Acquiring Navy Records

Personal and Unit Records


National Archives and Records Administration
ATTN: Modern Military Records (NWCTM)
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Unit records (after action reports, etc.) from 1940 to Vietnam. Also mission reports and missing air crew reports for WWII and Korea.


Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Cleveland Center (DFAS-CL/RO)
Post Office Box 99191
Cleveland, OH 44199-1126
Pay records of ALL DOD military retirees and former spouses of ALL DOD military retires.

Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Denver Center
Denver, CO 80279
Pay records for widows and dependents of ALL DOD deceased military retirees. For all other veteran’s pay inquiries see HERE.

National Archives and Records Administration
Center for Electronic Records (NWRE)
Reference Staff
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Casualty lists of Korean and Vietnam conflicts by state.

National Archives and Records Administration
ATTN: Old Military & Civil Records (NWCTB)
700 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20408
Unit records (After action reports, etc.) during World War I through 1940.

The American Battle Monuments Commission
Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500
2300 Clarenden Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201
Information about American cemeteries and memorials located in foreign countries (can provide specific info/photos of gravesites and inscriptions on memorials. See HERE.
For Army records prior to 1912 and Navy records prior to 1886 see THIS web site.

Websites to get copies of some ship records… USMC on board might also be covered. Be as specific as possible, dates, what you are looking for, units, people, etc. Logs may show injuries, sick call, people going ashore in Vietnam, etc sign, date, service No, SSN, etc.

For information concerning Ships Logs:

Deck Logs Section
Ships History Branch
Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060

These are Department of the Navy official sites and should not be confused with personal websites.
Part of this web site is reprinted below:

Ships’ Deck Logs:
Research and copying in Navy language, any kind of running record is called a “log.” Many such logs are kept on board Navy ships. Most of these are not kept permanently. Deck logs from commissioned ships are the only logs sent to the Naval Historical Center to be kept as permanent records and, eventually, transferred to the National Archives.
Deck Logs: Ships that submit
Deck Logs: Purpose, and Content
Deck Logs: Location
Deck Logs: Format, Research and Duplication

What information is not found in deck logs:
Deck Logs of MSC/MSTS ships
Merchant Ship logs

Deck Logs:
Ships that submit only deck logs from commissioned Navy ships are permanently retained by the Naval Historical Center and the National Archives. A ship “in commission” is a Navy command in her own right; she has her own administrative identity, and originates records in her own name. Annual command histories, written under a program initiated by the Chief of Naval Operations in 1952, are included in the active records of the Naval Historical Center. Deck logs are also held by the Ships History Branch of the Naval Historical Center. After 30 years, Ships History Branch transfers the deck logs to the:

Modern Military Branch
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone (301) 837-3510

Nearly all service craft are classified as “in service,” rather than “in commission.” They do not have their own administrative identity but are, in effect, floating vehicles operated by a parent command. Self-propelled service craft apparently keep a log of their movements for their parent command’s administrative and legal purposes, but these are not sent to the Naval Historical Center and do not go into any permanent file.

Deck Logs – Purpose, and Content:
A Navy ship’s deck log is a daily chronology of certain events for administrative and legal purposes. Preparation of logs is governed by the current edition of Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 3100.7 (OPNAVINST 3100.7) series. This specifies the kinds of events to be entered:
Accidents [material]
Accidents/Injuries [personnel]
Actions [combat]
Appearances of Sea/Atmosphere/Unusual Objects
Arrival/Departure of Commanding Officer
Bearings [navigational]
Cable/Anchor Chain Strain
Courts-Martial/Captain’s Masts
Incidents at Sea
Meteorological Phenomena
Movement Orders
Movements [getting underway; course, speed changes; mooring, anchoring]
Prisoners [crew members captured by hostile forces]
Propulsion Plant Status changes
Receipts and Transfers [of Crew Members]
Ship’s Behavior [under different weather/sea conditions]
Sightings [other ships; landfall; dangers to navigation]
Soundings [depth of water]
Speed Changes
Tactical Formation
Time of Evolutions/Exercises/Other Services Performed
A deck log identifies a ship’s location and movements daily. If the ship is
underway, its latitude and longitude are to be entered three times each day
in blocks provided for the purpose. Deck logs are not narratives, and do not
describe or explain a ship’s operations.

Deck Logs – Location:
Held by The National Archives

Deck logs of commissioned U.S. Navy ships from the earliest times through 1940 are in the:
Old Military and Civil Branch
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20408
Telephone (202) 501-5385

Logs from 1941 through 1973 are in the:
Modern Military Branch
National Archives
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone (301) 837-3510

These logs are open for research. Requests for research appointments, and inquiries concerning log information, should go to the National Archives office holding logs from the time period of interest.

The Army back door for records:
Department of Army
Office of A.G.
Alexandria, VA 22331
c/o Richard Christian
Chief, Research and Rulemaking Branch
Records Management Division.

The link below will take you to a site where military records and other records held by the U.S. Government can be ordered online HERE.

It’s the most comprehensive military buddy search website on the Internet. And, it’s a great tool for service members, retirees, veterans, spouses, “brats”, civilians and for honoring deceased service members and POW’s and MIA’s.

Requesting Military Records:
Hope some of this information will help any of you that are searching for records. Military personnel records, health and medical files from WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam wars are stored at the National Personnel Records Center for Military Records, St. Louis, MO. They have a frequently asked questions list HERE. Their site is HERE.  This site includes complete instructions on preparing and submitting a request.  Information regarding Morning Reports and Unit Rosters may be found HERE.  Information regarding the Cold War Recognition Certificate may be found HERE.

You can print a Standard Form 180 to request military personnel records at: Military Personnel Records, SF-180
This is a portable document (PDF) file, and is the same form that is referenced within our Fax-On-Demand-System as document code 2255.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has recently updated their Standard Form 180 (SF-180 — Request for Military Records) on their website, which allows for text inputting into the fields that are required, and both the front and back of the form are contained on a single file. You may access DOD’s version HERE.

You may also directly contact our facility in Saint Louis, MO, at E-Mail:

Robert F. White, MSA