Research at National Archives--more information

By: Charles Westervelt
On: 05/14/2004
Someone requested more information from me regarding research.  Here is my response to him:

There are two locations to do research at the Archives.
The National Archives (Archives I) is located in downtown DC.  The National Archives,College Park, (Archives II) is located quite a distance from downtown.  Archives II is where all the 401st information is located.  I did not have a car, but that was not a problem.  Just take the subway to Archives I and take the Archives shuttle bus to Archives II.  It runs between Archives every hour on the hour from 8am until 5pm.  The shuttle is actually for
Archives employees, but researchers can use the bus if there is room.  I rode it for a week, and there was always lots of room.

You will have to obtain a research card before you can do any research. This is a "painless" process that is completed at the Archives.

The paper documents are located on the 2nd floor (if my memory is correct)and the Still Photo section is on the 5th floor.  I never made it to the motion picture section.  I do not know if there is any film taken of the
401st.  If you discover anything in that regard, please let me know.

As you enter the 2nd floor area, to your left is a glass-enclosed room.  In this room are the research aids.  A "Records of AA Forces" reference book gives you all the info you need to request the boxes of information about
the 401st.  Most of the information pertains to each combat mission.  I also wanted to see the normal, everyday paperwork of the unit. I talked to Archivist Dave Giordano, who is the "expert" on the Army Air Force
documents.  He said they just did not keep everything due to the volume, so generally only info on the missions were retained.  Makes sense...

In regard to the photos, there is literally a card catologue that you go through to identify the pictures you want to see.  Then the staff takes your list and has to code it for the folks who pull the records.  There is a
Kodak picture-making "machine" (for wont of a better word) located on the 2nd floor that you can use.  You can use a credit card to pay for reproducing any photos you like.

I was told that we are lucky in that the 401st has hundreds of photos in the Archives, whereas other bomb groups have few to none.

Good luck with your research.  If you have any other questions, please contact me.

Re: Research at National Archives--more information

By: Scott McElvain
On: 05/15/2004
Thank you so much for the details.  I had put information on the Air Force Historical Research Center on the Forum before.  It is at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama.  They have the original Flying Control Logbook and microfilm which you can buy of basically all the documents they have on the 401st.  See my bulletin on a previous page.