Robert Nieman 1944-1952
My name is Michael Robert Nieman. I’m the eldest of 4 sons and 1 daughter of Robert and Lillian Nieman. First and foremost I wish to thank you for your letter dated March 3, 2009. The information you have on Robert Nieman is correct. However we lost Mom in May of 1999. My father served his and our country from August 10, 1944 until November 8, 1952. He fought in Europe in WW II and was also happy to say he was a proud member of General MacArthur’s Honor Guard. After leaving this outstanding unit of America’s finest, my father volunteered to go to Korea in January of 1951.
My father has never really talked about what he had seen and done until 3 of his sons (including myself) enlisted in the 1980’s. I never pressured my father into telling me any more than he wanted to. He only said that he served in Japan on the Honor Guard, to include driving people around Tokyo and sometimes using the siren that was on the car. I believe he said he drove Mrs. MacArthur around.
One other story was how you members would help each other with putting your pants on. He said that because of the highly pressed uniform pants you guys would do a chin up while two of you held the pants. Then you would lower yourself into the pants. He also said that before and during a detail you were always being inspected. He told me that during, the Japanese thought of MacArthur as a God.
I know how long that unit was active, I know of the unit patches being blue when General MacArthur was there and how it changed to purple after he left. I know that at any given time the size of the unit was nearly 200 officers and enlisted men. I’m positive these men were not only Honor Guards but also acted as body guards for General MacArthur and his staff as at this time he was the most powerful man in the Far East.
The main reason I’m writing this is to obtain more information on this unit – its official mission, the who, the what, the where, and the why. I also want to locate more information about my Dad. I know my father was there from April 1950 until January 1951 he told me he had been a driver. I know he had the MOS of a driver but I need the date in April and the date in January, also proof he had been a driver to help me get for him his driver’s badge that the deserves. The dates are also important so I can figure out when dad went to Korea and when he left Korea.
I know that this is a lot of things to ask for, but this is also for his family as I plan to write a book about the service he provided to his and our country. The book will only be for his family as I do not plan on selling it. Anything that you would provide me with would be helpful and I thank you. Included you will find copies of his documents I hope you can use them. If you know of any websites or books that would help, please let me know.
The quest to find my father’s war began shortly after his untimely passing in December of 2005. I knew where he kept all his discharge documents for his service with the US Army. These records were required so he would receive his Veterans burial benefits. I had looked at these documents on many occasions, but I never fully grasp the true meaning nor the sacrifices that he had made. I was told by the Veterans Administration that these were the most complete and detailed set of WW II and Korean War era documents that they had ever seen. Upon hearing this and knowing the stories my father had told us, I had a never-ending desire to fully comprehend what this man may have seen and accomplished while serving his country. I challenged myself to find the answers to the many questions that I had been asking myself and of others.
Traveling down this path took me into a vast world of information, from placing numerous phone calls, checking out books from several libraries, visiting a number of websites, and the small amount of information my father had told us. The major problem was keeping track and organizing all this information and putting the pieces of this grand puzzle together. After requesting help with obtaining the Medals my dad had received and fighting for others that he had earned but never received, I was honored to receive my father’s Decorations on July 10, 2007 from the Honorable congressmen Dave Camp of Midland, MI, in a ceremony in Dad’s honor. These where awarded for his service to his country from August 10, 1944 until November 8, 1952. With the help from family and friends, I was able to build an oak display case to display these very important items.
But this still didn’t satisfy my desire to know more about my father’s service record. As I began to put the puzzle together I began to know the units be served with, where his military duties took him, what be may have seen and done during WW II, His service on General MacArthur’s Honor Guard in Tokyo, his service during the Korean War, and finally during peacetime in the United States.
What I hope to prepare is a brief history of known facts, stories told to his kids, and a little bit of reading between the lines of a brave man that served his country and ours for over 8 years with duty, honor, and courage.
[Mike Nieman asked me to help him with a tribute to his father. We’ve exchanges many emails, photographs and letters in an effort to clear up information gaps so that he could properly document his father’s military service. If you have something to offer, send it to email@example.com. Thanks. Maurice Howe]