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The National Personnel Records Fire of 1973


Michael Clark
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My father a corporal in  Patton's Army in Europe.  I know from his discharge papers that he fought in the Rhineland and France.  Although my family has 3 Purple hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star, we have no information on why those medals were presented to my father. Nor can I find out if he was exposed to any germ warfare in the areas that he fought.  All I know is  that he entered the Army a very healthy young man and was dead at 51 years old.  I have no answers because my government told me that all records having ANY reference to my father were lost in a fire at the National Personnel Records Building in 1973.

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My uncle, my dad's older brother was wounded in the Philippines in WWII.  Sent home and discharged as a result.  In the mid 1950's his house burned.  Lost everything.  Including his discharge papers, Purple Heart, anything else relating to his service.  In the mid to latter 70's he tried obtain VA benefits regarding health problems related to his old wounds.  He was told his records must have burned up in "the fire".  He carried shrapnel to his grave.

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