US Medal Eligibilty

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by choppercarl, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. choppercarl

    choppercarl Member

    Hello everyone,

    I am doing research on my great grandfathers time served in New Guinea between 1942 and 1944 with the United States Army Services of Supply(USASOS). He was not a U.S citizen but a New Zealander employed/contracted by the USASOS Small Ships section as a Chief Engineer based in Finschhafen, Northeast New Guinea, Base "F" APO#322.

    He was not in the New Zealand or Australian military at the time of WWII but was in the NZ Navy pre WWII. From the scarce records I have he started with the US Army from Auckland NZ in 1942 at the age of 36.

    I was wondering if anyone knows which Medals, if any, he would have been eligible for.

    I have contacted Military Personnel Records in St Louis however they have advised me that the records were destroyed in a fire some years back and that they have no way of knowing if my great grandfather even served in the US Army during the war.

    It seems a real shame that he won't get official recognition of service but if there is a medal entitlement then at least I could get a replica framed.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
    V F Findlay.jpg Discharge Paper.jpg
  2. Doc

    Doc Senior Member

    As you present the information, I am unsure whether you believe he was actually a member of the US Army or only worked for them as a civilian. As a civilian employee or contractor, it is highly unlikely that he would be eligible for any US medals. Do you have any evidence that he was actually a member of the US Army?
  3. choppercarl

    choppercarl Member

    From the info that I have, on the discharge paper it mentions "Termination of contract" and "Extended agreement due to execution superseding contract...".

    I have no doubt he was employed by the US Army as his discharge paper proves that. However I am unsure if he was an enlisted member of the US Army. Were they considered merchant mariners?

    Research suggests that the US Army Services of Supply was made up primarily of Australian and New Zealanders but once again the info is very limiting.

    The info I have is rather scarce as I said and in trying to gather more via contacting the US military archives, only to find out that a fire in the 70's had destroyed them.

    If the case may be that he was contracted as a civilian to the army in a war zone and not a member of the army, would you think he may be eligible for some sort of official recognition of his time served with the US Army?

    Any thoughts appreciated.
  4. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Hopefully this link will work:

    This lists Australians that died while serving with the US Army Small Ships - they are recorded on the Commemorative Roll which covers Aussies that died during WW2 in anything besides Australian Military Forces.

    I was hoping to work out if any of them received an award - which would then be extrapolated to having been issued to all other personnel they worked alongside.

    Otherwise, would it be worth checking with one of the American WW2 forums to see if there was a specific medal issued to civilian personnel that served alongside US Military Forces, facing the same dangers. Don't quote me, but I think that some US Warships had civilian personnel on board, they must have been recognised in some form.

    Some books on the subject:[]=books

    PS - the AWM has heaps of photo in it's collection of Small Ships operating in New Guinea etc
  5. Doc

    Doc Senior Member

    Bottom line, it sounds like your GGF was a civilian contractor, and was not actually in the Army. He was also not a US Merchant Mariner, from the way you describe it. Thus, he was not eligible for any US medals. Civilian employees and contractors in that time period were usually recognized with some kind of a "certificate of appreciation", and records of those were not centralized. Thus, I'm afraid you are out of luck.

    I am intrigued by your photo of him in some kind of uniform, though.

    The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal would be the most common service medal for people in that area, but officially, it was available only for US Service Members-- even US civilians working for the government were not supposed to be awarded it. I don't know about any other nation's medals which might apply.

    I'm afraid that the Services of Supply contract personnel are far outside my area of expertise.

    Good luck!
  6. choppercarl

    choppercarl Member

    Thanks Doc and DaveB for your info, it has given me more avenues to explore.

    After reading a few articles on the Australians involved in the US Army small ships section, the US Government has recognised their service to the US Army and have been awarded the US medals and also the Imperial medals from the Australian Government as well although it sounds like it has been a long struggle to get that recognition.

    Thanks again
  7. choppercarl

    choppercarl Member

    Found this under the Australian govt website. Thanks for all your help!

    United States Army Small Ships
    Australian Civilian Personnel who served afloat with the United States Army Small Ships Section between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945 may be eiligible for the:
    Required Evidence
    The following official documentation can be used to support a claim:
    • Certificate of Service or Certificate of Discharge (must contain enlistment and discharge dates).
    • Defence Department Form 214 – Certificate of Release or discharge from Active Duty. This must contain the dates and ship names the member was assigned to.
    • United States Army Forces in Australia, Small Ships Supply Command Civilian Personnel Record Card. This card will contain the Assignment Record which lists the ships the member was assigned to and their period of duty for the assignment.
    • Form TCCP 50 – United States Army Supply Service Transfer/reclassification Occurrence Report. This occurrence report will contain the ships the member was assigned to and their period of duty for the assignment.
    • Pay Card or Individual Earnings Record.
    The following associated documentation can be used in conjunction with the official documentation:
    • Certified copies of letter sent by the member. Must contain postmark from a location within the operational area.
    • Certified copy of diary written by member.
    • Medical certificates showing member attending a medical centre within the operational area.
    Contact Information
    For copies of United States Army Small Ship Section documentation write to:

    Department of the Army
    United States Army Human Resources Command
    1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
    Fort Knox, KY 40122
  8. TheFonz

    TheFonz Junior Member

    This is interesting; I didn't know that the U.S. Army would have been using Australians and New Zealanders for something like this. Keep us posted of what happens.

    If it turns out that he was actually enlisted into the U.S. military and would be eligible for U.S. awards, he he would most likely have received the Army Good Conduct medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. During the war, with the possible exception of the Good Conduct Medal, soldiers would have only received the ribbon and would have had to apply for the medals after the war.
  9. choppercarl

    choppercarl Member

    Hello to all that had replied to my original thread.

    Just an update on what I have received back from my inquiries into my g/grandfathers service in the U.S Army Small Ships Section during WWII.

    After many months of sending form after form to the US archives and defense I am pleased to advise that the US Army Human Resources Command had my g/grandfathers records.

    I have received his honourable discharge certificate and his release from active duty DD214 form with his dates of service and ships he served on from 1942-1945.

    I am now able to apply for his medals.

    Thanks to you all for your information and knowledge.
    Tricky Dicky and dbf like this.
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for the update, good to hear that your perseverance has been rewarded.

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