.

    I do know that my grandfather served in the Marines. He his hearing in one ear due to end explosion on the ship he was aboard during the Korean war.

    His name is John Wilson. He was buried in Harlem, GA. at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in 1981. This is all the info I have.

    What can I do to learn more about this man's service?


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  2. Batesmotel

    Batesmotel

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    Get all the info you can. DOB etc. Contact the military records center. St. Louis Mo.
     

  3. Revvv

    Revvv

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    I will see what I can do. My baby brother served in the Marines. He not only fought in Afghanistan, he also served as an Honor Guard. We know without a shadow of a doubt that this man served as a Marine, we just can't seem to find his history.

    In my personal interest, it would be nice since the passing of my grandmother to update his gravestone to also honor his service. I would love to know all I can.
     
  4. Batesmotel

    Batesmotel

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    Just Google the Military Records Center in St. Louis. The website will tell you what info you need to request a record.
     
  5. The Maggy

    The Maggy

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    If you are able to get his 214 (there was a fire at the records house many years ago, I know this because I helped my grandfather through the system and he is also a Korea vet) any of your local vet organizations will be able to help make sense of everything on it. It took some time and a few weeks of banging my head against a brick wall but I was eventually able to get a hold of some of my grand fathers records, enough to build him a ribbon rack since he was never even aware of everything that he had been awarded.

    The VFW or AL might even be able to help you through the system to get his records.

    I understand the sentiment and I'm not trying to spark off a debate; but if he is only refered to by his children as a "mean man," it might be best to just let a sleeping dog lie.
     
  6. Revvv

    Revvv

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    That's the reason I haven't chased down any info by asking my aunts and uncles.

    Personally, I'm curious. I know, curiosity killed the cat, but......


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  7. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Liberal Bane

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    It used to be common for returning vets to give a copy of their DD214 to the County Clerk, so that the record would be available to the local Draft Board and/or other authorities.

    I don't know whether or not your grandfather did, or even if the CC would still have such a record, or if they would let you access it, but it may be worth a try. Especially if he was one of the vets whose DD214 was destroyed in the 1973 St. Louis fire.

    As far as digging up the past, it can be a blessing, or a curse. When we re-established our local American Legion Post right after 9/11--it had died out in the 1970s--we decided to name it in honor of one of the two local Korean War recipients of the Medal of Honor; one was born in the community, and one had a summer home for many years, both had passed away, which is one of the requirements to be considered for having a Post named in their honor.

    Long story short, the hometown boy wasn't necessarily everyone's favorite choice. Many of the older vets had known both men, but most only knew the hometown guy when he was in high school; he enlisted at 17 in 1940, and left for what would become WW2, and never really came back much afterward. Some folks seemed to think of him as a troublemaker/bully in his high school days...

    He survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, completed OCS, was commissioned as an Infantry Officer, left tha Army after the war, and immediately returned to the Army when Korea broke out--enlisting as a private--and became a First Sergeant by the summer of 1951. He was subsequently awarded both the Medal of Honor, and the Distinguished Service Cross for actions so heroic--including "killing 3 enemy soldiers with his rifle before it was wrested from his hands, and annihilating 4 others with his entrenching tool."--that they defy adequate description: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_F._Wilson

    He retired as a Major in 1960.

    I guess what I am trying to say, is you never know what you may find. Also keep in mind that the trauma of war sometimes does hideous things to people's minds as well as their bodies, and therapies to help the afflicted weren't really common in your grandfather's day. Which is not meant as an excuse, hell, for all I know, he could have just been a "mean" person by nature, who knows...

    Good luck. I hope you find out good things.
     
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  8. Glock Commander

    Glock Commander

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    Is that John W. Wilson, 1955-1981 and stationed in South Korea? I was there in 1978 with the Marines.
     
  9. WT

    WT Millennium Member

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    The Army files were burned up in St. Louis. The Navy and Marine files should be intact.

    My uncle was a WWII Marine and we obtained his military files for a fee.