NewsHow To Obtain Army Service Records

How To Obtain Army Service Records


Filing A Claim For Medical Benefits

How To Request Military Service Records | Know Your Benefit

Veterans who plan to file a claim for medical benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs do not need to request a copy of their military health record from the NPRC. After a claim is filed, the VA will obtain the original health record from the NPRC. In addition, many health records were lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs prior to the 1973 Fire.

Veterans who filed a medical claim should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to determine if their record is already on file. The VA Toll Free # is: 1-800-827-1000 – it will connect the caller to the nearest VA office.

Foia And The Privacy Act

Most documents are kept at the National Personnel Records Center, a collection of over 70 million files in St. Louis, Missouri. NPRC stores service records from the Department of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

As outlined on the NPRC website, the Freedom of Information Act typically grants anyone with the statutory right to view general information from executive branch agency records. These files do not require the veterans or next-of-kins permission.

The FOIAs purpose is to provide transparency to the public while also protecting the service members privacy through the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act limits the type of information accessible to the public and how they are used.

Any documents needed beyond public information are limited to the next-of-kin are permitted by the service member.

Information that may be viewed by the public:

  • Name
  • Transcript of Courts-Martial Trials
  • Place of entrance and separation

Items such as salary, source of commission, and promotion sequence number are rarely on file. Typically, deceased veterans have the place of birth, date, and location of death, and place of burial on public file.

Note: OFMPs, separation documents , replacement records, and medical records are not open to the public and must go through a verification process to obtain these items.

Applying For Ww2 Service Records As The Next Of Kin Or With Their Consent

This section is relevant if you are the next of kin or have received the next of kins permission to apply for a service record. The next of kin will be the first living person in the MODs list below:

  • Spouse/Civil Partner

To apply for a service record you will need:

  • Their name
  • Army or personal number or date of birth
  • A death certificate, unless their date of birth is over 116 years ago or they died in service

Officers had personal numbers and other ranks army numbers. Personal numbers can usually be found quickly on the London Gazette, while its often impossible to find an army number. For most people, especially the next of kin, it is easier to provide a date of birth than an army number. However, an army number was unique and soldiers often lied about their date of birth on enlistment. Ive created a guide to help you find an army number but in most cases, you wont be able to. Once you have the required information, you will need to complete two forms and send them off to the Army Personnel Centre along with a cheque for £30. The address needed and name for the cheque can be found on the forms. The two forms you will need can be found by clicking the link below which will take you to the governments website:

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Request Military Service Records

Recent military service and medical records are not online. However, most veterans and their next of kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 and the following military service records any of the ways listed below.

Looking for records?

How can I check on the status of my request?

Allow about 10 days for us to receive and process your request before checking your request status.

Please indicate whether you know your request number using the buttons below:

You may also telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line : 314-801-0800. Note: Our peak calling times are weekdays between 10:00 a.m. CT and 3:00 p.m. CT. Staff is available to take your call as early as 7:00 a.m. and as late as 5:00 p.m. CT.

How Do I Get Access / Copy Of Exempt Discharge Papers

How to Get a WWII Coast Guard O.M.P.F. (Official Military ...

A veteran, the veteran’s next of kin, a deceased veteran’s properly appointed personal representative or executor, a person holding the veteran’s general power of attorney, or individuals designated, may submit a “REQUEST FOR Access / Copy of Exempt DISCHARGE PAPERS” to the county auditor in order to obtain access / copy of exempt discharge papers.

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Cold War Recognition Certificate

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 ” rel=”nofollow”> P.L. 105-85) in Section 1084 required the Secretary of Defense to prepare a certificate recognizing the Cold War service of qualifying members of the Armed Forces and civilian personnel of DOD and other government agencies contributing to national security. This certificate, known as the “Cold War Recognition Certificate,” may be awarded upon individual request to all members of the Armed Forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who served the United States during the Cold War era from September 2, 1945, to December 26, 1991.5

Selected Federal Government Web Resources

American Battle Monuments Commission at

The website contains databases of veterans interred or memorialized at overseas American military cemeteries and memorials.

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, National Park Service

This website contains a database of the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War, as well as information on regiment histories, significant battles, and some prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records.

Confederate States of America Records at the Library of Congress

The records of the CSA span the years 1854-1889, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1861-1865, during the Civil War. Provides links to Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies External Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies External and War Department Collection of Confederate Records.

Military Resources: Veterans at the National Archives Library Information Center

This site provides links to veterans’information, military casualties, Prisoners of War/Missing in Action, and medals & honors.

Philippine Army and Guerilla Records at the National Archives

Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress at

VHP collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American veterans.

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Where Are British Army Ww2 Service Records Held

All Second World War service records for personnel who served in the British Army are held by the Ministry of Defence , except for those who served in the Scots Guards which can be accessed either through their regimental archive or online via Findmypast if a soldier enlisted up until 1938. The MOD not only holds the service records of Second World War soldiers but of:

  • All officers who served past .
  • All those who served in the ranks past .

These service records can be ordered from the Army Personnel Centre Historical Disclosures Section at Kentigern House, Glasgow and you can learn how below. I have also created guides on my other website Researching WW1 if you are looking for a soldiers service record from the First World War. Click on the links below to find out more:

What Can These Records Tell Me

Veterans Personnel Records at the National Archives, St. Louis

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

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How To Obtain A Military Service Record


The National Archives keeps records of veterans’ military service, such as the DD Form 214, in addition to other documentation such as medical records. In most cases, obtaining these records is free for veterans, next-of-kin and legal representatives. There are two main methods for obtaining military service records: Request the records online through or send in a Standard Form SF 180.

Explore this article

Go to At the bottom of the page, select “request military service records.”

Making A Request For Service Records

You can request information about a persons military service, formal confirmation of service information, and partial or full copies of service records. Please be as specific as possible with the information you would like as this will assist us in processing your request.

All the service records we hold are protected by copyright and copies are supplied on the understanding that they are for personal research purposes or private study only. NZDF copyright permission is required before these records can be used for any other reason.

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Would You Like Another Persons Service Records

We can release service records of former NZDF service members in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 provided that:

  • They have provided you with their written and signed permission , or

  • You hold an Enduring Power of Attorney for them , or

  • They are deceased . Please note that we cannot release medical information until 20 years after their date of death as specified by Rule 11 of the Health Information Privacy Code 2020.

Please note, if you are applying on behalf of a living former NZDF service member, they can sign the application form.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the volume of Personnel Archives and/or Medals requests currently on hand please be aware that processing may take up to 9 months to complete.

There may be disruptions to Personnel Archives and Medals services in the next few months during the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak.

COVID-19 protocols limit staff members ability to physically access military personnel files, which is needed to process medal and information applications.

Unfortunately, this will also affect requests for medals wanted for Anzac Day. We appreciate your understanding during this time.

Request For Alabama National Guard Records


If you served in the Alabama National Guard you can request your NG records by visiting and providing the information requested. You can request the following documents: NGB 22, NGB 23, DD 214, Retirement Letter, Medical Records, Discharge Order, and DD 1883/2556-5 . Normally it takes three weeks to process your request.

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Find The Veteran’s Of Service And Status

Find the veteran’s branch of service and status on the grid shown on the final page. Use the number listed on the right side of the grid to find the appropriate address listed at the bottom of the form. This is where you must send the SF 180. Current response times are as much as three weeks, plus postal processing time on both ends.


About the Author

Based in New York City, Lindsey Parker has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her writing has appeared on eHow and Education 4 Everyone. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in education from Pace University.

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

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Online Veterans And Military Documents

Veterans’ military service records and medical records are not online. However, veterans and next-of-kin can order copies of these records.How to request military service records

While most of our holdings are not online, a variety of military records, from photos to documents to searchable databases are available. Listed below are online collections of specific interest to veterans, their families and researchers. Additional online records may be found by searching the National Archives Catalog and Access to Archival Databases systems.

What Happens After I Request My Military Records

How to Request 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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Official Unit Records And Published Unit Histories

  • Official government records documenting the operations of individual units are also preserved at the National Archives and Records Administration.
  • Unit records for World War I can be found in Archives I Textual Reference Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408 telephone -501-5430.
  • Unit records for World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars are in the custody of the Archives II Textual Reference Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 telephone -713-7250.
  • Contact the National Archives and Records Administration for information on unit records pertaining to the Persian Gulf War.
  • Some published unit histories are available in the general book collections of the Library of Congress or at the military history centers maintained by the various branches of service.

Discover More About These Records

Findmypasts British Army service records is one of the most significant British Army collections available online. There are more than 8 million records available. The collection includes a myriad of Army forms including attestation papers, medical forms, discharge documents, pension claims, and proceedings of regimental boards. The attestation form was completed when the soldier joined the regiment and was updated throughout his military career. This, together with other papers found in soldiers files, can help piece together a very detailed picture of an individual. This search covers all available papers for each soldier. The records found in this collection come from both The National Archives and the Scots Guards.

Some of the medical reports found on attestation forms reveal how tough conditions could be for the men and how they reacted to these conditions. In the records, we discover that Reuben Booth from the 10th Battalion suffered from trench foot and dental caries, but the doctor’s notes state: This man refuses dental treatment. In addition, the doctor’s notes of a medical report about a musician from Roden Hill, Marton, Buckinghamshire, claim that the man walks with a marked limp which in my opinion is greatly exaggerated.

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Request Recent Military Records

If You Are a Veteran or Next-of-Kin

To get a copy of the vets military records, you can:

Most requests are free.

If You Are Not the Veteran or Next-of-Kin

You can only get limited information about non-archival records without the consent of the veteran or next-of-kin. Non-archival records are those from 62 years ago to the present. Learn about access to non-archival military records by the general public and researchers.

Finding Your British Army Ancestor

How to Obtain a Military Service Record
  • 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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Search For Family And Friends

When did the member serve?

Choose one of the following:

Online Database

All First World War records are open on Library and Archives Canada website.

Online Database

Search records of those who died in service between 1939 and 1947, including those killed in action, those who subsequently died of injuries related to service, and those who died as a result of accident or illness while in service.

ATIP Request

Send an ATIP Online Request to LAC.

Library and Archives Canada keeps records for those who were in:

  • the regular forces between 1919 and 1997, including Permanent Force, Second World War and Korea -OR-
  • the reserves between 1919 and 2007 -OR-
  • the Newfoundland Militia who served in the Second World War .

Service records from this time are protected because they contain personal information.

ATIP Request

Send an ATIP Online Request to DND.

DND keeps records for those who were in:

  • the regular Canadian Forces between 1 January 1998 and today AND is either:
  • currently serving,

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