National Archives II
College Park, Maryland
If you are looking for information on a particular mission the 92nd Bomb Group flew or on a particular airman who flew with the 92nd, one of your best sources could be the national archives. When most of us think of the archives, we probably think of the building in Washington, D.C., that houses the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights; however, the archives is a treasure trove of information on U.S. history if you know where to look.
The National Archives II, located in College Park, Maryland, not far from the University of Maryland campus, holds thousands of records pertaining to the Eighth Air Force and its many groups in World War II, including (among other items) mission reports, cancelled field orders, operational narratives and Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs).
What follows here is information about doing research at the archives as well as lists of locations for the 92nd Bomb Group's mission reports and MACRs for men who flew with the 92nd. The information provided is based on my experience with the archives. Unfortunately, the information on the mission reports is not quite complete; however, I hope to add to it as I am able to learn more.
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740
- Take I-495 to exit 28B, New Hampshire Avenue (Route 650).
- Exit at New Hampshire Avenue and head south (right from the inner loop; left from the outer loop).
- Turn left at the second light onto Adelphi Road.
- Continue on Adelphi Road for about two miles.
- The archives is located on the left. You should see a large green sign.
- Turn left into the entrance.
What to Expect
You will likely be greeted by a security guard at the entrance onto the archives property. If you do not have a research card, you will need to show him/her a photo ID. S/He will then direct you to follow the road to the second entrance into the parking area, which is located on the right. A short drive will take you to the parking area, where you will be greeted by another security guard, who will direct you into the parking lot.
NOTE: The parking lot fills up quickly. You should plan to be there early.
The archives is located across the street, diagonal to the parking area. The entrance should be readily visible to you as you leave the parking area.
Once inside, you will need to pass through a security checkpoint.
If you have never been to the archives, the first thing you need to do is obtain a research card. The room to do this is just inside the main entrance to your right.
If you have brought any notes or other equipment with you (tape recorders, laptops, etc.), they must be approved and stamped. This is also done in this room.
Note: No loose pages are permitted. All papers must be stapled together into one packet.
Very few personal belongings are permitted in the research room. If you have brought coats, purses, brief cases, etc., lockers are provided on the first floor. You can reach them by taking the stairs across from the entrance (behind the information desk) down to the first floor. At the bottom of the stairs, turn toward the left. To your left will be a set of doors. Through these doors you will find the locker area. In order to use the lockers you need a quarter; however, once you unlock the locker, (i.e., once you have returned the key), your quarter will be returned to you.
Note: You may be allowed to have a sweater or jacket, but you must leave it on at all times. If the jacket or sweater has pockets that are too large, however, you may be asked to remove it.
For archives hours as well as other rules for using the archives, including what items you are permitted to bring with you into the research room, please check out these pages from the archives' Web site:
Where You Want to Go
To look at mission reports or MACRs, you want the Records Room on the second floor of the archives building. To get there, you must pass through another security checkpoint, located across from the room where you obtained your card (around the corner from the steps to the first floor). Here you will be required to show your research card as well as any papers or equipment you have brought with you.
The elevators open onto a small foyer-type area. Walk to your right toward the main part of the archives. The research room will be to your left, behind class doors.
Rules and Regulations
The link to the national archives page dealing with rules and regulations in the research room is listed above; however, here are a few pertinent things to remember:
- If you wear a sweater or jacket, etc., into the room, you cannot remove it. You must take it down to your locker.
- Do not bring pens, pencils or paper; they will be provided for you.
- Records are retrieved only at certain times of the day.
- You may remove only one box from the cart at a time and only one folder from the box at a time.
If you are unsure what records you need, archivists are available to help you. The room to find them is located to the left after you enter the research room. Someone will help you find what you need and complete a request form.
Because records are pulled only at certain times of the day, if you know what records you need, it would be more beneficial to request records by phone. You must call before 2:00 pm on the day before you plan to go. Be prepared to give the exact information. Phone numbers can be found on the information page noted above.
Records requested can be claimed at the desk just to the right of the archivist room. The records will be on a large cart and you will be directed where in the room you may sit.
Where to Find 92nd Bomb Group Information
I must admit that I don't always have great luck when calling the archives to request that records be pulled. I give the record group and the box numbers, and oftentimes, whomever I am speaking to doesn't understand what I am talking about. You may need to fax a request (but ask first).
Mission reports for the 92nd Bomb Group (as with all bomb groups) are found in Record Group 18, entry 7. They are grouped together in boxes about 15 inches wide, 12 inches high and perhaps four inches deep. Each box has a number. When you call to request records, you will need to give the record group and the box number. Depending on whom you talk to when you call, you may need to know the entry number as well. See the link below for the list of box numbers.
Note: Record Group 18 covers the entire Army Air Force. For a list of all the records that can be found in this group, check out the National Archives' page devoted to this group.
I have not as yet had the opportunity to look at any Missing Air Crew Reports so I am not certain what record group they may be found in. Eighteen, however, would be a good place to start looking. One of the archivists will be able to help you find them. For a list of 92nd Bomb Group airmen who were missing from a mission along with their MACR numbers, see the link below. (Note: MACRs were not completed for planes that crashed in England.)