About Military Service Records And Official Military Personnel Files
If you’ve been discharged from military service, your personnel files are stored here at the National Archives and Records Administration . We are 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.
If you are a recently separated veteran, records can be found online via the VA eBenefits portal. However, most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 and other records several ways:
Military personnel records are primarily administrative records and can contain information such as:
- and other personnel actions.
Detailed information about the veteran’s participation in military battles and engagements is NOT contained in the record.
Most Official Military Personnel Files contain both personnel and active duty health records, but this practice was discontinued by the service branches beginning in 1992. See Military Medical and Health Records for more details.
In an effort to expand access to and ensure the preservation of the records, the National Archives and Records Administration together with the Department of Defense developed a schedule, signed July 8, 2004, making the Official Military Personnel Files permanent records of the United States. This schedule mandates the legal transfer of these files from DOD ownership to NARA ownership 62 years after the service member’s separation from the military.
How To Submit Requests:
Federal law requires that all written requests for Federal records and information be signed and dated .
You may submit more than one request per envelope or fax, but please submit a separate request for each individual whose records are being requested.
Please Note: While Section II, Paragraph 1 of the Standard Form 180 outlines multiple types of records that may be available to the requester, the DD Form 214 is the most common document necessary to obtain most veteran’s benefits. The typical DD Form 214 request can be processed within ten work days while requests for other types of records will require longer processing time. If a complete copy of the military service record is desired, please check the “Other” box and specify “Complete Copy” in the provided space.
- Fax a letter or Standard Form 180 to: 314-801-9195
The Center will respond in writing by U.S. Mail.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FEDERAL AND ARCHIVAL RECORDS?Learn more
To Request Your Military Records Online
Military personnel records are important for proving military service. Most veterans can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 and other military and medical records by requesting them online at the website of the U.S. National Archives.
Go to www.archives.gov and click on Veterans Service Records and follow the instructions.
You can also go directly to the Military Service Records page of the national archives.
Contact us online or call for assistance applying for veterans disability compensation benefits or appealing an unfavorable decision.
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How To Find Military Service Records
There are two ways to obtain these records:
Need help? Phone LAC at or send an email to .
Let’s get started!
Online Requests Using Evetrecs
Our online eVetRecs system creates a customized order form to request information from your, or your relative’s, military personnel records.
You may use this system if you are:
- A military veteran, or
- Next of kin of a , former member of the military. The next of kin can be any of the following:
- Surviving spouse that has not remarried
Who Can Request Official Military Personnel Files
Access depends on the discharge date:
- OMPF Archival record – discharge date of 1958 or prior*These records are archival and are open to the public.
- Any archival OMPF can be ordered online for a copying fee.
* Please note: 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 . Learn more
Visit eVetRecs Help and FAQ to learn more about how to use eVetRecs.
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Access To Military Records By The General Public
Limited information from Official Military Personnel Files is releasable to the general public without the consent of the veteran or the next-of-kin. You are considered a member of the general public if you are asking about a veteran who is no relation to you, or a veteran who is a relative but you are not the next-of-kin. Next-of-kin is defined as the unremarried widow or widower, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran.
Where To Send My Request
You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives’ National Personnel Record Center . Be sure to use the address specified ” rel=”nofollow”> eVetRecs). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC.
NPRC Fax Number :
See Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records for more details, or see more information on access to the general public.
Special Note on Contacting by Email: Requests for military personnel records or information from them cannot be accepted by email at this time. The Privacy Act of 1974 and Department of Defense directives require a written request, signed and dated, to access information from military personnel records. Our email address should only be used only to request general information or to submit compliments, complaints, or concerns.
NOTE: If you send messages using WebTV or a free-email service, you will not receive our response if your mailbox is full. Messages sent to full mailboxes are returned to us as “undeliverable.” You may wish to include your mailing address in your message so that we may respond via the U.S. Postal Service.
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How Do I Get My Military Medical Records From The Va
You can request a copy of the Veterans military records in any of these ways:
Request Your Military Service Records Online By Mail Or By Fax
Military personnel records can include DD 214s/Separation Documents, service personnel records found within the Official Military Personnel File , and medical records. Military personnel records can be used for proving military service or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.
Please note that NPRC holds historical Military Personnel Records of nearly 100 million veterans. The vast majority of these records are paper-based and not available on-line.Learn More
Review the Instructions Before you Begin!
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Campaign Medal Rolls 19141920
Search the campaign medal rolls on Ancestry by name, regimental number and regiment. You may find abbreviations on a roll entry some of these abbreviations are explained in our guide to army medal index cards.
The British War and Victory medal entries may give you a battalion/unit number which will help you to find a unit war diary.
How To Request Service Information
The National Archives online program eVetRecs is the fastest method for requesting service information. Provide as much information as possible in the comments field. Should you prefer to submit your request using a SF180 then provide as much information as possible and send the form to:
|National Personnel Records Center|
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View And Download Personal Health Information With The Health Record Button
You can view and download personal health information from your DoD electronic health record if:
- You get care at military hospitals and clinics
- You’re a registered user on the TOL Patient Portal or the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal
To see your personal health information on the TOL Patient Portal:
Login to the TOL Patient PortalClick the Health Record button View, save your personal health data
Personal health information may include your lab results, allergy profile, medication profile, problem lists and office visit information. > > Learn More
Premium Access is required to view the health record. > > Learn More
Nurses And The Voluntary Aid Detachment
The Army nursing service was provided by Queen Alexandras Imperial Nursing Service. Second World War records for members of the VAD are held by the MOD in Glasgow. A few hospital War Diaries are available at TNA. A specific medal awarded to military nurses is the Royal Red Cross. There are Registers for awards covering the Second World War in WO 145/2 and WO 145/3. A transcription of the registers is available on Findmypast. Medal citations are in WO 373.
The VAD was part of the Red Cross, running hospitals and convalescent homes as well as helping staff military hospitals, acting as support staff to nurses, administrators, ambulance drivers and cooks. VAD service records are held by the Red Cross in the form of record cards, information on which may include dates of service, the nature of duties performed, the detachment belonged to, the institutions and places where they served and any honours awarded.
Not all records survive, but you can contact the Red Cross heritage team at . Provide as much information about the individual as possible. In particular its useful to include: any known addresses, middle names, maiden or married names, date of marriage, any known service details and date of birth. There is no charge for enquiries, but they do ask you to contribute £5 or more to the British Red Cross to help cover costs.
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How To Search Military Records
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Sophia Latorre. Sophia Latorre is a Content Manager on the wikiHow team. Before joining wikiHow, Sophia worked as a technical editor and was published in six International Energy Agency Wind Annual Reports. Now, she writes, edits, and reviews articles for the wikiHow Content Team, working to make the content as helpful as possible for readers worldwide. Sophia holds a BA in English from Colorado State University.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 30,100 times.Learn more…
If you want to find military records, there are several ways in which you can do so. Keep in mind that limited military records are available to the public, so specific veteran records will only be released to the veteran or their next of kin.
Dd Form 214 Discharge Papers And Separation Documents
A Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. The Report of Separation contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans’ organizations. Information shown on the Report of Separation may include the service member’s:
- Date and place of entry into active duty
- Home address at time of entry
- Date and place of release from active duty
- Home address after separation
Website Of The Charity Organization
Use the VA Blue Button tool to view, print, and download information from your My HealtheVet account. Enroll in the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record Health Program to securely share parts of your health records among VA, DoD, and selected private health care providers.
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Military Awards And Decorations
The NPRC also provides information and guidance on how to request military awards and decorations online and by mail for veterans and their NOK replacing certain military medals and obtaining a Cold War Recognition Certificate.4 This is available for the records of a servicemember who separated before or during 1956. For records for individuals who separated after 1956, these records can be requested through FOIA. The general public may also purchase a copy of the veteran’s OMPF to determine the awards due and obtain the medals from a commercial source. Individuals can request information on military service medals, decorations and awards online: .
National Personnel Records Center
Coast Guard Personnel Service Center4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900 Stop 7200Arlington, VA 20598-7200
How Can I Access My Va Records
In many cases, VA can obtain medical records directly from the VAMC where the veteran receives treatment. If a veteran wants to obtain these records themselves, they can request them directly from the VAMC by submitting VA Form 10-5345a, Individuals Request for a Copy of Their Own Health Information.
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Types Of Military Records
World War I – Present
You can find veterans military service records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center . The NPRC houses many types of records, including Official Military Personnel Files . These files can include the Report of Separation and show a veterans service history, which may include:
Enlistment or appointment and separation dates
Duty stations and assignments
Veterans health and medical records are located in various places, depending on their branch and date of separation. See this chart of locations of veterans medical and health records.
Before World War I
What Happens After I Request My Military Records
Youll receive an email letting you know were processing your request. Youll receive a second email when your request is complete and your files are ready for you to view and download.
You can also check the status of your military records request by signing in to milConnect and going to the Personnel File tab within the Defense Personnel Records Information section. This is also where youll view and download your files once theyre ready.
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What Information Is Needed To Request Records
Your request must contain certain basic information to locate your service records. This information includes:
- The veteran’s complete name used while in service
- Service number
- Date and place of birth .
- If you suspect the records may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:
- Place of discharge
- Place of entry into the service, if known.
To Obtain A Copy Of A Discharge:
A copy of a Military Discharge may be made only for the Veteran, surviving spouse, and certain third parties defined by State law. Discharges are not available for genealogy or other research purposes. Military Discharges recorded with Missouri and Illinois Recorders of Deeds are closed records.
Mail or bring your Application for Military Discharge Copies form and copy of Drivers License or State Identification Card to:
Military Discharge RecordsSt. Louis City Recorder and RegistrarCity Hall, Room 124, 1200 Market StreetSt. Louis, Missouri 63103
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday
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Military Records For Veterans Compensation
To support disability claims of exposure to hazardous materials , numerous veterans are culling through Army morning reports, unit rosters, pay cards, Navy muster rolls, Captain logs/Navy Deck logs, etc. during their military service. For more information on military exposures, see the VA’s Military Exposure site: . ForBlue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans see.
At this time, VA continues to study the long-term health issues of deployed veterans and their exposure to burn pits used at military waste sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, there is no compensation available for exposure to burn pits. For more information, see the VA’s Public Health site on Burn Pits at and related CRS products on VA health care and disability in the sources below.
Second World War Army Records: War Diaries
All Second World War Army units kept a war diary, recording their daily activities, invaluable for finding records of movements, training and fighting a relative took part in. Diaries are at TNA, held by theatre. If a unit served in France in 1939, then in Britain after Dunkirk, later in North Africa and in France after D-Day, youll have to search several theatres to get the whole history. Diaries may include maps, orders, intelligence, lists of men attached from other units or away on detachment and notes on operations.
Unlike First World War war diaries, some of which are online, all those for the Second World War still have to be viewed as original documents at TNA. By diligently following the diaries, its possible to build a good picture of your relatives career.
To help you search for a particular diary theres a list of war theatres in TNAs online research guide entitled British Army operations in the Second World War. Service records and war diaries provide a firm foundation for your research and suggest avenues to investigate your Second World War Army ancestors further.