Q:

How do you view merchant marine records from World War II?

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Quick Answer

The U.S. Coast Guard is in charge of merchant marine records from World War II. Records are available by request from the U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center, either online or through the mail.

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Full Answer

Merchant marine papers are also called "seaman's papers" or "Z cards." As of Dec. 27, 2015, merchant marine personal records can be obtained by visiting or writing to the Coast Guard National Maritime Center at U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center, Mariner Information (NMC-4), 100 Forbes Drive, Martinsburg, WV 25404. Forms are available at the office, by mail or on the Web,.

If the seaman was killed in action during World War II, the procedure is the same, but the mailing address for record requests is different, with those records available at Archives I Reference Unit, (NWCT1R), National Archives and Records Administration, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20408. For both categories, include the name of the serviceman, date of birth, Social Security number, death certificate, and Z or service number if available.

U.S. merchant marine members who served from Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec. 31, 1946, are considered active duty. As of Dec. 27, 2015, a $30 fee applies to each request for records.

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