Finding Shipmates and

How to obtain personnel records-

One method for finding Shipmates is to contact the ship/unit reunion group. Many of these groups maintain information on individuals from command muster rolls or current and past memberships lists.


There are also other military-oriented periodicals that can be contacted regarding placing announcements to locate persons.


- The “Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)” offers a vet/retired locator service. For a small fee they will send a list of matching names and supply facts about a person’s military history. If the service is unable to find a matching name, you will get your money back. You can write to:


Vets National Archives


1809 Vandiver Dr.

Columbia, MO 65202-1916

- Navy Times has a locator section. The address is:


Navy Times

6883 Commercial Drive

Springfield, VA 22159-0170

- The “Armed Forces World-Wide Locator” will forward letters to former members of the Navy who receive “retired pay, or pay for active duty or reserve service”. For this assistance you should place the letter in a stamped envelope with just the name of the retired serviceperson on the front with no return address and send to:



Naval Reserve Personnel Center

4400 Dauphine Street

New Orleans, LA 70149



Ships Muster Rolls or Deck Logs:


Revised 11 January 2000


To obtain information from historical muster rolls or deck logs, write to the appropriate repository given below:


For muster rolls from 1801 to 1938 or for deck logs from 1801 to 1940, write to:


National Archives

Archives I

Washington, D.C. 20408



For muster rolls from 1939 to 1971 or for deck logs from 1941 to 1961, write to:


National Archives

Archives II

8601 Adelphi Road

College Park, Md. 20740-6001



For muster rolls for the period 1972 through 1975, write to:


Department of the Navy

Naval Personnel Command (Pers 312)

5720 Integrity Drive

Millington, TN 38055-3120



For muster rolls for the period 1976 through the present, write to:


Commanding Officer

Enlisted Personnel Management Center (Code 311)

New Orleans, La. 70159-7900

ATTN: Personnel Accounting



For deck logs from July 1962 through the present, write to:


Naval Historical Center (DL)

Washington Navy Yard

901 M Street S.E.

Washington DC., 20374-5060





How to obtain personnel records:


Notice — By law records can only be released to the individual whose records they are, or if that individual is deceased, their next of kin.

Records of personnel separated more than 15 months ago


The Navy does not maintain the service records of individuals who have separated more than 15 months ago. These records are held by the National Personnel Records Center


The National Personnel Records Center holds the official individual personnel records of:

Navy commissioned officers separated after 1902


Navy enlisted personnel separated after 1885

What is in these records


These records include


the full name of the serviceman

next of kin (at the time of service)

date of enlistment

date retired or separated

units with which served

and any medals and awards to which the veteran was entitled.

How to obtain these records


Information from these records is available to the individual, or if deceased, to the next of kin. A separate request should be sent for each veteran. If signed by the next of kin, the relationship to the veteran must be specified and proof of death presented.

To expedite, getting information on an individual's naval career, you need download the Standard Form 180 [This is a .PDF file. To view and print this file, obtain the free Adobe Acrobat reader if you don't have it.]

Fill in the Standard Form 180 (SF 180). You will need to provide the following information: full name under which service was performed, service number and/or Social Security number, branch of service, dates of service, date and place of birth, and grade or rank at time of separation/retirement.


If the service number is unknown, you can usually locate it by sending the individual's name, his command, and when he served in a letter to the Military Reference Branch, National Archives, Washington, DC 20408. That office can usually determine the service number from the command's muster rolls or the list of officers in the deck log of a ship.


Send the completed form to:


The National Personnel Records Center

9700 Page Boulevard

St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100

Phone: (314) 538-4141/3135/3071/3132



Record retrievals are an arduous process and may take a while.



More information may be available at the National Personnel Records Center's web site.


For the records of those who have separated within the past 15 months


For records of former Navy members who have served within the last 15 months, send the Standard Form 180 to:

Department of the Navy

Navy Personnel Command

Attn: NPC313C1 REC

5720 Integrity Drive

Millington, Tn 38055-3130

Phone: (901)874-3408