Service to the Armed Forces

  • Military service woman with her family
The American Red Cross provides worldwide 24-hour communications services that keep military personnel and their families in touch during an emergency or other important event. Using the latest technology, the Red Cross delivers urgent messages, and we also provide help in coordinating hardship leave, accessing financial assistance, information referral, and counseling.

Your Red Cross Continues a 125-Year Tradition Serving Those Who Serve

For more than a century, the American Red Cross has provided services to members of the United States military and their families—a tradition started by the organization's founder Clara Barton during the Civil War.

Barton recognized the need to provide care and assistance to soldiers amid the confusion of war, bringing them food, clothing and other supplies. Reading to soldiers and writing to their families to inform them of their loved one’s status, Barton was nicknamed “Angel of the Battlefield.” Several years later, in 1881, she founded the American Red Cross, which honors and serves our armed forces and their loved ones in times of war and peace.

Today, at Red Cross Chapters and military installations across the country and throughout the world, Red Cross volunteers remain dedicated to providing core programs and services to our military community and to meet the needs of military family members back home.

Contact your local Red Cross Chapter to learn more about these services!

To send an emergency Red Cross message: call the American Red Cross 24-Hour Service Center (toll-free) (877) 272-7337.

When calling the Red Cross, please provide as much of the following information about the service member as is known:

  • Full name
  • Rank/rating
  • Branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
  • Social Security Account number or date of birth
  • Military address
  • Information about the deployed unit and home base unit (for deployed service members only)
  • Related links:

    Coping with Deployment

    YouTube Video about SAF

    SAF Mid-Year Impact Report 2011