How to Order military Service records
There are several ways to order any type of military service records Online. If you are a veteran or the next-of-kin of a deceased veteran, you can to http://www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs - or use Standard Form 180, which is what all other searchers are required to do. This form and more can be found at http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html.
When you scroll down to the part of the Archives site labeled “I Want an Order Form,” you will find a list of order forms available below, several of which deal with types of military service records. If you are looking for the military service records of Army veterans discharged before 1912, then you want to click on the box besides Military Service Records (NAFT 86). In the quantity box, choose the number of records for which you wish to search (up to five). If you are searching for military pension and bounty land warrant applications, check the box next to Military Pension/Bounty Land Warrant Applications (NAFT 85). If you have any sort of special request not covered by the NAFT 86 or 85 forms, then you should check the box next to Request Pertaining to Military Records (SF 180). Once you have checked the correct form(s) and quantity you need, scroll down to the section of the site labeled “Contact Information.” Be prepared to type in your first and last name, email address, full postal address, and optional daytime and evening phone numbers for alternate methods of communication. Your request will be sent to the headquarters of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, DC.
There are several other ways to obtain an SF 180 form besides requesting that one be mailed to you. You can access a PDF copy of the form viewable through Adobe Acrobat Reader at http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf . You can type all of your information directly into this form, but you cannot save any such information, so after you finish typing it, print the form. After printing, the form needs only to be signed and mailed to the address listed below.
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63132
SF 180 forms can also be faxed using the NARA's handy Fax-on-Demand system. In order to fax a request, call (314) 801-9195 from the handset of a fax machine (you shouldn't incur any charges except those for long-distance telephoning). Listen to the recorded instructions, and request Document 2255. Congratulations – you're all done. If you fax a request, the Center will send you a written response via the U.S Postal Service.
If none of these options are accessible or appealing to you, you can also write directly to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) at the same address listed above to request a form or more information. Your request for more information needs to contain enough data for the correct files to be easily and accurately located. When penning such a letter, be sure to include the full name the veteran used while in service, his service or social security number, and the branch and dates of service. If the service or social security number of the veteran is unknown, it may be helpful to include his date and place of birth as well. In the event that the records of the person you are requesting may have been in the 1973 fire that destroyed millions of sole Army and Air Force records of men discharged between 1912 and 1960, you should also include as much as you know about the veteran's place of discharge, last unit of assignment, and place of entry into service in your letter. Every request for records you send in letter form must be both signed and dated, or it cannot be researched or answered.
Once you've submitted a request for military records via form or letter, you may receive a response in as little as 10 days or as long as 6 months, depending on whether or not the records you desire were involved in the 1973 fire and need to be reconstructed from other sources.
Whether you choose to download or fill out a form Online, fax, or handwrite a request for any type of military service information, the National Personnel Records Center is the one-stop source for all of your military record needs.
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