World War I Service Cards FAQS

What are the World War I service cards?

The cards are an abridged version of the military record of the named individual. The information was taken from the service records which may contain more information than is on the cards.

The cards were created by the staff of the War and Navy Departments in 1924-25.

What information do the cards provide?

For each person, the cards provide name; age; serial number; race; place of birth; and residence at time of entering service. Some cards also provide the organizations/ships served (with dates of beginning and transfer); engagements; wounds/injuries sustained in action; time served overseas; discharge notations; and general remarks. The Navy cards note the sailor's rate as well as rank.

Why do some cards have only one page and some have two?

All the Army cards have the same pre-printed information on the back. Only when there were additional remarks were the card backs scanned. The Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps cards are blank on the back.

How is race designated on the card?

Race is indicated in the upper right of every card.

"White" typed in the upper right-hand corner indicates the race as "white".

If the word "white" is crossed out, it indicates the race as "colored". For the purposes of the service records, Native Americans were listed as "white".

Both the Navy and the Marine Corps were strictly segregated and did not accept black enlistees or officers. The Army took thirteen thousand twenty-four black enlisted and seven officers nationally.

Do the service cards include women?

Yes. Women served as nurses and Yeoman class (secretary). To find these cards, search these terms:

  • Army: Nurse
  • Army: Nurse RA
  • Navy: Nurse
  • Navy: Landsman for Yeoman
  • Navy: Landsman for Yeoman -Female
  • Navy: Yeoman 1st Class- F
  • Navy: Yeoman 1st Class
  • Navy: Yeoman 2nd Class
  • Navy: Yeoman 2nd Class- F
  • Navy: Yeoman 3rd Class
  • Navy: Yeoman 3rd Class- F

What is the difference between the "National Army" and the "Army"?

Members of the National Army were drafted or enlisted for the duration of the war. Members of the Regular Army were enlisted for time limited contracts (two, three, or four years) or were career soldiers.

What should I do if I have a question that is not listed here?

Contact us and we'll do our best to assist you.