When I requested my great grandfather’s records from NARA a couple of years ago, I received the same letter as many researchers, politely explaining that the records had burned in 1973. Not one to take ‘no’ for an answer, I began looking elsewhere to piece together his service.
Harold John Crowe was born September 15, 1899 in Cannelton, Perry, Indiana. When he reached the age of 18 years, he traveled from his home in Rockport, Indiana to Princeton, Indiana (roughly 60 miles away) to enlist with the Indiana State Militia (aka Indiana National Guard). On December 28, 1917, he presented to Medical Officer J. S. Critchfield for his physical, and on December 31, 1917, he took the oath before Major James T. Cutler and became Private Harold Crowe of Company D, 1st Infantry.
Fortunately, the Indiana State Archives has some records for soldiers who served in the National Guard during World War I. I requested copies of the records and received 7 pages: Enlistment papers (5 pages) and his discharge papers (2 pages). Unfortunately, they did not keep copies of the DD-214s issued by the Army. But perhaps with his serial number I will be able to contact a researcher in St. Louis to see if there is any additional information in the “other” military records kept at the Archives.
He never served overseas during the war, probably since it was over less than a year after he enlisted. With the exception of about 6 months at Indiana, he spent his entire enlistment assigned to Camp Johnston, Florida. He was a member of the 26th Road Company, 2nd Regiment until September 18, 1918, then to the Quartermaster Corps until October 1918, and finally to Motor Transport Company 809 until he was discharged.
He reached the rank of Corporal on March 15, 1919, and Sergeant on April 30, 1919. He was honorably discharged on May 29, 1919, after only 1-1/2 years of service.
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