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How To Request Military Service Records

What Military Records Are And Why You Might Need Them

How To Request Military Service Records | Know Your Benefit

Military records are details regarding a discharged officers service tenure, training, awards, administrative remarks, disciplinary actions, insurance, admin remarks, and separation or retirement info. Military records only contain surface information about an officer.

You can request military records if you want to apply for other jobs to prove your record. They also come in handy when requesting government benefits available for ex-military officers. Some individuals also use this information for historical research and ancestry.

What Does Each Service Record Contain

Specifically, each service record contains:

  • Personal information, including enlistment, attestation, and termination/release documentation, as well as any honours or awards granted.

  • Career/Posting Information, which will show the progress of the servicepersons career through their overseas service, unit postings, promotions, training courses, and sometimes disciplinary actions.

  • Medical Information, which is generally stored in a separate medical file and access is restricted for 20 years after the serviceperson’s date of death in accordance with the Health Information Privacy Code 2020.

How service records can help you

As well as for research and academic purposes, service records can be used for:

  • Family history research,

  • To enable membership of veterans associations such as the RNZRSA, RSA or RSL,

  • To support an immigration visa application, or

  • To provide data for inclusion on a burial plaque or other commemorative monument.

How To Obtain Standard Form 180 To Request Military Service Records

There are several ways to obtain an SF-180. You can:

  • Download and print a copy of the SF-180 in PDF format.
  • You need access to a printer and the Adobe Acrobat Reader software . The form is a total of 3 pages.
  • The SF-180 is formatted for letter size paper . If your printer cannot accommodate this, select “shrink to fit” when the Adobe Acrobat Reader “Print” dialog box appears.
  • This is also a fillable version of the SF-180. It will allow you to type the needed information into the form using your keyboard. You will still need to print, sign and mail the form. Otherwise, it works the same as stated above.
  • Please Note: While Section II, Item 1 of the Standard Form 180 outlines multiple types of records that may be available to the requester, the DD Form 214 is the most common document necessary to obtain most veteran’s benefits.

    Where to Return the Form:

    • Review the tables on page 3 of SF-180 to identify the correct location of the record you need send the completed form to the address identified on the table
  • Contact Us to order the form through the mailNational Personnel Records Center
  • Other Ways to Obtain the SF-180:

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

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    How Do I Request Military Awards And Decorations

    For the Veteran: in general, the military services will work replacement medal requests for the veteran at no cost. This includes family members with the signed authorization of the veteran.

    For the Next-of-Kin: the process for replacement medals requests differs among the service branches and is dependent upon who is requesting the medal, particularly if the request involves an archival record. Click here for details.

    For the General Public: if the service member separated from military service before 1961, the public may purchase a copy of the veteran’s Official Military Personnel File to determine the awards due and obtain the medals from a commercial source. If the service member separated after 1961, the public may request such information from the OMPF via the Freedom of Information Act .

    How Do I Get Access / Copy Of Exempt Discharge Papers

    Military Records

    A veteran, the veteran’s next of kin, a deceased veteran’s properly appointed personal representative or executor, a person holding the veteran’s general power of attorney, or individuals designated, may submit a “REQUEST FOR Access / Copy of Exempt DISCHARGE PAPERS” to the county auditor in order to obtain access / copy of exempt discharge papers.

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    What Discharge Papers Are Not Public

    Military discharge papers filed at the office of the county auditor before July 1, 2002, that have been commingled with other recorded documents that the veteran has recorded a “REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION FROM PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF DISCHARGE PAPERS” with the county auditor.

    Military discharge papers filed prior to July 1, 2002 that are not commingled with other recorded documents

    Military discharge papers filed after July 1, 2002

    Requesting Military Personnel Records

    Have you lost your military service records, medical records, personnel records, or records of awards and medals earned? Are you a family member seeking information about the military service of a next-of-kin? Find out how to request information and what forms you will need to fill out.

    Remember: your military records are normally free to request from the Federal Government, companies that advertise copies of your DD-214 or military records for a fee are scams.

    Normally only the veteran or the next-of-kin may request copies of military records.

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    Request Military Records And Service Files

    Library and Archives Canada is responsible for holding the service records of Regular Force members who released before January 1998 and Reserve Force members who released before January 2007. Theyre also responsible for the medical and dental records of Canadian Armed Forces members released more than 5 years ago or who died in service more than 5 years ago.

    To obtain these records, please contact LAC directly by:


    The Department of National Defence is responsible for holding the following service records:

    • Regular Force members who are currently serving, were released from service, or who died in service as of January 1, 1998
    • Reserve Force members who are currently serving, were released from service, or who died in service as of March 1, 2008

    To obtain these records, please submit an Access to Information request online or by mail to:

    Director Access to Information and PrivacyNational Defence HeadquartersMajor-general George R. Pearkes Bldg101 Colonel By DrOttawa ON K1A 0K2

    Cost: Most Basic Requests Are Free But It Depends On The Discharge Date

    National Archives: Requesting a Servicemembers Military Records

    Free if Discharge Date is LESS than 62 years ago:

    Generally there is no charge for basic military personnel and medical record information provided to veterans, next of kin and authorized representatives from Federal records.

    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.

    Costs for Discharge Dates MORE than 62 years ago:

    There is a fee for records that are considered “Archival,” which depends on the discharge date. If the request is made 62 years after the service member’s separation from the military, the records are now open to the public and subject to the public fee schedule . This is a rolling date, the current year minus 62 years. Learn more.

    These archival requests require the purchase of the COMPLETE photocopy of the Official Military Personnel File :

    If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as that determination is made.

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    How Is A Designee Assigned

    A veteran or a duly appointed representative may file a “REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DISCHARGE PAPERS” designating an individual to have access and/or obtain copies of exempted military discharge papers. This form may be recorded with the County Auditors office or may be maintained by the veteran.

    NOTE: An organization cannot be assigned as a designee

    Apply For The Records Of Someone Who’s Deceased

    You can apply for a copy of someone elses service records if any of the following are true:

    • you were their immediate next of kin when they died, for example their spouse, parent or child
    • you have a family or general research interest – youll only have access to limited information if they died less than 25 years ago, unless youve got consent from their immediate next of kin

    You can apply for records if they were in the Royal Navy , British Army, Royal Air Force or Home Guard.

    If youre acting on behalf of the person, for example you have lasting power of attorney, follow the instructions for applying for your own records.

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    Online Requests Using Evetrecs

    Our online eVetRecs system creates a customized order form to request information from your, or your relative’s, military personnel records.

    You may use this system if you are:

    • A military veteran, or
    • Next of kin of a , former member of the military. The next of kin can be any of the following:
    • Surviving spouse that has not remarried

    Who Can Request Official Military Personnel Files

    Access depends on the discharge date:

    • OMPF Archival record – discharge date of 1960 or prior*These records are archival and are open to the public.
    • Any archival OMPF can be ordered online for a copying fee.
  • OMPF Federal record – discharge date of 1961 or after* These records are non-archival and are maintained under the Federal Records Center program. Non-archival records are subject to access restrictions.
  • the military veteran, or
  • the next-of-kin
  • Use the link at the top of this page to get started using eVetRecs or Standard Form 180 .
  • * Please note: Military personnel records are open to the public 62 years after they leave the military. Records of any veteran who separated from the military 62 years ago can be ordered by anyone for a copying fee . Learn more

    Visit eVetRecs Help and FAQ to learn more about how to use eVetRecs.

    Cold War Recognition Certificate:

    " DD214 is the Discharge Papers or Separation Documents to include ...

    In accordance with section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified Federal government civilian personnel who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era from September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.

    What Service does the NPRC Provide?

    The NPRC, upon request, will provide copies of DD-214s or SF-50s to authorized requesters. These documents may be used to apply for the Certificate. For information on how to obtain a copy of your DD-214 or SF-50 see:


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    What Information Youll Get

    Service records date from:

    • 1750 for Foot Guards
    • 1920 for the RAF
    • 1926 for Royal Navy including Royal Marines

    Each service record may include:

    • surname, first name, service number, rank and regiment or corps
    • place and date of birth
    • date they joined and left the armed forces
    • date of death, if they died in service
    • good conduct medals
    • details about their career, for example the units they served in

    You can only get details about their career 25 years after the date they died unless you have consent from their immediate next of kin.

    In some cases little or no information is available about someones military service. For example, Home Guard records may only include their personal details from when they enlisted.

    Your request might be refused if it could harm the security or operations of the armed forces.

    What Information Is Needed To Request Records

    Your request must contain certain basic information to locate your 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 .
    • If you suspect the records may have been involved in the 1973 fire which damaged many records you should also include:
    • Place of discharge
    • 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.
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    Request Recent Military Records

    If You Are a Veteran or Next-of-Kin

    To get a copy of the vets military records, you can:

    Most requests are free.

    If You Are Not the Veteran or Next-of-Kin

    You can only get limited information about non-archival records without the consent of the veteran or next-of-kin. Non-archival records are those from 62 years ago to the present. Learn about access to non-archival military records by the general public and researchers.

    Request Your Military Service Records Online By Mail Or By Fax

    How to Request Copies of Your Military Medical Records VA

    Military personnel records can include DD 214s/Separation Documents, service personnel records found within the Official Military Personnel File , and medical records. Military personnel records can be used for proving military service or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.

    Please note that NPRC holds historical Military Personnel Records of nearly 100 million veterans. The vast majority of these records are paper-based and not available on-line.Learn More

    Review the Instructions Before you Begin!

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    How To Request Military Medical Records

    If you want to request military medical records, you must have the following information:

    • The complete name used while in service
    • Date and place of birth
    • Social security number
    • Dates of service
    • Branch of service

    The 1973 fire destroyed documents in the National Personnel Records Center. If you suspect that your records were among those that went up in flames, ensure you include the place of discharge, last unit of assignment, and the place of entry into the service if you know it.

    All military medical records must have a signature and date either by the veteran or the next of kin. Also, the next of kin to a deceased veteran must provide a letter from the funeral home, a copy of the death certificate, or a published obituary as proof of the death of the veteran.

    To Obtain A Copy Of A Discharge:

    A copy of a Military Discharge may be made only for the Veteran, surviving spouse, and certain third parties defined by State law. Discharges are not available for genealogy or other research purposes. Military Discharges recorded with Missouri and Illinois Recorders of Deeds are closed records.

    Mail or bring your Application for Military Discharge Copies form and copy of Drivers License or State Identification Card to:

    Military Discharge RecordsSt. Louis City Recorder and RegistrarCity Hall, Room 124, 1200 Market StreetSt. Louis, Missouri 63103

    8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday


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    Where When And How To Apply

    You can apply for this provision online if you want your military records. Visit milConnect and sign in to your account. Click the correspondence/ documentation icon to reveal a drop-down menu select defence personnel records information.

    Aside from the online application, you can also send a letter to the NRPC and mail it to 1 Archives Drive, St. Loius, Missouri 63138.

    Mailing or faxing a request using form SF 180 to the NPRC, visiting the department in person, contacting the state or veterans agency, and hiring a personal researcher are other options for requesting military records.

    What Kinds Of Records Are There

    Request Military Service Records

    There are several types of records available in the military database. Applicants can ask for the following:

    • DD214 form Certificate or discharge or release from active duty
    • DD215 form A correction form for incorrect details given in form DD214
    • Report of Separation

    Note that these records are not available online. They are saved in microfilm or paper form. You must request the military to send these records to receive them.

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    Where Can I Find My Military Service Records

    Mail or fax a Request Pertaining to Military Records to the National Personnel Records Center . Download Form SF 180 Write a letter to the NPRC. Send it to: 1 Archives Drive St. Louis, Missouri 63138. Visit the NPRC in person Contact your state or county Veterans agency Hire an independent researcher

    Can you get a copy of your military training record?

    Both current service members and veterans can use their military education toward a civilian college degree. Whether you are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or you are a veteran, you are entitled to receive free copies of your military training records.

    How Do I Request A Military Personnel File

    Then select Defense Personnel Records Information from the drop-down menu. Choose the Personnel File tab. Select Request My Personnel File. Fill out the form. In the Document Index section, check the boxes next to the document youd like to request. Click or tap on the Create and Send Request button.

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    About Military Service Records And Official Military Personnel Files

    If you’ve been discharged from military service, your personnel files are stored here at the National Archives and Records Administration . We are the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.

    If you are a recently separated veteran, records can be found online via the VA eBenefits portal. However, most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 and other records several ways:

    Military personnel records are primarily administrative records and can contain information such as:

    • enlistment/appointment
    • and other personnel actions.

    Detailed information about the veteran’s participation in military battles and engagements is NOT contained in the record.

    Most Official Military Personnel Files contain both personnel and active duty health records, but this practice was discontinued by the service branches beginning in 1992. See Military Medical and Health Records for more details.

    In an effort to expand access to and ensure the preservation of the records, the National Archives and Records Administration together with the Department of Defense developed a schedule, signed July 8, 2004, making the Official Military Personnel Files permanent records of the United States. This schedule mandates the legal transfer of these files from DOD ownership to NARA ownership 62 years after the service member’s separation from the military.

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