This week, I started over. My whole genealogy, from scratch.
I started with “me” (offline) and have moved to my dad – Robert Hall – known as Bob or Bobby – with no given middle name. Dad was born on 18 July 1935 at Melrose Hospital in Melrose, Massachusetts to Charles George Hall, age 30, a veterinarian, born in Malden, Massachusetts and Edith (Haines) Hall, a 27 year old housewife (who took care of kids, acted as a vet tech and hand fed the greyhound pups our family raised), born in Boston, Massachusetts. They resided at 228 Main Street, Malden. Bob was the second of two children. He was 2 1/2 when he got his first hair cut; in the orchestra at Beebe Junior High School; J V Football Captain and track member at Malden High School and a baseball player for the Belmont Hill Teenage Club. When he graduated in 1953, the “blonde hair, blue eyed very good looking” Bob had hopes to join the Army, wear bell bottoms and have a girl in every port. He was a “cool” guy with a ’55 green and white Chevy [likely purchased after he got out of the Air Force].
My mother briefly documented my dad’s life:
- Belmont School – Cross St.
- Beebe Jr. High – Pleasant St.
- Malden High – Salem St.
- Wentworth Inst. (electronics)
- Indiana State
- U.S. Air Force
- Lowell Univ.
- Bentley College
- worked – from 1958 at Honeywell (in 1973 they were called Lorall/Lockheed Martin – same company changed hands he continued to work there – 35 years, until two weeks before his death – was electronic engineer, working on space program, top secret clearance.
Sadly, Dad died, after a two year fight with Melanoma, on 12 December 1993, age 58.
BUT, he almost died before marrying my mom, when he was in the Air Force. I don’t know much about this time is his life. He told me that he recovered because he refused to take the pain medicine they gave him, he would pretend to take it, then spit it out. He lost most of his teeth as part of the ordeal. I never thought anything of him having false teeth when I was a child, I thought it was just “normal” for “old people” to lose teeth. Although he led a “normal” life, he spent most of it in pain; he collected a small disability pension.
As part of the “do-over”, I have crafted a research plan to discover more of the 4 years, 3 months and 28 days of his military career.
My mother writes:
“Bob was in the United States Air Force. He was in Morocco when he got sick. They sent him to Germany. They sent for his parents because they did not think he would live. His mother went. They took out part of his intestines. He lost all of his teeth because of all the medications. He did survive to get home to Chelsea Naval Hospital in Chelsea, MA. He had a scar the size of an 8 inch dinner plate. He did get better, but all his life had stomach problems if he ate the wrong thing (spicy/salads, etc.). In 1960/1 he had more problems, a cyst. Dr. Auld lanced it and sent him back to Chelsea. They put a drain in, after several weeks he came home. He learned to endure a lot of pain for the remainder of his life”.
My grandmother’s journal, dated July 1958, which describes her trip to Germany, to see Bob in the hospital, offers few clues:
“Vaccinated Sat. July 5th and applied for my passport Mon. July 7. The passport was rushed through. Thanks to Hy Goldberg [the neighborhood druggist, and friend of my grandfather] I had a ticket “economy” to fly to Frankfurt. The round trip ticket cost $513.20. The flight left Logan on Tuesday at 1:00 PM. My seat companions were an Austrian woman of 80 and a negress, 30. They were both very sociable.”
The journal goes on to describe my 50 year old grandmother’s “adventure” through Gander, Newfoundland; Shannon, Ireland; London, England; Dusseldorf, Germany – finally arriving in Frankfort, Germany at 8:25 AM Wednesday EST (1:20 PM German time). She was paged at the arrival airport and recounts “I was sure Bob was gone when told to see the Red Cross – I was so rattled I couldn’t remember a thing”.
She arrived at the Airforce Hospital in Weisbaden at 2:00 PM German time to Ward 2A and Bob. He was glad to see her “His breathing was shallow, he felt very cold to the touch and his nails were blue. I rubbed his arms for over an hour before he got warm… While I was there he got out of bed and walked with difficulty but without anyone holding him down the corridor, about 70 of my steps”.
The next day she writes”…Bob was very worried today, they found another abscess in the last incision and took 200 cc of pus from it. The doctor took out all the stitches, put the scissors into the incision [which she later describes as 5 or 6 inches long and 3 inches wide] and opened it all up again. No anesthetic either…” She speaks of him having dysentery, pains on the right side of the waist, having to wear a “Nelsonbinder” (used to bind him tight to keep his incision together), “fixing the colostomy himself” and weighing 117 pounds. Although she remains positive, on July 24th she writes, “The Doctor says he won’t go back to the States”.
She visited twice daily, bringing ice cream, cake, candy, and other goodies, noting his increased hunger and weight gain. They celebrated Bob’s 23rd birthday, also her 28th anniversary – she writes “Miss Charlie something terrible”. In August, she says that Bob is feeling better and told her about Morocco; “I had no idea what a mess it is nor how he happened to go there”.
Others mentioned in the journal: Miss Graham (who seemed to be a coordinator who assigned her to a hotel); Colonel Crouch; Dahl and his wife; Captain Chaplain Benjamin J. Shinn and two blond sons; Chaplain H. W. Wicker; Mrs Dempsey who had been in Morocco the “past two years”; Doctor Jernigan; Mrs. Thornton a Naturalized American from Australia her husband is a Colonel stationed in a “hell hole” in Turkey south of Istanbul; Mrs. Kinsley who’s birthday is August 3rd and who’s husband is dying of cancer; Colonial Thornton (army); Mrs Sweeny a friend of Mrs Nicolls from Arlington Virginia, Mary Calkins neighbor at the hotel.
She stayed at: First an unnamed hotel with a loud sidewalk cafe then after the first week Amelia Earhart Hotel.
Finally on Monday, August 11th she writes: “I am so excited I can’t bear it!!!!! Bob is leaving Thursday (if the weather and conditions are right). He will be flown to the Azores then to Maguire in New Jersey where he will stay from 24 hours to four or five days depending on customs. He will then be flown to Chelsea Naval Hospital. I can hardly believe it.”
Nana stayed in Europe another several weeks to tour, on Bob’s insistence. She agrees, only because his final operation will be scheduled after her return. On August 18th, she notes that Bob has arrived at Chelsea Naval Hospital [Side note: In 1999 I purchased a 3 level town home at Admiral Hall in Chelsea, MA – this complex was the Chelsea Naval Hospital converted into condos/town homes – at the time, I had no idea that my dad was there recovering!] She had a fabulous sightseeing trip, but cheered with the others as her plane touched down in New York on 3 Sept 1958. She says “I called Charlie and he is to meet me at Logan”. Then, “Arrived at 3:30 PM and am beginning to live again”.
There is a 1957 article on Mocavo written by the Chaplain Benjamin J. Shinn of whom my grandmother writes: http://www.mocavo.com/The-Chaplain-Oct-1957-Volume-14/894915/17
What I Have
A photo of Dad at basic training dated November 1954 and naming Jim D’Eon [died 2004], Fred Kerwin [an usher at my parents wedding] and Carl Notorangile [Notarangeli?], according to my mother at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
A newspaper article:
Dad’s “DD Form 214 (Report of Separation)” – this is a free record which can be ordered here: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/
I submitted a request and received the document (image below) within 3 weeks. My neighbor was informed that her dad’s record was destroyed in the fire and could not be recreated: http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/spring/spotlight-nprc.html
The document arrived 4 or 5 years ago, I looked at it quickly, thought “cool” and put it in his genealogy file. “Check” – I have his military record. I never transcribed it or did any type of search on its contents to determine what my dad might have done in the Air Force, where he was stationed or why he was discharged.
Name: Robert Hall; Service Number: AF 11 293 532; Grade/Rank: A/2C; Date of Rank: 1 Sep 55
Dept: Air Force Reg/AF; Place of Birth: Melrose, MA; Date: 18 July 35
Race: Caucassion; Sex: Male; Color Hair: Brown; Color Eyes: Blue; Height: 5’8″; Weight: 148
US Citizen: Y; Marital Status: Single; Civilian Education: High School 4; Course or Field: Academic
Transfer or Discharge Data
Type of transfer of discharge: Retirement (T)
Station/Installment at which Effected: Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
Reason: SDN 270 Par 8 SO C-98 Hq DAF, 18 Feb 59,
Sections 1202 & 1372 Title 10 US Code, Par 88c AFM 35-4
Effective date: 2 Mar 59
Last Duty Assignment: 357 FINTCPRON APO 30 (USAFE)
Character of Service: Honorable
Type of Certificate Issued: DD Form 217AF [The DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge issued to these members did not authorize retirement benefits. In the past, these honorary members were issued a DD Form 217]
Selective Service Data
Selective Service Number: 19 20 35 61
Selective Service Local Board: LB #20 Malden (Middlesex) Massachusetts
Date Inducted: N/A
District Transferred: N/A
Date of Reserve Obligation: N/A
Current Active Service: Enlisted
Prior Enlistments: None
Grade Rate or Rank at time of Entry: A/B
Place of Entry into Active Service: Boston, Massachusetts
Home Recorded at time of Entry: 228 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts
Specialty Number and Title: Flt Simulator Sp 34230H
Related Civilian Occupation: Radio Rpam 0-83,411
Net Service this period: 4 years, 3 months, 28 days
Total Active Service: 4 years, 3 months, 28 days
Foreign and/or Sea Service: 1 year, 6 months, 5 days
Decorations, Medals, Badges, Citations, Ribbons: GCMDL, AFLSA
Wounds received as a result of Action: None
School or Course: Chanute AFB Ill: Dates Jan-Sept 1955
Major Courses: Apr Elec Instr Rpmn
Other Service Training Courses: None
Gov’t Life Insurance: No
Amount of Allotment: N/A
No time lost under Section 6a Appendix 2b MCM 1951
60 days unused leave credit and rations paid on final pay.
Blood Group “O Pos”; FSSD: 15 Aug 58. Paid 300.00 MOP. IP $100.
AQE Cluster: Mech 7 Cler 7 Eqp 7 Rad Opr 6 Tech Sp 5 Svc 2 Cft 6 Elect 7
Secret Clearance NAC 5 Apr 56 4th OSI Dist (ADC). SSN 021-28-0603
Placed on Temporary Disability Retired List. VA Code: 7328
Permanent Address for Mailing:228 Maine Street, Malden, MA
Name Authorizing Officer: Joseph R. Dillehay Capt USAF (MSC)
Asst Pers Off USAF Hosp W-P-W-PAFB Ohio
Evidence that Dad perhaps joined the Air Force Reserves and was discharged effective 4 November 1962. It mentions a form 256AF.
And certificate of Honorable Discharge, form 256AF.
My “To Do” List
(1) Locate the men in the basic training photo and Earl Wiedner mentioned in the journal, if living, to determine if they have any memories of my dad. Locate fellow servicemen who were stationed with my dad at Basic Training, Chanute AFB and in Morocco. Locate nurses/doctors who might have worked at the same German and Massachusetts Hospitals.
I believe I found an address for Carl Notarangeli and have drafted/sent him a letter via snail mail [today]. My mother gave me some clues to help locate Fred Kerwin.
(2) Find out more about the Unit.
357 FINTCPRON is perhaps: Redesignated as 357 Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 11 Sep 1952. Activated on 1 Nov 1952. Discontinued on 8 Mar 1960.
Assignments – 316 Air Division, 18 Sep 1953-8 Mar 1960
Stations: French Morocco (later, Morocco), 28 May 1953-8 Mar 1960.
Commanders: Maj William G. Dilley Jr., 28 Oct 1955; Maj Lyle E. Mann, 4 Dec 1956; Maj Raymond F. Farrington Jr., 22 Jun 1958; Lt Col Leonidas C. Bradley Jr., 1 Jun 1959-8 Mar 1960.
Aircraft: F-86, 1952-196
The squadron was reactivated as the 357th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron under Air Defense Command ADC at Portland International Airport, Oregon in November 1952. The squadron took over the personnel, mission and F-86F Sabres of the federalized 123d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard which was returned to state control. A little more than three months later, ADC formed Air Defense Groups at its dispersed fighter bases and the squadron became the operational element of the new 503d Air Defense Group. However, the 503d soon converted to Lockheed F-94 Starfires with the activation of the 497th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and the 357th deployed to Nouasseur Air Base, French Morocco and assigned to the 316th Air Division of United States Air Forces Europe in May, where it provided air defense mission for Strategic Air Command forward bases used by Boeing B-47 Stratojet aircraft on Reflex deployment to Morocco. The unit received new HVAR rocket armed and airborne interceptradar equipped F-86D Sabre interceptors in early 1955. The unit remained in North Africa until 1960 when it was inactivated as SAC withdrew from its Morocco bases.
(3) There are a bunch of abbreviations – what are they?
Rank at time of Entry: A/B – Airman basic (AB) is the lowest enlisted rank in the United States Air Force (USAF), immediately below airman. The pay grade for airman basic is E-1.
School or Course: Chanute AFB Illinois: Dates Jan-Sept 1955; Major Courses: Apprentice Electronic Instrument Repairman, Flight Simulator Tech School at Chanute AFB
Job: 34230H-Apprentice Flight Simulator Specialist
Related Civilian Occupation: Radio Rpam 0-83,411 – ?????
Rank: A/2C – Airman Second Class (there is no such rank anymore); but essentially an E2 with one stripe.
What are the awards listed?
GCMDL- Good Conduct Medal is awarded to any active-duty enlisted member of the United States military who completes three consecutive years of “honorable and faithful service”. Such service implies that a standard enlistment was completed without any non-judicial punishment, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses.
AFLSA – Air Force Longevity Service Award is awarded for completing four years of Active, Air Force Reserve, or Air National Guard service.
If he was discharged 18 Feb 1959 after 4 years, 3 months, 28 days, then he joined 21 Oct 1954.
(4) What are the discharge reason codes? SDN 270 Par 8 SO C-98 Hq DAF, 18 Feb 59, Sections 1202 & 1372 Title 10 US Code, Par 88c AFM 35-4
(5) Find out what other medical or military records are available. Would my dad’s Secret Clearance paperwork be accessible? I believe my dad had a small pension – is there a pension file available?
Thanks to FB readers at the Genealogy Do-Over page, I just requested my father’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) from NARA National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. The FB post read:
“Here’s the form: http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf. For next of kin, there is usually no charge (that may have changed though – double check). There is such a wealth of information contained in those records (including medical records)!”
If they’ve responded with the “there was a fire and the file was destroyed” letter, all hope is not lost. There are other records (and some are more informative) that are not necessarily kept with the standard military records. Morning reports, change of duty station, final pay vouchers, and other documents. I have a guy who occasionally pulls those records for me. His fees are quite reasonable and he is very thorough. Let me know if you’d like his contact information.
Also – if you need help with other aspects of the records (deciphering abbreviations, etc.), Jennifer Holik specializes in military research and has a WWII toolbox (http://www.jenniferholik.com/world-war-ii-toolbox.html) that will be helpful, even though your records are after WWII. She’s also here on Facebook and you can reach out to her that way as well.
(6) Learn what was going on in Morocco late 1957 to early 1959. Did he spend 1 year, 6 months, 5 days there and Germany or was he stationed elsewhere during his time abroad? Where was he stationed during the remaining 3 years? Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio?
(7) Scan and transcribe Nana’s entire journal of her time in Germany, for future generations to enjoy.
(8) Last, using the information collected, craft a narrative of Dad’s time in the Air Force and Military Hospitals.
I am enrolled in Military Records II at IGHR at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama this coming June. It is not on the syllabus, but I am hoping one of the course coordinators Craig Scott, Michael Hall, J. Mark Lowe and/or Richard Sayre can advise where additional information might be found. I plan to bring the DD Form 214 to see if they notice something that I may have missed.
Another Facebook poster suggested this site – http://www.afhra.af.mil/ – The Air Force Historical Research Agency – just 90 minutes from Birmingham! I may have to make a side trip.
If you are reading and have suggestions/advice, please comment here or email me at gmail – LindaHalLittle