From time to time you are going to come across a military address while conducting a database search. Knowing what to do with the address, to whom it belongs, and what additional information can be gleaned from it can yield very important information! I learned a lot while I was in the Navy and the following information has helped me more than a few times as an investigator, both in and out of the service:
To identify or more fully describe military addresses (as a civilian) I have always had great success with 4 sources:
1. Go to the Military Postal Service Agency’s website at http://hqdainet.army.mil/mpsa/.
2. Ask the guys at the base post office. Get the Base Information/Directory Assistance number and ask for the Post Office number or to be connected directly. The people in the mail facility have always been a huge help! If you are unsure of what you are looking at (is it an address or a unit designation?) they can probably help you with that too. They actually go to school to learn how to define and recognize this stuff.
Unfortunately, OPSEC (Operational Security) doesn’t seem to resonate with the guys sorting the mail; a well-prepared call doesn’t have to be overly elaborate.
Want to know where a specific APO or FPO AP is located or to which unit it is assigned? If a Google search doesn’t help call a mailroom of the same service to which the address belongs (i.e. call the mail room at an Army Post if you suspect it is an Army address); they have books and databases that can help you with that.
3. Call Base Housing directly. A well-placed call will yield information.
I always ask if the particular building or room is reserved for a specific unit or for specific ranks. It is common for military housing to group same or similar ranking service members together and in the same unit when possible. As you move up in rank, your living quarters improve and you have nicer amenities (in theory any way). Getting an idea of the subject’s rank may assist you in your investigation (i.e. a subject’s general salary range).
If you can narrow the room down to his or her assigned unit you can surmise more about what he or she does, have direct contact with the member through the unit telephone number or access to the unit’s Commanding Officer. You will be amazed by what a call to a CO will do to get a debt paid or other matters resolved. I had a bail fugitive shipped back to me within 8 hours (from the West Coast) on a missed court date a few years ago.
4. Call the closest pizza delivery restaurant and ask them if they can help you or if they have heard of the address. You’d be surprised what they will tell you if you’ve never tried them as a skip trace resource tool! I’ve had them not only tell me when they last delivered to a specific military address but the name and the telephone number associated with the order. In that instance it happened to be a subject’s cell phone number, which I did not have.
The abbreviations may help you determine the type of address and it’s occupants as well. For example:
CBQ is a US Navy standard for “Combined Bachelor’s Quarters” which may house enlisted members of all ranks (rarely includes E-7 through E-9).
BEQ is “Bachelor’s Enlisted Quarters” Pretty much the same as CBQ but is a term used more often (sometimes reserved for NCOs E-4 through E-6).
CPOQ is “Chief Petty Officer’s Quarters” (E-7 through E-9)
BOQ is “Bachelor’s Officer’s Quarters” Junior Officers O-1 through O-4 (rarely O-5) and sometimes Chief Petty Officers.
Recently I saw “CBQ C 823, China Lake, CA” listed as an address of someone for whom a private investigator was looking; more than likely this is an address and not a unit identifier as he had originally believed. Since many times these addresses will follow typical hotel/ apartment addressing conventions, it could be correctly identified as Combined Bachelor’s Quarters, Building C Room 823. (Coincidentally, the BEQ at China Lake has 3 Buildings- A, B and C.)
The USPS can help too but only as far as to the location where they drop the mail off for ranges of APO or FPO AP numbers and cannot identify the specific unit. For example, they know to route and drop mail off at Naval Station San Diego’s postal facility because it has something like a 96XXX series number. NAVSTA “San Dog” then routes the mail directly to the specific unit and mailbox.
This article is a small excerpt from The Art of Skip Tracing and Missing Persons Investigations, an online skip tracing course for private investigators.