Moulton veteran honored in Netherlands
A couple from the Netherlands who adopted the grave of a World War II veteran from Moulton is searching for more information on him so they can better decorate his final resting place.
Robert Boels and his wife Marziana adopted the grave of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Frank G. Vinson, who is buried in the American Cemetery Margraten in the Netherlands. Vinson was a member of the 41st Infantry Battalion and 2nd Armored Division and was the recipient of a purple heart with two oak leaf clusters. He was killed in action Nov. 27, 1944.
Boels reached out to Moulton Mayor Roger Weatherwax via email for he lp.
"Unfortunately, the grave of our soldier never gets a picture because there is no known picture," Boels writes in an email to Weatherwax. "Therefore, I hope you can help us to find relatives in your town of Moulton of this brave soldier so we can finally give this brave man a face on many memorial websites and put his picture on his grave at the memorial event."
Weatherwax forwarded the information to Lawrence County Archives director Wendy Hazle, who immediately began researching.
However, things did not go as smooth as she had hoped. Hazle said she went through all the records and made a series of phone calls but found nothing on Vinson.
"I've hit a brick wall," Hazle said on Friday. "I'm not having any luck finding his family."
She did, however, discover that Vinson likely served under General George Patton. This was determined by Vinson's internment record, which was the only known information on him. The record said his address was Route 3, Moulton.
Since Vinson's social security number could not be found, finding information on him proved to be difficult. Furthermore, Hazle said his military personnel records were likely lost in a fire a t the National Personnel Records Center. She said the fire destroyed 80 percent of army records from 1912-1960.
Running out of leads, Hazle posted to social media asking for help in finding information on Vinson.
Luckily, a breakthrough came over the long weekend when Vinson's niece shared a picture of him.
Hazle also discovered that Vinson's brother and sister are still alive and they call him by his middle name, Garland. They told her there is a locked box with his army records inside, to which they do not have a key. They told Hazle if they cannot find a key they will break the box open.
Hazle asked to take a picture of the photograph to share with the Boels. Now the Boels can properly decorate Vinson's grave so that visitors to the cemetery can see the face of the man who bravely died in service to his country.
"That's pretty much all they wanted," Hazle said.
According to its website, the American Cemetery Margraten is one of the largest cemeteries in the world and the only one of its kind in the Netherlands. At least 8,301 Americans are buried there.
A follow-up to this story is planned for next week's issue.Source: Google News Netherlands | Netizen 24 Netherlands