Through the Freedom of Information Act, the public has access to certain military service information without the authorization of the veteran, or the next-of-kin of deceased veterans.
Examples of information which may be available from official military personnel files without an unwarranted invasion of privacy include: name, service number, rank, dates of service, awards and decorations and place of entrance and separation.
If the veteran is deceased the following may also be available: place of birth, date and geographical location of death and place of burial.
A separate request should be sent for each veteran. In order to get information on an individual's naval career, please fill out the Standard Form (SF) - 180 and follow the instructions.
If the individual's service number is unknown*, it can usually be located by specifying the individual's name, his command, and when he served. Send this letter to:
* Modern Military Branch
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, Maryland 20740
That office can usually discern the service number from the command's muster rolls or the list of officers in the deck log of a ship, if the individual served between 1941 and the 1970.
Most requests for limited information are processed without cost. However, it is possible that a fee may be charged if the researching, processing, and photocopying become excessive. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as that determination is made.
Response time varies dependent upon the complexity of your request, the availability of records, and the workload. Please do not send a follow-up request before 90 days have elapsed as it may cause further delays.
With access to a printer and the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader software, you may download and print a copy of the Standard Form - 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.
The Standard Form 180 is formatted for legal size paper (8.5" X 14"), please print that way if your printer can accomodate. If your printer can only print on letter size paper (8.5" X 11"), select "shrink to fit" when the Adobe Acrobat Reader "Print" dialog box appears.
Please Note: All requests must be in writing, signed, and mailed to the address shown below:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100