Monday, October 24, 2011

Military Monday

On a sunny afternoon in August 1942, an unknown family member or friend took this photo of my grand-uncle Benny.  Benny was my mother’s uncle, my maternal grandmother’s younger brother.  In the doorway stands his older brother Jim (James Edgar).

The family bible tells me that Benny was born on January 30, 1915.  According to Baltimore Sun newspaper archives, military records, and the Maryland State Archives, he died on September 13, 1964. 

Family lore tells me that Benjamin McGown Jordan:
fought in United States Army during World War II,
parachuted to the ground on D-Day,
broke both ankles during the landing,
and was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries received in battle.* reveals that he enlisted on February 12, 1941.  At the time, his “civil occupation” was a plumber’s apprentice.  He completed a “grammar school” education.

Uncle Benny was laid to rest in Baltimore National Cemetery.  His grave marker transcribes thus: 
Benjamin M. Jordan

I have recently learned that a TEC5 (also known as a Technician Fifth Grade) was one of many technicians who held positions like driver, machinist, cook, and similar positions.  In other words, these were the people who were necessary to keep the military corps running, but not the guys who fired the big guns.  So why was he parachuting in on D-Day? 

I’m not sure about that one…even a new genealogist like me knows to take “family lore” with a boulder-sized grain of salt.  Nevertheless, serve he did, break both ankles he did, and receive the Purple Heart he did.  My nephew holds it to this day.  So it looks like another visit to the National Archives is in order for me.

Hmmm, should this be Military Monday or Mystery Monday?

*National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.


  1. Jenny-
    I've enjoyed reading through your blog! I wanted to post this link for you: It talks about the history of the technician ranks in the Army. They were created to allow for more promotion opportunities so they were similar to corporal or sergeant but were not allowed to fill leadership positions. They were not limited to jobs like cooking and driving; my uncle was a TEC 5 and operated tank destroyers. I did a Google search for "TEC 5" and "parachutist" and got several hits so the family legend could very well be true. The key is to find the unit he was assigned to. Good luck and I hope this helps!

  2. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for the additional info, and also for the link:
    I can tell already that I will be going back to that site often!
    Will continue to update his history as I learn more. Thanks for reading!