Previously, members of the military were issued a service number upon their enlistment in the armed forces. The U.S. Navy stopped using service numbers in 1972 and transitioned to the use of Social Security numbers for ID purposes. If you are a previous military member trying to locate your service number or the next-of-kin or a sailor who previously served, it is possible to obtain this number from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Access the National Archives' website at archives.gov.

Click "Veterans' Service Records." Choose "Request Records Online with eVetRecs" or "Other Ways to Obtain Service Records."

Provide the required information to receive the military records you want. To use the online request method, you must be either the service member or the next-of-kin. To request records by mail, you may either fill out a Form SF-180 (Request Pertaining to Military Records) and/or DD Form 214 (Separation of Service).

Obtain the military records and locate the Naval member's service number on them.

Tip

  • It is possible to obtain replacement medals and awards through the National Personnel Records Center as well.

Tip

  • If you do not have the capability to print the required forms, you can write a letter requesting the records and send it to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Include as much information as you have, including the service member's full name, dates of service, service locations, date of birth and Social Security number.