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The mission of the AOMDA Foundation is to perpetuate the remembrance of the over 14,000 American serviceman whose final resting place is in Belgium. Each and every one of these serviceman has a story that deserves to be told. Please help us to do so! Research the story of a serviceman and share what you know on his Tribute page.
Engaging in historical research is never easy, but it can be quite rewarding. Here is how you can begin:
- The first stop should be the local library and/or historical society of the community in which the serviceman was born and raised. Contact that local library and/or historical society to see what they may know about the serviceman or, more likely, how they can help you find the information you are looking for.
- Although your experience may differ, the local library/historical society will often be more than happy to help you reach out to any relatives of the serviceman who still live in the community. These relatives are typically your single best source of biographical information about the serviceman. Although the passage of time is taking its toll, you can still sometimes find relatives or friends who knew him.
- Consult genealogical websites (like ancestry.com) to find other relatives.
- Consult newspaper archives to find stories about the serviceman. There are multiple on-line vehicles for doing this. It is difficult to recommend one of these websites over another, as each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Read about the history of the unit in which the serviceman served and the circumstances that brought him to Belgium. Published books and on-line sources found through Google are excellent ways to do so.
You may also research whatever official government records of the serviceman that may (or may not) still exist. Bear in mind that official government records are normally an assemblage of many different documents, some of which will be relevant for you, but most of which will not be so relevant or easy to understand. For the non-trained historian, such a file can be quite confusing. You will need to wade through these documents to find what you are looking for, and navigate a lot of bureaucratic nomenclature. Should you choose to consult the official records, we highly encourage you to engage a professional historian to help you with this task. However, if you would like to do so on your own, there are three sources that you should consult:
The National Archives
The United States National Archives lists and explains how to research all of the official United States government military records that are available on-line. The archives also has civilian records, such as census data and immigration records, which can be be helpful in reconstructing the life of a serviceman!
Individual Service Records
Unfortunately 80% of these records were lost in a fire in 1973. However, try anyway by contacting:
National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63132, www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/index.html.
Individual Deceased Personnel File
This file contains all correspondence related to the disposition of the serviceman’s remains. Contact:
Department of the Army, US Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-FOIA, 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Department 10, Fort Knox, KY 40132-5743, E-mail: email@example.com
Help preserve the serviceman's memory. Please share what you learn on the serviceman's tribute page!