AKA On The
Checking Naval Records
for Name Changes
By Bob Mhoon in Arlington, Texas, USA
The U.S. Navy
has a little-known regulation allowing recruits the
option to use any name they choose upon entry.
It's called a "Change of Name Statement" and says "In those cases where an applicant does not use the name listed on his/her birth certificate or Evidence of Citizenship form, the following additional information must be submitted (NOT REQUIRED FOR NICKNAMES):
Record of court procedure legally changing name, or
2. Change of Name Statement (NAVPERS 1100/17)"
While recruiting in the early 1970s I had several recruits who elected a name change. One chose a new middle name and the original middle name became his first name. Once you think about the many thousands of similar cases you can imagine the confusion and extreme challenges facing those unaware of this.
Years after leaving the service, getting married and having children, the veteran and immediate family may have totally forgotten this. In most cases, simply talking about this with the veteran or family members can eliminate future difficulties. Having a valid SSN (Social Security Number) is very helpful in gaining access to a service record that may contain a name-change document.
Unfortunately, I was unable to determine how long this Navy policy has existed. My sense is many years. Other military services may have similar options. In any case, the process is the same regardless of service branch.