I speak to many people on a daily basis about Army and Air Force research in the U.S. and Europe. Everyone is asking the same question. How can I find out where my soldier or Airman was every day? His OMPF (service file) burned in 1973.
The answer is simple. You start with Company Morning Reports. Here are 5 reasons you need these records.
- Company Morning Reports will help you reconstruct a soldier’s service, allowing you to document where he was every day he was in a company in a particular unit. You will also know when he changed units so you can continue tracing his service.
- Morning Reports document illness and wounds and if the clerk documented things, what field hospital or other hospital he was sent to.
- You’ll see changes in rank, MOS (job), transfers to temporary duty assignments so you know where he was at all times. Often, men were sent to DS (detached service) to help another unit. In those moments you also want to consult the other unit’s records to learn what was happening. This changes the soldier’s war experience.
- Changes in status to MIA, POW, KIA are also listed.
- Awards may be listed in Morning Reports if the clerk added that information. Many people want to know when or why a soldier received a specific award or decoration. This is one resource to help you discover that information and the often elusive General Order (GO) number.
Important! In a recent conversation on Facebook, someone posted they couldn’t trace their soldier every day, I suggested Morning Reports. Their response was they were working with DPAA because their soldier was still MIA and DPAA had provided unit level records and told them the OMPF burned. I responded that DPAA didn’t provide all the information possible and Morning Reports are the answer.
DPAA hardly uses Morning Reports or OMPFs in their research, from conversations I’ve had with them. It is not their job to reconstruct your soldier’s entire service history. Their job is to find details that document his MIA status in the hopes of locating the individual. They will not then provide you with the Morning Reports and details on service. If you want this information, you have to find it yourself or work with a researcher to locate this information. If they tell you it is impossible because the OMPF burned, they are wrong. You can retrace service without the OMPF.
Want to learn more about Morning Reports, how they can help your research, and how to obtain them? Read my articles:
What clues and information have you discovered in Morning Reports? Please share with us in the comments.
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