After several years of research, I finally discovered the military identification number belonging to my deceased grandfather Gibson J. Eli. According to newspaper reports at the time of his passing, my grandfather enlisted in the United States Army during the Second World War and fought in Germany. With his number in hand, I had great hopes of learning more about his military career on the European Front. I requested his file from the U.S. government, but sadly, they informed me that my grandfather's military record burned in the St. Louis archival fire of 1973.
On the bright side, the government sent an official certification of military service verifying my grandfather's enlistment in 1942 and honorable discharge in 1947 as a corporal.