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.
The link General Orders 1945 is not the correct link.
The correct link to these General Orders is General Orders 1945 copy 2. :
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:
- Air offensive Europe
- Algeria-French Morocco
- Northern France
- Southern France
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:
The direct link is General Orders 1942-1944:
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.