Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Monday, May 27, 2013

Military Monday: Memorial Day Roll Call

On this Memorial Day, 2013, I would like to start an annual tradition of recognizing and thanking those from my family lines who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country in the military:

French-Indian War

- Samuel Ranny, 7th Co., Capt Herlihy, 1st Regiment (1st cousin, 9x removed)

Civil War

- Edward George Ranney, Unit Unknown, Killed at Gettysburg (1st cousin, 4x removed)
- Warren Kea, Unit Unknown, Killed at Antietam/Sharpsburg (husband of 2nd great grand aunt)
- Elias Price, Private, Co. F, 48th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Died at Richmond (2nd cousin, 6x removed)
- Harrell Solomon Horton, Private, Co. F, 48th Regiment, Georgia (1st cousin, 2x removed)
- Elisha Pullen, Unit Unknown (2nd cousin, 3x removed)
- Ezra Carter, 12th U.S. Infantry, Killed at Groveton, Virginia (2nd great grand uncle)
- Francis M. Tapley, 1st Corporal, Company F, 48th Georgia Infantry,  "Johnson County Battleground Guards", Killed at The Crater, Petersburg, Virginia (great grand uncle)
- John Nelson Key, Sgt., Co. G, 32nd Regiment, Georgia Infantry.  Died at Confederate Military Hospital, Savannah, Georgia.  (husband of 2nd great grand aunt)
- Lawson Y. Riner, Private, Co. F, Georgia 48th Infantry Division, Died in Hospital, Richmond Virginia (1st husband of 2nd great-grandmother)

 World War I

- Vertie L. Tapley, Unit Unknown, Died in Atlanta of influenza while on his way overseas (3rd cousin, 2x removed)

World War II

- James Cullen "J.C." Tapley, PFC, U.S. Army, 168th Infantry, 34th Division, Killed in Italy (1st cousin, 1x removed)
- Edward Tapley, Private, U.S. Army Infantry (4th cousin, 1x removed)
- James Elbert Tapley, Sgt., U.S. Army, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, Killed in France (4th cousin, 1x removed)
- Willis Washington Wade, Jr., Ensign, U.S. Navy (4th cousin, 1x removed)

I am grateful.

If you are reading this and are related to or descended from one of these heroes, I would love to hear from you.  If you have a photo, I would like to include it next year.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Research Problem and Lessons Learned

From Randy over at Genea-Musings: 

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 
 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!): 

1)  Think back to when you first started doing genealogy and family history research.  What was one of your first real research problems?  How did you attack the problem?  Did you solve the problem?  If so, how?  What lessons did you learn from this experience?

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook or Google Plus.

Here's mine:
When I first started doing genealogy research, I was a pre-teen or teenager... so I do not recall my research problems from that time.  Back then there was no Internet to do quick searches; everything was done by postal letter!  What helped me the most at that time was hearing from Ray Tapley, the author of Tapley:  A Family of Georgia And the South, a book I still refer to constantly.  Ray wanted information about our line of the Tapleys.  My parents weren't interested so I gathered the information from my grandfather's notes and sent it to Ray myself.  Thus began a correspondence that taught me so much about my family and where they came from.  The genealogy bug grabbed me tight and did not ever let go after that.  

Since then, I have run up on several research problems; some of which I have solved and some I have not.  The one that stands out in my mind is wanting to learn about my Uncle Russ Tapley's military service during World War II.  All I knew was that he had been in the European Theatre.  Supposedly serving in General Patton's 3rd Army, according to my father.  I brainstormed many, many ideas for finding his DD-214.  I hit many roadblocks and dead ends, but ultimately I was successful.  I chronicled my search here on my blog through four different blog posts:

The biggest lesson I learned was to never give up.  Brainstorm ideas and keep looking.  You never know when the one piece of information you need will surface.  Databases and other information is being added to the Internet all the time.  In my case, the old-fashioned filing system of a county courthouse was the answer to my inquiry, so don't overlook those types of sources.  

Also, and I don't know that this is a lesson so much as just the way I am wired, I like to put my research about an ancestor into the context of the time period in which they lived.  So I didn't just want to know what unit my uncle was in and that be that.  I did the research to find out what that unit did and where they were during World War II and how my uncle's service fit into that.  It brings our family's history to life.  It's not just names and dates.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Military Monday: John Russell (Russ) Tapley, Part 4

(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 2011 here.  Then I posted the good news that I had finally located those papers in the Duval County, Florida courthouse just the next month.  That Part 3 post is here.)

Now, I am finally going to share the details I have discovered about his unit and where he was during the war.  

Uncle Russ was drafted into the U.S. Army on November 14, 1942.  He lived in Jacksonville, Florida so he went in at nearby Camp Blanding.  His enlistment record states that his highest level of education was grammar school; he was single, with dependents (that would be his mother and my grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley); he was 71" (5' 11") tall; and 160 pounds. 

Uncle Russ was assigned to Company C of the 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division.

The 3rd 'Marne' Infantry Division, also known as the Blue & White Devils due to the colors of its patch, earned the name "Marne" because of its firm stand against the German offensive at the Marne River in World War I.  It was there that the commanding officer, Major General Joseph Dickman, stated their slogan, "Nous Resterons La" (We Will Stay There).

The 3rd Division is the only American Division which fought the Nazis on all fronts.  The 3rd, along with its 7th Infantry Regiment, shipped out to North Africa on October 27, 1942, so obviously, Uncle Russ had not even enlisted by then and wasn't with them.  The Division landed on November 8, 1942 and captured half of French Morocco.  On July 10, 1943, the Division made an assault landing on Sicily, fought its way into Palermo, and raced on to capture Messina, thus ending the Sicilian campaign.  They went on to invade Italy, and on September 18, 1943, the 3rd landed at Salerno and in intensive action drove to and across the Volturno River and to Cassino.  The Division was then ordered to hit the beaches at Anzio on January 22, 1944, where for 4 months it maintained its toe-hold against furious German counterattacks.  In May, the Division broke out of the beachhead and drove on to Rome.  (This must be about the time that Uncle Russ joined the unit.)  The 3rd then went into training for an invasion of Southern France.  On August 15, 1944, the Division landed at St. Tropez, advanced up the Rhone Valley, through the Vosges Mountains, and reached the Rhine at Strasbourg, November 26-27.  (By this time, Uncle Russ had been shipped back to the States and discharged.)  Eventually the Division fought its way into Germany and was in the vicinity of Salzburg when the war in Europe ended.

The 7th Infantry Regiment's rich history spans 200 years and 12 wars.  The Regiment has served in more campaigns than any other Infantry unit in the United States Army.   It was initially organized in response to the quasi-war with France during the summer of 1798.  The first major conflict in which the Regiment was engaged was the Indian War of 1811, where it fought in Ohio and Indiana.  Its first encounter against foreign troops took place in the War of 1812, where the 7th Infantry saw action in  Canada, Florida, and Louisiana.

It was the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 that the 7th Infantry was dubbed the "COTTONBALERS."  During that battle, the 7th successfully held their position against the British forces from behind a breastwork of cotton bales.  The nickname "Cottonbalers" was proudly accepted by the 7th and a cotton bale was incorporated into the Regimental Coat of Arms and to the Distinctive Unit Insignia. 

The Cottonbalers fought in the Civil War.  In 1898, the Spanish-American War began, and the 7th Infantry was sent to fight in Cuba at El Caney and San Juan Hill.  In 1901, the Regiment was shipped to the Philippines to quell the insurrection there.  

During World War I, the 7th Infantry landed in France as part of the newly formed 3rd Infantry Division.

With its outstanding record of achievement stretching out over almost half a century, the Cottonbalers plunged into World War II by being among the first (as part of the 3rd Division) to land in North Africa in 1942 with their assault on Morocco.  This was the beginning of a series of victories during WWII.  The 7th Infantry pushed onward from North Africa through Italy and France to Germany, where the Cottonbalers capped their efforts by capturing Berchtesgaden, Adolph Hitler's mountain fortress. 

Uncle's Russ's DD 214 or his military separation papers that I finally acquired, indicate he left the United States on April 25, 1944 and arrived in the "AMET" or African-Middle East Theatre on May 4.  So he arrived at Anzio apparently just in time to participate in the breakout offensive that finally broke the German defenses and paved the way for the Allies to make it to Rome on June 5th.  In August, the 3rd Division was ordered to execute an amphibious landing in Southern France.  On August 15, the 3rd, with an Airborne task force and French Commandos and two additional Infantry Divisions, stormed ashore and quickly eliminated the German defenses.  The next day, the port cities of Toulon and Marseilles were captured.  The 3rd Division began their drive north into France.  However, Uncle Russ left the AMET on August 20th and arrived back in the United States on September 1, 1944.  He was honorably discharged October 31, 1944.

His discharge papers indicate he had blue eyes, red hair, a ruddy complexion, and stood 5 feet 11 1/4 inches in height.  His physical condition upon discharge was "Good," and his character was "Excellent."  He completed 1 year, 11 months, and 18 days of service.  His Army Specialty was Automatic Rifleman.  He was discharged under Section X, supposedly "at the convenience of the government", but under which some medical or psychiatric discharges may have been done.  Uncle Russ was found to be entitled to mustering out pay which amounted to $300. 

He received the following medals:  EAMET (European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre) Campaign Medal, a GCM (Good Conduct Medal), and a bronze star for his participation in the Italian campaign.  All of these medals have disappeared.  Before my father passed away, as Uncle Russ's next-of-kin, he was able to get two awards replaced:  his World War II Victory Medal and his Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII.  Unfortunately, since there is no one left who qualifies under the National Personnel Records Center rules as next-of-kin, it appears we will be unable to have the rest of his medals replaced. 

I have no way of knowing why Uncle Russ was discharged, seemingly in the middle of a campaign.  My father said Uncle Russ suffered from PTSD when he got back and was in a Veteran's hospital in Miami upon his return.  I don't know how much of that is accurate, but I do know there is a gap between the time he returned to the states from the front (September 1, 1944) and when he was actually discharged (October 31).  So what was he doing during this time?  I wish I knew.  

At this point, with the information I have available, I feel I have completed my journey of discovery concerning Uncle Russ's military service during World War II.  I am proud of his sacrifice.  I am sure the things he saw and endured in Italy forever changed him.  

 Division and Regiment histories taken from "The 3rd Infantry Division in the World Wars" at, "WW2 History of the 3rd 'Marne' Division based on the booklet entitled:  Blue & White Devils" located at, 7th Infantry Regiment (United States). (2013, February 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:13, February 18, 2013, from, /w/index.php?title=7th_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States)&oldid=536558342 and "The Seventh Infantry Regiment "Cottonbalers'" at

Anzio front information taken from "Anzio 1944" located at and Unit History of the 3rd Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Regiment World War Two Living History/Reenactment club page at

Information regarding his medals (or more precisely, the deciphering of the code on his separation papers) was a gift from a couple of people who commented on my Part 3 blog post.  I can't thank RBrass189 and an Anonymous poster enough for taking the time to research and comment.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Without their sacrifices, I wouldn't be here

 Today is Thankful Thursday and it also happens to be St. Valentine's Day.  So as Daisy-dog and I were returning from a McDonald's run with my dinner, thanks to a Valentine's gift of McDonald's gift cards from my mother (Thanks, Mom!), I began to think about my family, my ancestors, and how the brave things they did made it possible for me to be the person I am today.  It was their sacrifices and hard work that created a family and left a legacy that I am thrilled to track down today.  Here are a few things they did that I am thankful for:

- That several of my ancestors gave up the life they knew in their home countries and made the oftentimes treacherous and certainly terrifying voyage to the New World to make a life in America.  Among those:

   * George Hubbard (my 9th great-grandfather) left England and came to Hartford, Connecticut before 1639.

   *  Richard Watts (my 10th great-grandfather) brought his family, including his daughter, Elizabeth, who married George Hubbard, from England before 1640.

  * Thomas Rany (my 9th great-grandfather) left Scotland and settled in Middletown, Connecticut about 1657.

  * Hosea Tapley (my 6th great-grandfather) left England and came to North Carolina between 1691 - 1743.

  * Johann Conrad Hesser (my 6th great-grandfather) came from Germany sometime in the 1700's.

  * George Schwalls Sr. (my 2nd great-grandfather) left Germany and came to Georgia in the 1850's.

-  I am thankful that my 3rd great-grandmother, Sarah Tapley, was ahead of her time.  She bore and raised her children out of wedlock with her head held high, and she obviously raised them to be proud and productive members of society.

- I am thankful that so many of my ancestors and family members served in the military and fought for their country during the greatest conflicts in our history, including:

  * Nathaniel Ranney, my 6th great-grandfather, served in the American Revolutionary War.

  * Archibald Odom, my 4th great-grandfather, served as a horseman in the Georgia Militia during the War of 1812.

  * Francis M. Tapley, my great grand uncle, was killed at the Crater near Petersburg, Virginia, during the Civil War.

  * James Madison "Jim" Tapley, my great-grandfather and Francis's brother, fought during the Civil War and fortunately made it home.

  * George Schwalls, Sr. also fought in the Civil War after only having been in this country for a few years and suffered several health problems resulting from his service.

  * James William Drake, my 2nd great-grandfather, along with at least three of his brothers:  Francis Milton, John Saffold, and Richard Franklin, all fought during the Civil War.

  * Comfort Ranney, my 2nd great-grandfather, fought during the Civil War... on the Northern side.

  * Charles Morgan Tapley, my grandfather, served in the U.S. Navy twice, including in action during World War II.

  *  My uncle, John Russell "Russ" Tapley, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

  *  My cousin, James Cullen "J.C." Tapley, gave his life in Italy during World War II.

  *  My brother, Harry Earl Tapley, was a career Marine and served during the Vietnam War.

  *  And all the others who served.

- I am thankful that a childless couple named Charles K. and Sarah Melissa Schoonover Carter adopted an orphaned baby girl and doted on her their entire lives.  That little girl was my great-grandmother, Bessie Carter Ranney.

- I am thankful that my grandmother, Ethel Irene Ranney Tapley, persevered and retained her sweet soul despite being unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair for over half her life. 

- I am thankful that my grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley, was such a strong, God-fearing woman.  She raised five sons and a daughter by herself, worked many jobs to feed  her family, and still found the energy to drive her horse and buggy over 10 miles each way on Sunday to play the piano at Powell's Chapel.

- I am especially thankful for my mother, Linda Irene Tapley, who is always there for me.

- I am thankful and proud that I have been able to devote a good part of my life to preserving my family's stories, histories, heirlooms, and facts.  I do not write this blog because I don't have a life; I write this blog because it enriches my life. 

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

Today I offer my humble gratitude for the sacrifices that many of my ancestors made as they went off to war or served at home. The following are just a few of whom I actually have photographs.

{Left to right from top left:  Uncle Bob Plumlee, Air Force; Cousin Gary Tapley, Army (Vietnam War); Uncle Russell Tapley, Army (WWII); Uncle Hugh Dorsey Tapley, Army (WWII); Grandfather Charles "Pop Pop" Tapley, Navy (WWII); Cousin J.C. Tapley, Army (WWII - gave the ultimate sacrifice); and Brother Harry Tapley, Marines (Vietnam War)}

I give thanks to all those who serve our country so selflessly this day and every day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- A Veteran's Service and Gravesite

 From Randy over at Genea-Musings:

Dear genealogists everywhere, it's Saturday Night!  Time for some Genealogy FUN.

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  To celebrate Veterans Day, pick one of your ancestors or relatives with a military record and a gravestone.

2)  Tell us about your ancestor's military service.

3)  Tell us about your ancestor's gravestone - where is it, what is the inscription, when were you last there?  Show us a picture of it if you have one available. 

4)  Write your own blog post about this ancestor and his gravestone, or share it in a Comment to this blog post, in a status line on Facebook, or in a Google Plus Stream post. 

Here's mine:

(1)   I chose my maternal grandfather, Charles Morgan Tapley (1907-1973), who served in the United States Navy twice.

He first served in the Navy from December 3, 1923 to November 3, 1925.  If you do the math, he was only 16 years old when he joined.  The family lore is that he ran away from his home in Georgia, went to California, and lied about his age to join the Navy.  (Obviously, it was much easier to lie about your age back then.)  The story continues that eventually, he wrote his father and begged him to get him (Charles) out of the military.  I theorize that the the way his father did that was to let the U.S. Navy know that Charles was underage.

According to his military records, some of this story is true.  However, he actually joined in Raleigh, North Carolina and trained at Hampton Roads, Virginia.   From March 10, 1924 until his discharge in November 1925, he served upon the USS Arizona, which is probably how he ended up in California.  His record clearly states next to his discharge date:  "Underage - Honorable Discharge."  His rating was S2c at time of discharge.

The second time my grandfather served in the U.S. Navy was during World War II.  By 1944, he was divorced with a 12 year old daughter and re-married with a 7 year old step-son, an 18 month old daughter, and a wife that was starting to exhibit health problems.  He was trying to support a family by working any job he could find (including as an insurance salesman at this time).  Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1943 and three months later, he got a government "greetings letter" (draft notice).  He had to report somewhere in Los Angeles for induction.  When he arrived, he knew he would rather go back into the Navy, with which he was familiar, rather than join the Army.  So he got into the Navy line, and when the recruiter found out he had served before, they signed him right up.  He spent the first several months of his service at training school in Toledo, Ohio.  At the end of that training, his rating was changed to S1c.  In September 1944, he was transferred to the S.S. Bataan and worked on the ship as a storekeeper.  The only thing he really said about his service is that the planes taking off overhead on the deck were terribly loud.  He was discharged in April 1945 because his wife's health had deteriorated to the point that he was needed at home.

Pop Pop is buried at Gumlog Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery outside Kite in Johnson County, Georgia.  Here are photographs of his grave.

Charles M Tapley
S1 US Navy
World War II
June 27 1907       Nov 12 1973

He is buried next to Grandma, Ethel Irene Ranney Tapley.  Nearby are his mother, Mattie Schwalls Tapley, two of his brothers, James and Gilbert Tapley, and sisters-in-law Reida Mae Poole Tapley and Alice Ranney Thornburg. 

The last time I visited Pop Pop's grave was this past March.  When I still lived in Georgia, I would meet my mother in the area to assist her in placing flowers on the family graves.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Geneabloggers Pajama Party

From Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings:

It's Saturday Night -- time for more Genealogy Fun!!

Tonight at Jamboree is the Geneabloggers Pajama Party, and everyone knows that fun folks play games at their pajama parties.  So, for SNGF tonight:

1)  Play "two truths and a lie."  Tell us three facts about your family history -- two have to be true and one has to be a lie.

2)  Put them on your own blog post, in a Facebook status or in a comment on this blog.  Ask readers to guess which one is a lie.

3)  After one day, be sure to put the right answer as a comment to your blog. or Facebook status.

Here are mine:
  1.  My first cousin, 1x removed, Gordon Tapley, went AWOL during WWI and there is an FBI file on him because of it.
  2. When my mother was born in 1942 in Los Angeles, the hospital was so full that my grandmother's bed was in the hallway.
  3. My full birth name is Elizabeth Ann-Marie Tapley.
Which one do you think is a lie?  Please comment!

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.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Amanuensis and Military Monday: James C Tapley

Pfc. James C. (J.C.) Tapley served in General Patton's Third Army in the 34th Division, 168th Infantry during World War II.  He was a medic, and he was killed near Venafro, Italy on November 1, 1943.  He was 22 years old.

J.C. was the son of Bennett Olin Tapley and Florence Price Tapley.  He was the grandson of James Madison Tapley and Rebecca Page Tapley.  He was my 1st cousin, 1x removed. 

J.C.'s nephew allowed me to copy a letter, probably the last letter, that J.C.'s father wrote to him during the war.  It was actually written 10 days after J.C. was killed, but obviously Uncle Ol (Bennett Olin) didn't know that.  That is what makes it especially heartbreaking.  (You will notice that J.C.'s address was scratched out... I am guessing the Army did that when they realized he had been killed in action.)

Note:  Wesley was J.C.'s brother; The "ant" or Aunt Morning was on his mother's side; and Uncle "Tell" refers to George Washington Sentell Tapley, Bennett Olin's brother.

"To:  PFC James C. Tapley
From:  B.O. Tapley, Kite, G, RFD #2, November 11, 1943 

Dear Son:

J C I am trying to answer your letter I received the 8 of November and was glad to hear that you was getting along O.K.  As far as the rest of us and myself we are getting along very well - 

J C we are going to try to send you a box for Christmas and I want you to be on your look out for it 

J C Wesley and myself are still cutting blocks for our self and we got about three loads ready to haul now: -

And we are having some cold weather now  We had a big frost this morning 

J C ant Morning ? ? for her and by the way JC Uncle Tell are -
getting along better   I am in hopes he will soon be where he can go again -

 By news being short I recton I witt hafe to close after this line

love Father"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Military AND Mystery Monday: John Russell Tapley Update

Russ (left) w/unknown buddy
This is an update to a November post I did about how little I know about my Uncle Russ's World War II service and how I long to find out what unit in which he served:

My cousin went to the funeral home that handled Uncle Russ's funeral to see if they still had a file on him and possibly had his separation papers in that file.  Unfortunately, my cousin completely struck out; he was told they have no records back that far (1960's). 

So my next step, I guess, is to check with the county where he was living when he was discharged to see if he filed his separation papers there.  I don't know at this time when I'll make a trip to Jacksonville, but this will go on my to do list for my next visit.

Meanwhile, I found a website called Vet Friends that seems to be a place where veterans can go and try to locate people they served with.  As a matter of fact, the site seems to be all things veteran.  You have to join (for a fee) to get on the message boards and post a search for someone.  The fees are:  [and I quote]
 I have not decided whether to join just to place a "blind" post on the message board and hope that a World War II veteran who happened to serve with my uncle will see it.  It's a long shot.  But that appears to be all I have.  

I am sure that this is a worthwhile site with lots to offer our veterans.  However, they send me more than one e-mail every single day!  And I've only signed up for the free membership so far!  So the jury is still out on this one.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to find out what unit my uncle served in during WWII???  I would appreciate any and all ideas.