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USMC historian

johnapril

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I am trying to learn more about a great uncle who was in the USMC during WWII. He was abandoned along with many other soldiers on an island in the Pacific. He was there for many years before he was discovered. Most of the other men killed themselves in the ocean. He spent the rest of his life in the VA. Where would one being to research this topic? Is there a book or chapter in a book about such incidents?
 

Mr. Checks

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Every unit in the military has a unit historian. Start with his unit's name, and you should be able to pull up unit histories on the web, or (at least) via a hard-copy from the Service branch's Office of the Historian (or some such title). They are very accomodating to serious requests. If they aren't, request it through your Member of Congress.

Also, check the civilan papers published under the "Army Times," "Navy Times," etc. banner. These usually have scores of listings for unit reunions in the back. Such reunions are run by the actual vets themselves and are a good source for contacts. The Army/Navy etc Times are the best of a number of such publications.

There are also opportunites to pay for ads saying: "anyone ever heard of my uncle joe, who was with the 8th Bomb Group in Europe, 1944-45?" Again, the key point is to have as much unit information as possible. These are known as "lost buddies" or something like that. I believe these run in the Army/Air Force/Navy/Marine Times as well.

There are also a number of web sites for such things, but I haven't looked at them in years.

Good luck.
 

globetrotter

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john,

my uncle scotty (whose legal name, strangly enough, in John) is a retired librarian with a strong interest in military history who lives in indianopolis. I would suggest that he would be able to help you.

pm'd you his contact details.
 

johnapril

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Thank you all for your replies. I am going to follow up with Zach's contact and also these steps Mr. C suggests. Very kind of you all to take the time.
 

whodini

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Good luck with it. My father hadn't heard/read of US soldiers being castaways but knew extensively of it happening to the Japanese on several different islands, the most famous case being that in 1974 where the man refused to surrender. They ended up finding his old commander who talked him into finally leaving the island.

Let us know what you find if it's not too personal.
 

johnapril

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Originally Posted by whodini
Let us know what you find if it's not too personal.

Will do.
 

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