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Researching USAAF Personnel


You can use the library and online resources to trace Second Air Division USAAF personnel, although we don't hold any official military records.

The following details are good starting points for your research:

  • The first name and surname of the person you wish to trace
  • Other personal details, such as age or home state in the US
  • The airbase at which they were stationed and/or the USAAF unit they served with
  • Information about their military service such as role, rank and service number, whether they served as air crew or ground crew
  •  If they survived the war or were killed in service

Second Air Division Roll of Honor

If you want to trace someone killed in action, start by checking their entry in the Second Air Division Roll of Honor.

You can view the Second Air Division Roll of Honor on our website and at the library.

It provides the following details:

  • First name, middle initial and surname
  • Service number and rank
  • The number of the unit they served with

We also hold rolls for each specific Second Air Division Bomb Group, as well as the Mighty Eighth Roll of Honor.

You may find names listed in the bomb group rolls which are not in the Second Air Division roll.

The Mighty Eighth roll gives additional details, including:

  • Aircraft serial number
  • Date of incident
  • Missing air crew report number
  • Crew position

Second Air Division records on microfilm

We hold microfilm records which were made at Maxwell Air Force Base following the Second World War.

These include Second Air Division HQ, bomb group and fighter group mission reports, as well as other reports and papers created during the conflict.

They don't provide complete personnel listings but you may want to check for a specific mention of an individual in the records.

This can be a time-consuming process however and you may not get any relevant information.

Second Air Division Archive at Norfolk Record Office

The Norfolk Record Office (NRO) holds items on deposit relating to Second Air Division servicemen who were based in the county during the Second World War.

These include diaries, photographs, maps, manuals and other memorabilia.

You can search for items using the NRO's catalogue, NROCAT.

Unit histories

Books for specific bomb and fighter groups vary greatly in the amount of information they contain about servicemen and women.

Almost all of them concentrate on commanding officers and flight crews.

There's usually little or no information about the ground crews who served with that unit.

Unit Histories are available to borrow from the library with a Norfolk Libraries borrower card. There are also reference copies that can be read in the library. The best way to search for these on the catalogue is to search by Bomb or Fighter Group number. For example, to find unit histories of the 389th Bomb Group, type 389th into the search box.

Associations and local base contacts

Personnel information is listed on the websites of some bomb group or fighter group associations (or other official USAAF groups or units).

For example, the 392nd Bomb Group's website lists the names of more than 2,500 men and women who served in its ground crews. 

Group historians or local air base contacts are another source of information. The library has information on some of these people and with their permission can pass this onto you. The Library itself is unfortunately unable to organise base visits.

Military records and databases

There are a number of websites and organisations that can help you trace and access military records.

The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum Research Center

The museum, based in Pooler, Georgia, is compiling a veterans' database.

A complete roster of Second World War Eighth Air Force veterans has never previously existed. 

See the Mighty Eighth museum's website for further information and contact details.

The database isn't currently available online, so you would need to contact the museum with your inquiry.

National Personnel Records Center

The National Archives at St Louis, Missouri, holds Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) for veterans from all service branches with a discharge date of 1950 or earlier.

Check the National Archives' website for more information. 

A fire destroyed 85% of the Army and Army Air Force's individual personnel files in July 1973.

However, the NPRC staff are often able to locate basic information relevant to a person's service from other records in their custody.

The US National Archives

The US National Archives website has a Veterans' Service Records section.

This gives details of records held, plus online records, databases and collections of specific interest to veterans, their families and researchers.

It also has a section entitled World War II Records.

This gives details of their holdings relating to the war as well as files to download.

Searchable databases include one for WW2 Army enlistment records (1938-46) which contains more than nine million records, plus the WWII Prisoners of War Data File (1941-46).

In general, enlistment records contain:

  • The person's serial number, name, state and county of residence
  • Place and date of enlistment
  • Grade
  • Army branch
  • Term of enlistment
  • Longevity
  • Place and year of birth
  • Race
  • Education
  • Civilian occupation
  • Marital status

American Battle Monuments Commission  

The ABMC website contains more than 176,000 records of casualties buried in ABMC cemeteries or listed on the Walls of the Missing. 

You can search by name and browse Second World War army and air force casualties from a specific unit or by state and cemetery.

Each record generally provides:

  • Name, rank and position
  • Service number
  • Unit served with
  • Date of death
  • Home state
  • Any military awards
  • Site of burial


The Fold3 website provides access to US military records, including the stories, photos and personal documents of the men and women who served.

Ancestry owns this site and while some of the content is available for free, other records are only available to subscribers. 

US Embassy in the United Kingdom  

The US Embassy website has a very useful online guide to tracing former military personnel in the US.

This includes contact details for private organisations that may be able to help you locate relatives and friends.

See the US Embassy online guide for tracing former military personnel.

Genealogical websites

As well as military records, you can also use more general family history resources to trace USAAF personnel.

Two useful websites are listed below.


The website is a genealogical research tool which provides access to a wide range of US databases.

These include census reports, births, marriages and deaths, military records, passenger lists and many more.

Official 1940 Census (American)

These records were released in April 2012 by the US National Archives and the 1940 Census website provides access to images, maps and descriptions.