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Some Tips on How to Search for Your Past Shipmates

Bob "TUT" Tuttle wrote the following article that first appeared in the DD-950 Association's newsletter.  We updated it with current information and post it here to help you get started finding the past shipmates you are looking for.

In addition, we have placed lists of names from the cruise books, commissioning booklets and other documents here to help you with the correct spellings of peoples names. A Search Links page with links to the best Websites we know of to search for past military veterans is available.  If you find a better Website, please let us know.

There are many factors involved in locating former shipmates and friends. The two most important are patience, and a real desire to find people. Then you need information. Knowing a person's vital stats (full name, home town/state, service number, etc.) makes a world of difference in the success of your search efforts. That information is out there somewhere. Maybe in that box down in the cellar or up in the attic you haven't opened since you last moved (or before).

The info we need could be in an old letter or ships documents, both official and other. I know there was a ships newspaper '73-'74ish for a while. It included a "do you know?" section that had an encapsulated bio of many aboard. Was there another ships newspaper or newsletter at any other time? The re-commissioning booklet from 1971 helped me locate at least 25-30 people from that crew. It included names (including middle initial) and hometowns of all aboard. 

The list of original crewmembers, from the commissioning program is available here on the Website in the 1959 Commissioning Booklet. Anyone want to tackle that?

Let's not forget communication. Sometimes all it takes is for you to call up that buddy you've stayed in contact with over the years and say "Hey, wasn't so and so from such and such a town or state?" And you're off and running!

I use the 1971 booklet as an example because I had so much luck with it, but any source of info can give you results. Most (if not all) Internet access companies offer a "people" search option. You type in the name and it gives you a list of people with that name. This is often done with two options:1. Mailing addresses and/or phone numbers, or 2. Email addresses. I had better luck with the mailing addresses. It's more time consuming and more expensive also, but can be fun even when the person you "find" isn't the one you're looking for. I did a search for a fellow ST from '74 named Bruce Van Buskirk. How hard could it be with that name? Never found Bruce but heard from three of the 13 I mailed letters to, including the wife of one who was in the Navy. He had been on PT boats during WWII. Just a bit before my time. Nice lady though.

Using this method sometimes brings up one name, and it's the right one. Some are much tougher. I tried very hard to locate a LT from the '70s named Steve Smith. I know his middle name and the state he settled in, but after two-dozen letters I still came up empty-handed. I realize that not all of us, in fact few of us, have Internet access. I 'll admit that I became a "'90s" kind of person just in time. I encourage those of you without that option to write a letter to those who do.

Getting names and addresses of potential alumni is the easy part. In fact, it would be a great thing if a couple of guys with some spare time on their hands would volunteer to help out with that. You could do a quick search for a particular person for individuals who make a request to you by mail. They could include a self-addressed stamped envelope for your reply. Perhaps we could have one volunteer search person on the East Coast and one on the West. Or split up the fun by year or cruise. The rewards are well worth the effort.

Another option that just came up is "The Seeker". Linda S. Hammer has a syndicated radio show on Sat. from 1-2 EST. You can call her up at 1-888-822-8255 and tell her listeners who you are looking for or announce reunions. She has a web site at http://www.the-seeker.com also. Thanks to the efforts of Don Siems (FTG '71-'74) Linda has put a link to our web sites from hers.

Those Web "surfers" amongst you should post messages for people you are looking for on some of the other Ship's and Vets Websites. Quite a few people have found us while out cruising the Net. Please take an extra minute when you post messages to mention our Website: www.DD950.com. Here are a few Websites with bulletin boards to get you started:

http://www.insidetheweb.com
http://www.stripes.com
http://www.veteransearch.com
http://vets.com

Don't forget, of course, your own Website's Forum/Bulletin board at www.DD950.com. Those of you with e-mail, but not Internet access can send requests to post something there to the Webteam at WebTeam@DD950.org. They will be more than happy to post a message or request for you. Many past DD-950 shipmates have found each other by posting a note on our Forum.

"TUT" Tuttle, STG DD-950 1972-1976

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This page updated on:   Thursday, September 14, 2000