3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 22, 2021 5:13 PM by Aaron Gaponoff

    Seeking information about specific USN personnel from WW2

    Aaron Gaponoff Newbie

      I am conducting research on a specific ship in WW2, and looking to glean more information on a handful of its crew. I'm not related or next of kin to any of them. I have some of their information such as dates of birth, previous postings etc  What's the general process here, and what should I enter for on the reasons for the information request on the SF-180 form? Is there any other place in addition to a SF-180 request that I should look into?

        • Re: Seeking information about specific USN personnel from WW2
          J. Andrew Scout

          Have you already seen the muster rolls?  Are you also interested in things like deck logs and war diaries, or just personnel files?

          • Re: Seeking information about specific USN personnel from WW2
            Jason Atkinson Guide

            Dear Mr. Gaponoff,

            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            We suggest that you request a copy of their Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs). OMPFs and medical records of enlisted men of the U.S. Navy who were separated from the service after 1885 and before 1959 are located at NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002.  To request these records, please mail a completed GSA Standard Form 180 to NPRC.  Please submit a separate form for each person whose file you are requesting. Military personnel records are completely opened to the public 62 years after the veteran leaves the military. If less than 62 years have passed since the veteran’s discharge date (to include any reserve time), certain information in the records is not available to the general public without the written consent of the veteran or his next of kin.


            You may use the “Other” category as your reason for request and write any applicable information in the “Explain here” section. Examples might include “Historical research.”  Please note that providing a reason is optional.  Please fill out the form to the best of your knowledge. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates, but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file.  For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 and Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983  in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that may include muster rolls and deck logs for the ship you are researching. We also located World War II War Diaries, Other Operational Records and Histories, ca. 1/1/1942 - ca. 6/1/1946 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) that contains war diaries for many US Navy ships. Some of the muster rolls and deck logs and most of the war diaries are available online through the Catalog using the “Search within this series” feature. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. Also, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter, and those involving the VA Home Loan program. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels.  Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            Ancestry has digitized the Muster Rolls/Personnel Diaries (crew rosters) of the U.S. Naval Ships and Stations for the dates of January 1,1941 thru January 1, 1949 and these can be viewed online at U.S., World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949. There may be a fee for this service. Instead, you may wish to check with your local public or university library as these institutions often provide free access to Ancestry.com.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!