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What are WWII Navy Casualty Records?
In military terms, a casualty is an illness, injury or death. The decks of ships were a particularly dangerous place even in non-combat situations. During WWII, more than one-hundred thousand Navy veterans became casualties. Over sixty two thousand WWII Navy veterans were killed in action. WWII Navy casualty records which explain how a naval veteran was killed or wounded in action are maintained inside of their WWII Navy Official Military Personnel Files at the National Archives. The WWII Navy Official Military Personnel Files are actually open to the public and can be viewed in person at the National Archives upon appointment.
What Casualty Records are found inside of the WWII Navy Official Military Personnel File?
For WWII Navy veterans who were killed in action it is common to find not only records detailing how they were killed, but also correspondence with their surviving immediate family. These records typically detail the delivery of the heart breaking news of the WWII Navy veteran’s death, the return of their personal items, and disposition of remains for sailors who were not buried or lost at sea. WWII Navy casualty records are essential for those researching a family member who was killed or injured while service with the U.S. Navy during WWII.
When a ship was lost at sea, there were often delays in notifying family members of the status of their loved ones while the Navy sorted out survivors and conducted searches. Once it was determined that a WWII Navy veteran had died in the line of duty, the family would have been notified by telegram. Death certificates from the War Department, along with any written response from family members would have been placed inside of the WWII Navy veteran’s Official Military Personnel File. For WWII sailors who survived the conflict after being wounded or injured in the line of duty, claim forms for lost equipment and personal items were completed and new assignments were ordered. The belongings of missing and deceased personnel were forwarded to families.
WWII Navy veteran who was wounded in action would also have received paperwork which entitled them to the Purple Heart medal. Casualty paperwork and medical documents were sometimes submitted as proof that the WWII Navy veteran was indeed entitled to the Purple Heart. Both the official casualty documents as well as any letters from the WWII Navy veteran arguing for their eligibility for awards would also have been filed away inside of the WWII Navy Official Military Personnel File.
Navy casualty records for WWII navy veterans who were wounded or died in the service can often provide insight not only in to what happened a the time of their deaths but also their family situation back in the United States. Because the casualty records inside of the WWII Navy official military personnel file are so thorough they can be incredibly useful for both genealogical research as well as for documenting the military service of the deceased WWII naval veteran. Every veteran has a unique story so the only way to find out exactly what personnel or casualty records are in your WWII navy veteran’s file is to order their file.