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How to Request Military Service Records or Prove Military Service


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Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records several ways:

Required Information

Your request must contain certain basic information for us to locate your service records. This information includes:

  • The veteran's complete name used while in service
  • Service number
  • Social security number
  • Branch of service
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).
  • If you suspect your records may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:
    • Place of discharge
    • Last unit of assignment
    • Place of entry into the service, if known.
  • All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or next-of-kin.

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Recommended Information (optional)

While this information is not required, it is extremely helpful to NPRC staff in understanding and fulfilling your request:

  • The purpose or reason for your request, such as applying for veterans benefits, preparing to retire, or researching your personal military history.
  • Any deadlines related to your request. We will do our best to meet any priorities. For example, you may be applying for a VA-guaranteed Home Loan and need to provide proof of military service by a specific date.
  • Any other specific information, documents or records you require from your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) besides your Report of Separation (DD Form 214).

"Emergency" Requests and Deadlines

If there is an emergency or deadline associated with your request, please explain this in the "Comments" section of eVetRecs or in the "Purpose" section of the SF-180 so that we fully understand the situation and we will do our best to meet your priority.

If your request involves a burial in a National Cemetery operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the cemetery staff will work directly with us to obtain the required records for the service. If your request involves funeral services provided by a non-VA/private provider, the next of kin may fax the request (including signature of the next of kin) to us at 314 801-0764. If your request involves the burial of a Marine Corps veteran, you may contact the USMC Liaison Officer at 314 538-3155.

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Where to send my request

You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives's National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC. Be sure to use the address specified by eVetRecs or the instructions on the SF-180. The locations of military service records for active and retired personnel are listed at
Location of Military Service Records.

  • NPRC Fax Number :
    314-801-9195

     
  • NPRC Mailing Address:
    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records
    9700 Page Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
    314-801-0800

    Please note that requests which are sent by Priority Mail, FedEx, UPS, or other "express" services will only arrive at the NPRC sooner. They will not be processed any faster than standard requests. See the section above on emergency requests and deadlines.

     

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Cost:

Military personnel and health record information is usually free for veterans, next-of-kin, and authorized representatives. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as possible.

NOTE: Some records (Navy and Marine Corps enlisted personnel pre-1939) are in the process of being accessioned into the National Archives' collection and are no longer considered part of the NPRC, but are now part of the new Archival Programs Division. Standard reproduction charges may apply for copies of these documents. The process for requesting these records remains the same for now.

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Response Time:

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) normally responds to requests for Separation Documents (such as DD Form 214) in ten (10) working days or less. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire or older records which require extensive search efforts may take much longer (such as requests for your complete OMPF). You will receive our response in writing by U.S. Mail.

Checking the Status of Your Request:

Once you have allowed sufficient time for us to receive and process your request (about 10 days), you may check the status of your request by e-mail through our NPRC Customer Service Center at mpr.status@nara.gov. Please provide the request number if you have one, the name, address and phone number of the requester, and the veteran's branch of service to aid us to finding your request in our system. You will receive a return e-mail from us with a projected completion date for your request.

You may also telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line (this is a long-distance call for most customers): 314-801-0800

Note: Our peak calling times are weekdays between 10:00 am CST and 3:00 pm CST. Staff is available to take your call as early as 7:00 am and as late as 5:00 pm cst.

This number will allow you to hold until a technician is available to help you.

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Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records

Other potential methods to obtain your records include writing a letter Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records for more details.

NOTE: Some companies advertise DD Form 214 research services and will charge a fee for obtaining copies. This is provided as a free service by the National Archives and Records Administration.

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.

See Access to Military Records by the General Public and Researchers for details on how to request service records.