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Another Military Mystery

Do the fragments of information about an ancestor or distant cousins military service frustrate you? I know that even though my dad shared some of his military experience with me, he got some of the dates confused. Since he served in the U.S. Navy toward the end of World War 2, I was fortunate to be able to get his military file from NARA. However many of the records for those who served in the Army and Air Force are more difficult to find.

Even though I likely would not spend the time or money to seek out a military file for a second cousin, I do get frustrated when very little information exists about their military service. Thus, when I come across an obituary indicating that a cousin was at the Battle of the Bulge in Europe and then part of the transfer of power form the United States to the Philippines in the Pacific, I’m intrigued and trying to locate additional information.

That’s the case with one of my Christy cousins: Oscar Morris Butcher.

Tipton County Tribune (Tipton, IN)
13 Nov 2012
page 2

Oscar Butcher

Oscar Butcher, 89, Kirklin, a World War II veteran, farmer and patriot, fought his last battle on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012.

Oscar Morris Butcher was born Dec. 3, 1922, to Orla and Gertie (Christy) Butcher in Hamilton County. He died in his Pickard area home.

He married Mary D. (Ploughe) Butcher on May 22, 1943 and she survives.

Mr. Butcher started school in Kempton and graduated from Sugar Creek High School in 1940. He attended Purdue University short-course agriculture classes on the GI Bill after returning from World War II. Pfc. Butcher was awarded the Bronze Star in Europe for engagement in the Battle of the Bulge. Motor Sgt. Butcher drove the lead vehicle escorting High Commissioner McNutt in the parade recognizing the transfer of military control from the United States to the Filipino government in 1946.

Oscar and Mary farmed in Sugar Creek Township for almost 70 years.
He was a member of Hills Baptist Church, the Pickard Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite and the Shriners. He served on the Board of Directors of Agmax (now Co-Alliance) for 18 years and as the Clinton County committeeman for FSA (Farm Service Agency), formerly ASCS (Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service), for 15 years. He belonged to the Michigantown Lions and Kirklin American Legion.

In addition to his wife, Mary, he is survived by daughter Glenda (Garry) Frey of Frankfort and sons Morris (Betty) Butcher and Mark (Sherie) Butcher of Kirklin; grandsons, Brian Butcher and Brent (fiancée Linda Kim) Butcher, and granddaughters, Stacey (Matt) Viars, Heather (Kent) Waddelow, Laura (Mark) Greathouse and Libby (Scott Satterthwaite) Frey. Great-grandchildren include Aubrey and Evan Waddelow; Adison, Carley and Jocelyn Viars; Mariana Greathouse and Oscar Satterthwaite. A sister, Alfretta Walker Schekel of Florida, also survives.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Hobart and Milton Butcher and sister Elnora Lamb.

Memorials may be made to Hills Baptist Church or the Murat Shrine Transportation Club.

Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Kercheval Funeral Home, Sheridan, with the Rev. Robert Louden officiating. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Park, Frankfort.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home, with a Masonic service at 7 p.m.

“Oscar Butcher,” Tipton County Tribune (Tipton, Indiana), 13 November 2012, page 2; digital image, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 29 December 2021).

Since Oscar Butcher died in 2012, he is not included in the Department of Veterans’ BIRLS Death File. When I checked Fold3, he did have a ‘Memorial’ page,

According to Army Enlistment Records, Oscar M Butcher enlisted 2 Sept 1944. However, this record indicates that he was single.

Name: Oscar M Butcher
Race: White
Marital status: Single, without dependents (Single)
Rank: Private
Birth Year: 1922
Nativity State or Country: Indiana
Citizenship: Citizen
Residence: Clinton, Indiana
Education: 4 years of high school
Civil Occupation: General farmers
Enlistment Date: 2 Sep 1944
Enlistment Place: Indianapolis, Indiana
Service Number: 35907671
Branch: No branch assignment
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life

Oscar’s Find a Grave memorial and his obituary indicate he married Mary Ploughe in 1943. An article listing marriage licenses was published in the 20 May 1943 issue of The Indianapolis Star.

“Marriage Licenses,” The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 May 1943, page 19; Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 30 December 2021).

Even though the marriage status on the enlistment record may be incorrect, there are other newspaper articles that support the enlistment of Oscar Morris Butcher in Sept. 1944.

Many Clinton Boys to Enter Service

Frankfort, April 14. – Approximately 50 per cent of the large group of Clinton county selectees taking pre-induction physical examinations in Indianapolis Thursday were seniors of high school or students approaching the 18-year age limit. The group was composed of 67 city and county men with the remainder of the 72 including five men transferred from other boards.
William Philip Dorner was leader of the group, assisted by his brother-in-law, Carl Robert Frederickson. Other selectees were … Oscar Morris Butcher.

“Many Clinton Boys to Enter Service,” Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Indiana), 14 April 1944, page 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 30 December 2021).

Clinton Co. Group Enters Service
Frankfort, Sept.. 2, – Following Clinton county selectees left here by bus Friday for Indianapolis, to be inducted into the armed forces:
Oscar Morris Butcher, leader; …

“Clinton Co. Group Enters Service,” Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Indiana), 2 September 1944, page 9; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 29 December 2021).

Then in June 1945, a short article not only indicates that Oscar Butcher was home on furlough but identifies the unit he served with.

On Furlough
Pvt. Oscar M. Butcher of the 86th division (Blackhawk) lately returned to this country, has arrived at the home of his parents on Kirklin route 2, for a 30-day furlough.

“On Furlough,” Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Indiana), 21 June 1945, page 18; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 29 December 2021).

Besides the local piece, an area paper, The Indianapolis News, published a list of all the soldiers coming home on furlough with the 86th Division that included Oscar Butcher’s name.

Here Is List of Indianapolis and Indiana Men Coming Home on Furlough with 86th Division
Indianapolis and other Hoosier members of the 86th division who are en route to their homes for thirty-day furloughs are listed below:
Indiana
Pvt. Oscar M. Butcher, Kirkland

“Here Is List of Indianapolis and Indiana Men Coming Home on Furlough with 86th Division,” The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, IN), 18 June 1945, page 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 29 December 2021).

A July 1945 article about the 86th division indicates that after furlough, the soldiers reported to Camp Gruber in Oklahoma for training for service in the Pacific theater.

Troops of the 86th division first back from Europe, will assemble Aug. 1 at Camp Gruber, Okl., to learn how to kill Japanese as well as they polished off nazis.

Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) 20 Jul 1945, page 2 on Newspapers.com

Then a May 1946 article in the Des Moines Tribune confirms the roll of the 86th division as the honor guard escorting Commissioner Paul V. McNutt during the diplomatic turn over of the Philippines at the close of World War 2.

Guard Roxas Taking Oath
Manila, Philippines — Ringed by submachineguns against a reported assassination plot, Manual A. Roxxas Tuesday becomes president of the Philippines commonwealth.

A United States 86th division honor guard escorted High Commissioner Paul V. McNutt to the rostrum a few minutes after Roxas’ arrival, and the consular and diplomatic corps turned out en masse for the ceremony.

Des Moines Tribune (Des Moines, Iowa) 28 May 1946, page 2 on Newspapers.com

The Holocaust Museum has a page devoted to the 86th Division. The Sons of Liberty also have a page on the 86th Division. A battle map for the 86th Division is for sale on several sites including Army Divisions.com