The Point System

The Point System instituted by the U.S. Army was used to determine in what order soldiers were rotated back to the states for redeployment or discharge. The points system went into effect after the war in the ETO ended. The cutoff was 85 points. Anyone who had that number of points was rotated stateside. Following the end of the war in the Pacific it was used to determine who would be sent home and released from the service and who would remain in Germany as Occupation forces. A G.I. got a certain number of points for how many times he was wounded in battle, length of service, length of deployment overseas, combat credits (decorations), and parenthood.

The cutoff number of points changed several times depending upon the needs of the military. The number was a moving target and, as evidenced in Bill’s letters, the men were never certain where they stood. Rumors were the order of the day. Soldiers who never cared about medals while they were in combat all of a sudden started trying to get officers to recommend them for medals. Other soldiers would go over their personnel records with a fine-tooth comb trying to ensure they got credit for every action they were in. Each combat credit was worth 5 points. It is no wonder that Bill was bitterly disappointed that his nomination for the Bronze Star was not acted upon, but he was probably only one of thousands who were attempting to accumulate points by hook or crook.

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