New information from a new search on Ancestry.com, and new information from military records have provided me with some new and updated information regarding George Marshall Hawkins, Jr., original navigator of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII.
To view my original post and other information about George Hawkins, please see the links at the end of this post.
George Marshall Hawkins, Jr. was the son of George Marshall Hawkins, Sr. (1893 – 1959) and Mildred S. Sonnenthal (1898 – 1993). George Jr. was born on 26 November 1918 in Manhattan, New York City, New York. George Jr. was the Hawkins’ only child.
George, Sr. was born on 16 June 1893 in La Plata, Maryland. His parents were also Maryland natives. Mildred was born on 16 December 1898 in Queens, New York. According to the 1900 Federal census and other records, Mildred’s father, William Sonnenthal, was born in Vienna (noted as in Hungary in some years, Austria in others) and immigrated to America in 1890. Alternate resources, including his Naturalization Records, note his previous nationality as Austrian. Mildred’s mother, Clara Sonnenthal, was born in Germany and immigrated to America in 1892.
The 1920 Federal census (taken 19 January 1920) reports that George and Mildred Hawkins were married and lived at 89 Laurel Street in Ridgefield Park, Bergen County, New Jersey. George Sr. (who likely went by his middle name “Marshall” as recorded by the census) was twenty-five and Mildred was twenty-one. George Jr. (who is also recorded with the name Marshall rather than George) was thirteen months old.
The 1920 census record verifies that George Sr. was born in Maryland and his mother and father were also born in Maryland. It notes that Mildred was born in New York, her father was born in Vienna, Austria (rather than Hungary as the 1900 census recorded), and her mother was born in Hamburg, Germany. George Sr.’s occupation in 1920 was Chemist in the Medicine industry. The 1920 Federal census record for Mildred’s parents, William and Clara Sonnenthal, notes William’s birthplace as Hungary and Clara’s as Saxony Germany.
The 1930 Federal census reports that by 1930, the Hawkins family had moved to William Street in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey. George Jr. was now eleven years old and was still recorded as Marshall. In this year’s census record, Mildred recorded that both of her parents were born in Austria.
The 1940 Federal census reports that by 1935, the Hawkins family had moved to 52 Burchard Street in Raritan Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey, and were still living in the same house in 1940. George Jr. was now twenty-one and in college. George Sr. was working as a foreman of a chemical factory (specifically Heyden Chemical Corporation in Fords, New Jersey in 1940 according to his WWII draft registration card).
Note: The Hawkins’ home address of 52 Burchard St. was sometimes written as in Raritan Township, New Jersey, and sometimes written as in Fords, New Jersey. An entry in Wikipedia suggests that, “The area as originally known as Fords Corner abuts neighboring Edison, part of which was once within Woodbridge Township, until an act of legislature in April of 1870 apportioned land to then called Raritan Township.” The location, as associated with either name of Raritan Township or Fords, is the same and is in Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Education and Civilian Employment prior to Military Service
George Hawkins graduated from Metuchen High School in Metuchen, New Jersey in June 1938. Metuchen did not offer any courses in military instruction. He lettered in high school sports and was also a member of the YMCA and Boy Scouts.
George Hawkins attended University of Georgia for three years, from 1938 to 1941, with a major in Journalism. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and participated in the sports of football, tennis, and volleyball. He also participated in R.O.T.C. at University of Georgia, with two years (20 September 1938 to 6 June 1940) of Cavalry basic and also Civil Pilot Training (completed basic flight training), attaining the rank of Corporal.
George Hawkins left University of Georgia in 1941 for military service in WWII.
Entry into WWII Military Service
On 16 October 1940, George Marshall Hawkins, Jr. registered for the WWII draft (on the same date that William Barnes, the Brodie crew bombardier, registered). The registrar was noted as “Dem. Sch. Clarke, Georgia” but was stamped with the New Jersey local board stamp of Local Board No. 2 for Middlesex County, Raritan Township, Municipal Building Lindeneau, R.D. 19, New Brunswick, New Jersey. This indicates to me that George actually registered while he was attending University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, although the “Local Board having jurisdiction of the registrant” was of his home address in New Jersey.
George listed his place of residence as 52 Burchard St., Raratan Township, Middlesex, New Jersey, but crossed it out and entered a “New Address” of 398 South Milledge Ave., Athens, GA. George’s Employer’s Name was University of Georgia, Student and place of employment was Athens, Clarke County, Georgia. He was 21 years old and born on 26 November 1918 in New York, New York.
George Marshall Hawkins (George Jr’s father) of 52 Burchard St., Raratan Township, Middlesex, New Jersey was the person who would always know his address.
George Hawkins, Jr. described himself as 5′ 10″ tall, 160 pounds, with blue eyes, blonde hair, and a light complexion. He noted no “other obvious physical characteristic that will aid in identification.”
Order to Report for Induction
George Hawkins received an order to report for induction on 7 July 1941, having been selected for training and service in the Army. He was instructed to report to the Municipal Building, Raritan Township, Plainfield & Woodbridge Avenues at 7:00 A.M. on 17 July 1941.
On 17 July 1941, George Hawkins enlisted in the Army at Trenton, New Jersey. George’s enlistment record notes his residence as Middlesex County, New Jersey, and that he was born in New York in 1918. His Army Serial Number at the time of enlistment was 32159744. At the time of his enlistment, George Hawkins had completed 3 years of college and was single, having no one dependent on him for support. Note: Officers were reassigned with a new serial number when they were commissioned and George’s later become O-719944.
George Hawkins was inducted into the Army on 17 July 1941 at Trenton, New Jersey, almost five months before the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Initial Military Assignments
After his induction into the Army, George was sent to Ft. Dix, New Jersey, and was attached to Company B, 1229 R.C. Ft. Dix, New Jersey, from 17 July 1941 to 24 July 1941. He was appointed Private upon his induction on 17 July 1941.
On 25 July 1941, he was assigned to Battery L, 96th Coast Artillery A.A., Camp Davis, North Carolina. On 20 October 1941, George was appointed Private First Class (PFC).
On 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
A couple of months following the attack, George Hawkins was transferred to Hawaii to serve with the Army. On 27 February 1942, George Hawkins left the U.S. for Hawaii, arriving on 10 March 1942. He began his foreign service with the 96th Coast Artillery at Hilo Army Air Base. Upon his arrival on 10 March, George was stationed at Hilo Airport with duty as a Central Control Operator. The assignment with Battery L of the 96th Coast Artillery continued until 4 January 1943.
On 9 September 1942, while serving in Hilo, T.H. (Territory of Hawaii), George Marshall Hawkins, Jr. applied to the Commanding General of the 7th Air Force at Hickham Field, Oahu, T.H. for enlistment in the Army Air Corps and immediate appointment as an Aviation Cadet for Air Crew training (Flying duty). He noted his current address as Battery L, 96th CA (AA), Hilo, Hawaii, T.H.
George was appointed as Aviation Cadet on 4 January 1943.
From 4 January 1943 to 6 February 1943, George’s assignment was as an Aviation Cadet stationed at HQ & HQ SQ 2st AF, Cadet Detachment, Hickam Field T.H. (Territory of Hawaii).
On 25 January 1943, George left the territory of Hawaii and arrived back in the U.S. on 2 February 1943 for Aviation Cadet training “Project R.” George’s time in Hawaii was considered foreign service as, at the time, Hawaii was a territory and not yet a state.
George Hawkins attended and passed AAF Preflight School (Pilot) at SAAAB (Santa Ana Army Air Base), Santa Ana, California. He attended the 2 1/4 month course as an Aviation Cadet from 6 February to 20 May 1943.
George attended and passed AAF Primary (Pilot) school at Thunderbird Field, Glendale/Phoenix, Arizona. He attended the 2 1/2 month course as an Aviation Cadet from 21 May to 26 July 1943.
George attended and passed AAF Basic (Pilot) school at Minter Field, California. He attended the 2 1/2 month course as an Aviation Cadet from 28 July to 30 September 1943.
On 25 September 1943, George’s score for firing a 45 caliber pistol was 79.6% which categorized him as a “sharpshooter.”
George attended Adv. S.E. (Pilot) school at Luke Field, Arizona, which I also see noted as the 305th Seft. Gp. He attended the course as an Aviation Cadet from 1 October to 12 November 1943, but did not successfully complete it. George was eliminated from Pilot training and sent to a reclassification center.
George returned to SAAAB (Santa Ana Army Air Base), SAAAB Cadet Detachment Santa Ana, California for Reclassification on 12 November 1943. He remained there until 5 December 1943, was reclassified as a Navigator, and transferred to Navigator school.
George attended and passed AAF Advanced Navigation school in Hondo, Texas. He attended the 4 1/2 month course from 5 December 1943 until his graduation on 8 April 1944. He was honorably discharged as an enlisted man as of 7 April 1944 to accept commission in the Armed Forces as a 2nd Lieutenant upon his 8 April 1944 Navigation School graduation. His total time as an enlisted many was from 17 July 1941 to 7 April 1944, and thereafter starting 8 April 1944 until his discharge, was a commissioned officer.
From 13 April to 26 April 1944, George was assigned to AAF Lincoln, Nebraska, Processing and Assignment. On 20 April 1944, he was attached to ACCD 222d OCTS.
George was assigned to B-17 Combat Crew training, AAF Sta. 172, Ardmore, Oklahoma, for 10 days, which he completed on 23 June 1944. He was assigned to the James Joseph Brodie crew as Navigator and they went to England and were assigned to the 384th Bomb Group stationed in Grafton Underwood.
To be continued…
Previous post, George Marshall Hawkins, Jr.
George Hawkins’ Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group
George Hawkins’ Enlistment Record in the online National Archives
MOS means Military Occupational Specialty
Previous post, Assigned Military Occupational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews
Wikipedia entry Fords, New Jersey
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2023
I’ve probably said this before, in which case I apologise, but the detail you go into must take an incredible amount of research in various government departments and third party resources. You are, as always, to be congratulated. It’s a great tribute.
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Thank you! Yes, it does take a lot of research, but I am glad to see I am succeeding in paying tribute to these men who fought so bravely in WWII. I am incredibly grateful to them and this is one way to thank them for their service to their country and for our freedom.
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And worthy it is too!
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