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Easy way to find servicemen from partial serial #

Article about: I was interested in determining who the owner of a uniform was based on the last 4 digits of the serial number and found these instructions on another forum (Partial serial number help? - IN

  1. #1
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    Default Easy way to find servicemen from partial serial #

    I was interested in determining who the owner of a uniform was based on the last 4 digits of the serial number and found these instructions on another forum (Partial serial number help? - INDIVIDUAL AND UNIT RESEARCH - U.S. Militaria Forum) to use with the NARA database (Please Wait...)

    The guy on the forum explains:
    "YOu will have to use numbers for the first three digits and then you can use a wildcard for the fourth digit. Although this sounds impossible, it isn't. It is however time consuming. For the majority of WWII enlistedmen, their seriel number will begin with either a 1 (volunteer) or a 3 (draftee). The next number is the location where they enlisted into the Army (1-9). The third digit is your random digit that you just have to keep plugging numbers. The fourth will be your wildcard ( * )."

    Yes....it was "time consuming" unless you use a spreadsheet, e.g Excel, to generate the possible combinations. I found out that the location variables are 0-9 and the random variables are 0-9 so you have 10 groups of 10 digits adding up to 100 possible combinations for either a volunteer (1) or a draftee (2) for total of 200 combinations. See example below. In Excel you can "concatenate" all the characters in each column to get your test serial #. When you are in the NARA data base (see link above), go to "advanced search" and copy your entire set of possible serial numbers into the box that says "with any of the values". All servicemen with these test serial #s will be displayed. Then you find the one matching the letter of their surname to narrow it down. To narrow down even further you can put some info into the "with exact phrase" box.

    In my case, I was looking for "H-4387" and "air corps" and luckily came up with just one name, i.e. HEPLER#CHARLES#D########
    16044387.

    I hope this is useful.


    Example
    last 4 digits Test serial #


    1 0 0 * 4387 100*4387
    1 0 1 * 4387 101*4387
    1 0 2 * 4387 102*4387
    1 0 3 * 4387 103*4387
    1 0 4 * 4387 104*4387
    1 0 5 * 4387 105*4387
    1 0 6 * 4387 106*4387
    1 0 7 * 4387 107*4387
    1 0 8 * 4387 108*4387
    1 0 9 * 4387 109*4387
    1 1 0 * 4387 110*4387
    1 1 1 * 4387 111*4387
    1 1 2 * 4387 112*4387
    1 1 3 * 4387 113*4387
    1 1 4 * 4387 114*4387
    1 1 5 * 4387 115*4387
    1 1 6 * 4387 116*4387
    1 1 7 * 4387 117*4387
    1 1 8 * 4387 118*4387
    1 1 9 * 4387 119*4387
    1 2 0 * 4387 120*4387
    1 2 1 * 4387 121*4387
    1 2 2 * 4387 122*4387
    1 2 3 * 4387 123*4387
    1 2 4 * 4387 124*4387
    1 2 5 * 4387 125*4387
    1 2 6 * 4387 126*4387
    1 2 7 * 4387 127*4387
    1 2 8 * 4387 128*4387
    1 2 9 * 4387 129*4387
    1 3 0 * 4387 130*4387
    1 3 1 * 4387 131*4387
    and so on.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Easy way to find servicemen from partial serial #

    Great Job Pablo!!!!! So when and where did Charles D Helper enlist?
    Semper Fi
    Phil

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Easy way to find servicemen from partial serial #

    He enlisted in 1942 at Detroit Michigan. His "Grade:code" is an "aviation cadet", whatever that is. But his uniform has sergeant stripes. Wonder if it is the right guy?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Easy way to find servicemen from partial serial #

    An aviation cadet was an individual who had passed a written test but still needed to complete the flight training. Once flight training was completed you got your wings and and you were commissioned an officer. Usually a 2nd Lt.

    Semper Fi
    Phil

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