PopularHow To Get Discharge Papers From The Army

How To Get Discharge Papers From The Army


What You Need To Know To Get A Copy Of Dd214

Can I Upgrade My Military Discharge (Bad Paper? PTSD? TBI? MST?)

So you say you cant find your separation document and you need to get a copy of DD214? Or you need to find it for your relative?

You can obtain separation documents through The National Archives.

Receiving a copy of your DD214 doesn’t have to be a headache. Read on for more information and details. We’ve helped tens of thousands of veterans get their copy!

The Case Of Mr Larry Smith And Elvis

In order to illustrate just how difficult it can be to obtain military records, were going to tell you the story of a man who sought to obtain the military records of one Elvis Aaron Presley.

Whether Larry Smith was writing a book, was a memorabilia collector or just a curious guy, we dont really know, but we do know that, under the Freedom of Information Act, it was his right as an American citizen to request and receive those records.

On June 16,1992, Mr. Smith requested the results of Elviss various aptitude tests, physical fitness test and other records from the U.S. Army Personnel Command. Little did he know what a long, arduous journey he was about to embark upon.

Two weeks later, his request was forwarded to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, which is the central repository of personnel-related records for the military and one of the National Archives largest operations. A letter confirming this was summarily sent to Mr. Smith. Now believing the NPRC to be the appropriate office, Mr. Smith resubmitted his request to them. Not just once but, between July 27th and August 8th, four times.

Oh, and he also let them know that if he didnt receive the records in a timely manner, that he would view such inaction as an official denial of my FOIA Request, without just cause . . . with its attendant legal reflections on the U.S. Army.

How To Get A Copy Of Your Military Discharge Papers

The National Archives and Records Administration Military Personnel Records Center is the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.

Requests using DD 214 can come from veterans or their next of kin. The SF-180 is used for requests for records about a veteran by the general public.

Start your request here using their online tools or you can make the request by fax or postal mail using the contact info provided at the link above. Such requests are generally free .

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Required Information To Request Replacement Dd Form :

  • Veterans complete name used while in service.
  • Service number or Social security number.
  • Branch of service.
  • Dates of service.
  • Date and place of birth .
  • Recommended information : Purpose for request , deadline, additional forms or information required.

If you believe your records may have been destroyed in the 1973 fire, then you should have the following information available:

  • Place of discharge.
  • Last unit of assignment.
  • Place of entry into the service, if known.

The Privacy Act of 1974 requires all military records requests be submitted in writing. The veteran or next-of-kin must sign and date each DD Form 214 request.

How To Get A Copy Of Your Dd Form 214


Veterans should treat their DD Form 214 like any other important document birth and marriage certificates, wills, vehicle titles, land deeds, insurance policies, etc.

Note: there are other official military and DoD forms that show proof of military service or serve as discharge papers, including the DD Form 256, which is common for members of the Guard or Reserves.

Those forms are important, but may not be accepted in place of a DD Form 214.

In most cases, the DD Form 214 is the required form for veterans benefits.

This guide covers how to get a copy of your DD-214 from either your branch of service, or from the National Archives.

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Filing Military Discharge Papers

It is the responsibility of the service person to file copies of the original military discharge documents with the County Clerk’s Office in the county they reside.

If you need to obtain your military discharge documents, DD-214, for filing with the County Clerks office, write to: National Personnel Records Center, Military Records Branch, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63132 or visit the National Archives Veterans Service Records website.

File copies of the original documents at the Macomb County Clerk’s Offices.

Make an appointment to visit the Macomb County Clerk’s Office Vital Records Department at 120 N Main in Mount Clemens.

Help Your Gp Access Your Military Medical Records

When you first visit a GP at your NHS GP surgery, it is important to give them the medical summary form you received when you were discharged from the armed forces. This form includes the details needed for them to request your complete military GP medical records from DMS.

Once you have given them your form, you can check with a GP at a later date to make sure your full medical records have been requested.

It usually takes several months for your GP surgery to receive your military GP records.

You can also give them a paper copy of your summary medical records if you got one during your discharge period. They might need this if they do not have access to your full military medical records yet.

Once a GP has your medical records, they will be aware of your medical history and can give you the treatment you need.

You can also give them your NHS welcome letter. This provides information to them about how to help you.

If you or a GP has lost the form containing the information on how they can access your full medical records, a GP can email to arrange its transferral instead. They need your permission to do this.

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Some Records May Not Be Available

There was a major fire at the National Archives in 1973 that permanently destroyed military records for thousands of veterans. Many other records were severely damaged. Unfortunately, many Cold War veterans records were permanently destroyed in the Fire of 1973 and the records may not be available.

You will need to contact the National Archives for more information.

What If Im Not The Veteran Or Next

How to get a copy of a DD 214
  • It depends on the date the service member separated from the military. Military personnel records are open to the public 62 years after they leave the military. Records of any veteran who separated from the military 62 years ago can be ordered by anyone for a copying fee . See Access to Military Records by the General Public for more details.

But what if it’s been less than 62 years?

  • Records of individuals who left service less than 62 years ago are subject to access restrictions and only limited information or copies may be released to the general public within the provisions of the law. The Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act provide balance between the right of the public to obtain information from military service records and the right of the former military service member to protect his/her privacy. See Federal Records Center Program to access these records.

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Talk To A Medical Officer About Continuing Treatment

If you receive specialist healthcare treatment or are medically discharged, it is important to ask a medical officer about how you can continue your treatment after your discharge date.

There are services who can provide support and treatment to you during your discharge period and after your discharge date. These include:

Ask a medical officer about getting a referral to these services if you need them.

Finding Your British Army Ancestor

  • Remember, some soldiers used an initial or a diminutive instead of a first name, so you should be aware of possible alternatives to your ancestors first name.

  • Begin your search with only the soldiers name. Not all records included service number, regiment, or birth place.

  • When searching by regiment, it is important that you keep in mind that the names of regiments have changed throughout history. Originally, regiments took on the name of their colonel, and then in 1694, a number system was introduced . In 1751, regiments were given additional titles such as Kings Own. In 1782, regiments were attached to geographical areas, and by 1881, regiments no longer used their numerical titles but instead were known by their territorial titles. However, some regiments still used their numerical titles unofficially.

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National Archives Customer Support Via Telephone

The National Archives no longer processes DD Form 214 requests via phone. The National Archives does maintain a customer service support line for other military records inquiries.

Here are the National Records Personnel Center telephone information lines:

  • Toll-Free Number: 1-866-272-6272

Be sure to have the following information available when you make your request:

  • Your full name
  • Return address
  • Reason for request

You can find more information about replacing your DD Form 214, including which forms you will need to send to the National Personnel Records Center, at the National Archives website.

Remember, it can take a long time to get your document replaced, so take care of it. It is the most important military document you have!

Dd214 Direct: The Simplest Fastest Way To Get Your Military Documents

Blast from the past: Rauterkus history

DD214 Direct: The Simplest, Fastest Way to Get Your Military Documents

Anyone whos served in the U.S. armed forces is familiar with the DD-214 certificate, which is a document thats issued upon a service members retirement, discharge or separation from any branch of the U.S. military including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard.

Unfortunately, what too many veterans dont realize is the importance of their DD-214s until later in life, when they find out theyll need it for:

  • VA Mortgages
  • Organizational Memberships
  • Non-military Government Retirement Benefits

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How To Find Out If Someone Received A British Army Pension

It is not always possible to find this out other than by looking for a pension record but a useful alternative source is the census. Many individuals are listed on census records as Army pensioner.

Censuses from 1841 to 1911 are available to search and view online. For more details on how to access and search for censuses, see our guide to census records.

Apply For Your Own Records

You can apply for your own records by completing a Subject Access Request form if you are, or have been, a member of the armed forces, for example:

  • the Royal Navy
  • the British Army
  • the Royal Air Force

Send it to the address on the form, along with any supporting documents. Theres no fee.

Also use this form if youre acting on behalf of the person, for example if you have lasting power of attorney.

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How To Get A Copy Of An Honorable Discharge


It is quite easy to obtain a copy of your own honorable discharge from the military. The key is to know whom to ask and what information you’ll need to include in your request. Only the veteran or the next of kin can request military service records. Your discharge, or DD214, will include such information as your date and place of enlistment in the military, your address at time of enlistment, date and location of discharge, home address after discharge and all other information regarding your time in military service.

Explore this article

Visit the veteran’s section at the website of the National Archives.

How To Search For And View Pension Records

Army Discharge Review Board held accountable for denying discharge upgrades

Many of the most significant series of British Army pension records are now available to view online . Some records of this type, however, are not available online. Though some can be found searching with a soldiers name, in general it will help to know when an ex-soldier was drawing his pension, or, even more usefully, to have at least a rough idea of when a soldier was first granted his pension.

Search for the following records by clicking on the series reference below and searching by soldiers name:

  • Personal case files on pensions awarded for disability arising from service in the Army or Navy before the First World War, including case files for widows of such servicemen, in PIN 71

Search for the following records by clicking on the series references below and using the date boxes to search either by date of admission to pension or by the dates during which an ex-soldier was in receipt of a pension:

  • Pension admission books from Royal Hospital Kilmainham 1704-1922 in WO 118
  • Soldiers awarded out-pensions following their discharge from the regular army or the militia on grounds of disability in WO 116 some of these records are available to view online
  • Registers of admissions to pensions from Royal Hospital Chelsea arranged by regiment in WO 120. There is a name index for 1806-1836 only, and the volumes for 1839-1843 each have an index included.

Search for the following records by clicking on the references to ranges of piece numbers below and browsing through the range:

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What Can These Records Tell Me

Each record comprises a transcript, and most include several black and white images of the records of your ancestors who served as officers and other ranks in the British Army.

The amount of detail in each transcript can vary depending on when the record was created and the purpose of the record, such as whether it was created for pension purposes or new recruits. Some of the First World War service papers in series WO 363 were damaged during the Second World War therefore, the information gathered from these forms can be limited. In the transcripts, you may find a combination of the following items:

  • First name

  • Service number

  • Rank

  • Age at attestation in years and months

  • Attestation date

  • Death date if the individual died during service

  • Document type attestation or discharge

  • Series this gives you further clues to the context of the records for example, the series WO 97 is titled Chelsea pensioners British Army service records 1760-1913, which explains that these are pension records from 1760-1913.

  • Archive and reference


The accompanying images may include additional information about your ancestor. Use the previous and next arrows on the images to view more pages. Further details may include

  • Physical description

  • Occupation

  • Name and address of next of kin

  • Names of relatives

Register With An Nhs Gp Surgery

It is recommended that you register with a GP 1 to 3 months before you are discharged, or as soon as possible after this if you have not already.

Some GP surgeries are veteran friendly. This means they have a better understanding of veteran-specific issues and health services.

You can contact any GP surgery before registering to find out if it is veteran friendly.

Registering as soon as you can means your GP surgery may be able to request your complete military medical record from Defence Medical Services before the end of your discharge period.

Your GP surgery will automatically receive any previous NHS medical records you may have when you register.

Once your GP surgery has your full military medical records, a GP can give you better healthcare advice, as well as quickly refer you to any specialist care you might need.

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Consider Registering It With Your County Or Town Hall

Your DD Form 214 can be registered with many town halls or county registrars, just like a land deed or vehicle title. You can consider doing this to maintain a record of your service because it will make document retrieval quick and easy.

Make sure state or local laws do not permit public access to your DD Form 214 before registering your DD Form 214 with any office.

Because it has your SSN, you may be exposing your private information to the world, making you an easy target for identity theft.

You may also consider getting your DD Form 214 registered or notarized with your town registrar to keep it on file for certain veterans benefits, such as property tax assessments.

Some counties offer veterans with disability ratings discounted property taxes. However, they usually require a copy of both your DD From 214 and your award letter from the VA stating your service-connected disability rating.

This is well worth the hassle if it saves you a significant amount of money on your property taxes.

Soldiers Who Died In Service

discharge papers Origonal

If a soldier died in service the principal personnel records that were retained for soldiers are less likely to exist. There are, however, some records that were created as a result of a soldier dying in service:

  • amount of effects and credits
  • date of order to agent
  • agents name
  • person applying and his or her address
  • Soldiers effects ledgers 1862-1881 in WO 25/3475-3501 . The National Army Museum holds a set for April 1901-March 1960 . The ledgers were created as a list of the monies owed to soldiers who died in service. They do not list any personal items that may have been returned to the next of kin. The information they typically contain is:
  • full name
  • date of death and sometimes the place
  • next of kin
  • monies paid to the next of kin
  • records from 1901-1914 also detail the date of enlistment and trade
  • Less informative but still helpful, as they give the regiment, are an index of effects from 1830 in WO 25/2974 and a register of effects and credits 1830-1844 inWO 25/2975
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