Few bonds are stronger than the ones forged in military service. Those who fight together against wartime foes create especially strong friendships that last a lifetime, leaving legacies to their families and others, like us, who have an interest in understanding what it was like to face an enemy in war.
The Contributed Military Group Records of the 63rd Infantry and the 500th Bomb Group are now available on Fold3. They take us close up and deep into World War II history and remind us of the sacrifices made by those who served within these units in Germany and the South Pacific.
The records include photos, scrapbooks, memorials, and personal memoirs. They pay tribute to the men who did not return home, honor those who have passed away since, and allow us glimpses into the continued camaraderie of those who survived as they perpetuate the pride within their units at reunions, dedications, and much later, through their organizations' websites.
Fold3 members are connecting images from these records with other documents. This one from the Holmes Crew in the 500th Bomb Group is connected to a Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) which includes the account of ditching their aircraft after a mission and the loss of some crew members. A photo of the Amos Crew is linked to another MACR. It conveys hope as survivors were seen on a life raft after their plane was forced down, yet they were unable to be rescued, were listed as MIA, and later declared dead (DED).
The 63rd Infantry includes the 253rd, 254th, and 255th infantry regiments. The division was activated in September 1943, and the three regiments arrived in Marseille, France, on 8 December 1944. By war's end, they had participated in three campaigns and lost over a thousand men. In this memoir for Purcell A. Trexler, we learn more about the man who signed this draft registration card on February 6, 1943, in North Carolina. George Snead, from Norman, NC, is referenced in Sgt. John Spagnoli's experiences fighting the Germans.
The records contributed by the 500th Bomb Group and the 63rd Infantry provide intimate, personalized tributes, helping us put faces to the names, stories to the lives, and tributes to the memories of the men who served. Their pride is evident throughout. Like so many surviving World War II veterans, the men coordinating these records are eager for them to be seen. Fold3 offers these collections online, free for all to view.
If you know of similar organizations with records to share, click here to contact Fold3 and help us pay tribute to military heroes of every era.