MSgt Eugene W. Perz

In the case of Eugene Perz, my Great Uncle, I would like to extend my gratitude to the AFHRA (Air Force historical Research Agency) as well as the St. Louis National Archives.  With the records I have obtained from these two organizations, I have been able to solidify many facts about my great uncle’s service history.


The AFHRA has an online searchable index of thousands of records within their holdings, many available by request.  When I began, I did not have the DD-214 in this case, but I did have the name of his Unit, which was initially formed as The First Mapping Group (also found to read as 1st Mapping Group). They were later reorganized as the 1st Photographic Group, The 1st Photographic Charting Squadron, then 1st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron VH (Very Heavy).

Eugene was classified as a Flight Engineer as well as a Mechanic.  He was a crew chief for B-17s, B-24s and B-29s. Within the record sets I obtained from the AFHRA, I found Eugene W. Perz listed in multiple rosters throughout the units history.   This is significant because every roster within the unit history includes the date and location of the roster and most also include the unit operations at that given time.

The main record set I’ve used in Eugene’s research to establish the chronological history is the AFHRA Reel No. A0861.  It obtains the groups history, month to month starting in 1941. 

NARA, St. Louis

A lesson about requesting an OMPF (Official Military Personnel File). 

There are two types of requests for veteran’s records – Archival Requests and Non-Archival.  Archival requests are for the records of veterans who separated from service 62 plus years ago from the current day of your request.  My research here has been focused on archival files.

Due to the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center, if you are researching an Army or Air Force veteran, 75-80% of those records were destroyed in the fire.  However, they have worked hard to preserve what is left in the files, and the information can still be plentiful.

Burn Files

Eugene Perz had TWO B-files (burn files) in St. Louis.  When a burn file is requested, the NARA staff pulls, cleans, and prepares what is left of the file. Pictured on the right is Eugene’s Honorable Discharge paper – or what is left of it due to the fire.  

What immediately struck my interest is how many records of “Service outside the Continental U.S.” are here and how many theater’s he participated in.

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