Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans In My Family Tree: The Last 150 Years

Grandparents:
Everett Heman Shinn: USNR, 13 May 1944 - 13 June 1946.  My mother told me that he enlisted right after D-Day and was set to be deployed when the war ended.  Well, I now know that half the story is wrong as D-Day was a few weeks after the enlistment date above.  I have no idea if the second part of the story is correct, though I would imagine so.  She also told me that he was fascinated by the planes as the they took off because they would dip down as if crashing in the ocean after leaving the air craft carrier and then pop up again.

Harry James Allen: US Army (and Navy?), 16 Feb 1945 - 29 July 1946.  I know very little about his service.  I do know that he was involved in more than just WWII.  According to my father he also served in Korea and Vietnam and a picture I have of him in uniform from the late 60's/early 70's seems to corroborate this.  According to my father he also served in the Navy, didn't like it, and then re-joined the Army.  I have been unable to learn whether he actually was in the Navy at any point.  What is interesting is that he was seventeen when he enlisted and a full seven months from his eighteen birthday.  I remember reading once that it wasn't a problem to enlist that young so long as your eighteen birthday was within that calendar year (if I'm wrong  please correct me).  Another interesting thing is that his father, a WWI veteran, died in January of 1946 while he was in the Army.  I also know that he achieved the rank of E-6 (staff sergeant) which is pretty impressive, especially when you consider that he was an NCO.

Great-Grandparents:
Gideon Gottlieb Berger: USACC, circa 1918-1919.  Was a 1st Lt. in the US Army Chaplain Corps and was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco, as well as Camp Fremont before the war.

Joseph James Allen: US Army, 11 May 1918 - 23 July 1919.  I know very little about his service.  My father said that he was badly gassed or injured during the war and that he participated in a major battle in France.  My father also remembers seeing a letter from the president (he said Kennedy but it would make more sense if it were Wilson or Truman) to either him or his widow commending his service.  My father also said that he spent the last years of him life in and out of the local VA hospital -earlier this year I was finally, and unexpectedly, able to validate this.

Giuseppe Lapiccirella: Unknown, circa 1918-1919.  Believed to have served for Italy during WWI.

Great-Great-Grandparents:
John W. Berger: Union Army of the US, 1861 - 1863.  Served in Co. K of the 29th Indiana Infantry.  Participated in the Battle of Shiloh before being discharged due to illness.

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