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How to obtain your Military Records
Posted on Friday, September 14, 2007 :: Last Updated: Friday, September 14, 2007 :: 41034 Views      

It may become necessary at some point in time to request your military records. The following information will help guide you through this process. Complete information can be obtained at the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) at http://www.archives.gov/. The information contained herein is believed to be accurate as of this writing. Please check with the NARA website for updated information.

Currently there are three ways to obtain a copy of your service records:

  1. Veterans or next-of-kin of deceased veterans can use NARA web site. 

  2. obtain and Fill out Standard Form 180 (SF-180) and submit it to the appropriate records center.

  3. Write a Letter to Request Records

Obtaining Records via the Web

Go to http://vetrecs.archives.gov , read all the information regarding your request, when done, click the Request Military Records Button.

Obtaining records via Standard Form 180(SF-180)

First you must obtain Standard Form 180. There are many ways to obtain this form, below are just a few of them:

  1. From the Web: Standard Form 180 can be downloaded from the NARA website at http://www.archives.gov/research_room/obtain_copies/standard_form_180.pdf,

  2. NARA Fax-On-Demand service:

    • Call the Fax-on-Demand System at (301) 837-0990 from a fax machine, using the handset. 

    • Follow the voice instructions, and request document number 2255. 

    • There is no charge for this service except for any long distance telephone charges you may incur.

  3. Write to:

The National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63132

And request Standard Form 180.

  1. You may also be able to obtain the SF-180:

  • From the Department of Defense 

  • From Federal Information Centers 

  • From local Veterans Administration offices 

  • From veterans service organizations

The SF 180 may be photocopied as needed. Please submit a separate SF 180 for each individual whose records are being requested.

Writing to request Military Records:

If you are not able to obtain SF-180, you may still submit a request for military records. Requests must contain enough information to identify the record among the more than 70 million on file at NPRC (MPR). Certain basic information is needed to locate military service records. This information includes:

  • The veteran's complete name used while in service 

  • Service number or social security number 

  • Branch of service 

  • Dates of service 

  • Date and place of birth may also be helpful, especially if the service number is not known 

  • If the request pertains to a record that 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

Where to submit the request:

Requests must be dated and with a handwritten signature, either by mail or by fax only. This is because Federal law [5 USC 552a(b)] requires that all requests for records and information be submitted in writing. Each request must be signed and dated. 

You may submit more than one request per envelope or fax, but please submit a separate request (either SF 180 or letter) for each individual whose records are being requested. 

Send by Mail

Our mailing address is:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Send by Fax

Our fax number for requesting military records is 314-801-9195. The Center will respond in writing by U.S. Mail. 

Order Processing Time

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 Records Facility currently has a backlog of 180,000 requests and receives approximately 5,000 requests per day. Routine requests for separation documents currently require only 2-4 weeks for servicing. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire or older records, which require extensive search efforts, may take much longer. The average turnaround time on all requests is currently running at approximately 12 weeks.

Recommendation

The veteran should take his/her DD-214/discharge to their County Clerk to have it registered. This will assure the veteran access to a copy of these documents in the event of their loss.

This document based on resources from the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) web site.

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