The Current Situation - World War II Associations Disbanding
World War II veterans are passing on. There are fewer of them every day. And as their numbers decrease, the associations that they formed are also disbanding. Most of these associations have accumulated archives of material that they have organized for a greater understanding of their unit's role in World War II. Many of them have also created highly valuable web sites that contain information that does not exist anywhere else. Or their web sites present information that may exist elsewehere but only in fragmentary form while the web site reflects hundreds or even thousands of hours of putting the records together into a coherent whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
The Current Situation - Archives without Relevant Mandates
While there are repositories for World War II records, the sad reality is that none of them have a mandate to include the kinds of materials that exist in the archives and the web pages of World War II unit associations.
The Current Situation - The Bottom Line
Thus the sad reality is that many World War II associations have already ceased to exist. And all the countless hundreds and even thousands of hours that they spent to gather and organize and present the material on their unit have come to nothing, as their archives are dissipated and their web pages simply cease to exist. This is a tragic and enormous loss. And as more veterans pass on and more associations disband, it will only become worse unless a permanent solution is established.
The Key Problem
The key problem is that these records are falling through the cracks between the mandates of the various governmental agencies tasked with preserving World War II history. There is no institution that is mandated to receive World War II association archives and web pages and preserve them and keep them together and available to historians and families.
In the absence of a funded Congressional mandate to have one of the above repositories become the recipient and steward for these archives and web sites, we are seeking out an organization that is willing to allocate permanent server space to create a cyber-bookshelf to hold the passive web pages and archives of disbanded World War II associations and keep them publicly available on the Internet.
The key term is "passive": these web sites will be like published books that simply sit on the shelves. There will be a small initial conversion of the web pages to conform to the standards of the cyber-bookshelf organization's web pages. But once that is done, the pages will never be updated and will not have any active forums or other web activity than web users simply reading the pages. Server space is virtually free nowadays. The initial effort to post the pages is low. And there is no on-going cost or maintenance. So it is a very low-short-term-budget activity and a virtually-zero-budget long-term activity for any given association's web site to be preserved.
This is an extremely urgent problem. So we are also instituting an interim solution until a permanent cyber-bookshelf is found. If you are the webmaster of a WWII veterans' association that has disbanded or is about to disband and has already lost or will soon lose their web site, please contact Wesley Johnston (click on the link at the bottom of this page) about the possibility of the web site being kept up as a passive web site on the 7th Armored Division Association web space. The information is too important to be lost.
Since we need to know the scope of the web sites that now exist, the following links are gradually being built up of all known WWII unit or battle association web sites. These are web sites that are entirely devoted to WWII. Those military units (e.g. 101st Airborne Division) that are still active or were very active in Korea or Vietnam or later combat and have a part of their web site for WWII are not in danger of disappearing and are thus not included here. This list is intended to include those associations that may eventually disband and for whom their web sites are thus endangered. If you know of an Association web site that has already disappeared, please contact the AWAHC President (see bottom of this page) since we also want to know about the ones already lost.
APPARENTLY LOST (no web site): 4AD -- 9AD -- 16AD -- 17th A/B Div -- 27ID -- 31ID -- 37ID -- 66ID -- 91ID -- 92ID -- 93ID -- 98 ID
STILL OPERATING (An asterisk (*) indicates associations that have already disbanded but whose web sites are being kept alive by dedicated individuals.)
Infantry Divisions 26 28 29 -- 30 32 33 34 35 38 -- 41 42 43 44 -- 63 65 69 -- 70 71 75 76* 78 314/79 -- 80 83 84* 85 86 87 88 89 -- 90 94 95 96 (old) 96 (new) 97* 99 -- 100 102* 103 104 106
Armored Divisions 5 6* 7 8 10* 11 12 13 14 (link not working) 20
Marine Divisions 4 6
Engineer Battalions 299
Air Groups or Squadrons 303 B Gp* 325 F Gp P-47 Pilots*
Other Army or Marine Units 99 Inf Bn 442 RCT Merrill's Marauders
Navy & Merchant Marine
Battle-Specific Battle of the Bulge Pearl Harbor
Other American WWII Orphans Network Go For Broke