Home | Site Map | Members | Chapters | News | Reunions | In Remembrance | Veterans Tribute | Roll of Honor | Photo Library | History | Web Sites Related Links | Locate DE & Shipmate Information | Archives | About DESA | Join DESA | Contact DESA  | Directors | Ladies Auxiliary 

 

How To Locate DE and Shipmate Information


Frequently Asked Questions:

What should I know before contacting the Webmaster?
How do I find information on the Internet about my ship, shipmates, the Navy etc..?
I don't know anything about my father's Navy DE service. How do I find information?
Who were my father's shipmates.  How can I locate them?
I can't find the information I need on the Internet.  What do I do now?
I need a ship's deck log or muster roll, but I need someone to do some extensive
     searching for the specific information that I need.  I can't go to the Archives myself. Who
     can help me?
Where can I find a ship photos and/or ship information?
I plan to visit the Nation Archives and look for US Navy information.  Where do I look?
How do I request Medal or Awards replacements?

 


Before contacting the webmaster or DESA, please read this information.

As the webmaster, I receive a lot, and I do mean a lot, of email requesting ship/shipmate information, ship photos or asking where information can be located.  I have developed this page to help those of you with these requests. I wish I had time to help you find all the information you desire, but I just do not have that many hours in my day. I volunteer my time as the DESA webmaster. I hope the information on this page is helpful to you.

Things you should know:

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)The webmaster does not have individual ship information, ship roosters or photos.

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)DESA headquarters has limited individual ship information that is available only to members.

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)You must be a Member of DESA to request  information about shipmates who are DESA members.

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)The Member Email List, for DESA members only, and Reunions pages are updated frequently. Please do not request information from the webmaster. Check the Email List and Reunions often.

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)There are invaluable resources on the Internet for locating ship and shipmate information. Please conduct a search before contacting DESA or the webmaster.  Read below for instructions on how to conduct a successful search.

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes) The information you are seeking may not be available on the Internet or from DESA, but may be available elsewhere. Read below.


The information below is for locating U.S. Navy DE and Crewmember information only, with emphasis on WWII military service.   If you need help locating information for other timeframes or other types of Navy ships, please visit the US Navy website.


"How do I find information on the Internet about my ship, shipmates, the Navy etc..?"

Resources

There are many excellent resources for locating information on the Internet.  This is a partial list of sites that I find helpful.  There are many more sites.

U.S. Navy website - this frequently asked questions page will answer many of your questions.

U.S. Naval Historical Center - another frequently asked questions page that you want to be sure to visit! There is a wealth of information here.

DANFS Online - One of the best sources of the histories on the ships of the U.S. Navy is The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS), an eight-volume reference set published by the Naval Historical Center. Webmaster Andrew Toppan has made DANFS available online at his excellent Hazegray website.  DANFS is published, also, on the Naval Historical Center website.

NavSource - The simple goal of NavSource Naval History is the preservation of naval history, in the form of images and text, and to help former shipmates find each other by providing reunion and contact information. Webmaster Paul Yarnall offer this fantastic resource and works closely with Hazegray and DESAUSA.org.

Destroyers Online - Striving to collect, preserve and display historical information about the ships, their crews and the U.S. Navy. An excellent resource.

Tin Can Sailors Association - Has a small but growing library of DE information including photos. A great website and organization.

American Battle Monuments Commission - If you want to learn about a veteran who died while in service, visit this website.  Go to the WW II or other war area and type the last name then first name and middle initial WITHOUT punctuation.  When the name comes up, click on the GO box to the left of the listing.

U-Boat Archives - devoted mainly to u-boat activity in WWII, but contains many photos and information about DEs. 

Bulletin Boards are great places to post a notice that you are seeking information. Some of the sites above offer bulletin boards. Be sure to visit the DESA Bulletin Board and post a notice.  Also, be sure to check the DESA Reunions web page and the DE Links page

To locate other resources, a "search engine" should be used:

My favorite search engine is Google.

It is important that you search "correctly".  To make most search engines work in your favor you need to be sure you enter your search information in the correct format. For example, if you are searching for information about the USS Doyle C. Barnes DE 353 you need to type the information in quotation marks "  ", like this:

"USS Doyle C Barnes DE 353"

Why?  This tells the search engine that you want to find web pages that contain ALL the words you typed, not EACH word. If you typed Doyle C. Barnes DE 353 without quotation marks, some search engine will return page results that contain the word Doyle, the word Barnes, the word DE, the number 353, but not ALL the words on the same page. 

Also, if a search engine offers a Advanced Search option, use it.  This allows you to select options that will refine your search and return the best results. 

Be sure to read the Instructions for the search engine you use.  Some engines require the use of the word "and", "or" , other words, to string words together.  These engines do not allow you to put your search terms in quotations marks, as in the above example.

AOL users need to use another search engine in addition to the one provided by AOL. The AOL search engine is not known for being the best.

Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)

"I don't know anything about my father's Navy DE service. I need info"
"Who were my father's shipmates.  How can I locate them?"
"I can't find the information I need on the Internet.  What do I do now?"

To answer these and similar questions, you need to obtain information about the DE or the individual sailor.

Where and How To Locate Information

Star_Blue.gif (997 bytes)Personnel (service)  Records

These instructions are for the records of a sailor discharged, deceased or retired.

Military personnel records are primarily administrative records and can contain information such as:

Enlistment/appointment
Duty stations and assignments
Training, qualifications, performance
Awards and medals
Disciplinary actions
Insurance
Emergency data
Administrative remarks
Separation/discharge/retirement (including
DD Form 214, Report of Separation, or equivalent)
Other personnel actions

A DD Form 214, Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. The Report of Separation contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans' organizations. Information shown on the Report of Separation may include the service member's:

Date and place of entry into active duty
Home address at time of entry
Date and place of release from active duty
Home address after separation
Last duty assignment and rank
Military job specialty
Military education
Decorations, medals, badges, citations, and campaign awards
Total creditable service
Foreign service credited
Separation information (type of separation, character of service, authority and reason for separation, separation and reenlistment eligibility codes)

The report of separation form issued in most recent years is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Before January 1, 1950, several similar forms were used by the military services, including the WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD, and the NAVCG 553. However, when requesting this information for a WWII DE sailor, you should use the term "DD 214" when you request information because this is the generic term.

NOTE: By law, the full personnel record can only be released to the serviceman, or if that individual is deceased, his next of kin. Limited information is releasable to the general public without the consent of the veteran or the next-of-kin.

The Process

Before you begin, be sure you have the following REQUIRED Information:

* The veteran's complete name used while in service
* Service number      If you do not know the service number, click here
* Social security number    If you do not know the number, contact your local SS office for assistance.
* Branch of service
* Dates of service
* Date and place of birth
* All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or next-of-kin if the veteran is deceased.

*For officers who served from 1890 to 1967, the 4 or 6-digit serial number is required!

You can begin the request process online.   Although you initiate the request online, you must print the completed form and mail or FAX it within 20 days.  Go here to fill out the online request form.  Remember, the above noted information is REQUIRED.

If the online request form does not work (AOL, Netscape and WebTV users may experience problems) or if you prefer to do things the old fashion way, download a copy of the form and mail your request.  Follow the instructions carefully!  Remember, the above noted information is REQUIRED.

 For more information, visit there web page:  The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR)

Star_Blue.gif (997 bytes)Medical Records

These instructions are for the records of a sailor discharged, deceased or retired between 1912 and 31 January 1994.

Medical records can provide valuable information about injuries sustained or death information and dates.

Health records cover outpatient, dental, and mental health treatment which a former member received while in the military service.  Health record documents include induction and separation physical examinations, and routine medical care (doctor/dental visits, lab tests, etc.) when the patient was not admitted to a hospital.  In comparison, clinical (hospital inpatient) records are NOT filed with the health records but are generally retired to NPRC (MPR) by the hospital or facility which created them.

NOTE: By law, medical records can only be released to the serviceman, or if that individual is deceased, his next of kin. Also, the request must be submitted in writing. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a) and DOD directives require a written request, signed and dated.

To obtain a medical record, the procedure and required information is the same as for obtaining personel (service) records, above.

For more information, visit there web page:  The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR)

Star_Blue.gif (997 bytes) Ship's Muster Rolls

A muster roll contains the names of all the sailors aboard the ship at a given time.  These rolls were submitted quarterly, with monthly updates of personnel changes. The roll contains the crewmember's name, rank/rating, and service number.

To obtain muster rolls from 1939 to 1966, send a written request with the ship's name and hull number and dates of interest.

Submit the request to:

National Archives
Archives II  (Two)
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD  20740-6001
(301) 713-7250

Star_Blue.gif (997 bytes) Ship's Deck Logs

A deck log is a daily chronology of certain events for administrative and legal purposes. Deck logs are not narrative and do not describe or explain a ship's operations. 

Generally, these events  were included in the log. This is a partial list: Absentees, Basic information about Accidents/Injuries/Deaths and if medical treatment was required, Combat Actions, Incidents at Sea, Movement Orders, Sightings, Sea Conditions, Bearings.

What is NOT in a deck log: Day-to-day assignments of individual crewmembers, detailed medical treatment for injuries or other medical matters such as visits to sick bay or injuries not suffered on board ship.   Also, a deck log is NOT a "Captain's Log" of daily written activities. There is no such thing in the US Navy.

By using the deck logs, a list of officers can be obtained. Combined with a Muster Roll, a crewlist crew can be compiled.

A deck log was usually 2 pages per day, 60 pages per month/700 pages a year.  Some of the logs are now on microfiche. The remaining logs are the original pages placed in binders.  The National Archives does not have the staff to sift through thousands of pages or stacks of  microfiche to respond to your request.  Therefore, you must narrow your written request for a search to a particular time and/or place.

You can visit the archive and conduct a deck log search.  You must arrange an appointment at least two weeks in advance specifying the ship and time period you wish to search.

Note:  There may be a fee associated with your request that must be paid in advance.

To obtain deck logs from 1941 to 1969, send a written request to:

National Archives
Archives II  (Two)
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD  20740-6001
(301) 713-7250

Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)

"I need a ship's deck log or muster roll, but I need someone to do some extensive searching for the specific information that I need.  I can't go to the Archives myself. Who can help me?"

As stated above, personnel at the Archives can only do specific research and limited photocopying for you. They simply don't have the personnel to do extensive research for you.  So, if you do not know the exact timeframe or other specific information, or just want a whole lot more information, you may contact the Naval Historical Foundation's Research Service for help.  Please note there is a charge for this service.

For a preliminary consultation and current rates call (202) 678-4311 or send email to: NHFHistSvc@aol.com

You can also write to them at:
The Naval Historical Foundation's Historical Services
1306 Dahlgren Avenue, SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC  20374-5055

Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)

Star_Blue.gif (997 bytes)Ship Photos And/Or Other Research

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)US Navy Institute has one of the world's largest private collections of naval and maritime photography. The majority of the images in the collection are of vessels, however, photos of aircraft, individuals, combat, personnel, and weapons are also available. Any of the photographs in the collection which are not copyrighted are available for purchase.

Currently, there is no list of the more than 450,000 black-and-white images which contain more than 9,000 Naval Ships.

Photographic prints are available in sizes from 8X10 to 16X20 or larger (depending on negative quality). Members of the U.S. Naval Institute receive a twenty percent (20%) discount. It takes four to six weeks to process an order.

U.S. Naval Institute
Photo Sales Service
291 Wood Rd.
Annapolis, MD 21402-5034
Phone (410) 295-1022
Fax (410) 269-7940

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has ship photos available for a fee. NARA uses private contractors who make copies of these photos for you.  You pay the private contractor to locate and reproduce the photo. The cost varies. Visit the website for more information or you can submit your request in writing to:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Still Picture Branch
8601 Adelphi Rd.
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Phone (301) 713-6625 ext. 234

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)Naval Historical Foundation (NHF), a non-profit organization, offers reproductions of historic photography, research services, and document reproduction for records, artifacts, publications, photographs and other items in the collections of both the Foundation and the Naval Historical Center.  This page of the website provides more information and notes the costs of services.

Naval Historical Foundation
Washington Navy Yard
1306 Dahlgren Ave SE
Washington, DC 20374-5055
Phone (202) 678-4311

Red_Ball.gif (935 bytes)There are other private resources for obtaining/purchasing photos.  Please use a search engine to locate these resources.



Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)

"I plan to visit the Nation Archives and look for US Navy information.  Where do I look?"

US Navy Information At The National Archives

U.S. Navy records were transferred from the Navy Historical Center in Washington D.C. to the U.S. National Archives at College Park, Maryland in 1996. Materials at the archives are separated into Record Groups.

US Navy records from World War II are found in Record Group 38.

Photographs
Photographs are viewed on the fifth floor of the Archives. There are over 18,000 photographs in Record Group 38. Finding aides for the Navy collection consist of 3" X 5" index cards with subjects listed alphabetically. Each photograph is numbered.
Navy photographs are numbered 80 G XXXXXX with the X's numbers between 1 and 999,999. There is a small Coast Guard collection with numbered 26 G XXXX.
Most photographs in Record Group 38 are 8" X 1 0" black and white prints mounted on 11" X 14" cardboard. A small number of photographs are found in the textual records. A few of the photographs, for example photographs taken from POWs, are found in the Textual Records section of the Archive stored along with the written records they depict.


Textual Records
Textual records are viewed on the second floor of the Archives. Finding aides for Record Group 38 consist of lists of the contents of various boxes of records. Records are grouped by type and in some cases by the departments and divisions of the Naval staff. For example, Action Reports listed by the names of ships and aircraft squadrons, records and materials collected from survivors of sunken U-boats and amassed during the interrogation of survivors by the Office of Naval Intelligence, Various records of the U.S. Fleets, and records and photographs associated with certain Incidents.

Visit the NARA website for hours of operation and visitor information.


Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)

To Receive Medals or Awards or to request Replacements:
Military Awards and Decorations

Requests for the issuance or replacement of US Navy service medals, decorations and awards is directed to the Bureau of Naval Personnel.  

You must have a copy of the veterans DD 214 or other official separation document to place a request.

If you have a copy of the DD 214, go here and download Form SF-180.  Print the form, complete the information and submit it along with the DD 214 to:

Bureau of Naval Personnel
Liaison Office Room 5409
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

If you do not have a copy of the veterans DD 214 and/or other separation documents, you will first need to obtain this information from the National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO. You can request this information online, hereAlthough you initiate the request online, you must print the form and within 20 days mail to:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Phone: 314-801-0800

or FAX to:  314-801-9195

Once you have a copy of the DD 214, follow the above instructions.

Where to write in case of a problem or an appeal only:

Chief of Naval Operations
(OPNAV 09B33)
Awards & Special Projects
Washington, DC 20350-2000
 

Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)

Help!  I do not know the service number or rating. What do I do?

Remain calm. You simply have to backtrack a little to obtain the service number and rating.  All is not lost if you at least know the name of the DE and a date the sailor was aboard the ship. For example, if your family member served aboard the USS Whitman during WWII and you know he was in the Pacific in 1944, it's pretty safe to request a copy of the Whitman Muster Roll.  This roll will note the sailor's service number. Scroll up this page a few lines until you see Ship's Muster Rolls and Deck Logs for instructions on obtaining these records.


 
 

DESAUSA.ORG

Copyright © 1998-2011 desausa.org. All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 488
Henderson Harbor, NY 13651
1-800-603-3332
Fax: (315) 938-7010

 
Back To Top
 

Home | Site Map | Members | Chapters | News | Reunions | In Remembrance | Veterans Tribute | Roll of Honor | Photo Library | History | Web Sites Related Links | Locate DE & Shipmate Information | Archives | About DESA | Join DESA | Contact DESA  | Directors | Ladies Auxiliary