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.


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:

  • 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:


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.


  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?

  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:


    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:


    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

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

  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.

  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


    enda clarke , oldportglenone@gmail.com

  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)...

  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.

  8. Seth,

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


  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

    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.


  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

  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?

    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.



  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!

    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:


      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:


      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:



      The FARCT acronym was also extensively being used in WWII:




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




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


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



      Jeff Clark

  13. Dear Mr. Clark,

    Little did I know when I typed "GO 33 WD 45" in a Google search, that I would such a treasure chest of valuable information, My Dad, Louis Butcher has the same numbers in his Enlisted records and separation of Honorable Discharge. He passed in 1982 and I love to find out as much as I can about him. Is there a way I can send you the document for further help?

    Thanks for your great website!
    Bob Butcher
    Clinton, CT

  14. Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your message. I'm glad that you've found the site useful. I'd be happy to take a look and see what I can find out about your Dad. Can you scan the docs in and email them to me? If your Dad was in the 82nd Airborne I'll most likely be able to provide you with some information. I still may have some leads if he was in another unit. If scanning and e-mailing the docs is infeasible, we can use snail mail. For my address send an email directly to airborne505@gmail.com

    Thanks for reading.


    Jeff Clark

    1. Hi Jeff, Thanks for the quick and polite reply. I have scanned the docs. Looking for your email.

  15. Hello Jeff,

    Since you seem to be a great source of knowledge for any questions I've had so far and have found many answers in your previous comments..can you explain where ETO is? This is the info under Service outside cont US on my grandfather's HD papers.

    Thanking you in advance...Cheryle

    1. Hi Cheryle,

      ETO is an acronym for the European Theater of Operations.



  16. Jeff,
    I have a question regarding the space 32 of my fathers (William F. Guest) separation papers. It is stated as Northern France GO 105 WD 45, I understand the WD 45 but don't know where the 105 indicates.
    Also in 55, it states; lapel button issued, ASR score (2 sep 1945)-53, 15 days lost under AW 107. Will you please explain.

    Thank you,
    Jerry Guest

    1. Hi Jerry,

      GO 105 is General Order 105 published by the War Department in 1945.

      You can download all of the General Orders for 1945 using the links provided in my original post above.

      AW 107 refers to AW 107 "SOLDIERS TO MAKE GOOD TIME LOST" which means that a soldier was charged with misconduct. He was put on trial and if convicted he then had to make up the days lost. Other types of misconduct included being absent without leave (AWOL), or being placed in hospital due to alcohol poisoning, injury...basically anything that was caused by misconduct. You can read about it here on the first couple of pages:


      Perhaps your Dad was not rally at fault for the any misconduct, but was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe his CO had an axe to grind. A lot GI's in WWII were enterprising liberators and often found innovative ways to make money, acquire artifacts, get rolling drunk while on duty, take a few days leave while no one was looking etc. All done outside of regulations and in many cases done with their CO's blessing, or blind eye. The reward was often worth the risk.



  17. HI Jeff,
    I have a couple of questions regarding my Grandfather's Discharge paperwork, (John F. Kirrer- Sgt. 82nd Airborne). in Box 31 it says Cal 30 M-1 Rifle Ex 181 Jul 44 * (then in the comment box below the * further says - Cal 30 M-1 Carbine Mx 162 Jul 43 CIB 27 Feb 43). The other question I had refers to box 34. My Grandfather received a Purple Heart and in this box it says: Purple Heart GO 13 Hq 325th Glider Inf. 14 May 45. I learned from a previous post what ASR stands for, what I am also curious is the number afterwards; in my Grandfather's case it is 111. I noticed that most are in the 70's... what does that number mean?

    I really appreciate any help you can be.
    Kind Regards,

    1. Hi Cham,

      The 111 is the number of points he had accumulated at the time of his discharge.

      Purple Heart GO 13 Hq 325th Glider Inf. 14 May 45 means he received the Purple Heart and it is recorded in General Orders 13 dated May 14 1945 which were issued by Headquarters of the 325th GIR. The Box 31 (which pertains to military qualifications) and associated comments probably indicate that his was an expert marksman with the M-1 Garand rifle which he attained in July of 1944. Not sure precisely what the M-1 Carbine MX 162 means, but in my best guess is he was awarded for being a marksman for proficiency in the use of that carbine in July of 1943. The CIB 27 Feb 43 indicates that he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge on that date. This is interesting because it probably means he was in a unit other than the 325th Glider Infantry - the 82nd Airborne Division as a whole had not seen combat until July 9, 1943 with the invasion of Sicily.

  18. Hi Jeff

    I found my granfathers Honorable Discharge paper and I have tried the sites you recomended but can not seem to find anything on him or his unit I know he was in a colored unit the 933rd AN BN and that he served in the Bismarck Archipelago by the Bismarck Archipelago GO 33 1945 on the discharge paper work i even have his service number but there is nothing else can you recommend somewhere else to look

    1. Hi,

      You could try contacting his unit at its current location. If it was subsumed by another unit, or otherwise re-designated, or disbanded, you could contact the Army and find out where the original unit records are archived.



    Jennifer Holik is a WWII author and runs a website containing useful resources for anyone wanting to research into WWII on topics ranging from:

    Service Information
    Libraries and Repositories
    Unit Histories

    as well as many other useful resources.

    There is a lot on Jennifer's website to explore.



  20. Hi Jeff, You are a good man for helping out so many... I have a question which web searching has not been of help... In my father's discharge papers; pertaining to his Purple Heart - it reads "Wounds Received in Action: WFTO 19 FEB 45". I assume that "WFTO" is perhaps a typo for "WPTO" refering to the Pacific Theater - but does it actually stand for somethine else?
    Thanks for any help,

    1. Hi Alan,

      I looked but could not find anything definitive. I assume you Dad was a marine. The fact that he was wounded on 19 Feb 1945 is a significant clue. Is it possible he was a member of the 4th Marine Division and received his wounds during the landing on Iwo Jima? That may explain the date. 19 February 45 is the date on which the invasion of Iwo Jima began.

      As a wild guess, based purely on conjecture, WFTO may be an acronym for "Wounded Failed To Organize". It could make sense IF he received his wounds on a LST or on the beach before he could organize with his unit. Again, it’s just a guess as I couldn’t find anything affirming such an acronym. More information on the 4th Marine Division on Iwo Jima can be found at



  21. Hey Jeff, - Alan here from that last comment. Thanks for the response; sorry I wasn't able to reply in the "Reply" section for some reason. My Dad was actually regular Army with the 403 H company and parachuted onto Corrigedor where he was wounded on that date while on the ground with his squadron. If you did not come across a common application for "WFTO" either - perhaps it is safe to say it was indeed intended as "WPTO". His (Hororable) Discharge paper is rife with old school typewriter typos including his last name (twice) and "New Huinea" - among others. I've been trying to fill in the holes I know from his time in service - your page here has been very helpful - definitely in explaining what the "104(!) days lost in Under AW 107" meant - I hope he had some rolicking times to earn that.
    Thanks very much for your time and help.
    Alan Willaum

  22. Thank you for the concise info.

  23. Thank you for posting this information. My father's war records were burned up in the fire. On his discharge notice I found the GO33WD45 code, searched for it, and found my way here. I downloaded the pdf file for 1945, but his name doesn't appear as a recipient of the Bronze Star for his action at the Rhine on Mar. 28, 1945. The medal was awarded in 1946. Could that be why his name isn't in this list? He was in the medical detachment, 80th Inf. Div., 317th.

  24. My Dad was in WW2 I have his Discharge, but I am confused about what Unit he was in. His discharge has his Unit as 273 Inf 69th Div, that does not seem to be correct. Is there any way to find out what this is or what unit he was with?