Monday, November 22, 2010
Military Monday: John Russell (Russ) Tapley
My uncle Russ (my father's brother; son of Lusion and Nealie Tapley) served in the Army during World War II.
The only things I know for sure about his militiary service is that he
enlisted or was drafted 14 Nov 1942 at Camp Blanding, Florida (south of Jacksonville); he was honorably discharged on 31 Oct 1944; and he was a Private First Class at the time of his discharge.
That's it. That is all I know for sure.
I have heard these things at one time or another from various family members:
- Uncle Russ did his basic training in California.
- He was in the infantry.
- He served in the 3rd Division under General Patton in Europe (which I found out recently includes 385,000 men!).
- He received a purple heart.
- That Uncle Russ suffered with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) at discharge and was treated at a VA hospital in Miami, Florida.
I have no proof of these statements, of course. Uncle Russ passed when I was less than a month old, so I was unable to ask him. His widow passed with Alzheimer's two years ago, and I was unable to get any information from her. He had no children. Army records were destroyed in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri (See http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/get-service-records.html to order records of family members who served in other branches of the military.).
If I could find a copy of his separation papers, I would at least know what unit he served in. I am trying to locate his separation papers by checking with the funeral home that handled his funeral. (They would have needed the papers to file for VA funeral benefits.) My cousin who lives in the area of the funeral home is going to go there in person to check for me. If the funeral home does not have the form on file, I will check with Duval County, Florida, as that is where he lived when he was discharged, and I have been advised that at the time, veterans were supposed to file their separation papers with their county of residence.
Looks like this was both a Military and a Mystery Monday.