Monday, February 21, 2011

Military Monday: John Russell (Russ) Tapley, Part 3

(I have written before about my saga of finding my uncle's military separation papers in order to find out what unit he served in during World War II.  The first post from November 2010 is here.  I posted again about this in January here.)

Well, I have wonderful news this time.  I found Uncle Russ's separation papers!!!  They were on file at the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida, which is where he lived.  I almost cried when we found them.  It was an unbelievable feeling.  After all the questioning and the searching (A big thank you goes out to those of you who helped me search - you know who you are!), those papers were right there in the courthouse the entire time!

The most important information I wanted and got from these papers is that Uncle Russ served in Company C, 7th Infantry Regiment.  I have only done a little research on that unit thus far, but I have already found out that they are the oldest unit in the Army, having been formed in 1812.  The unit has fought in every war since then, and it has the most combat time and commendations in the Army.  I hope to find a timeline of their World War II service so that I can track where Uncle Russ was during the war.

I also see several "Decorations, service medals, citations" listed, including a Bronze Star!  Once I get the code deciphered, I will definitely try to get his medals replaced.



Honorable Discharge

This is to certify that

Army of the United States

is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States of America.

This certificate is awarded as a testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service to his country.


Date       31 OCTOBER 1944  
                                                                           WALTER W. von SCHLICHTEN
                                                                           Major, A.G.D.

THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the foregoing instrument has been duly
recored in Soldiers & Sailors Discharge Record Book 5
Page 217, of the Public Records of Duval County, Florida
WITNESS my hand and Seal of office at Jacksonville, Florida
this 16th day of November, A.D. 1944.


(Last name) Tapley             (First name)  John        (Middle Initial) R.        
(Army serial number)  34 530 413, (Grade) Pfc.

Born in Johnson Co., in the State of  Ga.
Inducted 14 Nov, 1942, at  Cp Blanding, Fla.
When enlisted or inducted he was 24 4/12 years of age and by occupation
a Carpenter.
He had Blue eyes, Red hair, Ruddy complexion
and was 5 feet 11 1/4 inches in height.
Completed 1 years, 11 months, 18 days service for longevity pay.
Prior service:  None.
 Certification made for mustering out payment in amount
of $300.00, Paid 31 OCT 1944 One
Hundred Dollars (100.00)
Noncommissioned officer Never.
Military qualificationsMM, M-1 Rifle. MM, Carbine.   2nd Cl Gnr, 81 MM Mortar. *
Army specialty Automatic Rifleman, MOS 746.
Attendance at  (Name of noncommissioned officers' or special service school)   None.                                         
                                                                       SOLDIER ISSUED DISCHARGE
                                                                       LAPEL BUTTON AT FT. McPHERSON, GA

Battles, engagements, skirmishes, expeditions  Italian Campaign, 6 June 4?/ON 31 OCT 1944

Decorations, service medals, citations EAMET Med, WDC 1, 43, GCM, Par 3, SO 103 Hq 7th Inf, 16 Jul 44.  **
Wounds received in service  None.
Date and result of smallpox vaccination5 Apr 44.
Date and result of diphtheria immunity test (Schik)Not Given.
Date of other vaccinations (specify vaccine used)Tet:  10 Jan 44.  Typhus:  8 May 44.
Physical condition when discharged  Good.                     Married or single  Single.
Honorably discharged by reason of:  Sec. X. AR 615-360. Convn of Govt. (WDC 370, 44).
Character  Excellent.          Period of active duty:  21 Nov 42 to 31 Oct 44.
Remarks:    No time lost under AW 107.  Entitled to Mustering-Out-Pay.
           *   Combat Inf Badge, P 1 SO 105 Hq 7th Inf, 25 July 44.
         **   One (1) Bronze Star, (Ital Cmpgn), GO 83, WD 1943.
                Foreign Services:  Left US 25 Apr 44 Arr AMET 4 May 44:  Left AMET 20 Aug 44
                Arr US 1 Sept 44.
 Print of Right Thumb                                                                        Signature of soldier
                                     Finance Officer, Separation Center
                                     Ft. McPherson, Ga.
                                     31 OCT 1944
                                     Paid in full $141.63
                             BY JACK GOLDSMITH, 1st Lt. F. D.
                                                                                    GEORGE C GREGOR
                                                                                    1st Lieut. AUS
                                                                                    Asst. Personnel Officer"
Now if anyone out there can decipher the medals, etc. or the reason for discharge, I would be grateful.


  1. I just happened to be working on a post for tomorrow about a great grand uncle and it's a summary of his discharge records, so I just went through his when I stumbled upon this post.

    The reason for discharge is Section X, convenience of the government. AR 615-360 is Army Regulation 615-360. WDC stands for War Department Circular 370, [19]44.. I found this link that indicates Section X, which was supposed to be for "convenience of the government" but may have been used for other medical reasons. Full text of section X is here. You mentioned PTSD in another post, and the medical link indicates that section X might have been used to discharge some people with that condition. No doubt that conditions for an infantry soldier were very difficult, especially at Anzio.

    EAMET medal (aka EAMETO) stands for Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater of Operations, that is the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. WDC 1, 43 is probably the War Department Circular authorizing that medal. GCM is Good Conduct Medal and I think the rest of that is the unit he was attached to when he received the GCM.

    The Bronze Star is a pretty significant award, but it's hard to tell what it was awarded for. They would mention a "V" for valor device if it was "an act of combat heroism", but still it's a significant award.

    If your uncle arrived in the theater to the 7th Infantry Regiment on 4 May 1944 he would have been probably been involved in the breakout from the beachhead at Anzio that occurred in May 1944 and the subsequent capture of Rome in June. It looks like the 7th Infantry Regiment was part of the 3rd Infantry Division for most of that time, so you'll want to keep that in mind in researching.

    Good luck in your future research.

  2. Liz,
    You give me hope!!! I will see if my father's papers are on file where he lived since his originals burned in the St. Louis fire!!!


  3. The "bronze star" referred to is not the Bronze Star Medal, but rather a small bronze star that is affixed to the campaign medal indicated a subsequent award, or in this case, participation in a continuing campaign in Italy.