A few tips for searching for FSB friends.
Before asking FSBVG for help with finding your old buddies, please give these a try. Even if you lose patience with your failure, you'll appreciate success all the more when you finally find your buddy.
If you have any more tips or links to add to this page, please send them to searching at fsbvg.org.
1. First get organized:
Gather all the data together, and put it onto one page.
Full names are most useful.
Last names only make the searching very difficult.
Nicknames don't help much.
Ranks are meaningless.
Get serial numbers and social security numbers if you can.
Last known residences, or addresses of homes of record, including street addresses are important.
2. Using online search engines is helpful. Google can't be beat. 3. I used to have a tip here for searching for specific military units alumni associations from a page of the website of the U.S. Army Online. However, those politically correct scumbags at the top of the chain of command deemed it legally permissible to ditch that page. Here's why: Mickey Mouse!
To complain about the low life political appointee yes-men, write to webmaster at us.army.mil.
Now, however, I come to be reminded by the WIMSA web site that our still good and decent friends in the US Marine Corps [Semper Fi, OOOH AHHH!] have a great page, entitled, "Marine Corps and other military reunions."
4. The inimitable search master Vern Greunke has a page of great search facts and suggestions at his ASA locator site. Be sure to sign up onto his database, if you haven't yet. You can search the huge online ASA database compiled by Vern Greunke. There are over 14,000 names on it. You may want to download the ENTIRE database in a zipped version and load it into something like MSWorks, MS Access, or Excel (database is saved as TEXT with TABS - no HTML code). Clever Vern has password protected everything, but he'll send you the secret password if you register for his database.
Verne has some good tips. Here are a couple:
Check with your local VA office. Do you have your friend's military serial number on the old military orders you so wisely saved? You know, the ones that your wife said showed you were a pack rat. How about their SSN?
If they have ever filed a VA benefit claim or benefit, they SHOULD be on file. VA will FORWARD a letter for you,
but it is up to your veteran to choose to respond to you. If you have a SSN you can try a Social Security Tracer on-line. There are a number of them on-line on the internet. There are good, fast, cheap, online tracing services, for example, the ones listed at the White Pages website.
5. Write to Burt Slesinger at slesingerburt at spacey.net to get added to his database of ASA vets and to subscribe to his newsletter of ASA vets registering with him. His list should better be put in a database, cuz it's hard to use it the way he does it.
6. The biggest up-to-date list of Berlin vets is the membership of the Berlin US Military Vets Association (BUSMVA). They have a list of about 900 vets. Join it for $20 a year, or ask a member to look at the list for you. I'll check it for you if you join FSBVG. Their website is interesting, especially their online bulletin board. You'll see message postings with names and email addresses from many from your era, but perhaps not your branch, who were in Berlin. 7. Yahoo has a wide variety of millions of Groups, with big lists and discussion bulletin boards. You can search them for any you might like by topic or keyword. Most have very few members, but they will grow. There are several MI and ASA clubs, like the DLI Alumni Notes and News Group, two for all ASA Vets, a Comsec group, a Field Station Berlin group, several for specific states such as Maryland. an Andrews barracks group, and the big Berlin Brigade Wall Watchers. You have to register with Yahoo Groups, and that is easy, even easier if you use Yahoo's superior, free, online email. 8. There are many other online communities (though I like Yahoo's method of doing them the best). There are clubs in Military City; MSN has clubs. Military.com does too. Check out the self-proclaimed "America's most comprehensive military search, all services": GI Search. AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve all have their own expensive versions of clubs (but they are for computer beginners, and they really suck). 9. Classmates.com is a fine website for registering free your associations with high schools and your entire military experience. I like the way they do that for finding vets a lot! However, to use their email to send to any other classmates.com member, you have to pay $30 to register! FSBVG has registered to help its members with that.
10. The National ASA Association -- I haven't visited their website lately, but they used to list their members. The site won't work unless you accept its cookies.
11. Check out the websites on the the ASA Webring, which can be found from the FSBVG homepage.
12. FSBVG provides some preliminary searching assistance for members. When all else fails, and you run out of time, patience, or money, write to searchman at fsbvg.org.
Do a search with these engines now!