May 31, 2010

My Canadian U.S. Veteran

In recognition of Memorial Day in the United States I would like to introduce you to my United States Veteran. My Dad, who served in the US Army from 1951 to 1954 even though he was a Canadian citizen living in Canada.

I don't know very much about this time in his life because it was before I was born but I know that he enlisted with his best friend and they both served their full 3 year tour of duty. A couple of years ago, I contacted his friend after many years to ask a few questions. We arranged to meet for dinner and while at the table, his friend pulled this news clipping from his wallet and gave it to me. He had been carrying it for over 50 years.

The clipping was originally from the St. Catharines Standard and says...

"Pvt. John Manley of Merritton, who recently graduated among the top five from the Dept. of the Army, finance school at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. Pvt. Manley now returns to his permanent station, Fort Campbell, Kentucky"

I contacted National Archives and Record Administration for his service records and got a very disappointing letter in return, which said in part:

"The record needed to answer your inquiry is not in our files. If the record were here on July 12, 1973, it would have been in the area that suffered the most damage in the fire on that date and may have been destroyed. The fire destroyed the major portion of records of Army military personnel for the period 1912 through 1959..."

I don't know why, but I sent another request today just to see if there is a possibility of finding something, somewhere. I'm not holding out high hopes but you never know.