Our Research

Our Research

The 9th Infantry Division in WWII Research Group

9th Infantry Division in WWII

The 9th Infantry Division in WWII Research Group is focused on preserving the history, events and stories of the men of the American 9th Infantry Division from their activation until the end of World War 2.

Where to start?

“My father never talked about the war”.
“My grandfather shared very little about his service in World War 2”.
“We found all these documents and pictures and uniform items, but have no idea what they mean”.

These words might sound familiar to you.

These are the most common things I hear when talking to families of a World War 2 veterans. Unfortunately, most people find and contact me after their loved one has passed away and then the urge to find out more starts. It is sad, because I feel that once veterans open up just a little, they will be met with a listening ear and understanding by their loved ones and families. We will never fully grasp what these men went through at such a young age. Often, when veterans are very old, they start sharing a few bits of information about their time served during the war, but often it is too late. Families find out about the service of their father, grandfather, uncle or brother after he passed away, leaving them with many questions.

How can I help?

For many years I have studied the events of the 9th Infantry Division. I have gone through big efforts to retrieve archival documentation. I have a large collection of these that I study daily. Over the years I have learned a lot about specific actions and events, and have obtained many private journals, rosters, casualty lists, photographs and diaries. I have visited many of the former battlefields to get a better understanding of what had happened at those locations. Then I have been lucky enough to talk to nearly 100 veterans of the 9th Infantry Division. I have listened to their stories, and have recorded their bits and pieces of their personal part of the history of the Division. I also feel honored that through my research in all of this, I have connected with nearly 800 families and I am blessed to call many of these friends now. For me, it always has been about the veterans, and trying to provide information about these men. In return I often get more background information about their personal lives, and in many cases, a photograph. It is always very special for me to learn more about the individual soldier while I research his war time service with the 9th.

Please know that I am working on all of this by myself. I have a full time job and a family, so all of this is done when I have the time for it. Where possible, I work together with my contacts at the National Archives, or local people. Some of these are friends, others are historians or experts, some live in the area and can provide additional pictures if needed. The most important thing is that I like to keep it personal, and as mentioned, sometimes a great friendship will grow out of this. It often is a moving experience to research a soldier and find out more details. I share this sentiment, and I feel privileged to be a part of your personal quest for information. – Thank you.

Let me explain a few things that I use and do for my research.

Unit research:
I dive deep into the history for each unit within the 9th Infantry Division. I search for and uncover rare archival documents that help to provide more information about a Battalion or Regiment. I am also able to share detailed descriptions of specific events, dating from the early Fort Bragg days to the end of the war and Occupation Duty

Individual Veteran research:
One thing I love doing the most is research for family members so they can learn more about what their father, grandfather, uncle, great uncle, brother or veteran they know, went through during the war. When did they enlist? When did they have their first battle experience? When and where did a soldier get wounded? Where or when was a soldier killed in action? What happened on the day a soldier went missing in action? What happened during a specific battle? Where is a soldier buried? Through my research experience and vast archival collection, I have been able to provide these details successfully to over 750 family members.

Photograph preservation:
Over the years I have collected hundreds of pictures related to the 9th Infantry Division. Many of these come from personal collections of veterans and their families. These are digitized and catalogued, and are preserved in a chronological order. I am now looking into good ways to present these. Please know: If we get photographs which should remain private, we respect the family’s wishes and will never publish these.

Archival documents and reports :
A great effort is done to obtain all the archival documents and reports about the 9th Infantry Division. I currently have 90% of all the available documents, and am still collecting. Through After Action Reports, Company Morning Reports, Journals, Combat Interviews, Maps and other documentation, I am able to offer a great insight of the various units and events that happened during World War II in relation to the 9th Infantry Division and the battles it participated in.

Books, journals and memoirs:
Realizing the importance of preservation, I am lucky that family members have been donating copies of personal memoirs, journals, diaries or hard to find or privately published books to me. The information found in these are immensely valuable.

Uniform items preservation:
These days, we see many families throwing out the old uniforms of their loved ones after they pass away. Sometimes these end up in estate sales or worse, on online auction sites. This usually results in the taking apart of a beautiful collection. Things are taken apart, sold separately, and by doing so, losing the story and history of these items, and the person who wore it, forever.

The uniform items we receive are handled and preserved with care. Where possible, we do more research to the person, and will be able to tell a story about the individual and how, where and when these items were used. Everything that is coming into our collection will be preserved, catalogued, and shared for education purposes. Items will also be displayed during presentations and temporary exhibitions. Some of the items will be featured in some of the books and publications I am working on. I just feel it is important that these items stay together and the history captured and remembered in a proper way.

I am always looking for the above mentioned items, and if you have any of these, I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to know more about a soldier’s service who fought with the 9th Infantry Division, please get in touch.
I am looking forward to see how I can help you, and what I can find out about for you.

Please reach out through my contact page, thank you.

Yuri Beckers
9th Infantry Division in WWII Research Group