Finding your family’s military roots


What to look for on Smart Talk, Friday, August 23, 2019:

More Americans are researching their family histories than ever before. Often, they want to learn about an ancestor’s military service.

Where did they serve and for how long? What units did they fight with and, perhaps, were they awarded any commendations or medals for their service?

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle is one of the best resources in the country for researching military history. Authors of widely read books on military history have researched their work in the USAHEC archives.

The archives include over 400,000 books, featuring strategic leadership, landpower, and military history. There are also unit histories from the U.S. and from several nations in both world wars, which can be quite helpful when researching a family members military service.

The USAHEC also is home to an artifact collection totaling 70,000 objects, including over 40,000 that are searchable online, with more being added daily.

On Friday’s Smart Talk the guests will use the example of Corporal Clarence Patton – a relative of Smart Talk host Scott LaMar — to demonstrate the type of information and sources USAHEC can provide. Corporal Patton served with the 25th Reconnaissance Squadron, 4th Armored Division during World War II. Corporal Patton was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross – the nation’s second highest military honor for actions he took in battle, but was killed two weeks later.

Joining Smart Talk to reveal their research findings are Geoffrey Mangelsdorf, the USAHEC Director, Richard Baker, senior research historian, USAHEC, and Lindsay Strehl, USAHEC outreach coordinator.

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Clarence Patton and brother Paul Howett

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Richard Baker, Lindsay Strehl, and Geoffrey Mangelsdorf