Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado
To Read The Citations Visit the Military Times Hall of Valor
Citations for Military Awards
Finding/Adding Missing Citations
Posting citations is the easiest of our tasks; it is simply a matter of typing the information contained in a citation or General Order (G.O.) into our database, and then posting it. The HARD part is OBTAINING a copy of that original citation or general order. Beyond the extensive work yet to be done on the Silver Star, we have obtained and posted nearly ALL Distinguished Service Cross and Navy Cross citations except those for WWII Service. The following information would ALSO apply in those cases where we have not yet posted a WWII DSC or NC citation.
For every award either or both a citation or G.O. exists. Citations are usually a part of a veterans file, maintained at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. Copies of the G.O.s issued by various commands (1st Infantry Division, Department of the Army, etc.) are held at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. A copy of almost EVERY citation for awards issued to U.S. Marines is on file at the Marine Corps Personnel Management Division in Quantico, Virginia. Navy awards (and Marine Corps awards) are kept on index cards in several filed boxes at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
This means that the citation, detailing the circumstances and actions for any valor award exist some place. Even those World War II citations that were lost in the NPRC fire exist in duplicate somewhere. The key then, to obtaining these, is in locating those copies.
The following information is provided to address:
How to correct or add information in our HomeOfHeroes database
How to ADD a name or citation to our HomeOfHeroes database
Contacting HomeOfHeroes to provide information
How to obtain the citation for an award listed in our database
What to do if NPRC doesn't have the file
How to get a WWII Army or Army Air Force DSC or SS citation QUICKLY
Correcting/Adding information to our Database
The HomeOfHeroes database has been built by culling multiple sources for any available information. Some records list only a name, some may contain a SERVICE NUMBER (SN), others may cite a G.O. Minus an actual citation, the majority of our records do NOT contain vital information we would like eventually to obtain. Family members can often provide personal information, comrades who served with a recipient may have such information as unit, date of action, etc.
We encourage you to E-MAIL us with even the smallest amount of additional information. The basic data we would like to have on file for each recipient includes:
FULL NAME (Including Middle Name and suffixes: Jr., Sr., etc.)
SERVICE NUMBER (NOT Social Security Numbers)
RANK/RATING and STATUS (Reserve Component)
UNIT (down to the company level at least), and BRANCH of Service
DATE and PLACE OF ACTION
ADDITIONAL AWARDS EARNED
DATE/PLACE OF BIRTH
HOME OF RECORD (Recipients Home Town while in service)
DATE OF DEATH
PHOTO OF RECIPIENT
Adding a Name or Citation to our Database
The easiest way to ADD a missing recipient to our database is to provide us with a copy of the citation or General Order authorizing the award. If you do NOT have either, I suggest you attempt to obtain
Contacting HomeOfHeroes with Information
Data on recipients and/or citations, G.O.s, and other information can be provided to us in the following manner:
EMAIL: Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org If sending a scanned photo or other attachment, please use jpg or pdf format when possible. You may also send a WORD document containing the text for an award we have already listed. (We will NOT ADD a recipient based solely upon the text of a WORD document.) SNAIL MAIL: You can send photo copies and other information by regular mail to our address below. Please do NOT SEND originals you need returned. Because of the quantity of mail I receive, responding to mail takes too much time away from my efforts to type and input data.
Mail To: Doug Sterner
300 Yoakum Parkway, #504
Alexandria, VA 22304
FAX: My Home Phone also serves as my fax, and may not respond when I am not at home. If you attempt to send a fax and wind up getting my answering machine, please try again later. The best time to send a fax is in the evenings up until midnight (Mountain Time). PHONE: You can also provide information via telephone. If I am not at home, you can leave information on my answering machine. (Please indicate if you wish for me to return your call.) My phone number is:
How to Obtain a Citation or General Order
The best way to get a citation that is NOT published in our website is to request the records of the veteran involved. This is done by submitting a FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST (FOIA) to NPRC. It is a simple process that requires a little information, a minimum of time, a postage stamp, and some patience. (It usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to get information requested under FOIA.)
You can request YOUR OWN records, or the records of an IMMEDIATE FAMILY member, by submitting a request online. You can request and received MOST information, including award citations, on virtually ANY veteran NOT still on active duty, (related or not), by submitting an FOIA request. This MUST be done via letter that includes a personal signature. Again, the response time from NPRC is 3 to 4 weeks.
The NPRC website, and others, advise you to fill out a form SF-180. I honestly believe that many people have become intimidated by forms like this, and opt out of requesting records. An FOIA request does NOT have to be accompanied by an SF 180. A simple letter, a template for which is below, is sufficient if it contains the needed information.
The purpose served by the SF-180 is establishing needed information to identify the subject of the request. Keep in mind that with tens of millions of veterans' records on file at NPRC, even what is NOT a common name might result in multiple records. Therefore, include as much information as you can in your request to that the Archive Technicians at NPRC can identify the subject of your request.
If you follow the template below, you should have few problems.
THE INFAMOUS FIRE
It is a fact that many records were lost in the now infamous (it has become the excuse used by many phony "heroes" as to why there is now record of their awards) July 12, 1973 fire at NPRC. In fact, there were NO records lost for members of the Marine Corps or Navy, for those records are housed in a different building. Also, no records were lost for Vietnam era, or post-Vietnam era veterans. The following is what records were destroyed in the fire:
ARMY RECORDS DESTROYED
80% of records for Veterans discharged November 1, 1912 - January 1, 1960 (which includes members of the WWII U.S. Army Air Force)
AIR FORCE RECORDS DESTROYED
75% of records for Air Force personnel with names alphabetically (by surname) following Hubbard, James E., who were discharged from September 25, 1947 to January 1, 1964
Keep in mind that the destruction of records for those individuals who fall into these categories were not ALL lost. It is well worth one's time to make the FOIA request, in hopes of getting lucky. In the event that you are seeking information on someone whose records are reported lost, there ARE additional means of obtaining information on awards received.
Sample FOIA Letter to NPRC
YOUR CITY, ST ZIP
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Dear FOIA Officer:
This is a request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. subsection 552. I request that I be provided with all publicly releasable information on the following veteran of military service:
NAME: (Full Name of Veteran)
DATE OF BIRTH: (Date of Birth if known)
BRANCH OF SERVICE: (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard)
SERVICE NUMBER: (This can be critical, so include if you know it)
SOCIAL SECURITY #: (If you have this, include even if you have an SN)
OFFICER or ENLISTED: (Include Rank if possible)
DATE OF SERVICE: (Can be as general as WWII, Korean War, etc.)
HOME OF RECORD: (If known)
I request that I be provided with copies of all publicly releasable information on the above-named veteran. (If the veteran is a relative, indicate so and state your relationship.) I would SPECIFICALLY request you insure that any of the following are included in your response:
Form DD-214 or alternate document listing awards, decorations, and training
Citations and/or General Orders for all awards for valor
Photo of veteran if available.
(Include ONLY if requesting your own records, or records on an immediate family member:) I would also like to request a free set of replacement medals for all awards reflected in (my or veteran's name) file as provided under regulations. (You will get the records in a few weeks, but it may take up to a year to get the replacement medals.)
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Your Hand Signature
PLEASE, Any time you FOIA a veteran and get records from NPRC, take the time to copy them and send those copies to us to add to our files.
If you get a "File Not Found" from NPRC
The military is nothing if not "redundant in paperwork", and as mentioned earlier, the G.O.s for nearly ALL military awards are on file at NARA in Washington, D.C. If you have the General Order Number, Year, and issuing Command, you can FOIA NARA for a copy of that G.O. You will note that most of the records lost in the fire were Army and Army Air Force WWII records. When we post the names for more than 50,000 WWII Army/Army AF Silver Star recipients on April 1, 2007, those names will include this necessary G.O. information.
Keep in mind that one of the quickest and easiest ways to FOIA either NPRC or NARA is to do this through the office of your Congressman or Congresswoman. These legislators have staff specifically assigned to assist veterans in obtaining records and benefits. They will also work hard with family members to obtain these records. Congressional offices actually have assigned liaisons at BOTH NPRC and NARA to help with these. As simple a matter as a visit to your local representative's office SHOULD result in obtaining the requested records within a few weeks.
In a RUSH for a WWII Army/Army AF Citation?
The only major gap remaining in our DSC database is the World War II awards. Due the sheer number of Silver Star awards in WWII (In excess of 50,000), the WWII awards will most likely ALSO take us the longest to compile and complete.
For more in-depth research of individual veterans' records, unit records, or other holdings in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., I HIGHLY recommend Tim Frank. Tim most recently worked as the historian for the CMOH Society, organizing their records, and now lives in Washington, D.C., where he is operating as an independent researcher. Email Tim for more information on his services, as well as his fees. You can Visit Tim's Website at: http://www.militaryresearchassociates.com/ Tim currently has a single-price for researching and providing copies of all AWARD CITATIONS to members of the Marine Corps and Navy. For the price of $25 he will provide you with a copy of ALL citations as published on the INDEX CARDS at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Information on that FLAT RATE OFFER is available at: http://www.militaryresearchassociates.com/Rates.html
PLEASE: Any time you order citations for Silver Star or higher from either of the above researchers, SEND A COPY TO ME so that I can add them to both my digital database and our ONLINE collection. This saves me having to purchase them at some later date.
The records of the names and deeds of our heroes of wars past are NOT "Lost to History", they are simply SCATTERED. Good luck in YOUR quest to find them, it is a process I have worked on for years. The important thing is, NEVER GIVE UP--if you keep looking, that needed record can be found SOMEWHERE. And when you are at last successful in your quest to find a record, citation, or other information,
PLEASE take the time to copy them and
send those copies to us to add to our files.
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