Where to Start - 445BG

Go to content

Main menu:

Where to Start

Research

This section will be a lead-in to the history of the 445th Bomb Group and its wartime activities.  It will also serve as a teaching tool for those who would like to become interested in military history research.  I knew absolutely nothing about it when I started 11 years ago, so I'm going to explain how I got started.

First, let me start by saying that my original intent was to learn more about my dad's military service during World War II.  If I had stuck with my original plan, this website would have been about 3 or 4 pages long.  As I learned more and more about the 445th, I realized this was a unit that had to be honored for their service during the war.  Not that they were any better than the rest of the units in the 8th Air Force, or even the US Army Air Corps - they all deserve to have the kind of site I hope this one will become - a living tribute to the bravery and sacrifices that the men and women of "the greatest generation" made to the world!

OK - so if you're like my friend Aaron Weiss whose caught the 'I want to learn how to do research' bug, this is how I would have started:

  • Define a goal (or goals) that you want to attain.  Make sure that your goal is within your resources ($, time).  Be specific; too broad a set of goals will have you wandering all over the place.

  • Once you know what your goals are, start thinking about how to find resources.  This would depend on the kind of research you are wanting to do.  In my case (military research), I had absolutely no idea where to start and someone suggested "Googleâ„¢ the internet".  If you are interested in doing genealogical research, here's a good place to start.

  • An excellent resource for doing military aviation research would be two websites: ArmyAirForces.com and B-24BestWeb.  Both websites have excellent forums where questions can be posted and a host of moderators and researchers can provide answers.  The ArmyAirForces.com website has a Research Help page which provides links to other governmental sites.

  • Start collecting research books that you can reference.  This link will to you to some books I have found to be helpful.

  • Take your time!  You may not strike paydirt on your first search/request.  Above all - don't become discouraged!  Somewhere out there is the precise information you are looking for.  It may take some digging, but the search will make the finding so much more enjoyable.

  • Family members are a good point to start, but don't take family stories as gospel. A gentleman's recollections of his father being a B-17 pilot led to confusion when he learned that his Dad was a B-24 pilot.  The passing of the years will sometimes lead to confusion as to what was fact and what was not.


Now - Get going!

Source

Contact Information

American Battle Monuments Commission

If the veteran you are searching for was killed in action and is still buried overseas he should be listed in this database. Burials in the domestic United States are not covered.

Department of Veterans Affairs: National Cemetery Administration - Nationwide Gravesite Locator

If your veteran is buried in a national cemetery, this database covers almost all 120 of the national cemeteries. Burials abroad are not covered, but if you go to the American Battle Monuments Commission (see link above), you may find them.

WWII POW Database Search at NARA

The records identify World War II U.S. military officers and soldiers and U.S. and some Allied civilians who were prisoners of war (POWs) and internees.  Click on the WWII link.

WWII MIA Database from the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office

DPMO researchers have completed the first electronic listing of Missing Personnel from the Second World War, which is now available on the DPMO website.

WWII Army Enlistment Records

This can be a great way to find a serviceman's serial number and other basic details.  Click on the World War II link.

Fold3.com

Formerly footnote.com, a commercial entity that hosts large collections of material including Missing Air Crew Reports. Membership required for full access.

World War II records held by NARA

Nice overview of the NARA holdings.

Air Force History Index

Searchable index of documents held by the Air Force Historical Research Agency.


Back to content | Back to main menu