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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 1999
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    12,185

    Default Is This How the Navy Honors Its Veterans?

    This may be long. I've been doing a slow burn for the past month, and decided to ask if I'm over-reacting or not.

    My Aunt died last month. She is buried at the Quantico Marine Cemetery with her husband, who was a Marine in WWII and Korea. She was a veteran herself, who served as a Navy WAVE in WWII. Unfortunately, during her life (a long and happy 93 years) her discharge papers became lost. Because of this, Quantico will not mark her gravestone with her service. They require more proof that she did, indeed, serve in the Navy.

    When she was buried, the Navy authorized her burial "With Military Honors." It was a beautiful ceremony and I am very happy that she was honored that way. I decided to contact the Honors Division of the Navy, to find out what they had used as substantiation of her service. I called the number that the funeral home had used to arrange for the Honors ceremony. Then never returned my call, in spite of the fact that I tried two different times.

    When I did not receive a return phone call, I decided to enlist the help of my senator. Her office called the Navy and left a message requesting a call back. They didn't get one, so called again and, since the young lady who was working on the case was going to be on vacation 4th of July week, requested that they call me. I waited patiently, all last week, but never received a call.

    I'll call the Senator's office again on Monday. I understand that there was a fire, in the 1970's, in which a lot of military records were lost. However, my Aunt had a veterans insurance policy, only available to those who have served. I have a couple of pictures of her in uniform. Plus, I have a copy of her marriage license, which states that her occupation was "Ensign, US Navy." I would think that would be enough to at least merit some consideration.

    However, if the Navy never answers their phone, and doesn't return voice mail messages, how am I going to get through to a real, live person, who can help me get my Aunt the recognition she deserves? That is the thing that really makes me mad. That generation served above and beyond the call of duty. They deserve to be honored in death, as they, perhaps, never were in life.

    Am I wrong? Right now, her stone will read "Cherished Wife." It is a title she was also proud of. Should I be satisfied with that? Am I being overly demanding to think that she should also be recognized for her military service, as her husband was?

    Just because -- here is my Aunt and Uncle's wedding picture - in full uniform.
    http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL72.../403315609.jpg
    Last edited by Louise; Jul. 7, 2012 at 08:53 AM. Reason: to add picture
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
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    10,133

    Default

    First, hugs on your sweet Aunt's passing. That was an amazing generation to whom we owe so much.

    You are not being overly demanding asking for something that your Aunt earned through her service to the country. Keep working with your Senator for the answers.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2003
    Posts
    2,608

    Default

    A senator packs a lot of clout, but his office can be busy.

    The local news, however, loves a story like this; and boy, it can bring ratings. They can often get results where others do not.
    Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2000
    Location
    Virginia
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    975

    Default

    I work for the Navy and sometimes get these calls as my number for some reason is given out alot by 411 calls. Phone calls don't get the attention that a written letter does. Not sure if you wrote your senator? If you write, the senator's office is responsible for forwarding your response to the correct Navy office. It's then a Congressional and gets entered into a "system" where it is given a deadline for answering and is tracked with a due date. It may take longer if the records were destroyed but you should at least receive a written response. Just some info, hope it helps.
    Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
    -Eleanor Roosevelt-



  5. #5
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Oct. 21, 1999
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    Rochester, NY
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    Default

    I did write to my Senator. I didn't write to the Navy, because I wasn't sure where to write. When I call the Senator's office on Monday, I will ask if the letter has been forwarded to the appropriate Naval office. That information on how the process works helps me understand better. Thanks Roomfor2.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2004
    Posts
    2,355

    Default

    every state has wate is called a veteranet serv. commissions
    ffice. it is a state run office seperate forme the VA. it is set uo to assit in variuos differenat probreblems. this being one of them.
    the one in youre county link is this
    http://www.monroecounty.gov/veterans-mcvdcp-faq

    they may do more that your senetor office office in the long run. they are the ones we had to go though to give dh father a military burial becse the same thing reason. he even got some metals he never was awared, or rather my mil was awared them.. grave side.

    because your aunts recornt were lost in the fire is tragic yes yet all may all lost.. did she record she by any chache record her dd214 with the court house (this is a free service done "free service" done frovever or her discharge papers...) assumimg this was where she discareged to if not you might try looking in the court house where ever she dischaere to.

    i hope this helps a bit to give one of one who gave of her self.
    Friend of bar .ka



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
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    Default

    Bumknees is right, many people do file the DD214 or equivalent with the courthouse. Have you gone to Archives.gov, (the NARA or National Archives office), clicked on Evet rec, and sent a request for her records? You can do this, but you have to run the form off, sign and fax or mail in. There might be more records than you think, and if you check the box for awards they will have the Navy replace any awards listed that were given to her for her service. There were lots of records lost in the fire, but I think many more are available, at least in part, and they might be found with a thorough search by the Archives.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  8. #8
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Default

    Hmmmm, I don't know where she was discharged, maybe Washington, D.C. since that's where she was stationed for most of the time she served. I didn't know that many people filed their discharges with the courthouse. Doesn't hurt to ask.

    And, the National Archives is a place I never thought to look. I'll try that, also. Thank you all so much! She was a remarkable woman and I do so want her to be recognized.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
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    Default

    Second trying to track down her DD214. My husband is retired Navy and his is filed with the county. He said this is common practice. I am no sure why.

    I recently went to a Memorial Day service on the USS Hornet in CA. There was a big WAVES exhibit there. There must be some historical WAVES organization that could help you track down some paperwork on her....

    Found this, maybe there is a link that might be useful: http://www.womenofthewaves.com/links/index.htm



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 7, 2012
    Posts
    10

    Default

    The first step though would be to get her service number. Since her service was so long ago, they used a "service number" not the SSN for ID. The senator's office may not even be able to help without this number.

    Can you find any of her papers, such as last ID card, transfer orders, paystubs, etc....These papers could give her ID, and would make this process easier.

    Once you have that, her records, including her DD214 will be available from the archives. But the military will not do anything without that DD214.

    I hope you can get her the recognition she deserves!

    C



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
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    Default

    Louise- start with this page : http://www.archives.gov/

    Click on Veterans Service Records.
    http://www.archives.gov/veterans/

    The online request system with status is down until 9 July for upgrades, but the instuctions are there. Records of people discharged before 1950 are public record, so that might help a little.

    http://www.archives.gov/veterans/mil...rvice-records/ The instructions on here explain the process, and because her records are Archival now you might have to pay a fee. Just give the information you have on her, and they'll search. If you know anyone with an ancestry.com account they can search her name, and look at military records available publicly. There was a manual record from the county courthouse on my grandfather's service on Ancestry.com, so there might be something on there about your Aunt also. A lot of vets put the DD214 or equivalent on file at the courthouse, because some places give a property tax discount, and lots of people do file them even today. Apparently the reason people file the copy with the county courthouse is that way they have a copy if something happens to their paper copy.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2000
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    Louise, my heartfelt condolences on your loss of your aunt. It is clear that she was someone you loved greatly.

    I don't think you are being unreasonable at all in trying to get your aunt the recognition she deserves for her service.
    Good luck.
    A FINE ROMANCE - JC Reg Thoroughbred - GOLD Premium CSHA - ISR/OLDNA Approved
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
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    8,401

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Roomfor2 View Post
    I work for the Navy and sometimes get these calls as my number for some reason is given out alot by 411 calls. Phone calls don't get the attention that a written letter does. Not sure if you wrote your senator? If you write, the senator's office is responsible for forwarding your response to the correct Navy office. It's then a Congressional and gets entered into a "system" where it is given a deadline for answering and is tracked with a due date. It may take longer if the records were destroyed but you should at least receive a written response. Just some info, hope it helps.
    Sorry to here of your aunt's passing. But in today's world (where the Supreme Court says it's OK to lie in public about military service that never existed) the burden of establishing service is on the individual, or their family.

    Roomfor2 is "spot on." I did three Reserve stints in the Pentagon and answered Congressionals during each of them. They DO get attention and ARE answered. If the senator's office has no answer then there was no inquiry.

    Call your county Veterans Service Office. They can get you the addresses of places you can contact. Phone calls are likely just so much "whistling in the wind." Certified letters get attention 'cause there's a "paper trail" (and don't bureaucrats live and die by paper trails?).

    Establish, to the best of your ability, the full name, rate, service number, and date of birth of the member. If you don't have the service number, often name and date of birth can get it. Include, if you have one, a photo of your aunt in uniform (don't send the original). Include as much information as you can on places of assignment.

    VSOs are busy people, but this is part of their job.

    The DD214 is a post-WWII document. There was no DoD prior to 1948. IIRC all that was given prior to that time was a Certificate of Discharge. Those may or may not have been annotated with service information. They were issued for Naval Personnel by the Bureau of Naval Personnel (also called NAVPERS for short).

    One last note: WWII veterans are dying at the rate of about 1700/day. This means a huge administrative load for all the services. If somebody shows up asking for verification of service with nothing but a name and a story then they are not going to get fast service.

    Rendering honors at a funeral based upon oral history is one thing; carving it in stone is another. The burden is upon the family to verify the service with appropriate documentation. I sincerely hope you can establish it to the Cemetery management's satisfaction.

    G.

    P.S. I have a 92 year old aunt who was a WAVE in WWII. She's still alive. I've been after her to get her paperwork in order. I've also set aside three photos of her in uniform with her brothers (also in Naval Uniform) and my father (an Army MSGT). I'm not sure of her final wishes at this time.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão



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