In 2022, the United States military comprised approximately 1.4 million active-duty personnel, reflecting a 39% decrease from the peak in 1987. Within this total, about 1.13 million were active-duty military members, and 171,736 were permanently stationed abroad. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense had 766,731 Selected Reserve members. With so many members spread over such a large geographical area, service members can be difficult to locate. Read on to understand how to find someone in the military.
Find Active Duty Military Personnel
The quickest way to find someone in the military is to visit the official Servicemembers Civil Relief Act website. The form can request a certificate that verifies active duty status on a specified date. To submit a request, you’ll need the following information:
- First, you’ll need the person’s First Name, Middle Name, and Last Name
- Next, you’ll need the specific date for which you wish to verify the service
- Date of birth and/or social security number. You can search using a date of birth without an SSN, but without the SSN, the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) cannot verify that this is the same individual your query refers to. The person’s name and date of birth alone do not uniquely identify an individual.
- Check all of the data before clicking the submit button
- The response may take up to 15 seconds after clicking submit
You are not required to create an account for single record requests. To submit requests for multiple individuals, users must create an account. Creating an account allows users to upload request files with multiple names, download result files, and download certificates.
Other Military Search and Locate Services
The following are military locator services for active and retired military personnel. Use these contacts to find people in the military. In addition, BeenVerified provides easy access to billions of public records online.
It is important to note that the Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits Federal agencies from providing individuals’ home addresses or telephone numbers without their written permission. Remember, keep this in mind before beginning your search. In most cases, the agency or organization will only agree to let the person know you are trying to locate them. They may also agree to forward a letter written by you to the person that you are trying to locate.
The following list of Federal agencies and private organizations assist individuals in locating persons of unknown whereabouts. Be sure to include the appropriate first-class postage with the letter to the locator service. It will be up to the individual to respond.
If you suspect the person you cannot locate has been the victim of a crime, you should immediately contact your closest law enforcement agency. This information can help locate active, reserve, and retired Department of Defense (DOD) military personnel.
Each of the five military branches has separate procedures for contacting active or past service members. In cases of emergency, immediate family members should contact the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The telephone number and address are available from your local directory or assistance. Also, you can call the National Contact Center toll-free at 1 (800) FED INFO, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., eastern time.
Remember, when you need to find someone in the military, provide as much identifying information as possible about the person you wish to locate. This includes full name, rank, last duty assignment/last known military address, service number, and Social Security number.
The locator service is free to immediate family members and Federal and State government officials. Other family members, civilian friends, businesses, or others must pay a non-refundable fee of $3.50 (price may vary) as a check or money order made payable to the U.S. Treasury.
How to Find Someone in the Military: U.S. Army
The Army locator has been suspended. Please use the service member request form listed above.
How to Find Someone in the U.S. Navy
To locate an active-duty member, write to:
Navy World Wide Locator
Navy Personnel Command
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055
How to Find Someone in the Air Force
The Air Force Worldwide Locator can locate active duty personnel, retirees, reservists, and guardsmen. In most cases, parents, spouses, and government officials may call 210/565-2478. Letters requesting locator service should be mailed to:
550 C Street, West, Suite 50
Randolph AFB, Texas 78150-4752
Voice: 210/565-2660 (Live assistance is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., central time)
This service will not help in locating Air Force separatees or Air Force retirees. You may write to the National Personnel Records Center below or contact one of the various veterans’ service organizations to help locate these persons.
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63132-1500
How to Find Someone in the Marine Corps
The Marine Corps Locator Service can provide the duty station for active-duty personnel and reservists. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time. The telephone number is 703/784-3942. Your written request should be mailed to:
Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
Personnel Management Support Branch (MMSB-17)
2008 Elliot Road
Quantico, Virginia 22134-5030
How to Find Someone in the Coast Guard
To locate an Active Duty Member at the U.S. Coast Guard:
The Coast Guard World Wide Locator has duty stations for active-duty personnel. To locate Active Duty Personnel Only, call (202) 493-1697 or e-mail the person’s full name to CGlocator@Ballston.uscg.mil. The Coast Guard Personnel Command does not have custody of crew lists or current addresses for former Coast Guard service members.
To locate Coast Guard separatees:
The Military Reference Branch, National Archives, Washington, D. C. 20408, holds copies of most deck logs. The Suitland Reference Branch, National Archives, Washington D. C. 20409, has custody of muster rolls. The National Personal Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, has a repository of records for retired and separate military members. You must fill in Standard Form 180 to request information on military records.
The address is:
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Ave
St. Louis, Missouri 63132
Individuals have also had success locating former and retired military personnel by placing advertisements or reunion notices in Coast Guard periodicals. These magazines have a combined circulation of several hundred thousand. Please get in touch with the individual editors for assistance.
Other Locator Sources from the Coast Guard:
Fred’s Place offers an online E-Mail Directory of Active Duty, Reserve, Retired, Auxiliary, and Civilian co-workers of the U. S. Coast Guard. This Directory lists individuals who have voluntarily registered at Fred’s Place and is not a complete listing of Coast Guard Personnel.
Questions and Comments
If you have any questions about how to find someone in the military, please post a comment below. However, please note that I cannot investigate people on your behalf. Unfortunately, if you think you’re getting scammed by someone saying they are in the military, you likely are. If you are suspicious, search their name on Google and look at their social media pages.
Sources / References
- Statista – Armed Forces of the United States, Statistics and Facts