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How to Find People Who Served in Vietnam

by Matthew Caines

The Vietnam War, which lasted 10 years and claimed almost 60,000 American lives, marked a significant change in worldwide perceptions of war, death and politics--in part because it was the first such conflict ever to be reported daily on television. People try to find those who served in the war for several reasons: to search for relatives and friends, for research and interviews, or just out of interest.

Finding Those Who Died In The Vietnam War

Visit the Wall-USA website as cited in the References section. This website is a voluntary record that lists all of the 58,267 known soldiers who either died or went missing, according to official military records.

Navigate to the website's Search page to find details about an American who died during the war. Simply fill in the boxes that you know (Name, Rank, Home State, Birthday, Age etc.) and click the "Start Search" button. The website will take you to a new page where you can review the list of names that match your search.

Look through the available names until you have found the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine you are looking for. Click on the person's "INFO PAGE" to find out the deceased's rank, unit, length of service, tour dates, death date, body recovery and cause of death. Some records will even have a list of personal comments and/or pictures: click on the "Personal Comments or Pictures Click Here" button to view them.

Finding Survivors Of The Vietnam War

Visit the Veterans History Project website as cited in the References section. This site lists any American war veteran who has been contacted or interviewed since World War I. You can use the Search page to find survivors of the Vietnam conflict by ticking the "Vietnam War" box and clicking the "Go" button. Use the results page to find a specific veteran's personal details, pictures and/or interviews.

Go to the Vietnam Veteran's Information and Search Aids website (see the References section for a direct link). This site offers the most comprehensive and extended list of links, numbers and addresses for various Vietnam era U.S. military units, organizations and reunions. For example, if you want to find a person who served in the 25th Infantry Division,the website has a direct link to that unit's community page, where you can find out more information.

If the Internet has not helped you to find the person you are looking for, visit the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The center holds information and details for any military personnel who were discharged from the armed services or who have died since World War I. However, you must adhere to strict booking rules and must always request to see personnel records before you go. (See the References section for further information.)

Items you will need
  • Computer with Internet connection

About the Author

Matthew Caines began writing and editing in 2008 and has since gained valuable experience in the publishing industry working for national publications such as "The Guardian," "Sartorial Male," "AREA Magazine," "Food & Drink Magazine," "Redbrick Newspaper" and "REACH Magazine." He has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Birmingham, U.K.

Photo Credits

  • vietnam war memorial image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com