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Researching USAAF personnel

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 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

Their 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

Fold3  

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.

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