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 Dated:  October 25, 2008
The Points System
Advanced Service Rating Score
Every WW2 Veteran can tell you how many points he earned towards his discharge. The recent HBO's TV series "The Band of Brothers" only mentioned a little about it in the last episode, which was entitled "Points". Very few people or reference books will explain how the points were awarded.  This is what I have been able to piece together.

The Advanced Service Rating Score was a scoring system that awarded points to a soldier and was used to determine who were sent home first. At the end of the war in Germany and Italy, a total of 85 points were required for a soldier to be allowed to return to the States. Otherwise, if you had less than 85 points, you could expect to continue to serve in the Army and most likely be sent to fight the Japanese.  When the Japanese surrendered, the Point System may still have been used to determine who was sent home and who remained as occupation troops.  I have not researched much on the units that were in the Pacific to see if the points applied to them or not.  A few weeks later, the points were lowered to 75, probably soon after Japan surrendered.

After the end of the war, the soldiers were sent home with their units.  Some soldiers might have been transferred to another unit either because their experience were needed elsewhere to fight the Japanese or they had not been in the Army long enough.  I'm not sure what criteria was used to determine which had enough time in service as a unit.

How the Advanced Service Rating Score worked.
    Points were awarded for the following:
+1 Point for each month of service 
(between 16 Sept 1940 - 12 May 1945)
+1 Point for each month overseas 
(between 16 Sept 1940 - 12 May 1945)
+5 Points for first & each award received
+5 Campaign stars worn on theater ribbons
+12 Points for each child (< 18 yrs) 
up to a limit of 3 children.

For example, a GI who had who had been in service for 3 years with 2 years spent overseas, would receive 36 points plus 24 points. Then if he also received a Purple Heart, served in 2 campaigns (such as North Apennines and Po Valley), and had one child then his score would be:
    ASR Score =  36 + 24 + 5 + 10 + 12 = 89    Enough to go home!

The problem with the ASR Score is that it rewarded the rear echelon troops who had been overseas a long time even though they had never seen combat.  Many supply troops had served 2 or 3 years overseas.  Whereas, it was unusual for a combat infantryman to survive that long.

I've heard of some soldiers who were sent back to the States before the war was over. From the quote below and what other veterans haves said, I don't think the ASRS was in effect until May of 1945.  They were rotated home based on some other method. For example, pilots were sent home after flying 25 combat missions (later raised to 50). And even if they were sent back to the States, most had to continue to serve in the Army in some capacity.

What happened to those who didn't have enough points to return home?  The quotes, below, describe how soldiers were transferred to units that were marked to be sent to the Pacific Theater.  For a personal glimpse into one ship that left Italy, read the issue of the The Trooper newspaper printed on board the USS Stewart. This ship left Leghorn, Italy with 3000 troops and was going to pass through the Panama Canal and land in Manila, Phillipines.  In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, they recieved news that the war was over and they would be diverted to New York.  This newspaper describes the feelings on board the ship.  Go to The Trooper.

Examples:  Various examples of early releases and discharges.

Private Thompson of the 1st Armored Division was wounded in February 1944.  He was allowed to return home before the Points System and arrived on October 5, 1944.  He married on October 9 and was stationed at Fort Knox, KY for the remainder of the war.  See his biography at PFC Thompson.

My Uncle Robert Hall of the 99th Division was allowed to go home near the end of the war. He had served as a medic and when he arrived back in the States he was assigned to a Army hospital in the home-town state. While assigned the duty of sterilizing surgery equipment, the Japanese surrender was announced.

Private First Class Seymour Sarokin, Co. D, 377th Infantry Regiment, was transferred to the 88th Division after the end of the war.  He had enlisted in January 1942 but was not sent overseas until August 1944.  See his biography at PFC Sarokin.

Quotes: "The point system came out from the War Department.  I will have 104."
Thursday, May 10, 1945.
     From journal of Private Lloyd Wagner, 151st FA, 34th Infantry Division. (see next quote)

"I tried to explain to the folks at home how the point system worked, since they, as farmers, just thought that since I'd been gone so long, I should be among the first to come home. The point system was a little more complicated , though, as it had been devised by Army intelligence rather than farmer intelligence. The point system ran this way: any outfit which had men with at least 85 points got to send the same amount of men home as outfits who had men with more than 85 points. Though I had 104 points, Army intelligence did not consider that to be any more than 85 points, or to put it another way, they considered 104 to be equal to 85. It was hard to explain that to the folks back home, as I could hardly figure it out myself. "
      Lloyd Wagner, both above quotes are from his book "And There Shall Be Wars", printed 2000.

"Reduction of the discharge total to 75 points in September whittled Division ranks still lower and by the middle of the month there were but 1,200 officers and men left in the 88th Division."
      "The Blue Devils in Italy" by John Delaney, a history of the 88th Infantry Division.

"The redeployment plan, or "point system", was developed by the War Department after very careful consideration and was based on the desires of soldiers as obtained from interviews of a representative cross-section of Army personnel. "
      "The 91st Infantry Division in WW2" by Major Robert Robbins

"The 85th Division has been given a new and final mission.  Put in Category IV in the War Department's Re-deployment Program, the 85th has been assigned the job of taking back to the States men who have more that 85 points.  When the final mission is accomplished, the renowned 85th Custer Division will be in-activated.  In record-breaking time, 5000 men with less than 85 points had to say farewell to old friends as orders came thru transferring them.  The bulk of our men went to the 34th Division, while others went to teh 91st Division, 10th Mountain and 423? Field Artillery Group, and other units. . . .  Simultaneously, men with more that 85 points came into the Division from other units, principally from the 34th Division.  According to present plans, by the middle of August, the re-organized Custer Division will be on the high seas headed to Hampton Roads."
    "Custer Combateer", "CD Welcomes Veterans From Other Divisions", newsletter of the 85th Infantry Division Dated July 1, 1945.

Other references:   "Band of Brothers" by Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose,  Simon and Schuster/Touchstone, 1993.

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