Soldiers don't die

"A man dies only when he is forgotten"

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mel's Separation Record and Bronze Star

Full text transcription of his service papers follows:


Melville J. Batt, 32037371

Military Specialties

0 years 3 months Pvt. Basic Training Infantry - Army code 521
0 years 10 months Sgt. Intelligence NCO - Army code 631
2 years 10 months Staff Sgt. Operations NCO - Army code 814

Operations NCO: Assisted Operations Officer of Infantry Battalion of 8th Division.  Made and prescribed use of training aids, made up training schedules.  In combat kept operations map, kept log of tactical information and battalion attack orders. In combat in France Luxembourg and Germany. Awarded Combat Infantry Badge for action against enemy.

Date of Separation
20 September 1945


By direction of the President, under the provisions of AR 600-45, 22 September 1943, as amended, the Bronze Star Medal is awarded to Staff Sergeant Melville J. Batt, 32037371, Infantry, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Inf. Regiment, for distinguishing himself by meritorious service as Operations Sergeant in connection with military operations in Western Europe during the period of 4 July 1944 to 16 April 1945 against an enemy of the United States. Sergeant Batt's outstanding accomplishments and performance of duties are in the highest traditions of the military service. Mel's Bronze Star was earned during active duty while in Europe. This is all the information I will ever know about that. The description is vague on purpose, most citations are written like this.  Bronze Stars were given out liberally during World War II, for everything from laying telephone lines under enemy fire to cooking excellent meals for the troops. Not all were earned in combat. I also learned that after 1945, the Army decided to give a Bronze Star to every soldier that earned a Combat Infantry Badge, so many just got it for being there.

I have pieced together all the information about his Army career that I can, from the meager paper trail that survives. I'm afraid I cannot tell readers of this blog anything more about his role in the war, he was silent his whole life and unfortunately the rest of that story died with him.  So from now on, posts on this site will be sporadic unless I come across some startling new piece of evidence.  I will continue to share his unique photographs and try to explain what is going on in the pictures, but that is pretty much the extent of what I can offer.