Airborne In Normandy   FAQs   Links    Homepage     Contact     About    WWII Research

Manoian not a Paratrooper, ever

ďInitially basic training was 12 weeks with an additional 4 plus weeks of advanced trainingĒ. The Previous quote is from Mr. Kip Lindberg the curator of collections at the US Army Chemical Corps Museum.  Howard Manoian joined the 33rd Chemical Decontamination Company (33rd CML Decon Co) July 1943 at Camp Blanding in Florida.[1]  This would mean Manoian joined the 33rd Chemical Decontamination Company after his 4 month basic and advanced training.  His Discharge Papers (53-55) show that he was trained as a Heavy Gunner Mortar.  The payroll records of the 33rd CML Decon Co show Howard joining July 1943 at Camp Blanding in Florida.  Manoian is listed in the rest of the monthly payroll reports through the end of the year.  In September of 1943 he is promoted to Private First Class (Pfc).[2]

To recap we have Manoian serving in the 33rd CML Decon Co from July 1943 through the end of the payroll records which stop December 31, 1943.  Now Morning Reports will be used to document his service with the 33rd CML Decon Co.  He is mentioned on the January 1944 Morning Report.[3]  So we can now place him as going overseas with the 33rd CML Decon Co.  He is on the reports again in April for going on sick leave with a strained muscle[4] caused by marching or drilling.[5]  All during the time period his rank is Pfc according to the records.  On May 10, 1944 Howard Manoian is promoted to Corporal[6].  He is listed numerous times on the May 1944 Morning Reports for the 33rd CML Decon Co.  At this time the 33rd is stationed in Bodmin, Cornwall County, England.  There is a picture taken in 1944 May of the 1st Platoon from the 33rd showing Manoian near the end of the front row[7].

First platoon is attached to the 531st Engineer Shore Battalionís 1st Battalion for the Invasion of Normandy.  This is per Special Orders 98 from Headquarters 1st Engineer Special Brigade dated May 13, 1944.  The May 14th 33rd CML Decon Co Morning Report shows 1 Officer and 33 enlisted men of the 1st Platoon being attached to the 1st Battalion of the 531st Eng Shore Reg referencing SO 98.  Manoian is listed as part of the first platoon second section, second in command under Sergeant Fick from the papers dated 27 May 1944 of the 33rd Company Commander 1st Lt. Wright.

Howard Manoian is now attached to the 531st Engr Shore Reg as of May 14, 1944 as part of 1st Platoon 2nd section from the 33rd CML Decon Co.[8]  The 531st Engr Shore Reg Morning reports of May 16th show the 1st Platoon being attached to Hq Co 1st Bn.[9]  The quality of the Morning Report Copy is poor, so as an example the HQ Co 3rd Bn report is shown.[10]  This shows the 3rd Platoon being attached.  The June 8, 1944 Morning Report show the 1st Platoon returning to control of the 33rd CML Decon Co.[11]  It lists 1 Officer and 32 men coming back in and one man Sergeant Bernard Dwyer being LWA (Lightly Wounded in Action).  This brings to total back to 34 total men including the officer.

On June 17, 1944 the 33rd CML Decon Co is located at Audouville-la-Hubert, France, operating a Chemical Warfare Service (C.W.S.) Supply Dump with Class II and IV supplies.[12]  Manoianís name next appears on the June 17th Morning Report showing him Accidentally Wounded at 1900 hours.  The report lists him as from duty with company to Hospital (LD) (LD is the abbreviation for Line of Duty).  The June 20, 1944 Morning Report for the 33rd CML Decon Co changes Accidentally Wounded to LWA (Lightly Wounded in Action).  The June 22, 1944 Morning Report shows Manoian being transferred to the United Kingdom along with two men LWA and one LIA (Lightly Injured in Action). 

During the time period of June 1944 Manoian shows up in two different Medical Unit reports.  The first is the 128th Evacuation Hospital which is stationed at Boutteville, France two kilometers SE of Turqueville.  He is treated for a superficial hand wound (list as debridement without closure) and returned to duty the next day.  The date of the report is June 1944 and this report uses Manoianís ASN 31285089 as the identifier.  Manoian is not listed on the 33rd Cml Decon Co Morning Reports for this wound.  This means he was wounded while attached to the 531st Engr Shore Reg.  The second report is also June 1944 and he is listed as being hospitalized for 147 days.  This report would correspond with the June 22nd Morning Report from the 33rd Cml Decon Co.  He is listed as being evacuated back to the United Kingdom. 

The second report lists the Hospital as the 3rd Station Hospital located at Tidworth, England.  His wound is listed as Compound Fracture of the third metacarpal bone which is the bone between the knuckles of the middle finger.  He spends the next 147 days in the Hospital and leaves in November of 1944 to rejoin his C.W.S. unit.  On both Admissions Cards his arm of service is listed as Chemical Warfare Service.  Mr. Richard Agosta from the Office of the Surgeon General reviewed the Admissions Card for the Fractured Metacarpal bone.  Mr. Agosta stated that Manoian was hospitalized for 147 days as stated in the report.  This email confirming the report is included in documents section.

Owing to the fact that the research was only to verify his service in either the 33rd CML Decon Co or Co A 505 during this time period no other documents were requested.  However one more Admissions Card was included in the batch of records sent from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO USA.  Also contained in Manoianís folder was the following report dated March 21, 1945.

Manoian is treated at an Aid Station for shell fragments and misses 0 days from his unit listed as Chemical Warfare Service.  So even at this late date he is still in the Chemical Warfare Service.  Whether or not in the 33rd is unknown as the unit is not listed.  This would be a unit he joined after leaving the hospital in November 1944 in England after recovering from his broken finger.

The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO USA performed a search at the request of CW4 (Ret.) Howard Melvin in 1999.  The records for the Co A of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment were searched looking for Howard Manoianís name.  The Records Center searched the Rosters for the months of October, November and December of 1943 and the Morning Reports of Co A 505 from January 1, 1944 through July 31, 1944 and they stated that the name Howard Manoian does not appear in those records. 

Manoianís name never appears in any of the 505ís General Orders for the War.  He was not awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge with 505 or any other award.  Some have also pointed out that he is not listed as receiving any Purple Hearts through the 505.  This canít be used as often Purple Heartís were awarded through the Hospital the patient was in at the time.  We do have the Admissions Cards pertaining to the three times Manoian was wounded and they all state arm of service as Chemical Warfare.

There is also in existence complete photos of the 33rd CML Decon Co taken in April of 1944 all named.  Manoian is in the front row of the first platoon photo.  The men are in fact wearing Jump Boots and have bloused their pants.  Their overseas caps lack the paratrooper patch; they of course have no jump wings being a Chemical Decontamination Company.  Besides Paratroopers, the MP's and the Engineer Special Brigade Units were given jump boots to wear for the Invasion.  The 33rd CML Decon Co was attached to the 531st Eng Shore Reg was one Elements of the the 1st Engineer Special Brigade.  There is a 33rd Morning Report dated April 23rd that shows Manoian as part of a section being attached to the 531st Eng Shore Regt.[13] 

The 33rd CML Decon Co main function was to decontaminate men and machines from Chemical Attack.  The need for that never arose.  Their main functions in Normandy were to run the C.W.S. Supply Dump and in July they ran the showers.  There is a letter of thanks from the 1st ESB thanking the Company Commander of the 33rd for providing showers for the men coming off of the line.

From Manoianís 53-55 Discharge:[14]  Overseas duty dates:  Arrived European Theatre 22 Nov 43, departed ETO 2 May 45 Arrived US May 15, 1945.  The arrival date matches that of the 33rd CML Decon Co arrival in the European Theater.  No special training is listed and that would include Parachute School.  He is listed as a Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters which also matches his three Admissions Cards.[15]  Manoian was not awarded the CIB on his discharge or the Bronze star which was awarded to all Parachute Infantry members for the Normandy jump.  This is confirmed by the National Personnel Records Center letter dated September 7, 2009.  His list of awards does not contain either the CIB or Bronze Star.

The last record to mention is that Howard states that he left his unit in March of 1945.  I am in possession of the Co A Morning Reports for the months of March and April 1945, his name does not appear in either month.  Manoian and his supporters claim there are no records proving his service.[16]  When shown the records Manoianís supporters say that record keeping was poor during the war.  This is false; WWII is the most documented war in history.  If the record keeping were that bad, men wouldnít have been paid and families wouldnít have been notified of the wounding and deaths of their loved ones.  To say that the record keeping was poor is an ignorant statement. 

The reports used here are highly detailed.  Errors will be corrected on a later report, usually within days.  When first in combat the paratroop units didnít get the reports done in a timely manner until the end of June.  Units in the rear were producing detailed records within one or two days.  The best evidence of this is the report of Manoianís Accidental Wound not only listed on the same day June 17th, but giving the time.  You will not see that on a Morning Report for any paratroop unit in Normandy. 


BN Siddall


Copyright © 2002-2024 Airborne In Normandy Research - All rights reserved.
Website design by airborneinnormandy