Imagine if you could take a WW2 airborne trooper and turn him upside down and shake him until everything fell out of his pockets... what exactly would be on the floor around him?
Aside from the obvious items like ammunition, his pistol, first aid tin, water-bottle... what else could he have in his pockets. Every soldier was required to carry with them identification at all times, almost all would have his ETO ID card and pay-book somewhere on them, as well as military driving license and other odds and ends.
You'll see and hear the the word 'impression' a lot in re-enacting, after all this isn't just about dressing up! Re-enacting can go much deeper, your character can have a complete history to it. Along side that you can have all the matching identification to make the story complete. Every GI has a set of tags, so you should already have an army serial number. Make sure that same number goes on all your paperwork.
All members of Miss Drop 44 will be issued a set of US WW2 military ID for free. Most likely after your first event or possibly before depending on the situation and what's going on. Obvious rules apply, need to have AFRA etc.
The most important piece has to be you Identification card/book. Shown below. Also the most annoying to make as its brown cover and pale inside requires to be separately printed and stuck together, you'll need a suitable photograph and you'll need to find some ink to do the finger prints! However, if you take your time and don't rush it, these can look fantastic. However, not many soldiers actually ever had these, despite them being an impressive looking item once created. Most soldiers simply had the ETO ID card. However, should you wish to create one of these, then you'll be in the minority so it'll fit in well.
The original ID card was printed on a pigskin textured brown paper. You can see where the paper has worn & the fabric reinforcement is visible. The interior is a beige paper. To make this card, print the outside on brown textured paper & the inside on beige paper. Spread glue on the entire back of both pieces of paper & sandwich a piece of muslin between the two. Stack a few books on top of this for a few days to let it dry. (make sure to protect the books from the moisture of the glue) Then, score along the two vertical folds, trim to size & fill out.
Don't forget to hand it to and officer for all the counter-signatory and officers signatures that it needs.
Army Driving Permit
A lot of soldiers were taught to drive in the in army and would have been issued Army Driving Permits. Just like the UK driving license everything is broken down into categories.
This simple one piece of card folded in half is one of the easiest pieces of identification to produce. Just don't go too crazy and start putting lots of vehicles permits on the card as most airborne troopers would have only ever used a jeep or motorbike! Sorry, no heavy tanks for you!
Except mail from home and food, the other most important thing for a soldier to get was paid! Not much point getting leave if you don't have any money to spend. So the pay-book was never forgot about, nothing to tricky about producing this either.
Like the identification card the Pay-book is always made of different colours and texture of card/paper. Although as this is stapled together, its really easy.
The details shown right are for a member of the 82nd Airborne, so of particular interest to us. You can refer to the pay-scale section of this website when filling out, how much you would be entitled too. Also, before you go crazy and fill this out. Think about, where you started. Did you start as a private, if so fill the card out as such, make the relevant adjustments further along in the card. Giving your impression more details.
The simplest to create, the dullest to fill out and the least interesting to look at! However, for the new soldier, this would be useful as they would have been vaccinated against lots, most soldiers had never been treated for anything and lots of these new to the soldiering life had never seen a dentist before! So the dentists would kept very busy when drafting started!
The example of the right gives you a good idea of when booster shots would be given, remembering if your a new recruit then your card will only have one of each shot. Its good to get multiple people to fill out this record for you, as they look odd when its all in the same handwriting and same pen!
There were two patterns of Immunisation Record, early and late. I have no idea when this changed over, however unless you want to be a late war replacement, then pick the early type.
ETO Enlistedmans Identification Card
A little like the Immunization Register, its rather a dull looking piece of ID. However, all enlisted men in the ETO would have been issued one of these simple cards. Both simple in appearance and simple to recreate.