General Military Questions

7 Ways to Find Someone in the Military

There are several reasons to try to find someone in the military.

First, the bonds created by sharing military experiences can last a lifetime.

Although, with so many people serving in all the different military branches changing duty stations and on deployment, it is easy to lose track of friends.

Also, the friends and family of service members face the same obstacles when trying to keep in touch.

Furthermore, the ease of keeping connections is easier with the rise of social media.

Although social media has not always been around, so people lose touch.

However, as long as the person you are looking for serves in the military, it is possible to find them.

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How to Find Someone in the Navy

Finding Someone in the Military

Ideally, you can recall as much information as possible about the service member, including their name, last known location, and rank.

The Navy keeps track of service members within a year of separation.

 #1. Navy World Wide Locator

Your first option is to call the Navy World Wide Locator.

However, beyond the one-year mark, their information is likely protected by privacy laws.

  • Step 1: Call 1-866-827-5672
  • Step 2: Be prepared to give as much information as possible to identify the service member.
  • Step 3: Unless you are a family member, expect to pay a search fee of $3.50.

Keep in mind the fee you pay is not refundable even if they cannot find the service member.

#2. American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a fantastic option to help find someone in the military.

However, remember that the American Red Cross as a tool to find a service member is only in the event of a verifiable emergency.

Also, there is an online tool as long as you have all the necessary information.

If you lack key details, you need to call to speak to a specialist at 1-877-272-7337. 

Furthermore, the American Red Cross can help if you are a family member or have information regarding a family member.

Also, the person you are looking for must be active duty or in the Reserves or Guards on active duty status. 

Although you can search for a civilian with a working contract with the Department of Defense, an ROTC cadet in training, or a Merchant Marine at sea.

You will also need to provide information to prove there is an emergency.

  • Step 1: Gather up the name, rank, social or date of birth, military branch, and any known information about the deployment status.
  • Step 2: Have a contact name and phone number for the family member at the center of the emergency.
  • Step 3: Prepare the contact information of where the American Red Cross can verify the emergency.

How to Find Someone in the Army


The Army does not keep their locations of soldiers’ public for security reasons.

However, if you are a member of the Army yourself, you could write to the Army Enlisted Records and revaluation Center commander.

#3. GISearch

Another option for finding someone in the military is GISearch.

The GISearch website is a free social networking resource for finding and staying in touch with service members.

Also, GISearch has archive photos and a forum for members to communicate and share resources.

  • Step 1: Join by setting up your free account.
  • Step 2: Search members and the forum for the service member you hope to find.
  • Step 3: Update your contact info and share your military history for future connections.

#4. VetFriends

VetFriends got its start in 2000, and it works to reconnect service members to find their friends. Best of all, the VetFriends business is veteran-owned.

Also, VetFriends has nearly three million users, so it is a great resource for searching for those who served.

Furthermore, the website can help find missing military records and awards.

Also, it has a message board to communicate and features a vast photo collection.

There is a free version of membership, but you need the lowest-paid monthly subscription if you wish to search.

However, the subscription is cancelable at any time.

  • Step 1: Make your profile
  • Step 2: Select your membership level
  • Step 3: Set up your profile with your personal information.
  • Step 4: Search for members and visit the message board.

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How to Find Someone in the Air Force

Finding someone who serves in the Air Force

Unlike the Army, the Air Force does have more options to find service members.

The Air Force has two classifications of requests, including official and unofficial.

Official requests come from the Department of Defense or any other government entity.

Any other request must come in writing, and they are considered unofficial requests.

#5. Air Force Worldwide Locator

The Air Force Worldwide Locator can process all requests for service members currently in service with the Air Force.

For finding someone serving in the Air Force, follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: gather up the full name, rank, date of birth, and known duty stations.
  • Step 2: Include your personal information in the request, including your name and contact information.
  • Step 3: Include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • Step 4: Write a letter and request the information, and include the $3.50 processing fee.
  • Step 5: Send your request to the following address in Texas: HQ AFPC/DPDXIDL, 550 C St West Ste 50, Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4752

How to find someone in the Marine Corps

Marines of the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard march down Pennsylvania Avenue during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

While the Marines will not give you personal information when trying to find someone in the military, they will reveal the current duty station for those in service.

#6. Separations and Retirement Branch (MMSR-6)

The Separations and Retirement Branch of the Marine Corps can help locate former Marines.

  • Step 1: Send an email detailing your request for information.
  • Step 2: Alternatively, you can send your request via mail to: Separation & Retirement Branch, Head Retired Services (MMSR-6,) 3280 Russell Road Quantico, VA 22134

However, if you need to locate a service member still in the Marines, you can contact the Red Cross as described above.

Alternatively, you may write to the Marine Locator at Headquarters US Marine Corps Personnel Management Support Branch, 2008 Elliot Road Quantico, VA 22134-5030.

How to Find Someone in the Coast Guard

locate someone in the coast guard

It may be a challenge to find someone who is actively serving in the Coast Guard, but you might find the military records of those who are no longer serving in the Coast Guard.


The National Archives handle Coast Guard records, as well as other military branches ’ records.

The National Archives has electronic resources, microfilm, text, sound, video, and photographs available.

  • Step 1: Determine who you are looking for before beginning your search.
  • Step 2: Search the National Archives Database.
  • Step 3: Consider visiting a National Archives location for access to more resources.


There are numerous reasons why people lose touch, but fortunately, technology has a way of bringing people together.

However, there are several ways to find someone in the military including using the Navy World Wide Locator or the American Red Cross.

Alternatively, you might consider joining GISearch or VetFriends to become reacquainted with long-lost friends.

If you need to find someone who served in the Air Force, you could try the Air Force Worldwide Locator.

However, if the person you seek was a Marine, you may have luck with the Separations and Retirement Branch.

Also, the National Archives is a useful resource for tracking down military records and people. 


Rob V.
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