A WWII submariner’s IDPF is featured, honoring a family member and his fellow submariners lost 77 years ago today.
The Loss of S-28 (SS-133)
RM3 Marvin Roy McMillan was serving aboard submarine S-28 (SS-133) when it was lost during training exercises off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On Eternal Patrol notes, “The Court of Inquiry which investigated the sinking determined that S-28 sank shortly after 1820 on 4 July 1944 in 21° 20’N, 158° 23’W, in 1400 fathoms of water. Because of the depth of the water, salvage operations were impossible.” USS S-28 was discovered in 2017 by Tim Taylor’s Lost 52 Project, The Naval History & Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch made positive identification.
IDPFs (Individual Deceased Personnel Files)
When a serving member of the military was killed or declared legally dead, the military compiled an Individual Deceased Personnel File. So each IDPF is as unique as the person it documents. For a detailed look at IDPFs and how to order them, visit this link.
Marvin Roy McMillan, USNR, 1922-1944
Marvin Roy McMillan, USNR, 1922-1944 (courtesy OnEternalPatrol.com)
Before we examine this WWII submariner’s IDPF, a few facts about him. Born in Morton County, Kansas, on 26 Mar 1922, Marvin Roy McMillan joined the US Navy Reserve at 18. When he reached the Pacific, Marvin saw the ocean for the first time.
On 5 Sep 1942, Marvin enlisted in the US Navy Reserve in Kansas City. By 11 May 1943, Marvin was serving aboard the USS S-28 (SS-133), a submarine of the S-class. Patrolling the waters around Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Marvin McMillan served as a Radioman Third Class. By summer, they were reassigned to Pearl Harbor. The undated featured image at top shows the crew of USS-S-28, courtesy of OnEternalPatrol.com.
USS-S-28 (SS 133) (courtesy OnEternalPatrol.com)
A WWII Submariner’s IDPF
What can you say about the loss of a 22 year old? Sixty-eight pages arrived from the National Archives after I ordered Marvin McMillan’s IDPF. I learned dates and places important to every genealogist. Enlistment, training, promotions, stations are all included. The Personal Effects naval staff documented his possessions, down to a sock that had lost its mate.
The IDPF file is too extensive to share completely via this blog, but here are the first dozen pages, including the names of the men who died alongside Marvin McMillan.
Did your family lose someone who served in the epic 20th-century battle against Fascism? I urge you to order their World War II IDPF records to understand and honor your family member. For a detailed look at IDPFs and how to order them, visit this link.
Nancy E. Loe, MA, MLS, is a genealogy researcher and educator. After a long career in libraries and archives, Nancy now writes and lectures on her specializations: organizing research and U.S. and European records. She appears frequently at regional, national, and international genealogy conferences. She recently completed two Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy classes on Nordic research and reading German handwriting and Fraktur.