If Babe had lived, would he have accumulated enough points to come home after VE Day?
The short answer: Probably not.
Enlisted men needed 85 points to be considered for “demobilization,” according to this article (corroborated by other sources I’ve viewed). By my conservative estimate, Babe would have had 77 points. If I were more liberal in my interpretation of the point system, he’d have accumulated 84 points.
These were the criteria for accumulating points:
- One point for each month in the service.
- One point for each month in overseas service.
- Five points for each combat award (including medals and battle participation stars).
- 12 points for each dependent child under 18 (maximum of three).
Babe had no children. If I don’t count the February in which Babe enlisted (he didn’t report for active duty until Feb. 26, 1943), but I do count May 1945, on the assumption that he would have served that full month, Babe would have spent 26 months in the service.
Of those, Babe was overseas for 21 months — again, not counting the partial month in which he arrived, on July 21, 1943, but counting all of May 1945.
In a letter from the War Department on Oct. 8, 1945, in response to a letter from my grandmother, a representative of the Adjutant General’s Office outlines a few details from Babe’s service record, including this paragraph: “The records further show that your son was authorized to wear the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with four Bronze Service Stars and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He was awarded the Good Conduct and the Purple Heart Medals.”
I assume the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge are each worth five points. Each of the four Bronze Service Stars should be worth five points, for a total of 30. Combined with the 47 points for his service and overseas service, that’s 77 points.
If, however, the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon constitutes another “combat award,” and if I were to count the month of his enlistment and the month of his arrival overseas, that would add another seven points to his total, for 84 points.
But I suspect he’d have had a few more months in the military before he got sent home.
For the record, the Bronze Service Stars were likely for these campaigns, outlined in the War Department’s letter to my grandmother:
- Naples-Foggia, from Sept. 21, 1943 to Jan. 21, 1944;
- Rome-Arno, from Jan. 22 to Sept. 9, 1944;
- North Apennines, from Sept. 10, 1944 to April 4, 1945;
- Po Valley, from April 4 to May 4, 1945.
As it happens, Babe’s brother Bob was prescient when he wrote in his last letter to his brother, “How many (points) do you have? You will probably be unlucky enough to just miss it, but I hope not.”