Find Military Records With These Free Research Tools

A list of people search databases

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 someone up that you served with, then this list of free military people search databases is for you. Unless otherwise noted, all these military people search resources are free. 

Best Place to Start

  • Vet Connect: Created by Google, this tool was specifically created to help veterans connect with each other on Google+, Google's social networking portal.
  • Buddy Finder: Search over 20 million records for military buddies. searches for military personnel from four different sources: the member and Missing Buddy databases, the Department of Defense personnel records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and the White Pages.
  • USMC Military Reunions: Search for not only Marine reunions here but all services upcoming and past reunions.
  • The American War Library: "The World's Largest Online Military, Veteran, and Military Family Registry - Over 91 million Military Listings from Pre-Revolutionary War to the Present." This is an enormous site and can be overwhelming. Start with the Index contents and work out slowly from there; it's well worth the time you'll need to get acclimated to this wealth of information.
  • The Unofficial Air Force Email Locator: You can post your name to the database for free; at the time of this writing they had over 29,000 listings of past, present, and retired military personnel.
  • Navy WorldWide Locator: "The Navy's World Wide Locator is a service established to find the present duty station of active duty personnel, and is for official business use only. Family members, active duty personnel, and Navy retirees may also use this system. To do so, you must have the service member's full name, Social Security number, grade or rank, and, if possible, last known duty station."
  • Shipmate Search: For the Navy, Merchant Marine, US Maritime Service, Naval Armed Guard, etc.
  • The Citadel People Search: Find Citadel faculty, currently enrolled students, and staff.
  • Department of Defense - Locator Services: Make sure you have as much information as possible before using this service.
  • The Vietnam Era POW/MIA Database - Library of Congress: "This database has been established to assist researchers interested in investigating the U.S. Government documents pertaining to U.S. military personnel listed as unaccounted for as of December 1991."

Niche Military Sites

These sites won't necessarily help you track down someone in the military, but they will help you connect with others who have served in one way or another.

  • YouTube's Veterans Channel: Created to be a safe place for veterans to share transitioning tips, talk about their service, and even create tributes to those who have served in the military in some way.
  • Tour Builder for Veterans: From Google Earth. Gives users the ability to create 3D stories of where they served in the military, complete with photos, videos, and written content.
  • National Resource Directory: A job search engine aimed specifically towards veterans, created in tandem by Google and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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