Guide to Military Records and the Wartime Experience

at the State Archives of Florida

Post-World War II Conflicts, 1950 to the Present

World War II was unfortunately not the last major war in which the United States was involved. Since the mid-20th century, the U.S. military has seen action in the Korean War (1950 to 1953), the Vietnam War (1954 to 1975), the Persian Gulf War (1990 to 1991), the War on Terrorism (2001 to the present), Afghan War (2001 to the present), the Iraq War (2003 to 2011) and the Iraqi conflict (2003 to the present). As before, hundreds of thousands of Floridians answered the calls to action, an unequalled act of sacrifice that changed lives abroad and at home.

The State Archives of Florida has limited relevant material within our collections. The government records series and manuscript collections listed below are suggestions for research and may provide documentation of the military and home front experiences at the time.

First Lieutenant Robert Bruce Graetz standing beside a destroyed Iraqi anti-aircraft gun approximately 30 miles inside southern Iraq.

First Lieutenant Robert Bruce Graetz standing beside a destroyed Iraqi anti-aircraft gun approximately 30 miles inside southern Iraq, 1991

Air Force General Daniel "Chappie" James.

Air Force General Daniel "Chappie" James

Korean War, 1950-1953

The Korean War was a conflict between the communist government of North Korea, aided by China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea, aided by the United Nations but primarily the United States. The war began when the North Korean military crossed the border into South Korea, which the U.N. denounced as an invasion. More than 294,000 Floridians wore the uniform of the armed forces of the United States during the three-year war.

Florida. Governor Fuller Warren
Correspondence, 1949-1953
52.5 cubic feet

This series contains the correspondence of Governor Fuller Warren that reflects the official, constitutional and political duties of the Office of the Governor. The series consists mainly of incoming and outgoing correspondence filed by general subject area, agency or organizational name, or county name, including several folders relating to civil defense, Florida’s Military Department (now the Department of Military Affairs) and veterans.

Albert Trull Papers, 1952-1999
.5 cubic foot

Dr. Albert Trull, Jr. was a prominent architect and civic figure in Tallahassee, Florida in the late 20th century. This collection of his papers and books includes his thesis and doctoral dissertation as well as an October-November 1952 yearbook of the Fort Belvoir Engineer Replacement Training Center, where Trull was stationed during his Korean War service (2nd Training Company).

Vietnam War, 1954-1975

The Vietnam War and active U.S. involvement began in 1954, although it was part of a larger regional conflict that stretched back several decades. The conflict was between the communist government of North Vietnam, supported by China and the Soviet Union, and the government of South Vietnam, whose primary ally was the United States. After providing political and financial support to South Vietnam for several years and sending thousands of military advisors who at times engaged in covert operations, the U.S. provided active combat units beginning in 1965, including 386,000 Florida residents. The U.S. withdrew its forces in 1973 when the cost and casualties of the war proved too much, and in 1975 South Vietnam fell to the North.

Florida. Governor W. Haydon Burns
Correspondence, 1965-1967
34 cubic feet

This series contains Governor W. Haydon Burns’ official correspondence that reflects the official, constitutional and political duties of the Office of the Governor. The series consists mainly of incoming and outgoing correspondence filed by general subject area, agency or organizational name, or county name, including a number of folders regarding Vietnam, the military and veterans.

Florida. Governor Claude R. Kirk
Correspondence, 1967-1971
65 cubic feet

This series contains Governor Claude Kirk’s official correspondence that reflects the official, constitutional and political duties of the Office of the Governor. The series consists mainly of incoming and outgoing correspondence filed by general subject area, agency or organizational name, or county name, including a number of folders regarding Vietnam, the military and veterans. The records are complete for 1967, but there are large gaps in the series from 1968 to 1970.

Florida. Department of Military Affairs
Vietnam Casualty Records, 1961-1973
4 microfilm reels

This series consists of news releases from the United States Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) that list Vietnam War casualties from the beginning to the end of the conflict. The releases were issued daily or every few days and listed casualties by branch of service and then by state. The casualty categories include died due to hostile action, died not due to hostile action, missing due to hostile action and missing not due to hostile action. The releases also contain the name and addresses of the casualties' next-of-kin.

United Service Organizations (Vietnam)
Registry of Florida Servicemen Visiting the Saigon U.S.O., 1968-1973
1 volume (1 microfilm reel)

Established in 1941, the United Service Organization (USO) is a congressionally chartered, private organization of non-profit service associations that support active military members and their families, primarily by boosting the morale of troops through social centers. The first USO center to open during the Vietnam War was in Saigon, South Vietnam, in April 1963. This collection contains the USO registry for its Saigon center that documents visiting Florida servicemen from December 16, 1968, to January 19, 1973. It contains the name, date of visit, serial number, military and home address of each visitor.

Meginniss Family Papers, ca. 1887-1998
3 cubic feet

This collection primarily consists of Mary Meginniss Harris’ personal papers that document her life in Tallahassee, Florida. It also includes a series of letters from her son, Joseph Richard Harris Jr., who served during the Vietnam War and died at Tay Ninh on April 8, 1972. He wrote the letters to Mary during his military service.

Persian Gulf War, 1990-1991

In August 1990, the armed forces of Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait over oil disputes. The United States, leading a coalition of United Nations forces, began a military mission to protect Saudi Arabia from a similar fate at the hands of the Iraqi forces now arrayed upon its border with Kuwait. After several months of diplomatic confrontation, the U.N. passed several resolutions demanding the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait and authorizing the use of force to secure that objective. Shortly after the adoption of these resolutions the U.S. Congress authorized the use of American forces to implement the United Nations' demands. More than 650,000 U.S. service members served in in the Gulf War, including several units from the Florida Army and Air Force National Guard.

Florida. Governor Bob Martinez
Speech Files, 1987-1990
7 cubic feet

This series consists of the speeches of Governor Bob Martinez from January 1987 to December 1990. The speeches reflect the Governor's position on important issues and programs. The series also includes copies of Martinez's weekly column titled, OUTLOOK.

Florida. Governor Bob Martinez
Press Files, 1986-1991
6 cubic feet

This series contains the press releases issued by Governor Martinez's press office from November 1986 to January 1991. The series also includes indexes that list the press release titles by date.

Florida. Department of Military Affairs
Oral History of Florida National Guard Units, 1990-1991
10 audiotapes

This series contains interviews with members of Florida's National Guard as they recount their thoughts and actions while on active duty in support of operations against Iraq. Unit Commanding Officers, First Sergeants and senior enlisted personnel provide the highlights of those experiences that relate to the position each person held in the activated units. The format is a question and answer with emphasis on the relations among the various levels of military professionalism, i.e. Regular (active duty), Reserve and National Guard in the U. S. Army forces in theater and prior to the deployment of these units from the U.S. Not all the Florida units activated for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm are represented in this series.

Florida. Governor Lawton M. Chiles
Subject Files, 1991-1998
20 cubic feet

This series consists of legislative budget requests and amendments, workpapers and documentation used in analytical recommendations, records relating to major issues facing the governor, and incoming and outgoing correspondence and memoranda. Among the materials are records related to Operation Desert Storm such as news and correspondence regarding troops overseas.

War on Terrorism, 2001-present; Afghan War, 2001-present; the Iraq War, 2003-2011; and the Iraqi conflict, 2003-present

Launched after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were part of the larger Global War on Terrorism, an international military campaign led by the United States against radical extremist terror organizations worldwide. Although the War on Terrorism is not a war in the traditional sense, military troops have been actively engaged in combat and non-combat roles since its beginning, making it the longest war in U.S. history. The War in Afghanistan began in October 2001 with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan; it officially ended in December 2014, but several thousand troops remain in the region. The Iraq War began in March 2003 when U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq and it ended in December 2011.

Florida. Governor Jeb Bush
Public Relations and Outreach Files, 1998-2006 (bulk 2002-2006)
31.1 megabytes (636 files, 32 folders)

This series documents the Bush administration's planning for, or public response to, a wide variety of special events and occurrences. Included in the series are letters to families of Florida military service personnel killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, and reports providing basic background information on these individuals, including relation to Florida, cause of death, age, names and addresses of next of kin and additional background information (e.g., unit, where trained, etc.).

Florida. Governor Jeb Bush
Weekly Newsletters, 2001-2006
43.5 megabytes (303 files)

This series consists of weekly issues of "In the News," a newsletter issued by the Executive Office of the Governor "to provide [readers] with highlights about issues, activities, and priorities important to Governor Bush's administration."  Typical issues include information about major events (e.g., the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, hurricanes and disaster relief, etc.); information about the Governor's programs, priorities and initiatives (e.g., support for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, utilizing technology for e-government services, etc.) and lists of press releases and selected newspaper articles.

Florida. Governor Jeb Bush
Press Office Photographs, 2001-2006
1.97 gigabytes (1,630 files, 38 folders)

This series consists of digital photographs maintained by the Governor's Press Office to document public events and activities in which Governor Bush participated, appeared or had an interest, including bill signings, ceremonial events and observances, meetings, etc. Included are photos taken during an April 2006 visit to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan during the Iraq War by a delegation of governors including Governor Bush.

Florida. Governor Jeb Bush
Media and Internet Broadcasts, 1999-2006
1.88 gigabytes (51 files, 2 folders)

This series consists of television, radio and internet broadcasts documenting Governor Bush's participation in a variety of public activities and settings, including inaugural addresses; State of the State speeches to the legislature; press conferences, including those focusing on budget recommendations and signings; and news broadcasts. The segments reflect the Bush administration's interest in and viewpoints concerning a wide variety of policy areas and issues, among them troop morale in Iraq during the Iraq war.

WFSU-TV (Television Station: Tallahassee, Fla.)
Florida Government Affairs Broadcast Audio and Video Recordings, 1976-2003
3524 audio tapes, 796 video tapes, 146 compact disks

WFSU provides public radio and television service to the wider Tallahassee area. This series contains audio and video recordings of government affairs programs as well as local and statewide news programs broadcast by WFSU. Also included are recordings of call-in shows with the governor, inaugurations, openings of the Legislature and other events and activities. Of interest are two recordings (Tapes 606 and 607) of the Perspectives program with discussion on the War in Iraq.