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:
Veterans or next-of-kin of deceased veterans can use NARA web site.
obtain and Fill out Standard Form 180 (SF-180) and submit it to the appropriate records center.
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:
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,
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.
The National Personnel Records Center
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63132
And request Standard Form 180.
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:
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.
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.