How to obtain your Military Records

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 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, read all the information regarding your request. You can initiate the request directly from the web site.

You can also request your records via fax or mail. To do so you will need Standard Form 180 (SF-180). For more information on Standard Form (SF-180) please visit

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.

The Center will respond in writing by U.S. Mail.

Order Processing Time

Response time for records requested from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) varies and is dependent upon the complexity of your request, the availability of records and our workload.

Please do not send a follow-up request before 90 days have elapsed, as it may cause further delays.

While the NPRC works actively to respond to each request in a timely fashion, the Center receives approximately 4,000 – 5,000 requests per day. We are responding to requests for separation documents within 10 days about 92% of the time. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 Fire, or older records which require extensive search efforts, may take 6 months or more to complete.

Emergency Requests and Deadlines:

If your request is urgent (e.g. upcoming surgery, funeral, etc.) and there is a deadline associated with your request, please provide this information in the “Comments” section of eVetrecs or in the “Purpose” section of the SF-180 and fax it to our Customer Service Team at (314) 801-0764. Our goal is to complete all urgent requests within two working days.  *Due to our current operating constraints, NPRC’s Customer Service Line (314-801-0800) is unstaffed and cannot respond to your calls.  For more information, see NPRC’s operating status.

If your burial request involves internment at a Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117 or visit their website

They work directly with the Veterans Affairs staff to obtain records to verify service for burial benefits. If the veteran is not going to be interned at a National Cemetery, the requester may fax the SF-180 (including signature of the next of kin and proof of death) to the Customer Service Team at (314) 801-0764.

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