80th Division Digital Archives Project
About the 80th Division Veteran's Association Digital Archives Project
My name is Andy Adkins; I am the WebMaster of the 80th Division website as well as the 80th Descendants website. My father served with the 80th Division during World War II, initially as a mortar section leader in Company H, 2d Battalion, 317th Infantry Regiment and was eventually promoted to Company Commander as the war was winding down. He kept a journal during the war and in the mid 80's presented me and my sister with copies of his diary. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed. I knew, of course, he had fought in the war and had heard a few war stories, but nothing like this.
My dad died in 1989 after losing a battle to cancer. While he did talk a little more about the war, he didn't say nearly as much as what he wrote in the diary. In the mid 90's I regained an interest in World War II. I took my dad's diary, started working on revising it, adding in additional research and eventually got it published. You Can't Get Much Closer Than This: Combat with Company H, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division was published in October 2005 by Casemate Publishers and was immediately selected as a "Selection of the Month" for the Military Book Club in November 2005.
I've been to several reunions of the 80th Division Veterans Association, as well as other veterans associations. Our veterans are leaving us every day and soon, us baby boomers and our kids will find it very difficult to find information about our fathers and grandfathers who fought in World War II. I came across what is known as company Morning Reports [click here for example of a Morning Report in PDF format] which provide detailed personnel information about the men and activities of each company in the division. I asked the leadership of the 80th Division Veteran's Association if they would allow me to digitize the 80th Division's Morning Reports and make them readily available on the Internet.
During the September 2006 Annual Meeting in Columbus, Georgia, I was privileged to receive the 80th Division's Morning Reports. I am in the process digitizing these records and placing them on the Internet [http://www.80thdivision.com/WebArchives]. I estimate this project to take approximately two years (see image below of the Microfiche Cabinet), but I am committed to digitizing all records, no matter how long it takes.
I work at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where I am the Technology Services director as well as the director of the Legal Technology Institute. The Legal Information Center (library) recently purchased a microfiche reader with a special adapter connected to a desktop computer that allows me to scan and digitize the Morning Reports into PDF (see image below of the Digitizing Workstation). The process is slow and time-consuming, but I'm able to digitize all images (up to 100 Morning Reports - see image below) on a single microfiche in about 30 minutes. After digitizing the microfiche, I then upload them to this web site.
This is an all volunteer effort and does not cost the 80th Division Veteran's Association anything since I'm using publicly available computer equipment and am doing this on my own time. I am happy to provide these records to the world, but my focus in for those family members who fought in the 80th Division during World War II. I know there are family members of 80th Division veterans who are anxious to learn more about their fathers, brothers, uncles, and grandfathers who fought during World War II. I do this for all of us.
-- Andy Adkins, Gainesville Florida, December 2006
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|Click here for a list of abbreviations used in the Morning Reports|
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