Service numbers reveal the general locale an individual entered service. Knowing this, Paul Repsher of the 919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance Co. contacted the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis and asked how to review morning reports and rosters for his old unit.
The NPRC is a warehouse for such data but permission from the Army Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts Office in Arlington, Virginia, was required. Repsher received approval in two weeks; spent two days researching in St. Louis and collected a list of 700 names and service numbers to help narrow the search for his buddies.
Repsher began phoning likely matches – at some expense. Finally his wife suggested a computer and phone lists. Those with unusual first or last names were relatively easy to locate through Parsons Directory USA, Select Phone by Pro CD, Inc. and PhoneDisc USA by Digital Directory Service.
Repsher mailed a post card invitation to a reunion to each person from the phone lists. Approximately 20% were the wrong person, the post office returned another 10% for insufficient address (apartment and route box numbers aren’t on phone lists).
The real reward comes when friends meet again after a 40-45 year separation.