Record Archives, Unit Diaries, Rosters, Etc.


The Marine Corps Historical Center
Archives Section, Building 58
Washington Navy Yard
Washington, D.C. 20374

Phone number: 202-433-3483

Available here are operations reports, command diaries, command chronologies, and after action reports. The archivists at the Center are most helpful and will photocopy material and mail it to you. They may also refer you to the:

Unit Diary Section Commandant
Marine Corps Records Service Section
Code MMSB-10, Hdq, U.S. Marine Corps
Quantico, VA 22134-5030

where company rosters and unit diaries after 1967 are located. These must be requested in writing.


Marine Rosters:

Head Quarters Marine Corps
Commandant USMC
Quantico, VA 22134-0001

Rosters were created each month, towards the end of the month. If a person went home during the month and was not present on the particular day that the roster was made up, they WILL NOT APPEAR on that month's roster. So you would have to request the previous month for that name to appear. You can request a couple of months at a time (2-3). You can send as many requests as you like. If you want, you could send a request in a friend's name & address for 3 months and a request in your name for 3 different months, etc.

Before you begin a search, you'll want to check the casualty list.

Once you have the name and serial # from the roster, you can write to the VA:

Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Regional Office
1240 E. 9th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44199

ATTENTION: Robert Zeigenhine

Need 2 envelopes. One with above address. Inside this envelope you will need another stamped envelope addressed to the person you wish to locate -- don't forget your return address -- DO NOT SEAL THIS ENVELOPE. The VA will have to read so they wouldn't be forwarding anything inappropriate.

Attach a note asking to forward to the person and a check for $2.00. Include in the note any information you have such as serial # (which is on the rosters), home town, etc. The rosters sometimes are difficult to read; so, if you're not sure, put what you think it is and a question mark.

If the person was wounded, they might be getting a disability check so the VA knows the address. They won't give you the address but will forward mail.

Narrative Summaries:

Reference Section, (Code HDH-2)
History and Museums Division
Headquarters, USMC
Washington, D.C. 20374-0580

You can request a couple of month's summaries at a time (2-3). You can send as many requests as you like. If you want, you could send in a request in a friend's or family member's name and address for 3 months and a request in your name for 3 different months, etc.

You can also call the USMC Historical Museum, Head Archivist:

Fred Grabowski: 202-433-3840

You can fax your request for AFTER ACTION REPORTS -- this will speed up the process. FAX: 202-433-7265


Marine Corps Unit Records are housed at the USMC Historical Division at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The unit records are very good and quite extensive, which actually makes for a bit of a problem ... there is so much material, it often requires quite a bit of research to find particular documents.

You can contact the Historical Division for particular research. In the past, they would often do reasonable searches and send you the information for free. I know that they have had serious staff cutbacks, so this service may not be provided today or for free. Government costs for things like this vary, but they will sometimes give you a cost estimate.

The best thing to do is go to D.C., and do the search yourself ... they provide excellent facilities with advance warning and an appointment (don't walk in without prior notice). The historians are very helpful. A thorough record search, however, can take hours or even days.

There are also private researchers who will do record searches for you for a fee.

Semper Fi,
Bill Lewis


The Marine hospital in DaNang in 1968 was the First Medical Battalion, First Marine Division (First Med); and the Navy hospital was the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hospital.

Under the freedom of information act, you can request the roster of Corpsmen at First Med. during your duty time there by writing:

The Commandant of the Marine Corps
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
Washington, D.C. 20380-0001

In a like manner, you can write for the roster of Corpsmen assigned to NSA by writing:

The Chief of Naval Operations, NO9833
530 M St., SE, Building 36
Washington, D.C. 20374-5001

If you succeed in finding a name(s) on one of the rosters that you are looking for, you can ask the VA to contact one or more of the Corpsmen by calling 1-800-872-1000. You will need the service number of the individual(s) you are trying to locate, and that should be included on the roster you receive.


The Navy equivalent of unit rosters, from 1967 to 1975, are available from:

Bureau of Naval Personnel (PERS-093)
Arlington Annex
Federal Building 2, Room 4531
Washington, D.C. 20370-5000

If this is to substantiate a VA or other government related claim, be sure to mention this in your letter, as they generally give priority to those requests over ones for reunions, etc.; and the charges may be less or even zero. Be sure to state the date(s) of the muster rolls requested and provide as much unit information as you have about the Squadron, including what ship it was assigned to. If you have a copy of your husband's DD214, include that also.

Mention somewhere in the letter that you are requesting this under the "Freedom of Information Act." The muster rolls will have names, ranks, and service numbers of individuals in the unit but will not include present whereabouts. Once you have the names, there are other avenues to search to find the people themselves.


Deceased Veterans' Records:

Individuals may make a request for copies of deceased veterans' records. To do so, they should submit a request in writing to the nearest VA regional office (dial the toll-free number, 1-800-827-1000). Please provide as much identifying information as possible to enable the local VA office to identify the requested records.

Some examples of useful information include the veteran's full name, VA file number, branch of service, service serial number, Social Security Number, exact dates of birth and/or death, and enlistment and discharge date. In some cases, it may be useful to provide the veteran's home of record at the time of entry into the service.

VA does not maintain organizational information in its computerized database, so information such as duty station is not helpful in identifying VA records. If VA is able to identify the requested records, we will release the deceased veteran's information, subject to applicable laws and regulations.

To Request Your Own Record:

An individual may make a request for his/her own VA record. The veteran should submit a written request, under the Privacy Act, to the nearest VA regional office. The veteran should include as much of the same information listed above, as possible. The most important piece of information, if known, is your VA file number, commonly referred to as the VA claim number.

For Veterans Who Have Never Filed for VA Benefits:

Veterans, who have never filed a claim for VA benefits, and who are seeking a copy of their military records, should utilize a Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. You may request a form by calling the nearest VA regional office at toll-free number 1-800-827-1000.

The form is also available through a "Fax Database" option on VAONLINE accessible at Internet IP Veterans should complete the form with as much identifying information as possible and submit the form to the appropriate address provided on the reverse side of the form.

National Personnel Records Center and VSOs

Military records are kept (generally speaking) at:

Attn: ORU
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100

The assistance of a *good* Veteran's Service Officer (VSO) may be very helpful. They will not only track down your records but assist you with an entire claim process and other help and info that you are requesting.

All the major Veteran's organizations (Legion, VFW, VVA, etc.) have VSOs -- check with your nearest post or check with your state department of Veterans affairs, since most states also have them. Finally, if none of that works, stop in at your nearest Vet Center -- they can put you on the right track. All services from VSOs are FREE.

"How To Locate Anyone Who Is Or Has Been In The Military"
By Lt. Col. Richard S. Johnson
ISBN 1-877639-11-7

The book can be ordered from:

MIE Publishing
P.O. Box 17118
Spartanburg, SC 29301

Phone: 1-800-937-2133
FAX: 1-864-595-0813

E-mail address:

Web Site:

This book details how to go about ordering all sorts of records, unit diaries, rosters, logs, etc. from each of the service branches. It also tells where other kinds of records are housed such as the historical archives of the service branches.

It lists numerous service-branch/unit-related associations and organizations. Phone numbers and addresses are provided; and, in many cases, specific instructions are given as to any special protocol necessary to getting this or that info.

It is updated annually, so be sure to ask for the latest edition. You should be able to get it from your local library or through interlibrary loan if they don't have a copy or order it from your local bookstore or It has a lot of suggestions and tips for reunion planners.



Research of OPERATIONAL REPORTS, DAILY STAFF JOURNALS, and DUTY OFFICER'S LOGS at Battalion, Brigade, and Division levels:

National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Includes personal accounts received to date.


On Sat, 4 Apr 1998, Ann KELSEY wrote:

Deanna, Bill, and Corky,

Connie Menefee has obtained a datafile with merged records from the CACCF and TACGEN databases which allows a one-step search for casualties by unit. The TACGEN file is for Army units only, so this will not help with other services; but for inquiries involving Army personnel, this *may* allow a one-step search instead of obtaining unit rosters and then matching against the casualty files. She is willing to do searches for VVHP.

I'm forwarding this to you three, with Connie's permission, because I think you would be the ones most likely to get the kinds of requests that could be appropriately searched in this file. Contact her directly for more detailed info.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 07:41:45 -0800
From: Constance Lee Menefee
Subject: Re: Army casualty/unit database


I could search by all the fields available in the CACCF-- you probably know what those are -- if not, I can cobble together a list of those -- PLUS the units listed below. At the very least, it gives us a way to narrow the field considerably. Assuming one has an approximate date and knows the major Army unit, you could end up with some pretty targeted information.

I have been working with the TACGEN list quite a bit, just to see some things. I have included the total KIA for that unit for the duration of the Vietnam War in the info I have included at the bottom of this email.

Send this list on to Deanna and Bill and whoever else might be interested. I'll do whatever I can!!

Connie Menefee ____________________________________________________________________

(# KIA -- all causes)

E-mail Constance Lee Menefee at:


Write to the *capital* city of states, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Most states I've worked with keep all the records of births, deaths, weddings, divorces in their capital cities in a Bureau of that name or variation, and they are usually public records unless sealed by the courts for some reason.

You may want to invest in a phone call to each first, for their fees, forms, procedures, etc...the mails can take so long. If you don't know how to use the national information number: it's 555-1212 for any city in the U.S. You have to find out the area code(s) for the city(ies) (actually, your first step is to find out what the *capital* cities are) and "plug" that in...usually the long distance operator (press 0 on your phone) will give area codes to you if you just ask for them or may direct you to where you can get them.

Example: I want to call a city with the area code of 204 for info...I dail: 1-204-555-1212 and listen for what the operator asks you...maybe, "What city to you want?" and you tell her and then the name of the Bureau, "Vital Statistics" or whatever houses records on marriages and divorces, etc. Usually these operators are good enough to know what you need if you explain and don't have the exact name of the org./company, etc.

Then call them for their procedures...they may send you a form to fill out to mail back along with the fee to search and copy.

You may have to know, within so many years, when these events took place, however. One I searched gave you a five year span each that's a ten-year window; but, you could be in for several search periods and expense before "bingo," if you don't know the exact age, dates, prepared for this and find out what their time frame of search is.

Marriage(s), divorce(s), death may have occurred in other states than the birth State. Try to remember what he said and analyze it for time frames and places.

If you're going to do a search, be thorough. Keep a photocopied and detailed record of what you are sending/doing so as not to forget or duplicate.


Also access the "Locators & Reunions -- Lost and Found" and the "Locations (Land, Email, Phone, URLs) of Division Assns, Etc." headings in this Index.

Revised 09-27-11 by wgm