5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 28, 2020 12:38 PM by joan stachnik

    Did my father serve in WWII?

    Katherine DiLorenzo Newbie

      My father had a WWII draft card. I do not believe he actually served. What records of this exist? And where do I find them. I don't believe it's a separation record, as he was not enlisted. And if he wasn't enlisted, he had no branch of service... The draft card gives no indications of branch or separation...

        • Re: Did my father serve in WWII?
          joan stachnik Tracker

          Hi Katherine, all men of a certain age were required to register for the draft beginning in 1940, just prior to WWII. If your dad did not serve, there may not be any additional records.  There is also a ledger for selective service, which lists classification for service (eg, 1A, 1D, etc). However, I do not know if every one who registered was classified for possible service. I was able to get the ledger listing my dad's WWII selective service classification from the St. Louis Archives. I searched earlier forum questions and found the response below, which might be of help in your search. joan



          "World War II Army Enlistment Records are in the custody of the Electronic Records Division (RDE) and are available via AAD (Access to Archival Databases) on the National Archives website at: https://aad.archives.gov/aad/.  Click on "World War II" under the category section. A list of the databases relating to WWII will appear and select the first database to search the WWII Army Enlistment Records.


          Also you may request a copy of his Selective Service Records. Selective Service records for individuals who served after World War I and born before 1960 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL), P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138-0757. There are two types of records: ledgers and cards.  The ledgers are in the public domain and not restricted by privacy.  The cards are considered personal information and written permission for release, a death certificate, and/or an indication that the information is requested for genealogical purposes should accompany the request for copies of the cards. Please complete Form NA-13172 to request a search of these records."

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          • Re: Did my father serve in WWII?
            Jason Atkinson Ranger

            Dear Ms. DiLorenzo,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

            The World War II draft registrations cards only indicate that a person registered for the draft.  They do not indicate that a person served.  Not all those that registered were drafted.


            Selective Service records for individuals who served after World War I and were born before 1960 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). If he was drafted into the service, this may be indicated on his classification history (also called a classification ledger). The Classification History (SSS Form 102) may contain: name; date of birth; classification and date of mailing notice; date of appeal to the board; date and results of armed forces physical examination; entry into active duty or civilian work in lieu of induction (may include date, branch of service entered and mode of entry, such as enlisted or ordered); date of separation from active duty or civilian work; and general remarks. Please complete a Form NA-13172 to request a search of these records and email it to RL-SL at stl.archives@nara.gov. You may also attach a scan of the draft card as it sometimes contains information which can be helpful in locating the classification history. If he voluntarily entered service rather than being drafted, this may not be indicated in selective service records. 


            Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive listing of all persons that served in the military for World War II or any other war.  There are some databases with partial information. The World War II Army Enlistment Records database available through Access to Archival Databases (AAD) is a compilation of enlistment data captured on punch cards by the Army. The database covers most personnel who enlisted in the Army from 1938 through 1946, however there are gaps in the database where the original records were missing or unreadable. It does not include records for those who were officers when they first joined. It also does not include records from the other military services. Also available through AAD are databases relating to US prisoners of war and naval intelligence personnel.


            If he served, there should have been an Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) created for him. OMPFs and individual medical reports for those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were separated from the service prior to 1958 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where Army and Army Air Corps personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Navy and Marine Corps OMPFs were not affected by the fire. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. If there is any information requested by these forms that you do not know you may leave it blank or provide estimates (such as writing “World War II” for service dates), however the more information you provide, the easier it will be for NPRC staff to locate the correct file if it exists and if it was not destroyed by the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


            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 RL-SL. Also, the NPRC is currently only servicing emergency requests associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans, VA Home loan guarantees, and employment opportunities. If this is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. We apologize for any inconvenience.


            Another resource that can be used to identify military service is the Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File. This index contains birth and death dates for more than 14 million veterans and VA beneficiaries who died between the years 1850 and 2010. The BIRLS Death File is a Veterans Benefits Administration database that lists information for deceased individuals who had received benefits from the Veterans Administration while they were alive. If an individual did not receive benefits from the VA, and/or his death was not reported to the VA, his information would not be included in this database. The database can be accessed, with paid subscription, on Ancestry and Fold3. Ancestry and Fold3 also have a number of additional name searchable databases documenting military service. Some libraries provide free access to these databases for their patrons.


            Some veterans registered with their discharge information with their county court or registered with their state for the purpose of receiving state and local veterans benefits. You may wish to contact the county where he resided after the war, as well as the state archives and the state agency is responsible for veteran services where he lived.


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


            1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Did my father serve in WWII?
              Grace Yuhasz Adventurer

              Like Joan, I also received my grandfather's Selective Service record.  It is a copy of a vary large ledger book.  It would show you your father's classification as well as any dates (if he had to report to a certain location, was inducted into the military, etc.)  The info/number on the draft card you have would assist with ordering that.


              In the meantime---


              To see if he served in the Army, I would use NARA's Access to Archival Databases (AAD) and search their World War II database.  In specific, the following link will allow you to search World War II Army Enlistment Records, created, 6/1/2002 - 9/30/2002, documenting the period ca. 1938 - 1946 - Record Group 64


              This consists of:

              Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946

              (Enlistment Records)

              Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946

              (Reserve Corps Records)




              Type in the first and last name into the green "Search This Series" box on the top left of the page.  The results page will give you a list of records the database has.  If there are results, click on the oval shaped "View Records".  You can select “View Record” (symbol like a blank page) to the left of the name to see more info on the specific person.  If your father served in the army, his name should be there. 


              To see if he served in the Marines:

              Ancestry.com’s database U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1958



              To see if he served in the Navy:

              Ancestry.com’s database U.S., World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949



              You would need a subscription to Ancestry or could access it free through a library (right now, a lot of libraries are allowing people to access it at home with their library card instead of having to physically be at a library).


              If he served in the Coast Guard:

              Not sure of an easy location to search


              Hope this helps.

              1 person found this helpful