Saturday, May 23, 2020

The WWII Military Service of the Burk Brothers

Pvt. Harold Burk & Sgt. Sidney Burk
For Memorial Day weekend, I'm so happy to have this "new" photo of my father on the left, Harold Burk (1909-1978) and his brother on the right, Sidney Burk (1914-1995).

It was just rediscovered by Harold and Sidney's nephew, my first cousin E, who kindly scanned it for me. He found it with Sidney's papers, and I've never seen it.

Dad was in Europe, Uncle in Hawaii

I know a good deal about Harold's WWII activities with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Below are his dog tags, his US Army buttons, and his Army Signal Corps patch.

Harold Burk World War II insignia, dog tags

However, I know a lot less about Sidney's WWII activities with the U.S. Army at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Cousin E thinks Sidney worked in the JAG office there.*

A cursory search turned up very little, because the vast majority of U.S. military records from the 20th century burned up in a devastating fire in 1973.

*Update: Sidney Burk was actually in the Army Air Force, a Staff Sgt with the HQ Squadron, 6th Air Svc Area Command, stationed near Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Cousin E found Sidney's DD214 Honorable Discharge document!

Obtaining a WWII Army Vet's Records

During this week's #OurAncestors chat on Twitter, the American Ancestors experts and Jan Murphy suggested I look into alternative record sources that might help me piece together Sidney's military career. On this rainy day, I'll start by watching this video from NARA.

Update: After seeing the informative video, I visited the NARA website to learn more about obtaining official military personnel files. More specifically, I know now I'll need particular details in order to identify the correct veteran, including exact name used in the military, service number, and more.

Honoring Harold and Sidney Burk's World War II military service on Memorial Day weekend, 2020.

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