Monday, May 9, 2011

Maritime Monday - Service Record

I recently received a copy of my paternal grandfather's military service record from the National Personnel Support Center in St. Louis, MO.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting some of the pages from the service record to give you an idea of what kind of information can be found in them, and how they might help in a family search.

Statement of Service
Today's first example is a Statement of Service.  This is a total of the time(s) the service member was in the service.  In this case, my grandfather was in from 13 Dec 1926 for exactly four years, and then again from 5 Oct 1939 to 21 Oct 1943 - a period of four years, seventeen days.  He remained in the Navy past this date for over two more years, but this page does not reflect that.  Other pages in the service record do show that later service.

This is something that should be verified, if possible, as it may affect benefits of the veteran that are based on length of service.  Examples of this could include health and dental benefits, or G.I. Bill.  Of course, this really only applies if the service member is still alive.

Receipt for Campaign Medal / Honorable Discharge
 The next sample is a combination of a receipt for a campaign medal awarded, and Honorable Discharge document.  In this case, my grandfather signed receipt for a 2nd Nicaraguan Campaign medal he received.  The other side is the Honorable Discharge he received at the end of his first enlistment in December of 1926.  Interesting information to note is the full name, the service number (serial number), the place of discharge (San Diego, California), and the service member's home address.  We see here that the home address given was in Jeffersonville, which is in Floyd County, Indiana.  As his mother was buried in Jeffersonville, this is both reasonable as a home address, and a confirmation of his ties to that area.  It also means that this address would suggest good places to search for more records.  We also see the name of the ship, U.S.S. Upshur (144), which confirms information found in his Navy Log, for which you can see some of my earlier posts.

The last one for this post is of a more personal nature.  It's a descriptive list of physical characteristics for the service member.  This includes age, height and weight, hair and eye color, complexion, and other identifying markings, such as birthmarks, scars and tattoos.  You can see this would be a very nice way to get an idea of what your relative looked like if you had no pictures.  As my grandfather lived until I was 16, I did get to see him and remember what he looked like, and have loads of pictures from my shutterbug grandmother, but for many people, this description might be the only thing available.  This particular example also includes the signature of the service member, in their own handwriting.

Descriptive List