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U.S. Military Personnel Records
Department of Defense Form DD-214 has been issued to U.S. military servicemen and women upon separation from active service, beginning in the 1950's. The term "DD-214" is often used generically to mean any "separation papers" or "discharge papers", no matter what form number was used to document active duty military service. If you need some help locating military service records for any American veteran -- yourself, a relative, or other person -- the suggestions on this page should help.
20th Century American Military Personnel Records
The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. NPRC-MPR also stores medical treatment records of retirees from all services, as well as records for dependent and other persons treated at naval medical facilities. Information from the records is made available upon written request (with signature and date) to the extent allowed by law.
Records maintained at NPRC-MPR in St. Louis, MO are basically the records of service starting in the 20th Century, but here is a table of more specific information on the categories of veterans records held there:
The NPRC-MPR has made it easier to obtain records is you are in one of these two classes of people making a request:
If you fall into one of the two classes liste, you may now use eVetRecs on-line to order a copy of your military records. Just click on the link and follow the instructions to create a customized order form to request information from your, or your relative's, military personnel records.
Request Pertaining to United States Military Records: Standard Form 180
If you do not fit into one of the categories who can use the on-line system, you must use the U.S. Government Standard Form 180, the "Request Pertaining to Military Records". You can download the form along with instructions for filling it out at this link:
More information about SF-180 and the process of filing the request is available on this Vererans page from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
Please Note: All SF-180 requests must be in writing, signed and mailed to this address:
Older U.S. Military Personnel Records
Records of military service prior to World War I are in Washington, DC at the National Archives Building. These holdings include:
To order military service records from NARA in Washington, use Order Online! or the NATF Form 86. Copies of military pension claim files for military service from the American Revolution up to before World War I and bounty-land warrant applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85.
U.S. Military Service Number and Social Security Number
Service numbers and social security numbers are used as part of the identifiers used to store and locate records. When requesting records, use these guidelines:
The U.S. military services discontinued using the service number as an identifier and began using the social security number on the following dates:
More information about U.S. Military Personnel Records
For an overview of records at the National Archives relating to military service, go to the linked page.
Note: Thanks to WW II vet Bill Wynne for suggesting this page.