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Record of the 327th Fighter Control Squadron:
An Historical Find

There are two published versions of the history of my father's outfit, the "Record of the 327th Fighter Control Squadron." In the summer of 1945, the 327th Fighter Control Squadron was stationed in Weimar, a city in eastern Germany which would soon become Russian occupational territory. The Americans had to leave.

Several weeks earlier, soldiers of the 327th had left a 47-page manuscript and photographic plates for publication at the Knabe Printing Company, a shop located in Weimar. The Squadron was unable to retrieve copies of the published histories before leaving town, and the Russians subsequently refused to release either the published books or the manuscript and photographic plates that the 327th had left behind.

An abridged "Record" sans photographs was therefore published in the U.S. in 1946 and distributed to all Squadron members. The fate of the original remained a mystery until 2000 when Weimar construction workers at the Knabe Printing Company discovered about 30 copies of the 1945 "Record of the 327th Fighter Control Squadron" concealed under floorboards. This historical gem contains numerous rare wartime photographs and a series of group pictures of about 100 members of the 327th Fighter Control Squadron.

For a fascinating account of a 327th Fighter Control Squadron lieutenant's harrowing attempt to retrieve copies of the original Squadron history from Weimar after it had become part of the Russian Occupation Zone, see Fenmore Seton's article in the June 2002 issue of the Ninth Flyer, a publication of the Ninth Air Force Association.

There are, however, a few inaccuracies in Mr. Seton's article. As pointed out in a September 20, 2008 letter from Bernd Schmidt, chairman of U.S. Veterans Friends, Germany, the first few paragraphs of Mr. Seton's article are factually incorrect. These paragraphs purportedly describe circumstances surrounding the successful retrieval of the original "Record." In addition, Mr. Seton's trip to Weimar most likely took place in July 1945, not June, as stated in the article. Finally, the person Seton refers to as "Smith" is actually Bernd Schmidt.

For my take on this historical find, please see my Associated Content article.