I always knew that my Grandfather served in World War II, but never knew exactly what that service was.
Then there was a call for men to join the Service and serve their country. Most men were drafted but my Grandfather enlisted.
Name: Robert L Smith
Birth Year: 1906
Race: Negro, citizen (Black)
Nativity State or Country: Mississippi
State of Residence: Illinois
County or City: Cook
Enlistment Date: 8 Apr 1942
Enlistment State: Illinois
Enlistment City: Chicago
Branch: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: Grammar school
Marital Status: Separated, without dependents
According to his enlistment record he was seperated, but not from my Grandmother. His wife's name was Esther(which happens to be my Mom's middle name). I can see him joining to serve his country and looking toward the future.
Talking to Mom she told me that my Grandfather fought overseas and did see some kind of action. In fact she said he had seen one of his good friends killed. She said it messed him up really bad. I set out to see what his service was and why it had such an impact on my Grandfather. I know War is bad on any Human Being, but I needed to know exactly what my Grandfather did.
First I applied for his DD214(report of seperation), but of course his Army Records were burned in the fire at the Archives.
As you can see from his enlistment record he went in as a Private and came out as a Corporal.
I am still trying to get his actual service record and currently working on a FOIA Letter.
No matter what my Grandfather actually did, I am so Proud to know that my Grandfather fought to defend his country to make it more safe for You and I.
Although our African American Men were not given the recognition that they deserved for their Service and the sacrifices that they made to help keep this Country safe. I will always remember their efforts.
I just want to say Thank You and you're service will never be forgotten.
Source cited: Beverly E Smith-Mathis, United States Archives, John Weiss, and Ancestry.com