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FAQ - How to find US Military personnel

A Few Basic Questions

1. I am looking for someone in the US Military but don't know where he/she is located.

2. I am looking for someone in the US Military and know his/her location,
but do not have a office/home address or phone number. How do I go about finding out their address?

3. I have a boyfriend/girlfriend/relative in the US Military and have his/her home address,
but cannot send him/her any mail or email. How can I send a message?

4. I am looking for a Veteran from the US Military. How do I find him/her?

5. I want to request military records from deceased next of kin (i.e. your father, spouse or other relative).
How and where do I do that?

1. If you don't know where somebody is located, there are two ways to finding out:

a) try a Military 'Whois' service on the internet (this is a sort of database where you can find the address of Military personnel):
Links to databases of Army personnel
Databases of Air Force personnel
Databases of Marines personnel
Databases of Navy personnel
Databases of Coast Guard personnel
Note: the information in these databases may be outdated.

b) contact the appropriate office (for instance, to find US Army personnel you would have to write to the US Army Worldwide Locator). This information is available on the internet as well:
Air Force
Coast Guard

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2. If you know where somebody is located (= the military base or location where he or she is working), but do not have an address, you should find out the phone number of the Base Locator for that base.
Each military base has a Base Locator, (may also be called the Post Locator, or in some cases a bureau\unit with a different name which offers the same service), to help you locate someone who is working there.
To find out the phone number of the Base Locator, make a call to the Military base or unit where he\she is working and ask for the phone number, or find out about it online.

Once you've found the phone number of the Base Locator, you can call there and ask for the address of the person you're looking for.
Usually they will give you the office address or office phone number.
I need more help

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3. You can use a special form available on the Internet to send messages to US Military personnel (including civilian personnel) - this is called a MARS-GRAM - , and even to personnel aboard US Navy ships (= called a USO-GRAM).
You will have to write down your home address and phone number, and their home address and phone number in order for this to work !
Click here to go to the forms, and then select the appropiate link.

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4. If you are trying to find a veteran (someone who left the US Military), for all Military services the National Personnel Records Center keeps a record of the retiree. However, this record will contain the last known address of the person when he\she left the Military and is not updated! This means that the address may not be correct, especially if it has been a long time since he or she left the Military.
You must meet one of the following reasons for the NPRC to forward your correspondence:
  • Requester's VA or Social Security benefits are dependent on contacting the veteran.
  • The veteran's VA benefits may be affected in some manner.
  • Forwarding is in the veteran's or next of kin's interest, e.g. estate settlement.
  • The veteran may have fathered a child.
  • A financial institution's legitimate effort to collect a debt.

    A search fee of $ 3.50 is required only when the forwarding of correspondence is not in the veteran's best interest, e.g., debt collection. The check should be made payable to "Treasurer of the U.S.".

    The exact procedure :

    To pursue locating a former military member:
    - Write a letter to the soldier. Place this letter in a sealed and stamped envelope, including your full name and return address.

    - Write a letter addressed to the National Personnel Records Center requesting their assistance with your search. Be sure to include the service member's name, serial number and/or social security number, and date of birth if available.

    - Place your envelope addressed to the service member AND the letter to the National Personnel Records Center in ONE envelope. Address this envelope to: National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5200. Please note current addresses for discharged service members are not maintained at the records center - this center only has the service member's last officially recorded address. Letters to service members the record center can not identify or who are known to be deceased will be returned to you.

    This information was derived from the book How to locate Anyone Who is or Has Been in the Military, Eighth Edition

    Another way to find a retiree or veteran, is through the many (private) websites which keep databases of email adresses:
    Gulfweb.Org - Gulf War Veterans Locator - Email & ICQ directory - Gulf War Vets guestbook
    Or, search the Buddy Finder with over 20 million records of US military personnel, veterans and retirees -
    Free registration is required to search the Buddy Finder.
    More resources to find veterans

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    5. If you want to request military records, you have to contact the National Personnel Records Center.
    Most requests received at NPRC (MPR) pertain to the official military personnel files of service veterans,and to the records of medical treatment of military and non-military personnel at U.S. military medical facilities worldwide. Releasable information, access to these records, and requesting procedures vary by the source of the request, records or information desired, and the provisions of the law.

    a) Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) including the Active Duty Health Record (includes outpatient, dental, and mental health treatment).
    b) Clinical (hospital inpatient) and medical treatment records. Includes:
    Clinical (hospital inpatient) records created for military personnel while on active duty
    Medical treatment records for military retirees, dependents, and others created at military health care facilities (includes inpatient, outpatient, dental and mental health treatment)

    Send your request as a letter. Requests must contain enough information to identify the record among the more than 70 million on file at NPRC (MPR). Certain basic information is needed to locate military service records. This information includes the veteran's complete name used while in service, service number or social security number, branch of service, and dates of service. Date and place of birth may also be helpful, especially if the service number is not known. If the request pertains to a record that may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include place of discharge, last unit of assignment, and place of entry into the service, if known. The SF 180 may be photocopied as needed. Please submit a separate request (either SF 180 or letter) for each individual whose records are being requested. You may submit more than one request per envelope or fax. Our mailing address is:

    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records
    9700 Page Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

    Our fax request number is 314-538-4175. The Center will respond in writing by U.S. Mail.
    Please visit to acces eVetRecs or to download the SF180 Form (see the bottom of the page).

    Tip: Are you looking for someone who is or was in the US Military? Please check out my FAQ on how to find (former) military personnel. Or you might want to get an overview of databases and military locators

    Similar pages:

    US Army

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