How to Locate U.S. Military Personnel and Veterans

The military are usually very strict in giving out information about their personnel. If you are trying to find an individual who is a member of the military, you can either call or write to the military personnel locator for the Navy, Marine Corps or Air force. However, for the Army and the Coast Guard, locator services are not provided.

How to Contact a Service Member for an Emergency

In case of an emergency and you need to reach a military member, all you have to do is contact your local Red Cross chapter. They will be responsible to get all necessary information needed from you and these will be relayed to the member.

How to Find Someone Who Has Left the Military

To look for veterans or service members, you can check the website of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

How to Request Military Records

Individuals who need a copy of military record can order these from the National Personnel Records Center-Military Personnel records or NPC-MPR. They are also responsible for keeping the following:

  1. Military Discharge Records (DD-214)
  2. Health records
  3. Medical records of discharged and deceased veterans
  4. Medical treatment records of military retirees
  5. Records for dependents and other people treated at naval medical facilities
  6. Other military records from World War I to the present

How to Order Military Records

Veterans, as well as the next of kin of a deceased veteran can get a copy of military records online by clicking here. Most of these are free of charge for veterans and next-of-kin, unless told otherwise.

For other people who would like to obtain military records, you can either submit a standard form 180 (SF-180), write a letter or use other ways to get these military records.

For archival requests, as well as records of veterans discharged in 1953 or prior, fees will be charged.

How to contact the National Personnel Records Center

If you need more information from the National Personnel Records Center, you can click here. If you have filed a request, you can check the status by clicking here.

How to Correct Military Service Records or Discharges

Keeping a correct and accurate record is important for military personnel. Corrections or changes can be made to the military record or discharge from the review, or correction board from the branch of service. The personnel themselves, the surviving spouse, next of kin, legal representatives of deceased, or incompetent veterans can file the request by filling out the necessary forms below:

  1. Changes to a discharge, use DD Form 293 (PDF, Download Adobe Reader).
  2. Changes to a service record, submit DD Form 149(PDF, Download Adobe Reader).

If you need more information regarding this, you can also contact the following:

  1. Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records or Air Force Discharge Review Board
  2. Army Review Boards Agency (ARBA) for online applications for discharge review/ military service record corrections
  3. Naval Discharge Review Boardor Board for Corrections of Naval Records (for Navy and Marine Corps records and discharges)
  4. Board for Correction of Military Records of the Coast Guard

How to Get a Military Identification (ID) Card

Issued military identification (ID) cards are properties of the US government and can only be used by the issued card holder.

To get or replace a Military ID Card, simply contact the nearest Real Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) office and bring the required documents (PDF, Download Adobe Reader). You can also contact the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) Support Center (DSC) or Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) office.

For Lost/Stolen ID Cards, immediately report lost/stolen cards to your base security officer or through your chain of command. If you find a military ID card, use the RAPIDS site locator and return it to the nearest ID card issuing facility. You can also mail it to:

Attn: Customer Operations
4800 Mark Center Drive
Ste. 04E25
Alexandria, VA 22350

Veterans Health Identification Card

Veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care System will receive Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) to be used at VA medical facilities.