Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Meaning of GO 33 WD 45 on a WWII Veteran’s Discharge

There are many posts made to Internet forums with a question about what “GO 33 40 WD 45”  (or some similar entry) means in field 32. BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS of a World War II Veteran’s Honorable Discharge/Report of Separation.

For instance, my Uncle’s Honorable Discharge  states in 32. BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS  “GO 33 40 WD 45  Naples-Foggia Sicily Normandy Rhineland Ardennes Central Europe”

So what does GO 33 40 WD 45 actually mean?

Let’s break it down:

GO 33 40 is General Order 33 and General Order 40

WD 45 is War Department 1945

Putting it all together so far, it says:

General Order 33 and General Order 40 published by the War Department in 1945”.

Bronze Star Campaigns

Usually the “GO 33 40 WD 45” (or similar entry) is followed by the names of specific campaigns.

In my Uncle’s case it states:

“Naples-Foggia Sicily Normandy Rhineland Ardennes Central Europe”

These are the names of Bronze Service Star campaigns. These do not indicate that a Bronze Star for Valor was earned by the soldier. Bronze Star Medals are awarded for valor in combat. Instead they mean that the soldier was physically present in the location of combat with his unit during the Bronze Service Star campaign *. In the case of my Uncle his Honorable Discharge states that he was awarded the European African Middle Eastern (EAME) Campaign Medal with “6 bronze stars” which means he was awarded one Bronze Service Star for each campaign he was present in including: Sicily, Naples – Foggia, Normandy, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe.

* Note: The eligibility rules for award of a Bronze Service Star in WWII in relation to the EAME medal are detailed in Army Regulation 600–8–22  downloadable from http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r600_8_22.pdf 

Online Location of the General Orders of the War Department for World War II

The General Orders of the War Department for 1945 are available online from  can be downloaded from the Historical General Orders/Special Orders Collection at the Maneuver Center of Excellence Libraries which includes the Donovan Research Library, the US Armor Research Library.

http://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/General%20Orders/

The link General Orders 1945 is not the correct link.

The correct link to these General Orders is General Orders 1945 copy 2.  :

http://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/General%20Orders/GeneralOrders/DAGO1945.pdf

Depending on your Internet connection the PDF document can take a long time to load. It’s best to right click and save it instead of clicking on the link and letting it load in your browser.

Once you have it loaded you can read virtually all of the General Orders published by the War Department in 1945.

General Order 33 WD45 for instance specifies the geographical combat zone, and time limitation for the following Bronze Service Star Campaigns related to the European African Middle Eastern Campaign (EAME) medal:

  • Egypt-Libya
  • Air offensive Europe
  • Algeria-French Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Sicily
  • Naples-Foggia
  • Rome-Arno
  • Normandy
  • Northern France
  • Southern France
  • Germany
  • Ardennes.

General Order 40 amends GO 33, WD 1945 by updating the conditions of the Rome-Arno, and Ardennes campaigns and adds in the Rhineland campaign.

Other General Orders contain information on designated Bronze Service Star campaigns for the rest of the Theaters of Operation in WWII, including the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.

Names of WWII Soldiers Awarded the Bronze Star, Silver Star etc. are available 

These General Orders of the War Department 1945 contain a lot of other useful information including citations with names of those who in 1945 earned the: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, the Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Soldier's Medal, and unit awards such as the Distinguished Unit Citation (AKA Presidential Unit Citation PUC).

This information is also available for the years 1942 – 1944 in the General Orders of the War Department 1942 – 1944 available again through Maneuver Center of Excellence Libraries at:

http://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/General%20Orders/

The direct link is General Orders 1942-1944:

 http://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/General%20Orders/GeneralOrders/GO%201942-1944.pdf

Other War Department General Orders for other years can be downloaded from this site. Many of them contain individual and unit awards that were given after World War Two was over, so be sure to check them out if your interested.

© Copyright Jeffrey Clark 2013. All Rights Reserved.

15 comments:

  1. I just found a photo of my father who was at Camp Wheeler. 3rd platoon Co-A 2nd BN Camp Wheeler GA August 1942. How can I find out about this Platoon in the war?

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  2. Hi Penny,

    I assume your father did his basic training at Camp Wheeler and that he was in 2nd Battalion in Company A, 3rd training platoon. If so, then he was most likely assigned to an active unit once he completed his training. To track his unit assignment down further you will need to find out as much as you can about which active unit in the Army (assuming he was in Army) he served in and his serial number.

    Once you have as much of this information as possible you can put in a request to the National Archives Personnel Center for a copy of his service record. To do it you need to fill out a form called SF 180 which can be downloaded at:

    http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

    Be aware that the fire of 1973 destroyed most of the records, but they still might be able to provide some of the information or in the best case all of it.

    If he enlisted in the Army in WWII and you don't know his serial number you can find it and his enlistment record by searching for his name, and any combination of place of enlistment, residence, year of birth etc. at:

    http://aad.archives.gov/aad/series-list.jsp?cat=WR26

    If you have his serial number, you can quickly find his enlistment record using this same link.

    Once you have the details of his service record, it might be possible to contact the unit he served with and they might be able to help fill in more details including the platoon he served in. Many Army divisions and regiments maintain web pages dedicated to the veterans who fought in them in WWII including unit rosters, at least down to the company level. They may be able to help with information at the platoon level if contacted directly.

    Hope that helps.

    Jeff Clark


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  3. so how do you know how long they were overseas?

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  4. The best way to determine how long a soldier was deployed overseas in WWII is to get a copy of his Separation Qualification Record and his Discharge papers. The Discharge papers will state under "36. Service Outside Continental U.S. and Return" with specifics for each of: Date Of Departure; Destination; Date Of Arrival. The Separation Qualification Record will state "9. Place of Separation". If you don't have a copy of this information you can contact the National Archives Personnel Center to see if they have copy of his service record.

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  5. hello Jeff , I have a little site on facebook which shows old photos of Portglenone , in Northern Ireland , I was trying to find out if you or any of the members of the 82th airboure division club here would have any old photos of the time the 82th where in Northern Ireland during the war years

    your

    enda clarke , oldportglenone@gmail.com

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  6. I recently located my Dad's "Enlisted Record and Report of Separation -- Honorable Discharge" WD AGO Form 53 - 55

    In Box 32 Battles and Campaigns, it lists RYUKUS GO 33 WD 45 AS AMENDED.

    My own research indicates definitively that the Ryukus includes the Okinawa Campaign (Operation Iceberg) but I can't verify Dad's participation, other than by the dates he was in the WPTO.

    He was assigned to 774th Med San Co as a Switchboard Oper(ator) 650

    He departed for WPTO (Western Pacific Theatre of Operations) on 30 Mar 42, arriving on 8 Apr 42; he departed on 26 Oct 45, arriving stateside on 25 Oct 45 (clearly due to crossing the International Date Line!) which would indeed point to the Battle of Okinawa

    Does anyone here have anything similar? It would be interesting to find anyone who might have a relative who served the same unit at the same time, and in the same battle(s)...

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  7. Thanks Jeff. I just found my grandfather's discharge form from the Army and it listed Rome-Arno GO 33 40 WD 45 under Campaigns. He was with the 496th Engr Co.

    It also listed three medals, but no one in my family knows what happened to them. I am trying to apply for replacements through the National Archives.

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  8. Seth,

    That's great. All the best with it. If you persevere with the Veterans Service Records Center, you should eventually be rewarded.

    Jeff

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  9. Jeff: Thank you so very much for your dilligent efforts in writing about the 82nd Airborne Division in WW II. As a retired US Army Colonel I am priviledged to have met many of the true heroes you are writing about. LTG Gavin, Major Julian Cook, CPT Moffat Burris, and General Mark Clark all were very gracious in allowing me as a young officer to interview them for my Command and General Staff College paper, "504th PIR-Parachute Assault-Sicily". I had the personal priviledge and deep honor to meet MG Rueben H. Tucker in September 1967-January 1970 before he died at the early age of 58; and LTC Louis Toth, 3d/508th. I hope to continue reading more of your blogs in the future. Why hasn't someone made a movie about MG Tucker? Best Regards, Bert Fitzgerald

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bert,

      Thank you for your kind words of appreciation and encouragement. It must have been a true honor to meet and get to know these paragons. We were fortunate that they were there when our Nation and the world needed them. Indeed, Col. Tucker needs some airtime. Now that would be one titan of a movie. It would put all of our Hollywood actions figures to shame.

      Thanks for reading.

      Jeff

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  10. Jeff; Am reading above blogs and your helpful. responses. Hoping you can help, I have a "Certificate of Proficiency" for the "Century Division Rangers" awarded to my father, Pvt. Raymond Ramos Co C. 398 Inf of 100th Division, on September 4th, 1943. His Discharge papers show his battles/campaigns were Normandy and Northern France and" Service outside Continental US" shows a date of departure of 3/44 and arrival of 4/44. My father said he was first wave at Omaha beach , but we don't know if it was with 398 Inf Co. C. My own research shows the 100th Division 398 Inf didn't leave for Europe till 11/44, so that's puzzling. How can I find out to what unit he was attached to on D-Day. Is it possible he was pulled from 398th as a filler for overseas and would his Ranger training possibly put him with Rangers on D-Day? please help to fill in blanks. Ray

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  11. I am trying to find out exactly where my father was stationed in Europe during World War II to complete a timeline and map. His discharge papers list his battles and campaigns as Rhineland GO 4O 45 and Central Europe GO 46 45. I've found some letters but they only indicate that he was in France. Do you have any suggestions on how to locate the information?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Melissa,

      You have probably already tried this, but the best thing I can think of is to examine his discharge papers to see which unit he was assigned to and then trace their steps in published books and websites.

      Regards,

      Jeff

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  12. Hi Jeff- My Dad and I are trying to determine which specific unit my Grandfather served in during WWII. We have a photo of what we believe is the unit that has an inscription reading: "BTRY D 2nd BN 1st TNG REGT F.A.R.C.". Any idea what the 'F.A.R.C.' might mean? Thanks, and enjoy reading your blog!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ryan,

      You contacted me some days ago asking for the meaning of F.A.R.C.

      If you can give me the name of your Grandfather, I can check the 82nd rosters and see if he was assigned to the division.

      FARC is probably a variation of "Field Artillery Replacement Training Center" F.A.R.T.C.and that these men trained in one such as the one at Fort Bragg as mentioned here:

      http://www.mace-b.com/glen/

      There are also references to the "Field Artillery Reserve Corps" (F.A.R.C.) from WWI which might be where the FARC and FARTC acronyms used in WWII had their beginnings:

      http://www.usgwarchives.net/oh/military/roster/abb.htm

      Indeed FARC "Field Artillery Replacement Center" was being used in WWII as evidenced by these photos of the men in BTRY. F 10th BN. 4th TNG. REGT. F. A. R. C. Fort Bragg, N C - 5/23/42 5th CYCLE training taken in 1942:

      http://www.ebay.ca/itm/BTRY-F-10th-BN-4th-TNG-REGT-F-A-R-C-Fort-Bragg-N-C-5-23-42-5th-CYCLE-/151209866079?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2334cf735f:

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/WWII-Yard-Long-Photograph-1942-Fort-Bragg-Training-Regt-2nd-Tng-/390912219598?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5b042f19ce

      The FARCT acronym was also extensively being used in WWII:

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Postcard-Field-Artillery-Replacement-Training-Center-Fort-Bragg-N-C-e37512-/121327582968?pt=Postcards_US&hash=item1c3faffef8

      http://www.warfoto.com/3rdpersonalsearch51.htm

      http://www.javadc.org/java/docs/1942-12-09%20MSG%20from%20HQ%20Camp%20Crowder,%20Missouri,%20to%20The%20Adj%20Gen,%20Wash%20DC,%20re%20Info%20on%20JA%20EM_Pg20_ay.pdf

      with several rare books published on the subject, for instance referencing FARC and FARTC used interchangeably (as demonstrated in the first link below):

      http://books.google.com/books?id=yGf7H_XLtP8C&pg=PA373&dq=%22FARC%22+field+artillery&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zP31U77MOtjcoATewYLACA&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22FARC%22%20field%20artillery&f=false

      http://books.google.com/books?id=ClInMwEACAAJ&dq=Field+Artillery+Replacement+Training+Center,&hl=en&sa=X&ei=pvb1U56aKY-uogTA-oCwBA&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA

      https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22Field+Artillery+Replacement+Training+Center+%28Fort+Bragg,+N.C.%29%22&source=gbs_metadata_r&cad=2&gws_rd=ssl

      Some of these books indicate that there were several FARTC locations such as this one in Camp Roberts.

      http://books.google.com/books?id=Bw4l_Lx2PmwC&pg=PA32&dq=Field+Artillery+Replacement+Center,&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ufb1U-q5F9C5ogTb14GgDQ&ved=0CDEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Field%20Artillery%20Replacement%20Center%2C&f=false

      You also may find something useful in the Field Artillery Journal archives:

      https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Field+Artillery+Journal+WWII&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb

      Regards,

      Jeff Clark

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