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Good morning. I've been acquiring a lot of family service records, often without the service number or social security number.
The first thing you want to do is obtain a Standard Form 180 (SF-180), Request Pertaining to Military Records which you can obtain here:
Fill this out as completely as possible.
When I sent my requests, I attached an additional sheet with as much service related information as I had available. Examples would be: place of enlistment, duty stations/units, the dates he was attached to those units, medals awarded, place/date of discharge, etc. In my grandfather's case I even included the fact that his status changed from single to married and the date of the marriage. The more information you can provide, the better the chance of finding the records. By providing this on a separate attachment you eliminate the need for the archives to request additional information.
I hope this helps you in your search. I've found three family records this way and am requesting two more, all from WWI, the interwar years, and WWII
4 people found this helpful
As Sandra already mentioned, the SSN and service numbers are not always absolutely required, though they can make it easier to narrow down the records. Just send as much info as you can the the NARA staff will do the best they can.
Depending on what branch he served in, there may be additional records that will help you find his service number. For example, if he was in the Navy and his name shows up on muster rolls, those muster rolls will also list his service numbers. Navy muster rolls can be acquired directly from the National Archives or in name searchable form via websites such as Ancestry or Fold3.
If he was in the Army (to include the Army Air Force) and enlisted between roughly 1938 and 1946, you might be able to use the following name searchable database to look up some information about his service, to include his service number. Be aware that there are some gaps in the database, and it does not include officers.
Also, going back to Ancestry and Fold3, although they will not have the actual Official Military Personnel File, they often have other records (such has the previously mentioned muster rolls) that can provide insight into a person's military service, to say nothing of other aspects of their life. My experience is that exactly what turns up in a search can vary a lot depending on who you are researching. However they are worth checking out. These websites can be used for free at any National Archives location and at some state, local, and university libraries.