When family members notice the two flags on display in my parents’ home for the first time, they often ask, “I know one flag is in honor of your dad, but who’s the other flag for?” When I tell them the second flag is in honor of my Uncle Joseph, they will look back at the display case and ask, “really?” as though they may have misunderstood what I said. Once I assure them that it is indeed his flag and not a figment of their imagination, they try to keep a straight face as they apologize for their behavior. But it’s too late — their reaction to my uncle’s flag is so comical that I cannot help but laugh out loud (LOL) myself.
I blogged briefly about my mom’s brother, Joseph Lee Chapple, earlier this year and said that he put the “R” in Rascality! Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said that! Visions of my wayward uncle in the Army following orders — of any kind — is a bit of a stretch for those of us who knew him well – LOL!
My uncle’s tour in the military was a brief one – just 4 months and 10 days! The little time he was there he was assigned to the 308th Tank Destroyer, an armored vehicle armed with a missile launcher that’s specifically designed to engage enemy armored vehicles. When I asked mom did he ever talk about his military experience and why his tour was so short, she said,
your uncle DID NOT like the Army and they were probably just as eager to give him his Discharge papers, as he was in getting them!”
Well, he may have wanted those Discharge papers real bad in September 1943, but keeping up with these papers after his separation was a different story. Below is a DD 1108 form he completed in 1961 requesting that his Discharge papers be sent to him.
Below is a transcription of my uncle’s Form DD 1108:
APPLICATION FOR REPLACEMENT OF SEPARATION DOCUMENTS
Date: Aug 15 1961
SECTION I – INDENTIFICATION OF FORMER SERVICE PERSON
1. LAST NAME – FIRST NAME – MIDDLE NAME (Print or type): Chapple Joseph L.
2. SERVICE NUMBER(S): —– 2220
3. LAST GRADE, RATE OR RANK: PVT
4. BRANCH OF SERVICE: _X_ ARMY _ NAVY _ AIR FORCE _ MARINE CORPS _ COAST GUARD
5. DATE OF BIRTH: Dec 26 – 24
6. PLACE OF BIRTH: Houston Tex
7. LAST PERMANENT ORGANIZATION TO WHICH ASSIGNED: 308th Tank Destroyer
8. TYPE OF DOCUMENT: Hon. Dis.
9. DATE OF ENTRY: 1943
10. DATE OF SEPARATION: Sept. 1944
11. DATE OF LOSS OR DESTRUCTION: 1961
12. CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING LOSS OR DESTRUCTION: Lost in Transit
SECTION III – CERTIFICATION
14. I CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE STATEMENTS ARE TRUE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF.
a. SIGNATURE OF FORMER SERVICE PERSON (or guardian): Joseph Lee Chapple
b. PRESENT ADDRESS (Number, Street, City, Zone and State): 8111 Bertwood Houston Tex.
UPON COMPLETION, MAIL THIS APPLICATION TO THE APPROPRIATE ADDRESS AS INDICATED BELOW:
Army Records, Center, TAGO
9700 Page Boulevard
St. Louis 14, Missouri
INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING FINGERPRINTS
Finger prints are required only in those instances where the certificate requested by a former member covers Army service terminating prior to 9 September 1939.
To obtain clear prints of fingers, press the four fingers of the right hand, which should be kept together, on a stamp pad or printer’s roller for the purpose of inking the fingers, then press the first joints firmly in the space provided for that purpose. The print of the thumb may be made in a similar manner.
RIGHT THUMB PRINT – (uncle’s right thumb imprint)
FINGERPRINTS – (imprint of uncle’s remaining fingers on his right hand)
Then in 1971 he finds himself without his Discharge papers AGAIN. Below is a hand-written letter he sent to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri requesting his Discharge papers be sent to him.
May 14 – 1971
To Commanding Officer
Army Records Center Tago
9700 Page Boulevoid
I am sending for my original Discharge as my Discharge were destroyed by fire, and I need this Discharge for the record of my Driving License Please if this can be sent to Joseph L. Chapple. 8111 Bertwood St. 77016 Houston Texas
Thank you very much-
I am Joseph L Chapple.
At last, my uncle’s Certification of Military Service!
United States of America
This certifies that – Joseph L. Chapple 38 422 220
was a member of the – Army of the United States
from – May 4, 1943
to – September 14, 1943
Service was terminated by – Honorable Discharge
Last Grade, Rank, or Rating – Private
Active Service Dates – Same as Above
Given at St. Louis, Missouri, on June 22, 1971
National Personnel Records Center
(Military Personnel Records) D. S.
National Archives and Records Service
General Services Administration
The Administrator of General Services Administration is the Custodian of this Person’s Military Record.
(This form not valid without official Seal)