3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company Unit History
Introduction & Activation:
Following the Great War, and during the 20 years following it, the responsibilities of The Quartermaster General mainly applied to the permanent cemeterial functions that had to be administered in times of peace. He not only had direct control over Arlington National Cemetery and Mexico City National Cemetery, but in addition was responsible for the establishment and general supervision of all national cemeteries, soldier plots, confederate burial plots, monuments, and military parks under the jurisdiction of the War Department, as well as the maintenance of all records pertaining to them. His peacetime functions were greatly expanded by the sharp increase in the size of the United States Army in 1940, and after Pearl Harbor, by the additional responsibilities exercised in wartime in connection with graves registration activities overseas. These responsibilities were further extended in fall of 1943 by the designation of The Quartermaster General as Chief, American Graves Registration Service. He was now also charged with formulating the necessary policies for the operation of the Graves Registration services outside the continental limits of the United States (as per WD, Cir # 206, dated 11 Sep 43) and assigned to organize the return of the remains of American dead, including those of the Army – Navy – Marine Corps – Coast Guard and civilian employees of the War Department and other agencies of the US Government, after the cessation of hostilities.
The 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company was officially activated as per Letter AG.322 (26 Nov 43) ref. OB-I-SPMOU-M, dated 26 November 1943, effective 10 January 1944 at the Quartermaster Unit Training Center, Fort Francis E. Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming (Army Service Forces Training Center + Quartermaster Replacement Training Center + Quartermaster School, acreage 94,874; troop capacity 665 Officers and 16,518 Enlisted Men –ed). Constitution and assignment were issued per Letter, Headquarters, Seventh Service Command, SPKSA 322 (10 Jan 44), Omaha, Nebraska, dated 10 January 1944.
The original cadre of 15 EM was obtained from Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, 496th Quartermaster Battalion, Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming, with the balance filled from draftees transferred from various Reception Centers in the Zone of Interior and from EM stationed at Fort Francis E. Warren.
The organization’s Commanding Officer was Captain Graydon C. Kays, O-367130, QMC, from Los Angeles, California.
After having been constituted the unit was assigned to the Seventh Service Command and organized in accordance with T/O 10-297, dated 6 November 1943, with an authorized strength of 6 Officers and 124 Enlisted Men (later amendments were introduced; C1 dated 25 November 1943 and C2 dated 22 December 1944, with a final authorized strength of 6 Officers and 119 EM). While serving in the European Theater, the unit was to operate under the code name “Daisey”.
In World War Two, Quartermaster Graves Registration Companies fell under the category “General Service and Miscellaneous Units”, including such other organizations as: QM Service Companies – QM Salvage Collecting Companies – QM Fumigation and Bath Companies.
Preparation for Overseas Movement:
Training was immediately initiated with the unit participating in one of the specialized courses set up by the Quartermaster School. This Graves Registration course was established in response to requests from Theater Commanders late in 1942 for Officers capable of handling casualties occurring in combat zones, and eventually three 2-week classes for Officers were initially conducted during the first half of 1943. This type of course followed by the 3042d stressed practical field work and improvisation in Graves Registration operations.
The organization went through its 6-week phase of basic military training, followed by basic technical instruction and specialized field training under actual bivouac conditions away from all military installations.
Highlights of the unit’s training and other activities:
- 13 February 1944 > fired 40 cal. 30 rounds during M-1 Carbine practice course
- 15 February 1944 > fired M-1 Semi-Automatic Rifle cal. 30-06 for record course “C”
- 17 February 1944 > completed Infiltration course
- 22 February 1944 > completed Basic Training course
- 23 February 1944 > fired 50 cal. 22 AA rounds during familiarization course
- 23 February 1944 > completed QM Service School
- 13 March 1944 > completed Chemical Warfare Training course
- 30 March 1944 > passed the required Overseas Physicals
- 8 April 1944 > viewed the compulsory Censorship Film
- 11 April 1944 > completed the Malaria course
- 15 April 1944 > granted a 7-day pre-POE furlough for all Enlisted personnel
The 3042d QM Graves Registration Company was transferred from Fort Francis E. Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming, to the New York or Boston Port of Embarkation, for further permanent movement overseas under shipment no. 1106-LL with readiness date 1 May 1944, as per WD 370.5 (4 Apr 44) OB-S-E-SPMOT-M, dated 7 April 1944, amended by WD 370.5 (8 Apr 44) OB-S-E-SPMOT-M, dated 11 April 1944. The organization was ordered to transfer to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, for staging, per Special orders # 121, Headquarters ASFTC, Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming, 30 April 1944.
The Company effectively departed from Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming, 2 May 1944, reaching Camp Edwards, Massachusetts (Antiaircraft Artillery Training Center –ed), 5 May 1944 (per Troop Movement Table, 6 June 944) where it would remain until 13 May 1944.
The 3042d QM GR Co departed Boston POE, on board the “John Ericsson” 13 May 1944, per Recapitulation Sheet, dated 15 May 1944.
Stations in the ZI – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Fort Francis E. Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming – 10 January 1944 > 2 May 1944
Camp Edwards, Falmouth, Massachusetts – 5 May 1944 > 13 May 1944 (Staging)
The unit’s arrival in the United Kingdom was officially registered as taking place on 25 May 1944 in Liverpool, England, per Headquarters, Services of Supply (SOS), ETOUSA, APO 87, dated 30 May 1944.
Stations in the United Kingdom – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Prescot, Lancashire, England – 25 May 1944 > 12 June 1944
Histon, Cambridgeshire, England – 12 June 1944 > 30 June 1944 (Transient Camp No. 2)
Donington Hall, Shropshire, England – 1 July 1944 > 9 July 1944
Marshaling Area, Southampton, England – 9 July 1944 > 11 July 1944
Stations in France – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France – 13 July 1944
Blosville, France – 14 July 1944 > 4 August 1944
St. James, France – 4 August 1944 > 26 September 1944
Longuyon, France – 28 September 1944 > 5 October 1944
The 3042d QM GR Co assisted in evacuation and burial operations at the Blosville American Military Cemetery, Normandy, France (Blosville was situated approximately three miles south of Ste-Mère-Eglise, an area filled with crashed gliders strewn everywhere, hundreds of parachutes hanging from hedges, trees and farm buildings, and many dead bodies of American and German personnel –ed). The place selected for a temporary burial site was one of six American cemeteries set up in a radius of about twenty miles. At the outset, Blosville was intended to be temporary and primarily serve the 82d Airborne Division. By the time the St-Lô breakout took place, the Allies had moved further east and the cemetery already contained over 6,000 American graves.
The unit then operated a Collecting Point near Avranches, Normandy, France, where battlefield dead, remains, and personal and issue-items were assembled.
It later established one (1) American and one (1) German Military Cemetery at St. James, Brittany, France on 4 August 1944, and organized Collecting Points at Vannes and Rennes, Brittany, France, under direction of VIII Corps Headquarters the following day.
The organization established a new Collecting Point for American and Allied dead at Lesneven, Brittany, France, on 10 August 1944. Following instructions received from VIII Corps it then set up a separate German Military Cemetery at Lesneven, Brittany, France, on 13 August 1944.
Notes: It was reported by FUSA that following the D-Day assault landings, a QM Railhead Company and QM Service Company were sent to the temporary cemeteries to begin the collection of bodies and the digging of graves. These Companies continued the service until D+5 at which time Prisoner of War labor was furnished by the 1st Engineer Special Brigade. This stressed the importance of providing adequate Quartermaster Service personnel in any operation against the enemy. The recommendation that was ultimately made by VII Corps (responsible for the Utah beach assault) was that in “Operation Neptune”, 2 QM GR Platoons and 1 entire QM Service Company landing early on D+1 would have materially alleviated the confusion on the landing beaches from many scattered bodies and abandoned equipment!
Stations in Luxembourg – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Clervaux, Luxembourg – 5 October 1944 > 17 December 1944
While stationed at Clervaux, Luxembourg, and based upon orders received from VIII Corps on 5 October 1944, the 3042d established several Collecting Points at St. Vith, Belgium (East side of highway N26); Clervaux, Luxembourg (at the entrance of the Company’s Administrative installations); Niederfeulen, Luxembourg (as from 7 Nov 44); and Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. All bodies delivered to these points were eventually evacuated to the Master American Military Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle, Hombourg, Belgium, which site had been liberated by troops pertaining to the 1st US Infantry Division 12 September and officially opened for burial operations on 25 September 1944. During the month of October 1944, a total of 122 American, 3 Allied, and 11 German dead were recovered and evacuated.
Still operating at the above Collecting Points, the Company evacuated the bodies of 90 American, 0 Allied, and 30 German dead during the first two weeks of November. This operation was followed by the recovery of 54 more American, 0 Allied, and 17 German dead, during the last two weeks of November 1944. The American Cemetery at Hamm, Luxembourg, was established by the 609th QM GR Co for burial of TUSA casualties and officially opened 29 December 1944.
The 3042d QM GR Co was attached to the 588th Quartermaster Battalion (M), APO 230, United States Army.
Twelve (12) Enlisted Men were sent on DS to the Arlon Rest Center, Belgium, effective 11 December 1944.
Stations in Belgium – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Freux, Belgium – 17 December 1944 > 18 December 1944
After arriving at Freux, Belgium, the Company established Collecting Points at Wiltz, Luxembourg; Winseler, Luxembourg; Gouvy, Belgium; and Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. During the first two weeks of December 1944, a total of 32 American, 0 Allied, and 3 German dead were recovered and evacuated.
Stations in France – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Givet, France – 18 December 1944 > 20 December 1944
(Respelle, Belgium – 20 December 1944 > 21 December 1944)
Sedan, France – 21 December 1944 > 24 December 1944
Rethel, France – 24 December 1944 > 13 January 1945
During the last half of December 1944 the unit operated several Collecting Points for Allied and enemy dead, eventually evacuating these to the Cemetery. All previously-reported Collecting Points were meanwhile closed and those now in operation were established at Pin, Belgium; Bastogne, Belgium; Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; and Rethel, France (where the Company’s Headquarters was located). In addition to these Collecting Points, eight (8) Teams of three men each traveling in ¾-ton Weapons Carriers and 1-ton Trailers were evacuating the dead from the Bastogne area to the American Cemetery located at Grand-Failly, France, which had opened on the eve of Christmas, 24 December 1944.
Most of the organization’s equipment, including individual clothing and equipment, but fortunately not including the vehicles, was lost in combat during the Battle of the Bulge. Much of the individual clothing and equipment was eventually replaced as well as some organizational supplies and equipment so that the personnel could operate successfully. All records existing prior to 15 December 1944 were destroyed as a result of the battle for Bastogne, Belgium, in which the organization was forced to hastily withdraw without records.
On 11 January 1945, the 3042d was attached to the 519th Quartermaster Group. The 3060th QM Graves Registration Company received instructions from FUSA on 13 January 1945 to investigate, collect, and research the circumstances surrounding the fate of American captured personnel massacred by German troops at Baugnez, Belgium. They were supplemented by the 3200th QM Service Company for recovery and evacuation of the bodies.
Stations in Belgium – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Jamoigne, Belgium – 13 January 1945 > 12 February 1945
Bastogne, Belgium – 12 February 1945 > 16 March 1945
Soon after reaching Jamoigne, Belgium, the 3042d unit was relieved from duty with FUSA, and assigned to Third United States Army, effective 15 January 1945.
The organization started operating 4 new Collecting Points from 21 to 31 January 1945 inclusive, and was attached to Headquarters, 537th Quartermaster Battalion for administration. From 1 February through 10 February 1945, the unit opened Collecting Points for the 87th Infantry Division, the 17th Airborne Division, and VIII Corps. Following that period and up to the end of February, it further operated 4 Collecting and Evacuation Points, and 4 Clearing and Evacuation Teams for evacuation of American, Allied, and enemy dead in the vicinity of Bastogne, Belgium.
Starting 1 March through 20 March 1945, the 3042d QM GR Co expanded its 4 Teams to 6 Collecting and Clearing Teams, while continuing to operate the 4 Collecting and Evacuation Points located in the combat zone.
Notes: The Collecting Points established by and under Corps jurisdiction served as an assembly area to which Corps troops evacuated their dead. VIII Corps Collecting Points also received the dead from Division Collecting Points, thereby relieving the Divisions of the responsibility for evacuating these to the cemetery. Army Collecting Points served primarily Army troops and Hospital units in the rear of the Army area. Evacuation was direct from the Third US Army Collecting Point to the appropriate cemetery. In TUSA normal procedures were followed except in certain cases where methods varied to meet local situations. The assignment of a QM GR Platoon to a Division was found to be a waste of personnel (according to Third Army Headquarters, such small unit was inadequately trained, staffed, and equipped to properly operate a cemetery –ed). They solved the problem by operating one Army Cemetery and attaching a Collecting Team to each Division for the purpose of evacuating the dead to the Army cemetery. This Team consisted of 5 EM traveling in 2 ¾-ton Weapons Carriers with 1-ton Trailers. On good roads they could evacuate up to a distance of 150 miles during rapid advances by the Army. The plan adopted by TUSA not only tended to save critically-needed personnel and equipment but furthermore enabled to localize identification procedures and avoid excess handling of the bodies.
Third United States Army reported that QM Service Companies attached to the Graves Registration Companies operating the cemeteries helped provide the necessary labor requirements. If necessary, enemy PWs were used to supplement the above, but due to their rapid turnover they were merely used for digging graves. Civilian labor although paid for, was found to be generally inefficient and difficult to control.
Stations in Germany – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Wittlich, Germany – 16 March 1945 > 26 March 1945
Stromberg, Germany – 26 March 1945 > 15 April 1945
Erfurt, Germany – 16 April 1945 > 23 April 1945
Buchenbühl, Germany – 23 April 1945 > 29 June 1945
Kaiserslautern, Germany – 30 June 1945 > 30 June 1945
From 21 March through 31 March 1945, the organization operated the same Collecting and Evacuation Points for the 87th Infantry Division; this mission of collecting and evacuating the dead continued up to 10 April 1945.
During early April 1945, the 3042d operated an American and a German Military Cemetery for burial of American, Allied, and enemy dead at Stromberg, Germany, which had been opened 26 March 1945. This mission lasted from 1 April through 20 April 1945.
On 9 April 1945, Pfc Martin E. Holman, Jr. was wounded in action as a result of being ambushed at an enemy roadblock near Hanau, Germany.
Between 21 April and 30 April 1945, the 3042d operated 2 Collecting and Evacuation Points for the 97th Infantry Division.
Stations in France – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Nancy, France – 1 July 1945 > 1 July 1945
Dijon, France – 2 July 1945 > 2 July 1945
St. Rambert, France – 3 July 1945 > 3 July 1945
Arles, France – 3 July 1945 > 23 August 1945 (Staging)
While at the Arles Staging Area, the 3042d operated as a ‘complete’ unit from 4 July up to 23 August 1945.
Losses of Enlisted Men during the operations in the European Theater of Operations were estimated to be 20 EM by transfer to other units, and 4 by injury, including 1 wounded in action.
Special instructions were received whereby it was stated that the Commanding General, European Theater of Operations, was to take the necessary action and issue the necessary instructions to move the 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company from its present overseas station to the Southwest Pacific Area on or after 1 July 1945, for a “permanent change of station”, utilizing water transportation provided by the Commanding General, Army Service Forces, under shipment No. R 5801-BBB; upon embarkation at present overseas station, the unit would pass to the control of the CG, ASF, and upon arrival at the ultimate destination, to the command of the CG at final destination, per WD 370.5 (7 Jun 45) OB-S-E-SPMOT-M, dated 11 June 1945; amended to change the destination to a Port in the continental United States, as per WD 370.5 (14 Sep 45) OB-S-E-SPMOT-M, dated 18 September 1945.
Return to the ZI:
The 3042d QM GR Co after being duly processed boarded the “Marine Raven” (Ship R 5801-HBB) in Marseille, southern France on 24 August 1945, and sailed with destination the Zone of Interior on 25 August 1945. After an uneventful voyage, the ship reached Staten Island, New York, departing for Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey (Staging Area for New York Port of Embarkation –ed), where the personnel arrived on 3 September. The unit debarked on 6 September 1945. All personnel were subsequently re-grouped and transferred to Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia (Army Service Forces Replacement Training Center –ed) the same day, as per radio order CM-IN-4120 (6 Sep 45) from the Commanding General, Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, dated 5 September 1945. The organization arrived in Camp Lee, Virginia 6 September 1945, as per radio order CM-IN-5304 (7 Sep 45) emanating from the CG, Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia, dated 6 September 1945. Assignment to the Army Service Forces Training Center (ASFTC) at Camp Lee, Virginia, was effective as per AG 370.5 (6 Sep 45), OB-S-E-SPMOT-M, dated 8 September 1945. The 3042d was then relieved from assignment to the ASFTC at Camp Lee from “preparation for extended field service”, “redeployment training”, and/or “pending further instructions to be issued by the CG, ASF”, as the case could be, but remained temporarily assigned to the Army Service Forces Training Center, Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia, without change of station, effective immediately as per SPX 322 (25 Sep 45) OB-I-SPMOU-M, dated 26 September 1945.
On 30 October 1945, Captain Lloyd G. Briney, QMC assumed command of the organization relieving Captain Graydon C. Kays, QMC.
The 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company was finally to be inactivated by the CG of the ASFTC as a Category IV Unit, 5 days after the assembly date, as per AG 322 (4 Oct 45) OB-I-SPMOU-M, dated 9 October 1945, amended by AG 322 (16 Oct 45) OB-I-SPMOU-M, dated 19 October 1945. Effective date 28 November 1945, at Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia, as per GO # 113, ASF, Headquarters, Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia, dated 15 November 1945.
The 3042d QM GR Co was finally processed and duly inactivated 28 November 1945.
Postwar Transfer to SWPA:
The 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company was re-designated 113th Quartermaster Service Company, effective as of 10 November 1948, per AGAO-I 322 (8 Feb 49) –M, dated 8 February 1949. Subject organization was subsequently assigned to the RYUKYUS, and was to be activated and organized in accordance with T/O & E 10-500, dated 10 January 1945, Column C; 2 AK; BF; BD; DG; 2 DI; EM; FA; with an authorized strength of 6 Officers and 102 Enlisted Men, per AGAO-I 322 (10 Nov 48) CSGOT-M, dated 10 February 1949. The unit was officially activated 5 December 1948, and attached to the 58th Quartermaster Base Depot (PS), per GO # 95, Headquarters, Ryukyus Command (RYCOM), dated 3 December 1948.
Personnel Roster – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company (end 1944)
Captain Graydon C. Kays, 0-367130, QMC, Commanding Officer
First Lieutenant Gerald E. Bridenbaker, O-1578204, QMC, Platoon Officer
First Lieutenant Timothy F. McCarty, O-1588729, QMC, Platoon Officer
First Lieutenant John F. Miller, O-1595043, QMC, Platoon Officer
First Lieutenant Alvin A. Trussell, O-1582221, QMC, Platoon Officer
First Lieutenant John R. Wood, Jr., O-1590271, QMC, Executive Officer
|Herbert J. Ackerman
Marion G. Alexander
Lawrence L. Anthony
Chesley R. Austin
Charles G. E. Backstrom
Robert R. Barber
Richard E. Biersach
Wilmer E. Blunier
Herman C. Bont
Dean G. Bowser
Donald A. Bricco
Lyle H. Brotherton
Paul D. Butler
Jessie D. Campbell
Leslie B. Campbell
Woodrow J. Chandler
Augustine B. Conant, Jr.
Harry E. Cooper
Wesley K. Cooper
William J. Cummins
Vincent R. Dearing
Raymond J. Dell
William H. Dent
James H. Dethloff
William H. Dice
Maril L. Dorough
Henry H. Fairchild
Charles M. Falknor
Edmund O. Fitzpatrick
Floyd E. Fisher
James B. Foster
Ward B. French
Norman H. Fryman
Edgar S. Gallant
Louis R. Green
William J. Grothaus
Robert L. Gunther
Richard J. Halvorson
Everett R. Hamblin
Archibald K. Hanes
Donald G. Hanner
Harvey E. Hardwick
Martin E. Holman, Jr.
Wendell V. Holmes
Ray L. Hunter
William L. Jacobs
Harry F. Jones
William J. Keen
Edward H. Knopp
Victor B. Konieczny
Anthony A. Kruschel
Robert J. La Monte
Delbert H. Langer
Delma H. Langley
Frank F. Lape
Casimir J. Lewickf
|David A. Lock
Daniel W. Martin
Roy P. Masini
Arthur L. Massey
Morris B. McCartt
Merlyn M. McFarland
Francis G. Meagher
Salvatore A. Messina
Joe V. Milianti
Arthur H. Miller
Lee M. Miller
Michael Nagy, Jr.
Norbert S. Neuhausel
John B. Newsom
Joseph J. Novosel
Robert E. O’Connell
Nicholas A. Olajos
Alonzo H. Pence
John D. Peoples
James P. Preftakes
Lawrence S. Putman
Harold G. Raybould
Lester A. Reed, Jr.
Robert W. Reiff
John W. Richter
Julius L. Rivlin
Frank A. Rizzio
Elbert R. Rose
Clarence J. Rouse, Jr.
Robert J. Russell
Ellis J. Seager
James J. Shea, Jr.
John D. Shea
Thomas J. Shoulla
John E. Simmons
Herschel B. Smith
Warren W. Stanhope
James E. Strong
James P. Swiggett
Everett C. Taylor
Marion E. Thomas
Samuel A. Thomas
Lawrence A. Thomsen
George B. Thorbrogger
Milton H. Vilter
Kurt Von Wihl
Herbert P. Wendt
William E. Westerfield
Benjamin N. Willis
Edwin C. Wood
Joseph A. Zeni
Personnel Strength – 3042 Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
6 Officers + 124 Enlisted Men – 31 October 1944
6 Officers + 124 Enlisted Men – 14 November 1944
6 Officers + 124 Enlisted Men – 29 November 1944
6 Officers + 122 Enlisted Men – 14 December 1944
6 Officers + 122 Enlisted Men – 30 December 1944
6 Officers + 124 Enlisted Men – 29 May 1945
6 Officers + 124 Enlisted Men – 28 November 1945
Campaign Credits – 3042d Quartermaster Graves Registration Company
Normandy Campaign (GO # 102, WD, 9 November 1945)
Northern France Campaign (GO # 103, WD, 13 November 1945)
Rhineland Campaign (GO # 118, WD, 12 December 1945)
Ardennes-Alsace Campaign (GO # 63, WD, 20 September 1948)
Central Europe Campaign (GO # 116, WD, 11 December 1945)
Special thanks must go to our ’master’ contributor Lynn F. McNulty and to Brian N. Siddall, WW2 Research Analyst, who provided us with copies of original reports and other documents. Without their precious help this concise Unit History of the 3042d QM Graves Registration Company would otherwise never have been written.