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A Few More Bars & Patches From My Dads World War Two Years

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    Posted 9 years ago

    (224 items)

    I have no idea what all of this means. I know that I've heard from time to time when someone had a pile of these "multi colored" bars on their uniform they were referred to as "Fruit Salad" as in "look at all the fruit salad that guy (or gal) is wearing. I'm sure that if I took the time I could find out the meaning of these different colored bars, and what they stand for. They were important enough for my dad to have saved, so I'm sure they mean something fairly significant. Just not sure what? Then again, they may have little meaning if any.

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    1. scottvez scottvez, 9 years ago
      Top two on left: American Campaign Medal; Service w/in US during WW2

      Photo #4: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; Service in that theatre in WW2

      Photo #2: WW2 Victory Medal

      Medal: WW2 era Good Conduct Medal; three years of enlisted service

      Patch: WW2 Meritorious Unit Commendation; awarded to units in actual combat zone
    2. bahamaboy bahamaboy, 9 years ago
      Thank you very much scottvez for that info. I have often wondered what they meant and now thanks to you, it's been cleared up. Thanks again.
    3. bahamaboy bahamaboy, 9 years ago
      I am still doing investigations with the war dept and military records as to why there are discrepancy's as to my fathers war record. I know, and records show that, he was wounded twice, but yet there are no purple hearts. I have also just recently found out that when General King surrendered the 60,000 Philippine and 15,000 American troops, my dad was part of that group (but only for a short while). Through letters from from several of his close buddies that were in the resistance on the islands and served directly and indirectly with my father and are a part of a group of letters from correspondences they and my dad shared years after the war was over, I have pieced together a great deal of info. Two of these individuals were in the group of 75,000 on Bataan and Corregidor when they fell in April of 1942. From these letters and from two pieces of "official" detailed info, I am finding out that while my dad began the Bataan death march, he never made it to Fort O'Connell with the surviving prisoners. (I have since found out that the prisoners were lightly guarded, because the vast majority had been wounded and/or were sick from the savage fighting of the previous 3+ months) Also there were many who escaped, but most were recaptured rather quickly and subsequently executed. Scars my dad had on his stomach area were always described by him as having come from the war, but were supposedly the result of a fall from a telegraph pole. I have reason to believe now from these letters that the wounds were from being bayoneted by a Japanese guard at the start of the march. From what I can piece together my dad who was wounded from previous fighting and had yellow jaundice, had escaped with the help of two Philippine soldiers/guerrillas, was rescued by a U.S. patrol boat and was then flown to a hospital on Midway island. Records show he was there for a little over two months and then was reassigned to the 6th Army and finally landed back on the Philippines in Oct. of 1944 on Leyte. This was shortly after the last of the Imperial Japanese Fleet was destroyed by the American Navy at the battle of Leyte Gulf. I am still trying to piece together his entire deployment but there are still many questions and many pieces to the puzzle missing, along with several gaps of several months at the time, between late 1942 and late 1943. It is slow going when one is dealing with trying to obtain anything from the govt, including all of the available records from the war dept archives.

      This is an on-going investigation that I hope I'm slowly but surely getting to the bottom of. It seems my father did a whole lot more and was involved in many more things than the current records indicate, and that he cared to share with my mother. With his engineering capabilities, and skills in electronics, coupled with being an expert marksman, it appears that he may, and actually probably was, involved in some clandestine individual operations This is one of three dress uniforms my dad had and I think I'm in possession of one that's not the final version. The only thing I'm almost absolutely certain of is, that he joined the Army for the GI Bill benefits long before the war started. He joined in late Nov 1940 and was sent overseas to the Philippines after he finished boot. Then Japan attacked Pearl, and the Philippines almost simultaneously shortly thereafter and the battles my dad were in, originally, lasted from Dec 1941 (Japanese invasion of the Philippines) to April 1942. (surrender at Bataan on April 9 1942)

      What I have been able to find out for sure is that he was captured, escaped, rescued, then hospitalized and then re-assigned and took part in the taking back of the Pacific. What I have is however, a lot of gaps I'm needing to fill in, which I am slowly doing, but boy has this been a chore. Records missing/unavailable/un-releasable?. Along with evidence that he was involved in a whole lot more than my mother ever knew about. Anyway, thanks for filling me in on what the different bars/patches/medals/ribbons mean. From what I have gathered thus far, there should be a whole lot more of these on a final version of any dress uniform. He left the U.S. in late 1940 and didn't return til late 1945.
    4. Pop_abides Pop_abides, 9 years ago
      Sorry Kevin, All Ribbons are associated with Medals ! They are simply a way to indicate the award without wearing the actual medal all of the time. I will gladly retract if you can give ONE example.......
      bahamaboy: you might get some help from a local veterans group or your Congressman or Reprsentative, The military has an 'easy out' since the fire in a warehouse in Omaha......but keep digging, you might have to enforce the 'freedom of information' act.....(Look it up). Good searching and I hope you come up with all of the medals your father is entitled to, sounds like he EARNED them....
    5. Pop_abides Pop_abides, 9 years ago
      Oh, yes, and for the record I'm speaking of "Personal" ribbons when tying the to a medal.. I know that Unit Awards and such only get a ribbon but I don't see any in his group. BTW b-boy, you needd to request a copy of your fathers W-2, that should be a complete record of his military career and all of the awards and medals he was entitled to.
    6. scottvez scottvez, 9 years ago
      Pop-- the "Army Service Ribbon" does NOT have a medal associated with it.

      It is awarded to individuals for completion of your first basic course.
    7. scottvez scottvez, 9 years ago
      Also the "Army Overseas Service Ribbon".
    8. bahamaboy bahamaboy, 9 years ago
      Thanks guys for all the info and all the tips as to how to continue to proceed. Much of the info I've found out came from my uncle. (my moms brother/dads brother in law) He shared many items of info that pointed me in the right direction, but did so reluctantly because he had sworn an oath to my dad to never repeat any of it, EVER, to a living soul. My dad died in 1986 at the young age of 65 in which I blamed his death on his job as a retired air traffic controller. My uncle was wounded in the same war, but from the other side of the world, fighting the Germans. He said he knew of my dads purple hearts and as he had earned one also. But since this has been many years too since I talked to my uncle Bill (he died in the mid 1990's) I can't remember whether he just knew of the medals or actually saw them. Somehow I can't see my dad getting up, "mid conversation" and going to fetch a medal of any kind to share with anyone. They, I'm sure, shared many "war stories" with one another. He said that one thing that stood out as far as my dads demeanor was that he always felt like he should have never left his men. This escape/rescue never set well with him. In fact to say it never set well, is a massive understatement. He never told me this, but it was something he discussed with uncle Bill on occasions more than once, to use my uncle's phraseology.

      I pressed my dad on a number of occasions to share more details about the war and each and every time it came to anything that had the word Bataan or Corregidor he would stop me and sternly say that it was much too horrible to talk about. I just wished I'd been more forceful in my inquiry and argue that if he didn't share it with someone, the facts would be lost forever. But in the 1970's & 1980's when these conversations were taking place, I was interested, but only slightly. Nothing like the interest I have today, and today all the players are gone.

      In the condition he was in, he would have surely not made the march and ones that were in like condition, were shot, bayoneted, and what the Japanese really got a "kick" out of, was to run over prisoners that could not stand after falling, with their trucks. They all really had to help each other out in this respect, because of how quick those truck tires would get you, if you weren't real quick getting back to your feet. So I think, and my uncle told me that it came down to, it was either one of two options. Try to escape and possibly live, or stay and most likely die. But even then, from what I can gather, my dad was not even in the condition physically or mentally to come to the realization that escape was the only way. This decision, thank God, was made by at least one other person if not two. I'm glad he or they chose life rather than probably most certain death. Otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here sharing this story. Or at least as much story as I have discovered.

      I have told this story partly to the editor here at C.W. and actually said, I bet my dad tossed those purple hearts off the landing craft into Leyte Gulf upon his return to the Philippine islands. It just kinda goes with something like what he would do. He really loved and admired the Philippino people. And he has said to me, way more times than I can count, how proud and how tough they were as a people and their skill as fighters. I still have limited contact with the family of one of these guys that served with my dad. All the man would ever talk about when it came to the war, was my dad "Jacko". He would tell of funny times when one of them would say something to lift the others spirits, and then of not so funny times when one or the other did this or that and because of this or that, that was the reason he was sitting there today. It was really nice to hear from his children and grandchildren, and that all he had to say, was very nice things about my dad and how much he had appreciated his service toward their people, both he and all the other Americans as well. And especially General MacArthur. That man was a saint and a god to these people.

      Anyway, as usual, I've rambled on for way longer than I should have and really didn't say that much. Those of you that have "put up with" this rambling dialogue, thanks. Have a great one and thanks for stopping by. For both me and my dads sake.
    9. scottvez scottvez, 9 years ago
      Have you checked the online records at the National Archives? They will confirm his POW status and give you basic enlistment information, such as serial number which will aid in further research.
    10. bahamaboy bahamaboy, 9 years ago
      Actually both myself and my ex-wife have contacted every possible branch as to the whereabouts of this record and that record. But from the limited time she spent on it before we split up several years ago, and my limited time I've spent on it, we are running into roadblock and hurdle, one after the other. Missing this, and damaged that and uncertainty as to where this and that document ended up when they were transferred out of this and that dept. It's been the royal "run around" and while I'm sounding like we haven't learned much, we have. Just haven't learned it all. Seems like this is still an ongoing process that the govt is taking old "micro-fish" records and transferring them to computer discs and that leaves a lot of the info in limbo. Actually not even being able to ascertain whether the info is even there. And if so, just where it is. As usual when it comes to the Federal Govt, nothing is easy but yes we have searched the records at the National Archives. This is where the details are sketchy. It seems that even though he was not listed as a POW, his capture and his later escape/rescue/hospitalization is documented. This is what makes this individual case so hard to get to the bottom of, along with the current upheaval in the old records dept and the re-copying of the same. I'm fairly certain I will get to the bottom of it but there is some scrubbed areas which from what I've been told by others in the know, is that he (my dad) was involved in way more than meets the eye, which has added tremendously to the difficulty of getting to the bottom of everything. I will keep at it until there is nowhere left to go and look. And then I'll probably just go a little further. Thanks for your comment.
    11. Pop_abides Pop_abides, 9 years ago
      Ah the joy of the search, I love digging and finding something I didn't know now I know that there are some that are ribbons only, I did not know that ! But you can narrow your search to the Army because that is what the uniform you have says..let us know if we can help.......
    12. bahamaboy bahamaboy, 9 years ago
      Did you mean to say "JOY"?? Or did you really mean to say "nightmare"?? I tend to think it's closer the latter, rather than the former. LOL I will let you know if I want to involve others in the search. It's actually become a quest of mine and while I never actually refuse help when help is being offered on any project, I'm gonna try finish this quest on my own, just so I can look back when it's finished and I can be proud of all that I did to finally get to the bottom of all of it. Thank you very much pops.
    13. Pop_abides Pop_abides, 9 years ago
      I do enjoy research, I guess it's brain excersize ! I did a lot of research in my job before I retired and I guess it follwed me because when ever I get the chance I'm digging in again........and yes sometimes it is a nightmare, especially when you run inot 'some people' .....................just sayin'.............LOL don't want to stir the pot ......
    14. Pop_abides Pop_abides, 9 years ago
      inot *INTO*......(phatphingers)
    15. Pop_abides Pop_abides, 9 years ago
      I stand corrected sir !...........well, I sit corrected...................:-)
    16. Pop_abides Pop_abides, 9 years ago
      That's what happens when you're doing your taxes while looking at things posted here............................brain scramble ............LOL
    17. Brian, 9 years ago
      Hi, My grandfather survived the Bataan death march. My aunt showed me some of his ribbon bars tonight. I'm pretty sure he had the same one as the 3rd one you have pictured. It was like glued to 2 others though that had little metal stars on them (one had only one star, the other had two). My aunt has been wearing them on a sport coat and had comments that they recognized the 2 bars (there are 9 individual ribbon bars, glues together in 3s, so 3 bars of 3) but that third one they didn't know.

      So... if you know of a resource that maybe lists all the ribbon bars, please let me know, I haven't found much so far.

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