52 Ancestors Week 21: Military

+25 votes

imageReady for Week 21 of the 52 Ancestors challenge?

Please share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:


From Amy Johnson Crow:

The theme for Week 21 is "Military." Who fought in the military? Who worked to stay out of the military? What discoveries have you made using military records?


Share below!

Participants who share every week can earn badges. If this is your first time participating and you don't have the participation badge, or if you pass a milestone (13 in 13, 26 in 26, 52 in 52) let us know hereClick here for more about the challenge. 

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

My father in law, Donald Cooper, had a Navy story they could have made a movie about.  He flew border missions before the space technology and had a crash survival story.  I put it into a book for the grand children to understand (still trying to get it put online).  He had some great stories, here is another one that was published:  Mutiny at Johnsville Naval Air Station - 1956.  Thanks for supporting our veterans.

Honoring my father, Richard "Frank" Armistead (Armistead-1067), who served with the 351st Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force, stationed in Polebrook, England 1943-45.  Other military ancestors include: Dana Samuel Jaquith (Jaquith-150), Josiah Stebbins (Stebbins-1199), William Virgil Homer Armistead (Armistead-1116), both sides of the Civil War; John Armistead 3rd (Armistead-417), War of 1812; Lt. Timothy Wentworth Jr. (Wentworth-2071), Revolutionary War...as well as Ensign Jonas Woods (Woods-6007) and a few other Revolutionary War Armisteads and Breedloves I'm still researching.

My Pop Served in Englands Royal Navy as signalman . I'm still working on copying his service record


Also His father served in Englands Air force and was stationed in Palenstine among many other places like the seuz Canal. I still have to find his military records


My father, Emory "Jack" Wilcox served in the CBI Theater in World War 2, as part of the Merrill's Marauders in Burma. https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Wilcox-6935&action=edit

I have relatives who served in WWII. Donald "Duke" Spittler served in the 99th Infantry Division as a second lieutenant. He was awarded the Bronze Star for outstanding service during the Battle of the Bulge. Edward Weimer was a member of 17th Airborne Division, 3rd Battalion, I Company, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment Combat Team. He died on Dec. 27, 1944 and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Some of my relatives served in the Revolutionary War in particular John George Hoffman 1735-1789William Ward 1746-1795. Brothers Jonathan, Timothy and Samuel Avery, sons of Jonathan and Mary Farnsworth Avery were all killed in the Revolutionary War.

Relatives in Civil War; Garrett AveryJacob Knoll son of Catherine Spittler KnollJohnFredPeter and Charles Glosser sons of Catherine Metz GlosserJohn Avery served in the NY Volunteer Infantry, Co. D, 146th Regiment from 1862-1865. He was captured in 1864 and spent time in Andersonville Prison, GA. Read John's obituary at http://seiz2day.com/sbmerk/family/obits/johnavery.html which includes Letter from John Avery in Andersonville Prison, Excerpted from "Yankee Letters from Andersonville Prison." Georgia Historical Quarterly 38 (1954): 394-98.

My Great Grandfather fought in WW1, His name is William George Sayle he was a Private.

He received the Star, British War and the Victory Medal.

Which I have tried to trace his original medals through the family but without any luck, so I have had to order order replica medals to honour him...

My paternal grandfather,  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Truslow-201, was career US Navy.  He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1926, and was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL, before being transferred to Pearl Harbor as part of a Patrol Bombing Squad.  He was commander of the USS Swan during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and went on to command the USS Kenneth Whiting after WWII.

Also in Dad's family was Thomas Jones, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Jones-77989, of the Confederate States of America., 425th District Georgia Militia.  I'm currently trying to dig up more info on "Major" Jones.

My father served in World WarII, Francis Patrick Dorgan SR.  He also survived D Day, The Depression, A major illness as a young boy, his twin birth-his sister Eleanor died soon after birth. My dad was fragile at birth but kept striving to live! It surprised  the doctor and my  grandmother, Marie Bock, who was told my father would die soon that day. My father will always be my hero in many ways. He model many strengths for me during my childhood. I need to research his military life and share more through the WWII tag.

121 Answers

+6 votes

My son https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Richards-12892|Campbell David Richards enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from Woodbury High School in 2010. He was an Aviation and Air Comm Nav/Radar Systems Technician on Harrier AV-8 aircraft based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC..  He received two service awards for the Global War on Terrorism and retired from active duty in 2015, having achieved the rank of Sergeant. He completed his individual reserve commitment in 2018.  Campbell deployed on the USS Kearsarge to Southwest Asia and USS Bonhomme Richards in the Western Pacific.  

by David Richards G2G5 (5.8k points)
edited by David Richards
+6 votes
My great grandmother's brother, Victor Cecil Beck was a Master Sergeant in the Army. He served in World War II and Korea.
by Anonymous Rankin G2G6 Mach 3 (35.6k points)
+5 votes

I have a lot relatives that fought in wars. My dad even is a veteran. But I am going to do 2 relatives. 

#1 is Vinett Fine his profile is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Fine-206. He migrated to Tennessee at the time of Revolutionary War. He served under Col. John Sevier in several Indian battles along the North Carolina line. In one of the Indian battles he was killed and the volunteers needed to retreat so they cut a hole in the ice of a creek and placed his body there, planning to come back later  and retrieve it. A sudden thaw melted the ice and his body was never found. Today the creek is known as Fine's Creek. It is near Asheville, North Carolina. He was listed Dunmore County Militia in 1775 and in the 8th Virginia Regiment with Rev. Muhlenberg. "German Regiment." In July 1781, he was in a party attacking a party of Indians with Col. John Sevier. 

In April 1783, he was with a force who crossed the mountain to the Overhill Town (Cherokee Indian) of Cowee and burned it. All Indian aggressions upon the Pigeon and French Broad River settlements had come from this town. The force was commanded by Col. William Lillard and Major Peter Fine.

In the Winter of 1783, Indians began to steal horses and cattle from the Big Pigeon settlements in Cocke County TN. Major Peter Fine and Captain John McNabb raised a company of men and followed the Indians across the mountains into North Carolina, where they killed one Indian and wounded another, but recovered the stolen horses. The Indians fired upon them, killing Vinett Fine, and wounding Thomas Holland, and a man named of Bingham. Because there was no time for grave-digging and apparently no safety in trying to escape with the body, the ice in the creek was broken and the body placed there. Before the men could return for it, the creek became flooded by a sudden change in temperature, and the body was washed away and was never recovered. To this day, the creek is known as Fine's Creek. Fine's Branch, in 1998, is in Cocke County, TN. 

#2 Is Franklin Lafayette Rominger is profile is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Rominger-118. Franklin Lafayette Rominger was a Civil War soldier. He got pension for military service. He originally joined the Confederate forces during the Civil, but is reported to have deserted, walked to Olney, Illinois and enlisted in the Union Forces, for whom he fought the rest of the war.

National Archives Civil war records reveal that he enlisted in both the Confederacy on November 1, 1862 in Taylorsville, Tennessee, (which may have been conscript) and was listed as AWOL on June to December 1863 Company Muster Roll of the (6th NC Cav) 65th Reg't Co. G, North Carolina Volunteers only to surface again in Olney, Illinois on February 27, 1864 where he joined the 46th Reg't Illinois Infantry. 

by Anonymous Barnett G2G6 Pilot (465k points)
+7 votes
There were a number of ancestors that served in various wars/conflicts. One died in the battlefield of WWI and is buried in the Somme. The rest returned safe and mostly sound.

My paternal grandfather however was unfit for duty for either world war. My brother was not drafted for Vietnam, but with his bad eyesight I doubt he would have passed the fitness test. Currently my nephew is serving in the Australian Army.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+6 votes

My ancestor, James Taggart, came and sired a long line of men in the military.  He was also a pioneer and sheriff. He died in Baja Mexico in battle. His son was also part of the Indian Wars, fighting in Oregon, California. Over the last month I have been visiting much of the Pacific Northwest and am saddened they played a role in the genocide of so many people that were here before the Europeans. It is hard to reconile the good with the bad sometimes. 

by Lance Martin G2G6 Mach 9 (94.1k points)
+5 votes

This week I am posting [[Lee-27513|Pvt. Elbridge Lee]] killed in action during the Civil War Siege of Petersburg from June 15, 1864, to April 2, 1865.  Visit his final resting place at https://www.fndagrave/memorial/64356155| Union Cemetery, Adams Center, Jefferson County, New York, USA. (bio).

by David Richards G2G5 (5.8k points)
edited by David Richards
+5 votes

My ancestor Matthew McClurkin lost his brother to the brutal Col. Tarleton, fought in the battle of Hanging Rock, was a POW twice, escaped with other prisoners while being marched to a prison boat, was seriously wounded and bore the scar for the rest of his life. 


by Janelle Weir G2G6 Mach 4 (45.3k points)
+5 votes
My father served as Squadron Navigator in the 846th Sq in the 489th Bomb group, part of the 2nd Div of the 8th Air Force USAAF. His name was 1st Lt Harry Pomles. He was killed in action July 24, 1944 over St Lo, Normandy when the B24 he was navigating suffered a direct hit from German antiaircraft guns. He was 26 and I was a few months past my first birthday when he was killed. I was an Army wife, my husband served 21 yrs active duty. During our last assignment in Germany we did a tour of Normandy and the D Day landing beaches in 1978 and also visited many of the American cemeteries in France, Luxembourg and Belgium while we were there. The cemetery above Omaha Beach is beautiful and overwhelming at the same time. The first sight of those thousands of graves and realizing most of them are filled with young men in their late teens and 20's really got to me. There are many men among my ancestors served in the military and one woman that I know of. My father's sister Ann served in the WACS. She was one of my godmothers and my father somehow arranged to get her and my mother's younger brother (my godfather) passes to come to my christening. It was May 1943 and none of them had been shipped out yet. My uncle was in the artillery and served in Patton's 3rd Army during the Battle of the Bulge. He told me that when he was training in England for the D Day invasion my father arranged a pass serveral times for him so they could meet in London. He and my mother's younger sister were good sources for information about my father along with my maternal grandparents since my mother wouldn't talk about him with me. They lived with my grandparents after they married so they all knew him well and loved him very much.
by Marilynn Tobash G2G2 (2.1k points)
+5 votes

For this weeks challenge I chose my 2nd Great Grandfather, Silas Potter, who fought and died in the Civil War. In particular, the way that he died, during the Battle of the Wilderness. You'll have to read the Blog ( which is also published to my Twitter Account and my Facebook Time Line) to find out exactly what happened.

by T Counce G2G6 Mach 6 (63.2k points)
+5 votes

Sorry to be late with my entry.  I have now found records for 15 gifs and uncles who served in the Union during the Civil War. I would like to mention one in particular. Thomas Addison Bennett,who had mustered out with the 14thMaine Infantry. Military records list Thomas as wounded in 1863. In 1864 he was transferred to the VR, which was some sort of repository for disabled personnel, who were still able to work behind the lines. The discharge records from the Reserve Corps omitted the date and the place of discharge on the forms. I devoted many hours to reviewing census records  and genealogy websites in hopes of finding some indication that he had survived the Civil War.  I found another record of from 1872 indicated his participation in the 14th Maine and something called k.14 VRC. He was listed as an invalid, but there were no other names or places associated with the file. I found no further census records, nor records of burial. I contacted the VFW, because I would like to apply for a veteran's headstone, as no hero should go unsung. However, they found no records of his discharge or burial.  If any members could direct me to any source that might help in my search for Thomas and obtaining a military stone for him, it would be greatly appreciated. 

by S Mercer G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)
+5 votes


In the second summer of the Civil War, on July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 more troops to serve for three years or the duration of the war. The Ninth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed in response to this call, and https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Kellene-2 | Joseph Kellene volunteered and was mustered into service on August 15 in Company A of the Ninth.  As the regiment's companies recruited and headed to Fort Snelling for training, hostilities erupted on Minnesota's frontier as Taoyateduta (Little Crow IV) attacked New Ulm and other settlements. Thus, as each company formed, it headed to the troubled spot on the frontier.  On September 2, a few hundred fighters of the Dakota tribe attacked the members of the Sixth Minnesota Volunteer Regiment camped at Birch Coulee. The battle lasted into the next day, when relief arrived, including Company A of the Ninth and they forced Little Crow IV's men to retire.  Pvt. Joseph Kellene was injured in the fight and died from his wounds on September 8.  

by David Richards G2G5 (5.8k points)
+5 votes

John Wesley Copeland (My maternal great great grandfather) served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
He enlisted as a Private (date unknown) at Camp Shaver in Lawrence County, Arkansas"D" Co. AR 1st Infantry
He was wounded at Ringold, Georgia in November 1863. His Regiment lost so many men they were consolidated with CO's A B C D E F G H I K. That was what was left when they surrendered to General William T. Sherman on April 28th 1865 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
He was made 1st. Sgt. before the surrender.
Born, Jan. 22, 1846
Died, Feb. 01, 1917
He was one of a few that was left of the, Seventh Regiment Arkansas Infantry, also named, THE BLOODY SEVENTH.

Sources: http://www.civilwardata.com/active/hdsquery.dll?SoldierHistory?U&2384430


by Katherine Metz G2G2 (2.7k points)
+4 votes
William Robert Edmiston https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Edmiston-48 fought in the French & Indian War, and later joined the Washington County, VA militia. Colonel William Edmiston commanded, as a Major, a regiment commanded by Colonel (later General) William Campbell at the Revolutionary War Battle of King’s Mountain, which occurred October 7, 1780. Members of the regiment which Major Edmiston commanded included his brother Samuel Edmiston who survived; other brothers Lieutenant Robert Edmiston and Lieutenant Andrew Edmiston and brother in law, Captain William Edmiston, all killed in action. A son, Lieutenant Robert Edmiston was wounded.  Another son Captain John Edmiston also survived, but was later killed at the Battle of Frenchtown during the War of 1812.
by David Richards G2G5 (5.8k points)
+4 votes

https://www.wikitee.com/wiki/Miller-3173|Reverend Robert Miller is my 5x great grandfather and https://wiki.com/wiki/Pickens-173|Jean Pickens, his wife, is my 5x great grandmother.  This honor is another for a group American patriots in the years previous to and including the American Revolution, all of whom are my ancestors. He served as Sergeant of Company L of Brandon's Regiment of South Carolina Troops during the Revolutionary War.  Briefly, the legacy of the regiments of the South Carolina Troops in the Revolutionary War includes several historic episodes:1) the surrender of the fort at Ninety Six; 2) the fall of Charleston; 3) the Battle of Waxhaws/Bufords Massacre; and 4) the Battles of King's Mountain and Cowpens.  Reverend Miller was the first pastor of the Waxhaw Presbyterian Church, and in fact also donated land for the church building.  Among the elders at the new church was https://wikitree.com/wiki/Pickens -150|General Andrew Pickens, Rev. Miller's brother in-law.

by David Richards G2G5 (5.8k points)
+4 votes

I realize I joined 52 weeks LATE  but just had to answer this one.   

My father,  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/McReynolds-218 , is my favorite military ancestor.   He joined the military after high school;  his small rural Arkansas community didn't have many job opportunities and his family certainly didn't have money for college.  It was the Korean War era, but he never went to Korea.   As a helicopter pilot,  he served two tours in Vietnam; back when a military career wasn't very popular in our great nation.    He retired circa 1975 and returned to Arkansas.

Dad would be proud that his only grandson (my brother's child) is currently in Marine Corps basic training,  in southern California.  Oorah!

by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (425k points)
edited by Peggy McReynolds
+3 votes

I have over 30 patriot ancestors from the American Revolution. Many of them fought the British for American Independence. At least one was a POW on The Old Jersey, a British ship notorious for it's inhumane treatment of prisoners. I had several ancestors who served in the Colonial Military prior to the Revolution. All my ancestors moved to Kentucky either before or after the Revolution. Many of my ancestors and relatives served honorably in the Civil War (both sides), World War I & II, and the Korean War. Even two of my great aunts served in the WAC and the Marines during WWII. My uncle and personal hero Lt. Col. Ernest Edward Lane who graduated as a Civil Engineer from West Point Military Academy, was killed in Vietnam at age 43. 

by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (134k points)
+4 votes

My father, James A. Lillard served in the US Merchant Marine for approximately five years following his graduation from high school in 1943. He sailed in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans during WWII. He was aboard his ship in Manila Bay, Philippine Islands, when the Japanese surrendered. At the time he was drafted into the Army in 1949, he was licensed as a Second Mate, US Merchant Marine.

He attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, US Army Infantry, in 1950. He had one tour of duty in Korea with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team as a platoon leader of both heavy weapons and rifle platoons. In Korea, he participated in four campaigns and combat parachute assaults behind enemy lines. He had two tours of duty in Vietnam with the Army Special Forces (Green Berets), participating in five campaigns.

James Lillard served two tours of duty in command and staff positions with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. He also served with the Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps, 10th Special Force Group (Airborne) in Germany and the 6th Infantry Division. He was on the faculty of the Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia. He was a graduate of the Basic and Advanced Infantry Officer Courses, the Airborne School, and the Command and General Staff College.

James A. Lillard retired from the US Army in 1980 with the rank of Colonel. The awards he received during WWII for his service in the Merchant Marine include: Merchant Marine Combat Bar; Atlantic War Zone Bar; Pacific War Zone Bar; Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and Merchant Marine Victory Medal. His awards and decorations received during Army service include: Combat Infantry Badge with star; Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters and "V"; Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Army Commendation Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with silver star; United Nations Service Medal (Korea); Cross of Gallantry with silver star, Republic of Vietnam. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star in September 2000, for service in combat while in Vietnam.

by Anneliese Kennedy G2G6 Mach 1 (15.6k points)
+4 votes

I will choose my husband's grandfather, Paul Ainsworth who served in the Marines, was at Pearl Harbor in 1941; he was a gunner, and machinist. 
My husband's father, Fred Bockelman was in the Marines during WWII, graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Geology, and was recalled as a Lieutenant into service during the Korean War. He had learned Japanese, and became an interpreter.
Fred was overseas when my husband was due, so his mother stayed in Riverton, Wyoming, with her parents - which is why my husband is the only one of three siblings NOT born in Texas! 

by Sheri Taylor G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
+3 votes
Quite a few Notestein family members in the military since the revolutionary war.
To highlight a few.
William F Notestine was an infantry captain in the 11th Missouri regiment during the civil war.  He led a charge to attack a rebel fort. He was shot in the thigh and it subsequently was amputated. He died from complications of his wounds. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Notestine-53

Raymond Notestein was a B17 pilot during WWII. His plane was rammed by an ME109. He was KIA.


James Notestein was a Col during WWII and commanded the 371st infantry in Italy.  He was also member of the war crimes trial of German army commanding general Dostler.


by Living Notestein G2G1 (1.6k points)
+2 votes
I began diving into the Daughters of the American Revolution and discovered I have a number of lines to connect to the revolutionary era and patriots of those early American years. Afterward, every generation since then has had military members in my direct lineage. I was a bit awe-struck with the discovery. My father and his father both have military photos in their profiles.
by Tess Obenauf G2G6 (8.8k points)

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