Find Military Records With These Free Research Tools

Military Search Databases for the Army, Air Force, and Navy

Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, salute during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner during a homecoming ceremony in the Natcher Physical Fitness Center on Fort Knox on February 27, 2014 in Fort Knox, Kentucky. About 100 soldiers returned to Fort Knox after a nine-month combat deployment conducting village stability operations and working alongside Afghan military and police forces.
Luke Sharrett/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you've ever served in a branch of the United States military and would like to look up someone that you served with, then this list of free military people search databases is for you.

Or, maybe you're trying to find out if someone you know has enlisted in the Army or if they were in the Navy. There are plenty of free military people search tools you can use to find both active and veteran military personnel.

Unless otherwise noted, these military people search resources are free. See Should I Pay to Find People Online? for a discussion on that.

There are also general people search engines you can use to find someone's current address, phone number, email address, work history, relatives, etc.

Military Record Search Tools

  • Veterans History Project: Library of Congress includes this veteran finder tool that lets you locate someone who served in the military. Browse by last name, war, military branch, state of residence, or race.
  • Military.com Buddy Finder: Do a military records search by name (only last name or email is required). Military.com searches over 20 million military records and lets you filter by service, age, school, state, employer, military job code, and more. It finds the service, status, paygrade, and state of the person.
  • The American War Library: With over 100 million military listings of active and former members spanning from present day to 1988, this records search tool is advertised as the world's oldest and largest military, veteran, and military family registry.
  • The Vietnam War Era POW/MIA List: Locate basic details on which US personnel have been accounted for (escapees, returnees, remains recovered) and get a list of those who are unaccounted for (missing in action, killed in action, body not recovered). Results are updated weekly and separated by state/territory.
  • GI Search: This is more of a social network for military members, but it still serves as a great way to run a free military person search. There are over 100,000 users and several ways to run the search to find the specific person you're looking for.
  • Together We Served: Similar to GI Search, join to locate US military veteran members. There are over one million records here.
  • Veterans' Service Records: Archives.gov lets you find a veteran by obtaining free copies of their DD Form 214 and other military service records like their OMPF and medical records. However, you most likely need to be their next of kin to get this information.
  • The Unofficial Air Force Email Locator: Members post their email address to the site, and if you make an account yourself, you can view the other email addresses. There are tens of thousands of US Air Force emails listed here, belonging to past, present, and retired military personnel.
  • USA.gov Military Members Locator Services: Links and a phone number for contacting a service member in an emergency. Make sure you have as much information as possible before using this service.
  • Shipmate Search: Send an email to the address at the bottom of this page to post a public message asking viewers about any information they might have about a member of a ship's crew that you're wanting more information about.
  • Navy's World Wide Locator: This is a physical location that you must write to. Doing so lets you locate the present duty station of an active duty military personnel. You need to know the person's full name, social security number, and grade or rank.

Other People Search Tools

Other people finders exist, too, that might not be focused on showing military information but could still provide it.

For example, one website might be centered around providing general details about someone—like their phone number, house address, email, etc.—but the information might also include past accomplishments, death records, or work history, any of which might include military background information.

  • Genealogy Websites: Close and extended family members of the person in the military might have included that information in a family tree service.
  • Free People Search Websites: Dozens of services exist that can pull up public information on anyone, which can help you see if someone used to be in the military or if they're current enlisted.
  • Obituary Finders: Basic military records might be posted in the person's obituary or even engraved directly on their gravestone—grave finders can be helpful for that.