Battle buddies. Chances are, in this zany military life, you've managed to make a few more than a few friendships. You know the type – rock solid, no matter what else life throws your way. And there you are, happy to have finally found someone you can connect with, and then the inevitable happens – you get orders, and it's time to start your life all over again in someplace new.
These days, social helps us stay connected, but it's not the same as being able to drive across town to meet up with your pals. That's not to mention that it can be tough to stay connected when physical distance is so vast. So how can you connect with your mil-pals?
Here are four easy ways to find your battle buddies from all phases of your military life.
Tap existing organizations + check directories
You already know that most veteran orgs aren't going to give you the names of their members. So there's no way to find your buddies there. But that doesn't mean they're not a viable resource! In fact, if you've lost touch with someone important, you should definitely be checking existing organizations. Chances are they might have lists of reunions and lists of people who have served at various installations.
First on your list should be the Directory of Veterans Service Organizations. There, you should be able to find reunion listings or locator services. Don't forget about the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. You'll find lists of reunions and more in both.
Scour the interwebs for your friends
This one is obvious. Check social media for anyone and everyone. In this 21st century, chances are you'll find who you're looking for – especially if they've served recently. If you don't find your profiles of your buddies, try searching installation pages where they've served. You never know what you'll discover!
Check branch publications
There are plenty of branch publications that can help you connect with your long-lost battle buddies. Airmen, check out the Air Force Retiree Services. In addition to access to the Afterburner magazine for Air Force retirees, you'll find info about unit reunions.
Marines, Leatherneck magazine is the perfect place to find information on unit reunions. The publication also showcases helpful tips and tricks for veterans and retirees.
Sailors should take advantage of the Shift Colors magazine to find long-lost battle buddies. Be sure you also explore Navy Retired Activities. There you'll find tons of helpful info.
SoldierForLife program offers a lot of helpful information for both retired and veteran soldiers, including access to the magazine "Echoes."
The USCG's Long Blue Line lists reunions and more information for retirees.
Connect the dots
If you find just find one of the guys or gals from your old units, chances are good they'll lead you to more. Put the word out on social media or do it the old fashioned way and check the online white pages to see if you can find anyone from your unit and send a letter via snail mail to reconnect. These friendships are worth keeping, let us know your best battle buddy reunion story!
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