Requesting Military Records
Start Your Military Service Record Request (DD Form 214 & SF-180
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.
A military veteran, or
Next of kin of a deceased, former member of the military. The next of kin can be any of the following:
Surviving spouse that has not remarried
NECESSARY 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
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.
If you are the next of kin of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary.
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).
For additional details on what information may or may not be included, please see the Special Notice to Veterans and Family Members regarding requests for copies of military personnel and/or medical files.
"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.
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.
Locations of Military Service Records.
NPRC Fax Number :
NPRC Mailing Address:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
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.
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.
Response times for records requested from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) vary greatly depending on the nature of the request. For example, the NPRC Military Personnel Records facility currently has a pending workload of 51,000 requests and is receiving approximately 4,900 requests per day. We are responding to requests for replacement copies of separation documents only within 10 days about 90% of the time. For requests involving other types of information or documents from records that are on file, we currently are working on those received in November 2010 and will respond, on average, in 1-2 weeks. Additionally, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire or older records which require extensive search efforts may take six months or more to complete. Overall we are responding to 74% of all requests received within 10 days.
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 . 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
Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records
Other potential methods to obtain your records include writing a letter, visiting the NPRC, contacting your state or county, or hiring an independent researcher. See Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Recordsfor 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 Researchersfor details on how to request service records.
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