Ultimately, the latest right wing blog attempt at fact checking rests upon the notion that there is no possible way that genealogy records could be wrong.
I’ll let those who have ever done such research stop laughing. The proof that Obama must be wrong was that the genealogy records were for Charles W. Payne, not Charles T. Payne.
Although we were not able to reach Payne directly, Payne’s son, Richard Payne, said his father "definitely served in the 89th Infantry Division" and confirmed that Obama’s account was substantially accurate, except for identifying the wrong concentration camp. Richard Payne declined to say anything further.
Mark Kitchell, who maintains a Web site dedicated to the 89th Infantry Division, said he was able to locate a list of servicemen that includes a Pfc. C. T. Payne who served in the K Company of the 355th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division. The list included only the initials for first names.
The 355th Infantry Regimen was the one that liberated Ohrdruf, Kitchell said. Kitchell, the son of 89th veteran Raymond E. Kitchell, obtained the list from the official Division History book, written shortly after the war.
Finally, the National Personnel Records Center, an operation of the federal government’s National Archives and Records Administration, put this question to rest.
Researchers confirmed to PolitiFact that Army personnel records for Payne would have been destroyed in a 1973 fire that consumed many such archives, but they dug up a "Morning Report" dated April 11, 1945, showing Pfc. Charles T. Payne was assigned to the 355th Regiment Infantry, Company K. The Records Center provided a copy of the report. A faxed copy provided to PolitiFact was legible enough for us to make out Payne’s information, but the faxed photocopy of the record is too grainy to be of use if posted here.
There’s no question Obama misspoke when he said his uncle helped to liberate the concentration camp in Auschwitz.
But even with this error in locations, Obama’s statement was substantially correct in that he had an uncle — albeit a great uncle — who served with troops who helped to liberate the Ohrdruf concentration/work camp and saw, firsthand, the horrors of the Holocaust. We rate the statement Mostly True.
Charles Payne is 83, lives in Chicago and apparently never talks about the liberation of the camp. It’s too bad it had to be brought up again because of a bunch of slobbering children who think they’ve found a conspiracy afoot because a wrong initial in records.