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Service to the Armed Forces Frequently Asked Questions
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Locating Service Members
 Services for Military Families
 How to Help Service Members
Can the Red Cross help me locate a current or former military service member with whom I have lost contact?
Yes, if you lost contact with a current or former service member, Red Cross tracing services may provide you with a means to locate them. All tracing requests should be sent to the appropriate addresses below.
  • Air Force World Wide Locator
    Airmen and Officers AFPC-MSIMDL
    550 C Street West, Suite 50
    Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4752
    Phone: (210) 652-5774 (recorded message) or (210) 652-5775
  • Army World Wide Locator
    Enlisted and Officers Enlisted Records and Evaluation Center
    8899 East 56th Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301
    Phone: 1-866-771-6357
  • Coast Guard Commandant
    Enlisted and Officers (CGPC-ADM 3)
    U.S. Coast Guard
    2100 Second Street, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20593-0001
    Note: The Coast Guard World Wide Locator does not maintain listings for CG reserve or retired personnel. To locate an active duty Coast Guard member, you can send an email to ARL-PF-CGPCCGlocator@uscg.mil.
  • U.S. Marine Corps—CMC
    Enlisted and Officers (MMSB-10)
    2008 Elliot Road, Room 201
    Quantico, VA 22134-5030
    Phone: (703) 640-3942/3943
    Note: Telephonic requests can be made free of charge by immediate family members and government officials calling on official business.
  • Department of Navy 
    Enlisted and Officers Navy Personnel Command
    NPC Integrity Drive
    Millington, TN 28055-0212
    Phone: 1-866-827-5672 or (901) 874-3388
What is the cost of tracing a current or former military service member?
Worldwide locators for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will look up a service member’s unit of assignment or forward letters to active duty military personnel free of charge for active duty or retired military members, immediate family members of the serviceperson (spouse, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother or sister), or county, state or federal agencies. All civilians or civilian businesses must request information in writing and pay the $3.50 fee. The Coast Guard does not generally charge a fee.
 
Can I get written verification of a member’s active duty status?
Written verification of active duty status is available for all branches including the Coast Guard, and costs $5.20. Checks or money orders should be made payable to “U.S. Treasurer.” The Air Force requests their checks be made payable to “DAO-DE-RAFB.”
 
Can I get up-to-date information on a loved one that is receiving services at a military medical center or hospital?
Yes, families of patients at any military medical center or hospital can now receive up-to-the-minute reports on a loved one through their own customized Web pages, courtesy of CaringBridge  and Fisher House 
 
Is there an organization in the Bay Area that provides support services to families of service members?
The Blue Star Moms is a support service group located in the San Francisco East Bay. They are moms, joining together to share their pride, devotion and worries for sons and daughters currently serving in all branches of the armed forces, and those who are now veterans. They are an official chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America, a group who formed during World War II. Among their many excellent programs and services is a Web site  that details how to get the best airline rates and flights for military members and their families. Included is the latest info on airline mileage programs, including how to access and use them.
 
If I am a military member or a military dependent, whom should I contact if I need assistance?
If you are a military family member or service member seeking support, be sure to consult your chain of command, family assistance program and military aid societies prior to contacting non-federal entities. You are entitled to the military resources, and the aid societies all exist to help service members with emergent needs.
 
o  Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society 
o  Air Force Aid Society 
o  Coast Guard Mutual Assistance 
 
Where can I find other organizations that are providing assistance to family members of deployed U.S. troops?
America Supports You, a Department of Defense program intended to communicate citizens’ support to the men and women serving in our armed forces and their families, provides a list of more than 350 homefront groups that provide support for service members and their families. These organizations provide a wide range of support including financial assistance, academic scholarships, and support for the wounded. By visiting the homefront groups page you can find a complete list of America Supports You homefront groups, broken down into categories based on the type of support they provide.
 
Is there a free or low cost option for me stay in touch with a service member abroad?
Yes, the American Red Cross Bay Area has joined forces with AOL to help thousands of soldiers and staff stationed abroad to communicate “face-to-face” with their loved ones in the Bay Area by exchanging two-minute video messages for free over the Internet. The service uses a computer equipped with a video camera, an AOL Broadband Internet connection and a special video-messaging program called VIDITalk.
 
Family members may schedule a videotaping appointment by calling (707) 423-3648 or (415) 427-8064 or by contacting Joan Kelley-Williams at joan.kelley-williams@travis.af.mil. To use the service, you will need your service member’s email address. If you are a dependent, please bring your military dependent identification card to your appointment.
 
Where can I get more information on other organizations supporting deployed U.S. troops or their family members?
For a list of more than 350 groups that provide support for deployed military people and their families, please visit the America Supports You Web site These organizations provide a wide range of support including financial assistance, academic scholarships and support for the wounded.
 
How can I donate my frequent flier miles to help service members visit loved ones?
Operation Hero Miles  provides a way for you to help our troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan by donating your unused frequent flyer miles. Efforts are underway to make the donated miles more broadly available to all U. S. military personnel.
 
How can I help troops keep in touch with their loved ones?
Donate a calling card to help keep service members in touch with their families at Operation Uplink 
 
How can I sponsor a care package for U.S. troops?
The USO (United Service Organizations) has served as the primary bridge between the American people and armed forces for more than 65 years, delivering a unique combination of morale building, counseling and recreational services to our troops and their families all over the world. The USO provides care packages of sunscreen, toiletries and snacks to departing troops. You can help the USO provide these care packages by donating to Operation USO Care Package 
 
How can I thank service members stationed abroad?
Send a thank you greeting via e-mail through Operation Dear Abby )
 
How do I sign a virtual thank you card for U.S. troops?
To sign a virtual thank you card, please visit the America Supports You Web site .
 
How do I make a direct donation to a particular branch of the military?
Donations may be made to the military relief societies below:
 
o  Navy/Marine Relief Society 
o  Coast Guard Mutual Assistance 
 
How can I volunteer my time to help our troops?
Volunteer at a Veteran’s Administration Hospital to honor veterans who bore the lamp of freedom in past conflicts. Find out more on the VA Web site .
 
How can I support the families of those who have injured loved ones?
You can support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals through a donation to the Fisher House 
 

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