I have been trying to research my Grandfather's WWII service and I am looking for any help that I can find. I have his discharge papers but unfortunately all his other records were destroyed in the 1973 fire. According to his discharge papers, he served as a corporal for the 742nd Field Artillery Battalion. His Separation Qualification Record state that he was a private in the "basic trg coast artillery (521)" and then he was a corporal "gun crewman heavy artillery (845)." The provided description is that he was "a member of an 8 inch crew on gun, loading and firing gun. Made minor repairs and maintenance. Served in the European theatre of war."
However, he also actively served in the continental U.S. for 2 years and 23 days. He entered into active service in NYC on November 13, 1942 but did not enter foreign service until December 1, 1944. The discharge papers provide no more information regarding his continental service other than that he received the American Service Medal.
I am trying to discover what his duties were while he was in the U.S. and if he in fact was part of the coastal artillery. I am merely making that assumption based on his artillery duties. I also have no information on what unit he was a part of since the 742nd FA Bn. was not activated until April 13, 1944.
Any assistance would be much appreciated. Thank you!
Are there any stories associated with him in your family? Letters from him during the war? Cousins, nephews, nieces, children who remember locations, cities he visited, states he was in?
Many of the coastal artillery sites were along the East Coast, near headlands or ports along the seaboard. They were designed to protect harbors and shipping lanes from commerce raiders. Some locations date back to before the Civil War (Robert E. Lee's first assignment out of West Point was to upgrade defensive works at some).
Any clue might be helpful.
No, unfortunately we do not have any letters he wrote during the war. He was single and if he wrote letters to his parents, these letters have been misplaced. He never discussed the war so there are no stories. So far I have not found any clues. Without his unit information, I have not been able to discover anything. Thanks for any help.
I have obtained new information and I now know that I was correct and my grandfather was in the coast artillery during his years of continental service. He was in the 7th Coast Artillery, Battery E which served at Ft Hancock, NJ. I have been able to obtain some information on Ft. Hancock in general but unfortunately I cannot find much information on the 7th Coast Artillery except their insignia. Can anyone offer any assistance? Thanks so much.
|"Justi Terram Incolant" (The Just Shall Inherit the Earth)|
Hope this isn't TMI
The 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery was originally constituted on 8 March 1898 in the Regular Army as Battery E, 7th Regiment of Artillery. It organized on 31 March 1898 at Fort Slocum, NY. It was reorganized and redesignated on 13 February 1901 as the 75th Company, Coast Artillery, Artillery Corps.
The unit was later re-designated on 2 February 1907 as the 75th Company, Coast Artillery Corps; on 18 July 1916 as the 2nd Company, Fort Kamehanmeha Hawaii; on 31 August 1917 as the 2nd Company, Coast Defenses of Oahu; in February 1921 as the 2nd Company, Coast Defenses of Pearl Harbor; and on 30 June 1922 as the 75th Company, Coast Artillery Corps.
It was reorganized and re-designated on 1 July 1924 as Battery E, 7th Coast Artillery. It inactivated on 1 February 1940 at Fort Dupont, DE. It reactivated on 13 February 1941 at Fort Hancock, New Jersey,and inactivated on 13 April 1944 at Camp Chaffee, AR. It was disbanded on 14 June 1944. The unit was reconstituted on 28 June 1950 in the Regular Army; and concurrently consolidated with Battery A, 26th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion (active) which itself was originally constituted on 25 February 1943 in the Army of the United States as Battery A, 784th Coast Artillery Battalion, and activated on 10 April 1943 at Fort Bliss, Texas. That unit was later re-designated on 30 April 1943 as Battery A, 784th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion and inactivated on 31 December 1945 in Germany.
It was re-designated on 13 October 1948 as Battery A, 26th Anti-aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, and allotted to the Regular Army, and activated on 20 March 1949 in Japan as an element of the 24th Infantry Division. The consolidated unit was designated as Battery A, 26th Anti-aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, an element of the 24th Infantry Division. It was re-designated on 1 January 1953 as Battery A, 26th Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion and inactivated on 15 October 1957 in Korea. The 26th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion meanwhile was relieved on 5 June 1958 from assignment to the 24th Infantry Division.
The unit was consolidated on 12 August 1958 with Battery E, 7th Field Artillery (organized in 1916), and the consolidated unit was re-designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Missile Battalion, 7th Artillery (its organic elements were concurrently constituted). The battalion was activated on 1 September 1958 at Tappan, NY. It was re-designated on 20 December 1965 as the 5th Battalion, 7th Artillery. It inactivated on 30 November 1968 at Tappan, NY.
It was re-designated (less former Battery E, 7th Field Artillery) on 1 September 1971 as the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery (former Battery E, 7th Field Artillery, concurrently re-designated as the 5th Battalion, 7th Field Artillery - hereafter separate lineage). It reactivated on 17 December 1988 at Fort Bliss, TX.
On 21 December 1998 Headquarters U.S. Army Europe announced plans to realign its air defense artillery units to comply with the Army’s Patriot Standardization Plan. As a result of the plan, USAREUR realigned its three Patriot missile battalions with their twelve missile batteries, two maintenance companies and one maintenance team into two battalions with five batteries and one maintenance company each. A Battery, 1st Battalion, 7th ADA was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 7th ADA in Hanau and moved from Rhein Ordnance Barracks to Babenhausen, Germany. F Battery, 6th Battalion, 52nd ADA, located at Ansbach, was also assigned to the 5-7th ADA and moved to Babenhausen. These units were re-flagged as D Battery and E Battery, 5th Bn, 7th ADA. Now the battalion is stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany subordinate to 357th Air & Missile Defense Detachment with five batteries and a service battery.
Thank you so much for the information! I am seeking more information about what the duties and responsibilities of the 7th Coast Artillery would have been at Fort Hancock, NJ. Would they merely have been manning the guns and looking for enemy vessels/aircraft or would they have had more duties at the fort? Thank you for your assistance.
Seventh Coast Artillery (Harbor Defense) came into existence as a result of a major reorganization of the Coast Artillery Corps in 1924. The upon its activation, the regiment was stationed at Ft. Hancock, which is located on Sandy Hook, New Jersey, at the mouth of New York Harbor. The regiment's mission was to provide heavy artillery support to the Harbor Defenses of New York. Here is an Army map showing Fort Hancock's location (ca. 1921):
At the beginning of WWII, 7th CA (HD) was classified as a Type "B" Harbor Defense Regiment. Here is the organization schematic for Type "B":
And here is the schematic for Harbor Defense batteries assigned to a Type "B" regiment:
Battery E would have been organized along these lines. Here is an enlarged view, focusing the details in question:
Your grandfather had Coast Artillery basic training and was assigned to a Harbor Defense unit until at some point he was assigned to 742nd FA Bn. (a heavy artillery unit), perhaps at Camp Chaffee in April 1944. His Field Artillery MOS was 845. Here is a description of that MOS, alongside the corresponding Coast Artillery MOS 608 (you can compare and contrast for yourself):
Were there other there other duties at the fort? Probably. Ft. Hancock was a regimental post, which usually implies that the garrisoning regiment maintained the installation. There might have been a small number other troops at Ft. Hancock to provide some of this support but 7th CA most likely was self-sufficient within the confines of Ft. Hancock.
P.S. Good work Sgtleo! Battery E's begats really moved this thread along.
Wow! Thank you so much for the information, that is so incredibly helpful. Between the two of you, you answered almost all my questions about my grandfather's coast artillery service. My only other question is if anyone knows what the abbreviation "RDA" would stand for?
I have obtained the unit history for the 742nd Field Artillery Battalion (the unit my grandfather was in after the coast artillery) from the National Archives in College Park. There was a document contained in these papers that states that it is for the inactivation of the coast artillery and transfer of the following individuals to the 742nd Field Artillery Battalion. It lists my grandfather's name, Battery E, 7th Coast Artillery, gun crewman and then under the "RDA" column it states the number "505". Unfortunately, that is all the information the document contains so it offers no context into the definition of "RDA". Does anyone know what this means? Thank you so much!
I didn't find what RDA meant, but if you want a terrific link for an idea of what your Grandfather did, Google "Coastal Defense Study Group."
Also, check out the WWII manuals available at the Fort MacArthur website.
Both sites have a wealth of information about the Coastal Artillery.
Good luck on your search.
"RDA" is not listed in the 1944 edition of the Army's dictionary of abbreviations and symbols. However, try this: "Recommended Duty Assignment." MOS 505 was for Ammunition Noncommissioned Officer (and note that Ammunition Noncommissioned Officer is one of the suggested duty titles for MOS 845). As your grandfather's ultimate assignment was gun crewman (MOS 845), this interpretation of "RDA 505" might not hold much water. However, if you will post an image of that page here, we might be able make more of it. The Table of Organization and Equipment for 742nd FA Bn. might shed some light. You can buy TO/Es from Military Research Service (find via google). The ones in question are: TO/E 6-395, Field Artillery Battalion, Motorized, 240-mm Howitzer, or 8-inch Gun, Tractor-Drawn ($3) and TO/E 6-397, Field Artillery Battery, Motorized, 240-mm Howitzer, or 8-inch Gun, Tractor-Drawn ($5).
Question: Does 742nd FA Bn. history say that it was at Camp Chaffee?
|"Justi Terram Incolant" (The Just Shall Inherit the Earth)|
Hold your hat!! You were correct that RDA = Recommended Duty Assignment.
Acronym Finder.com is where I found it - see following line
* RDA Recommended Duty Assignment
It was buried in this item I found after beaucoup searching and when I found out what the LHO meant I almost choked.
The LHO refers to Lee Harvey Oswald and has a lot of data about him
LHO military file... Texas Not eligible for assignment to combat area until after 18th birthday 18 ... of Duty: Aircraft Maintenance and Repair Recommended Duty Assignment
Sgtleo This message has been edited. Last edited by: Sgtleo,
|"Justi Terram Incolant" (The Just Shall Inherit the Earth)|
Thought I'd post the data where I found the RDA explanation:-
30 Oct 56
Classification, Aptitude and Trade Tests
Title Form Date Grade--Score
GCT 3a III-105
RV 3a II-125
AC 3a III-108
AR 3a III-90
PA 3a III-94
RCT SR-2 30Oct56 III-92
Preference of Duty: Aircraft Maintenance and Repair
Recommended Duty Assignment: Aircraft Maintenance and Repair
Thank you everyone for the information! Wailuna, yes, the 742nd Field Artillery Battalion was activated on April 13, 1944 at Camp Chaffee.
Excellent! Thanks very much for closing the loop. This has been a very interesting quest...let us know what else you learn (and we are always interested to see pictures of your vet.)
Does anyone know if these scores were below average, average, or above average?
My recollection is that highest possible score for these tests was 140 and scores in the 90 - 120 range were average. The GCT score was roughly equivalent to IQ. The other scores shown are for occupational aptitude tests that were used for making training and assignment decisions.
Check this 1941 Popular Science article out on coastal defense. It is very large and extremely. You all know the drill. Take the character off in front of the http and post it in a new window. What Military Forum is trying to accomplish by that rule is beyond my pay grade (and I was a Sysop for Compuserve for almost 20 years). But it does make everyone jump through a lot of hoops.
Jack E. Hammond
My Grandfather also served in the 742nd field artillery battalion, also on an 8" howitzer. My Dad and I were reading your posts on this forum and wondering if you've been able to find more information on the battalion's campaigns in Europe. My Grandfather crossed at the Ludendorf Bridge at Remagan. There doesn't seem to be much information available online so anything you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks!
742nd FA Bn. had credit for participation in the Rhineland campaign (Sept. 15, 1944, to March 21, 1945) and Central Europe campaign (March 22 to May 11, 1945), and for occupation of Germany (May 2 to Aug. 15, 1945).
Ludendorff Bridge was captured by units of 9th Armored Division March 7-8, 1945. The bridge was badly damaged and it collapsed on March 17. 742nd FA Bn. was attached to 408th FA Group, III Corps Artillery, during the Ludendorff capture. There is an unpublished Master’s thesis entitled Fire support employment in the Rhine River crossing at Remagen, Germany, which you can read on line at the Web site of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library.
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