Public Affairs Office

Phone: (847) 688-4874
DSN: 792-4874
FAX: (847) 688-2664

FAQ Answers

Armed Forces Birthdays

Q: What are the dates of each of the service birthdays?

A: As they occur during the calendar year:

  • June 14, 1775 - U.S. Army (also Flag Day)
  •  August 4, 1790 - U.S. Coast Guard
  • September 18, 1947 - U.S. Air Force
  • October 13, 1775 - U.S. Navy
  • November 10, 1775 - U.S. Marine Corps

Applicants for Enlistment

Q: I'm a citizen of another country. How do I go about joining the U.S. Armed Forces?

A: Enlistment into any branch of the U.S. military, by citizens of countries other than the United States is limited to those foreign nationals who are legally residing in the United States and possess a Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien Registration Card (INS Form I-151/551 - commonly known as a "Green Card"). Applicants must be between 17 and 35; meet the mental, moral, and physical standards for enlistment; and must speak, read and write English fluently.

The U.S. military branches cannot assist foreign nationals in obtaining admittance into the United States. Questions concerning immigration to the United States should be asked of the U.S. Embassy. Only after immigration procedures are completed and an applicant is legally residing in the United States may an application for enlistment be accepted.

The U.S. Government agency which is responsible for immigration and naturalization is the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services within the Department of Homeland Security. Their web site is available here. (Source: DefenseLink)

Q: I processed at a MEPS a year ago. Are my enlistment ASVAB and physical exam results still valid?

A: Both ASVAB and physical are valid for two years.

Q: I'm interested in finding more information about joining one of the armed services. Where can I go for further information? 

A: Your best source of information is your local recruiter. They're usually listed in the "Federal Government" section of your telephone book.

Alternately, you can visit the following Armed Forces recruiting web sites:

If you want to address specific questions, each of the above sites has a "Contact Us" option.

Q: Where can I obtain more information about the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)? 

A: Online, go to the Department of Defense's ASVAB Career Exploration resource:

www.asvabprogram.com

Support the Troops

 Q: What can I do to support our troops?

A: Thank you for thinking of our troops! Thousands of Americans are asking what they can do to show their support for service members, especially those serving overseas in this time of war. Below are Web sites for several organizations that are sponsoring programs for members of the Armed Forces overseas. While it would be inappropriate for the Department to endorse any specifically, service members do value and appreciate such expressions of support:

The American Red Cross is launching Treasures for Troops, an exciting year round program that offers a way for Americans to brighten the day for deployed men and women in uniform serving overseas. You can provide troops with a gift from home with a $20 donation to the American Red Cross Treasures for the Troops program. Details at: Treasures For Troops

Operation Hero Miles: In September 2003, the Pentagon started giving soldiers stationed in Iraq two-week leave periods in the largest R & R program since the Vietnam War; the soldiers can fly to Germany or Baltimore Washington International Airport for free, but they are responsible for the cost of flights to their final destination. Returning soldiers often have to purchase high-priced, last minute airline tickets so they can spend time with their family. You can help American troops travel home to spend quality time with their loved ones. For more information, please see: www.heromiles.org Contribute to "Gifts from the Homefront" Certificates from the Army Air Force Exchange System (AAFES). These allow you to send a gift certificate to a loved one, family member or friend associated with the military. These certificates are redeemable by authorized patrons of the PX/BX and are redeemable at all locations around the world including deployed areas. For more information, please see: www.aafes.com/docs/homefront.htm.

Donate to "Operation USO Care Package" at www.usocares.org.

The Gift of Groceries program at www.commissaries.com/certificheck helps meet the family needs of our Guard and Reserve troops fighting the war on terrorism.

Donate a calling card to help keep service members in touch with their families at Operation Uplink at www.operationuplink.org

Send a greeting via e-mail through Operation Dear Abby at anyservicemember.navy.mil or www.OperationDearAbby.net

Sign a virtual thank you card at the Defend America Web site at www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html

The "Stars and Stripes" newspaper includes a daily "Messages of Support" section giving family and friends of deployed service members a chance to pass along greetings, announcements, and words of encouragement. Such messages (LIMITED TO 50 WORDS OR LESS) will be printed on a first-come, first-run basis. Messages may be sent to: messages@stripes.com.

Make a donation to one of the military relief societies:

  • Army Emergency Relief at www.aerhq.org        
  • Navy/Marine Relief Society at www.nmcrs.org   
  • Air Force Aid Society at www.afas.org   
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance at www.cgmahq.org   
  • Special Operations Warrior Foundation at www.specialops.org   
  •  Support the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services at www.redcross.org     
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at www.taps.org   
  • National Military Family Association at http://www.nmfa.org/   
  • Purchase a Patriot Bond at www.ustreas.gov   
  • Volunteer at a VA Hospital to honor veterans who bore the lamp of freedom in past conflicts. 
  • Reach out to military families in your community, especially those with a loved one overseas.

Please do not flood the military mail system with letters, cards, and gifts. Due to security concerns and transportation constraints, the Department cannot accept items to be mailed to " Any Service member." Some people have tried to avoid this prohibition by sending large numbers of packages to an individual service member's address, which however well intentioned, clogs the mail and causes unnecessary delays.

The support and generosity of the American people has touched the lives of the more than 300,000 service members deployed overseas. (Source: DefenseLink)

Find the Troops

Q: How can I find the address of a specific present or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces?

A: Responsibility for current military personnel records falls within the jurisdiction of the military departments, not the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Therefore, requests for military addresses should be sent to the respective service of the individual whose address is being sought. There is no comprehensive source for e-mail addresses. Even if there were, military regulations and the Privacy Act of 1974 do not permit the military departments to provide home addresses or telephone numbers of service personnel. Moreover, regulations do not permit random dissemination of listings of names and addresses of service personnel. These regulations have been established to protect individual service men and women from commercial exploitation and to respect their right of privacy. Because of the large volume of requests that each service locator receives, please allow four weeks processing time for written requests.

The following information is needed for all requests for all locator services:

  • Give as much identifying information as possible about the person you wish to locate such as full name, rank, last duty assignment/last known military address, service number, and Social Security number.
  • The locator service is free to immediate family members and government officials. Other family members, civilian friends, businesses and others must pay $3.50. The check or money order must be made out to the U.S. Treasury. It is not refundable.

United States Army

The Army will help you locate individuals on active duty only, not retirees. The place to start is the Army World Wide Locator. The address is:

  • Commander U.S. Army Enlisted Records & Evaluation Center
  • ATTN: Locator
  • 8899 East 56th Street
  • Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN 46249-5301
United States Marine Corps

The Marine Corps can provide the duty station for active duty personnel and reservists. For retired individuals, the locator service can provide the city and state, but not an address. The service will provide the service member's current rank and unit address; however, due to the locator's staffing, the office cannot forward mail except in special cases. Telephonic requests to 1-703-640-3942/43 are free of charge to immediate family members and government officials calling on official business. In addition, telephonic service will be provided at no cost to any individual, business or organization, if the Marine locator decides the information would benefit the individual. Send written locator requests to:

  • Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • Headquarters, USMC
  • Code MMSB-10
  • Quantico, VA 22134-5030
United States Navy

The Navy's locator service helps locate individuals on active duty and those whose service ended less than a year ago. In addition, the Navy will forward letters as long as the correct postage is affixed to the envelope. You can call the locator service at 1-901-874-3388. Unless you are active military, local or federal government, or a family member, the fee for researching an address is $3.50 per address. Fees are retained in cases resulting in an unsuccessful search or for unreleasable addresses. Mail your correspondence with your fee, check or money order payable to UNITED STATES TREASURER, to the following address:

  • World Wide Locator
  • Bureau of Naval Personnel
  • PERS 312F
  • 5720 Integrity Drive
  • Millington, TN 38055-3120
United States Air Force

The Air Force can locate active duty personnel, as well as retirees, reservists and guardsmen. This information is not available for those who have separated from the Air Force or are Army Air Corps retirees. Information on individuals stationed overseas or in a sensitive position will not be released. However, the locator service will forward mail to that person for up to 90 days, as long as the correct postage is on the envelope and any required fee has been paid. Parents, spouses, and government officials may call 1-210-652-5774 for a recorded message or 1-210-652-5775 for non-recorded service. For locator service, write to:

  • HQ AFMPC/RMIQL
  • 550 C Street, West, Suite 50
  • Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4752

Contacting Senior DoD Officials

Q: Do you have the addresses of senior Defense Department officials?

A: The addresses are:

Office of the Secretary of Defense

  • Secretary of Defense
  • 1000 Defense Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20301-1000
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • 1010 Defense Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20301-1010
  • Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology)
  • 3010 Defense Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20301-3010
  • Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness)
  • 4000 Defense Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20301-4000
  • Under Secretary of Defense (Policy)
  • 2000 Defense Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20301-2000
  • Under Secretrary of Defense (Comptroller)
  • 1100 Defense Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20301-1100

Secretaries of the Armed Forces

  • Secretary of the Army
  • 101 Army Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20310-0101
  • Secretary of the Navy
  • 1000 Navy Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20350-1000
  • Secretary of the Air Force
  • 1670 Air Force Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20330-1670

The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • 9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20318-9999
  • Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • 9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20318-9999

The Chiefs of Staff

  • Army Chief of Staff
  • 200 Army Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20310-0200
  • Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • Headquarters USMC
  • 2 Navy Annex (CMC)
  • Washington, DC 20380-1775
  • Chief of Naval Operations
  • 2000 Navy Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20350-2000
  • Air Force Chief of Staff
  • 1670 Air Force Pentagon
  • Washington, DC 20330-1670

Veterans and Retirees

 Q: I'm a U.S. Armed Forces Veteran. How do I obtain copies of my service or medical records?

A: The individual military departments do NOT maintain files or records pertaining to individuals no longer on active duty. When an individual is separated from military service (because of retirement, discharge from active duty, or death) his/her Field Personnel File (containing all military and health records) is forwarded for storage to the National Personnel Records Center (Military), 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63172. The Records Center is under the jurisdiction of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the U.S. Government. Their web site is: http://www.archives.gov/research_room/ obtain_copies/veterans_service_records.html.

An individual's complete service record is available to the former service member or, if deceased, to his/her next of kin (parents, spouse, or children). Limited information (such as dates of service, awards, and training) is available to anyone. Not available to the general public is information that would invade an individual's privacy, such as medical records, Social Security number, or present address.

The St. Louis Center receives many thousands of requests for service records each week, so please be aware that there may be a lengthy delay. The St. Louis Center will process requests with greater speed and accuracy if the requestor uses a Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining to Military Records." The form is available as a Portable Document File (PDF) (Please click here.). If you do not have the reader software, it is available free of charge from the company which produces it, Adobe, (Please click here.).

Also, the National Personnel Records Center is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files.

Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents. Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180 that can be downloaded from the online web site.

The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records center's mailroom processing time. Also, because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized. Veterans and next of kin may access this application at http://vetrecs.archives.gov.

If you are having trouble downloading the form, you may request one from our office by submitting a question on this system. If you want us to send you the form, please include your name and postal address.

Standard Form 180, which contains instructions, is also available from most veteran's organizations or by writing to the National Personnel Records Center. If requesting the records of a relative, a requester should mention the relationship to the former member (brother, uncle, or other). There is no charge for this service to former service members or their next of kin. For others, a nominal fee is charged for research and reproduction costs. (In this regard, files at the Records Center are maintained as historical records only and are not updated to reflect current data on the former service member.)

Notes:

  1. Contrary to published accounts, the Department has not published a "booklet on military records," but we hope the above information will be useful.
  2. Of incidental interest for individuals compiling family histories: the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408, (telephone: 202-501-5400) provides assistance to those interested in genealogy. NARA normally charges a nominal fee for research and reproduction costs. (Source: DefenseLink)