Help from someone familiar with WWII American military records - Air Corps

+9 votes
Walter L Jacobson served in the United States Air Corps during WWII. There is some evidence online that a Walter L Jacobson from New York was killed in the Pacific Theatre in 1943, was declared MIA in 1946. Can anyone familiar with American World War II records confirm if this the same Walter L Jacobson?

Also, it would be ideal to have this profile in the appropriate military categories.

Edited to change "Air Force" to "Air Corps" in title and tags. Thanks Laverne!
WikiTree profile: Walter Jacobson
in Genealogy Help by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (224k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway

The key to getting detailed information for any of these is to find the MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) which is the original miltary record of the event/action at the time it happened, with names, and all details. Especially valuable are any witness statements, confirming exactly what happened to the plane. There are a number of resources online to locate these records, they can generally be found pretty easily if you know the date of the event, the names of the crew, and/or plane tail number.

Looking at the link you referenced, you want MACR 15071. I suspect most of the information in the link is duplicated from that report.

The Missing Air Crew Report 15071 for B-24 Serial Number 41-11901  which was missing on February 19, 1943.  The crewmember 2nd Lt. Walter L. Jacobson had his  next of kin listed as Mr. Reuben Jacobson (father), 370 Riverside Drive, New York, New York.

4 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
This is the detail on the wreck for a Walter L.

He seems to be the only Walter from New York that woul fit.

In addition his father's obit in 1947 (has been entered) shows that Walter was deceased.  It seems that date of missing is 1943 but not declared dead until 1946.  I was not  able to find an obituary in the NY Times.

It would seem most reasonable that they are the same Walter L.
by Philip Smith G2G6 Pilot (274k points)
selected by Michelle Hartley
Thanks Phil, that's what I am thinking.
When a soldier went MIA during WWII and did not return to their unit or any unit, they were declared deceased one year plus one day after going MIA. If you have not requested the IDPF (Individual Deceased Personnel File) you should. It will have details about his death, likely a bit of service information, sometimes pieces of the MACR and a Finding of Death for 1944. They may have recovered his remains in 1946 but the official date of death would be 1944 due to the laws at that time. To request the IDPF sent a request with as much info as known about the soldier to: Department of the Army U.S. Army Human Resources Command ATTN: AHRC-FOIA 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Dept 107 Fort Knox, KY 40122-5504 It takes up to 48 weeks to receive free of charge unless they have already scanned it. The files are being moved from Suitland, MD to Ft. Knox, scanned and saved there. There are also Sortie reports (mission reports) if this man was on a bomber. Maxwell Air Force Base has these records. Also check the 90th bomber group and 321st BS to see if they have reunion groups or associations. Many of these groups are digitizing reports and posting online or their historians have them but they are not digitized. Worth checking into. Good luck. Jennifer
+6 votes
I have a record of World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas that says:

Name: Walter L. Jacobson

Inducted from: New York

Rank: First Lieutenant

Combat Organization: 321 st Bomber Squadron 90th Bomber

Death Date: Jan 08 1946

Monument: Fort William McKinley, Manila, the Philippines

Last Known Status: Missing

U.S. Awards: Purple Heart Medal , Air Medal
by Darlene Kerr G2G6 Mach 3 (31.0k points)
Thanks, Darlene. It looks like with Phil's information, this is the same Walter.
Yes, that was my opinion also.
+3 votes
The USAF did not exist until 1957, so it would have been the Army Air Corps. (USAAC) which was a division of the US Army.  You should not try to annotate any Air Corps service prior to 1957 to the USAF.

I am a veteran of the USAF 1974-78 and I feel that using the correct military branch is essential in documenting any historical or genealogical work.  Doing so will make it much easier on subsequent generations!
by Laverne Tornow G2G Crew (390 points)
Thanks Laverne. I am really unfamiliar with military branches and terminology, and in addition I am not American, so I appreciate clarification and help so I can identify the correct ways in which people served!
Laverne's answer is not correct information. My husband was a Lt. Col. in USAF for 28 years. The Air Force birthday is 18 Sep 1947. It is also the founding date. Everything before that date was the US Army Air Corps.
True-  The aviation branch of the US Army was the Army Air Corps.  It was distinguished by the branch collar insignia that was design of a propellor and wings.  This group grew so large that in 1942, it was designated the USAAF-- US Army Air Force.  The USAAF was divided into numbered Air Forces that served in different countries and either heavy strategic 4-engined bombers or tactical 2-engine bombers.  The 8 Air Force operated out of England.  In Italy, the 15 Air Force flew 4-engine bombers and the 12 Air Force flew 2-engine bombers out of Italy and Sardenia.  The 14 Air Force operated in the Pacific and later the 20 Air Force flew the B-29's that fire-bombed Japan and dropped the atomic bombs.

So the term "air force" was used in WW2.  See the aricle in Wikipedia on the USAAF.  []

The USAAF continued to exist after WW2.  In 1947, it became a seperate branch.  The uniform changed the the collar insignia was replaced with a "US" insignia.  The WW2 Vets were allowed to wear their Army ribbons even though these awards were replaced with Air Force design---usually having some blue in the design.   So an Army Good Conduct Medal was a Red/White striped ribbon but the new Air Force Good Conduct Medal was Light Blue with two stripes of Red/White/DarkBlue.
+5 votes

Hi Erin we have a great Worldwide military resource page on wikitree where you might find some links to help in your search Terry

by Terry Wright G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
Thanks, Terry. What a good resource!

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