Office of Defense Attache

The Defense Attaché develops military-to-military relationships with the Czech Armed Forces, provides advice on military matters to the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, and represents the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Commanding General, U.S. European Command and the U.S. military services in the Czech Republic.

The Defense Attaché Office also partners with the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic via bilateral programs to improve interoperability with NATO.

The Senior Defense Official and Defense and Air Attaché at the American Embassy in Prague is Col. Sean J. Cantrell.

This information is intended for those making inquiries from the Czech Republic.

 Military recruitment does not fall within the scope of the Defense Attaché Office at the American Embassy in Prague. However, the following general information is provided for your reference: All applicants for enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces (as well as the U.S. Civil Service and law enforcement agencies) must be either

  • i/ a U.S. citizenor
  • ii/ a registered alien who is
    • legally and permanently resident in the U.S., and
    • in possession of a U.S. Immigration (‘Green’) Card (INS 1-151 or INS  1-551) and Social Security number.

If you meet the above criteria you should request further information from the following relevant offices in the U.K. or Germany:

U.S. Air Force Recruiter
(Office manned part-time)
Unit 4925, Box 290
RAF Mildenhall, BURY ST EDMUNDS
Suffolk IP28 8NF
Tel: 01638 542290

U.S. Air Force Recruiter (Headquarters)
469 ABG/DPVRS
Building 347, Room 122
Rhein-Main Air Base
Frankfurt 60505
GERMANY
Tel: (00 49) 696 997978

U.S. Army Recruiter
415th BSB, Building 2915 Pulaski Barracks
Kaiserslautern
GERMANY
Tel: (00 49) 631 536 7072

U.S. Navy Recruiter
DOE Complex, Block 2, Spur 9
Lime Grove, Eastcote, RUISLIP
Middlesex HA4 8BX
Tel: 020 8385 5207

U.S. Marine Corps Recruiter
Recruiting Station New York
Attn: Admin
Garden City, New York 11530-4761
USA

Please be aware that, as many of the above offices are manned only part-time, you are likely to reach an answering machine if you call. Therefore, it is suggested that you write in, ensuring that your name, address and contact telephone number are clearly stated.

This information is intended for those making inquiries from the Czech Republic.

Military recruitment does not fall within the scope of the Defense Attaché Office at the American Embassy in Prague. However, the following general information is provided for your reference: All applicants for enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces (as well as the U.S. Civil Service and law enforcement agencies) must be either

  • i/ a U.S. citizenor
  • ii/ a registered alien who is
    • legally and permanently resident in the U.S., and
    • in possession of a U.S. Immigration (‘Green’) Card (INS 1-151 or INS 1-551) and Social Security number.

In general, applications for enlistment are normally processed on-site at a recruiting office in the United States. Since all applicants have to take the necessary physical and mental examinations to determine their suitability, there is no way of foretelling whether or not they will be recruited. Recruitment also depends on the needs of the Armed Forces at that time.

Permanent resident status, a prerequisite if the enlisted is not a U.S. citizen, requires that the alien qualify for an immigrant visa to enter the United States. You should be aware, however, that for the reasons stated above, no assurance can be given in advance that an applicant will successfully pass the various physical and aptitude tests for acceptance into the Armed Forces.An immigrant visa will not be issued on the basis of intention to enlist or intention to qualify for government employment upon arrival in the United States.

Officers

The selection process for a commissioned officer is highly competitive and includes, among other things, the following requirements: the candidate must be a U.S. citizen; before selection by a Military Academy for officer training, the candidate must pass a rigorous physical examination; he or she must be a high-school graduate, or a senior who has achieved excellent academic qualifications in high school. In addition, a pilot candidate must be both an existing commissioned officer and a U.S. citizen.

NB – Inclusion of an organization or product in the following text does not denote that it carries an American Embassy in Prague, The U.S. Government, or The U.S. Department of Defense endorsement. Please note, also, that this information is intended for those making inquiries from the Czech Republic.

It is difficult to trace someone in the United States when their whereabouts are completely unknown, as there are no central records of names and addresses available to the public. For those trying to locate former colleagues, friends or relations the following information may be of assistance. When writing to an agency or organization listed below, you should provide as much information as possible about the person you seek. At least the full name, date and place of birth should be given. For military personnel, the rank, serial number and branch of service should also be specified.

Active Military Personnel

Written requests for assistance in locating information on currently serving military personnel may be sent to the appropriate office listed below:

Air Force Worldwide Locator
AFPC/MSIMDL
550 C Street W., Suite 50
Randolph Air Force Base
TX 78150-4752

Army Worldwide Locator
U.S. Army ELREC
8899 E. 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301

Navy Worldwide Locator
Bureau of Naval Personnel
For family members: BUPERS
pers 324D, 2 Navy Annex
Washington, DC 20370-3240
For non-family:
BUPERS 02116
2 Navy Annex
Washington, DC 20370-0216

Marine Corps Worldwide Locator
Commandant of the Marine Corps
HQ, USMC, Code MMSB
Washington, DC 20380-1775

Coast Guard Locator
G-MPC-S-3, U.S. Coast Guard
2100 2nd Street SW
Washington, DC 20593

The above locator offices may be able to forward correspondence to the individual’s base or unit. Correspondence for the missing service member should be passed – together with a brief letter of explanation – to the appropriate service locator. The letter to be forwarded should contain nothing of value and be in an unsealed, unstamped envelope bearing only the individual’s rank, full name, and, if possible, military serial number. You should note that a nominal fee, payable by credit card or International Money order, may be charged for this service. All of the above locator services operate websites on the internet, usually accessed via links with the Department of Defense DEFENSELINK web site, or relevant service’s homepage.

Former Military Personnel

The American Embassy in Prague keeps no records of former members of the U.S. Armed Forces. All Official Military Personnel Files of discharged or deceased personnel are maintained in the United States at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). Requests for information on former service members must be directed, in writing, to that agency. Written requests for record searches must be made on the Standard Form SF180 (available to download (PDF 976 KB) from the NPRC website). Alternatively, the form will be mailed to you. When completing the form, you should provide the full name, details of military service, and the former service member’s serial (or social security) number, if known. Please note that certain restrictions imposed on the NPRC by the 1974 Privacy Act may make your search more difficult. The Act limits the disclosure of data from U.S. government files to the individual themselves or to those who can provide clear evidence of direct kinship to the individual being sought. In the case of children trying to locate their fathers, the NPRC is required to provide only the last known town and state – ie, not a full street address. In all instances only written requests, signed and dated, on the appropriate forms will be accepted. The address of the NPRC is:

National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
Attn: Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Please note that addresses on record are often those furnished by the service member at the time of discharge and may well be some years out-of-date. You should note also that the NPRC is staffed and funded to deal primarily with queries from veterans themselves, and these queries receive priority. It is not unusual for general inquiries from abroad to take many weeks or even months to receive a response.

U.S. citizens wishing to re-establish contact with or information on former service friends mainly use military and veterans organizations’ publications. A brief notice placed therein reaches a wide audience and may well come to the attention of the individual themselves or a former member of the same unit. As well as the newsletters of individual veterans associations, letters are published in the following large-circulation publications:

Army/Navy/Air Force Times
‘Locator Service’
6883 Commercial Drive
Springfield, VA 22159-0160

Air Force Magazine
‘Bulletin Board’
1501 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22209-1198

American Legion Magazine
700 N. Pennsylvania Street
PO Box 1055
Indianapolis, IN 46206

The Retired Officer Magazine
201 N. Washington Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314-2539

Letters written to the above publications should be brief and preferably typed. Do not send documents or photographs.

Additional Sources

Local Sources

If the original address of the individual being sought is known, you can pursue local sources of information within the United States. Among the many possible avenues are: offices of vital records for birth, death or marriage records; high school reunion organizers and college alumni associations; Adjutant General’s Office in the person’s home state for data on personnel who served in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam; county and state Department of Veterans’ Affairs Offices in cases of Veterans’ benefits or hospitalization; local posts of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AmVets, etc for information on local veterans; county Probate Offices for a will or Letters of Administration if he or she possessed property in the county and is now deceased; local newspapers, for articles obituaries, death notices, etc; state Offices of Vital Statistics for death records of service personnel who died while on active duty. Please note that the American Embassy in Prague, does not maintain addresses for the above offices.

Agencies

Private organizations can provide guidance to assist in tracing relatives and friends. Two such groups are:

TRACE
(Transatlantic Children’s Enterprise)
Secretary: Sophia Byrne
11 St. Tewricks Place
Mathern, Chepstow
Gwent NP6 6JW (Send SAE)

War Babies
Mrs Shirley McGlade
15 Plough Avenue
South Woodgate
Birmingham B32 3TQ (Send SAE)
Tel: 0121 608 5108

Private detectives and tracing agencies in the U.S., can also assist, but they are often expensive.

Telephone listings

The quickest and cheapest way of establishing contact with an individual is often by telephone. Some public reference libraries now hold U.S. telephone directories on CD-ROM and there are many internet websites providing access to phone listings. It is worth remembering that many private individuals in the U.S. choose to be ex-directory.

Books & Newspapers

How to Locate Anyone Who Is or Has Been In The Military, 5th Edition by Lt Col (Ret) Richard Johnson, (MIE Publishing, PO Box 17188, Spartanburg, SC 29301, price $23) details hundreds of ways to locate current and former service members of all branches, including National Guard and Reserve. It explains how to obtain copies of individual service records, rosters, muster rolls, after-action reports, and numerous other military records. Please note that Lt Col Johnson also runs a commercial detective agency specializing in the tracing of former members of the military.

Several general books covering U.S. forces in the U.K. during World War II have proved useful to researchers, as they occasionally detail the geographical location of specific units. Shirley McGlade’s Daddy, Where Are You?, a personal account of her search for her father, lists useful contact addresses. Further suggestions are given on the Military History – Books Information Sheet, available from the Defense Attaché Office on written request.

It may also be worthwhile writing to newspapers or specialist publications which circulate in the area where the missing person was last known to live.

Humanitarian Organizations

The following organizations may be able to assist in cases of sufficiently compelling humanitarian need, and where the missing person is a close relative:

British Red Cross
Tracing & Messages Section
International Welfare Dept
9 Grosvenor Crescent
London SW1X 1EJ
Tel: 020 7235 5454

Norcap
112 Church Road
Wheatley
Oxford
OX33 1LU
Tel: 01865 875000

Adoptees’ Liberty Movement
Box 254, Washington Bdge Station
New York, NY 10033
USA
Tel: 001 212 581 1568

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Through its Family History Resources the Church offers advice to those undertaking family history research. There are over 2,400 Family History Centers worldwide including quite a number in the U.K. Most are located in meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here you can find census returns, wills, church records, etc for most parts of the world. In addition, you can consult the International Genealogical Index(IGI) and the Ancestral File. The IGI is a worldwide index of approximately 187 million names of deceased persons. Searches can also be made on-line through the Familysearch.com website. The Index does not contain records of living persons. The Ancestral File contains genealogical data on millions of individuals from many countries, including information on names, dates and places of birth, marriage and death. Most of the information on the File concerns deceased persons. The File also contains names and addresses of persons who have submitted information, and this information is up-dated periodically.

Social Security Administration & The Department of Veterans Affairs

Both the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs will attempt to forward correspondence to missing persons, but only when a considerable monetary or strong humanitarian consideration is involved. You should send a letter intended for the missing person, along with a brief letter of explanation to the appropriate agency. The letter to be forwarded should contain nothing of value and be in a plain, unsealed, unstamped envelope bearing only the person’s full name and social security/ military serial number. If this number is not known, you should include other identifying information, such as date/ place of birth or parents’ names in the covering letter. Write to:

Social Security Administration
30 North Green Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

In the case of the Social Security Administration (SSA), a $3 fee applies in cases involving a monetary purpose. An International Money Order in dollars should be enclosed and made payable to the ‘Social Security Administration’. The SSA will be unable to report whether or not the letter is actually delivered.

Internet Sources

In addition to the internet locator services listed above, many hundreds of sites – official and unofficial, commercial and free of charge – exist to aid in tracing missing persons and family genealogy. Such sites include: the National Vet Archive; American Veteran Search; the Navy Memorial Foundation’s Navy Log; American Legion Library page; Military Police Locator Service, and many others. Keyword searches on military and locator or military and reunions will lead to dozens of sites, many with links to other avenues of research.

NB: IMPORTANT NOTICE – It is not possible to trace the whereabouts of persons through U.S. immigration channels. Records of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service are protected by the Privacy Act and cannot be divulged to third parties.

We hope that success results from your efforts. Unfortunately, other than the preceding information, the Defense Attaché Office at U.S. Embassy in Prague cannot assist further with individual searches for current or former members of the military.