How to request military personnel records




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How to request military personnel records

Obtaining Military Records

People have many reasons for searching for military personnel records. Perhaps they are doing a genealogical research project or a biographical paper. Maybe the records are needed to verify specific information. Whatever the reason may be, the quest for military records can be achieved successfully. Although specific guidelines must be followed when requesting military records, the process is relatively straightforward.

In fact, military personnel records contain a vast amount of information. They include the full name of the individual, training assignments, duty assignments, medical records, disciplinary actions, promotions, awards, and discharge or separation.

Service members and their immediate family members have three different methods that they can employ to locate military personnel files. The instructions are listed immediately below.

A single request or individual request for specific military personnel records can be sent through the postal mail. The request should be addressed and sent to National Personnel Records Center. Prior to mailing the request, pertinent questions can be asked and answered at the following contact phone number: 1-314-801-0800. Since this is not a toll free number, and telephone charges will incur.

The following address should be used for mailing your request for military personnel records:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Mo. 63132-5100

A request for military personnel records can be faxed to the National Personnel Records Center Office at this fax number: 314- 801-9195.

Additionally, a request for military personnel records can be generated on the current government website through the Internet. Only veterans and their immediate family or next of kin may use the online request service for military personnel records using the eVetRecs system. Immediate family or next of kin is defined as unmarried widow, unmarried widower, mother, father, son, daughter, sister, or brother. To begin use the following link:

Online Procedure:
1. Click the large red button near the bottom of the page that says “REQUEST MILITARY RECORDS.” A separate window launches.
2. Fill in your personal information or the personal information of the veteran for whom you are submitting a request on the customized request form. Specific instructions will guide you through four steps in order to complete the form.
3. According to the specific requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, all formal requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or the veteran’s next of kin. Print the signature verification form. Next, sign and date it. Steps are given for the manner in which you should proceed in the event that you do not have a printer available.
4. Fax or mail the signature verification form to the given address in order to process your request. This must be done in the first twenty days after completing the online request form or your request is cancelled.
5. Keeping a copy for your personal file is an excellent idea.

The following basic information should be included with all written requests. It must also accompany all other requests:
• Full name of the individual
• Social security number of the individual
• Service number of the individual
• Branch of service of the individual
• Dates of service for the individual
• Date and place of birth of the individual

Service members and their immediate family or next of kin may also be able to obtain their military personnel record by contacting one of the following offices: the Department of Defense, Federal Information Centers, their local Veteran’s Administration Office, or other veteran’s service organizations.

If a member of the general public wants to request a military personnel record, they should file a standard 180 form. Members of the general public are individuals who do not fall into any of the categories listed under next of kin in the above paragraph.

Several methods exist for obtaining a copy of the SF-180 or Standard Form 180 and they are explained in detail here.

1. Download a copy of the official SF-180 form at the following link: 
You can select to fill the form in first (be sure to download a fillable form) or print the form out and fill it in completely. This is a three page form.
2. Contact The National Archives and Records Administration and order a faxed SF-180 form.
3. Send a written request for a copy of SF-180 to the following address:
The National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
4. Send a written request for a copy of the SF-180 form to the following address:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Mo. 63132-5100

Including the following information will help to speed up the process: the service member’s full name, the social security number, the dates of service, the date and location of birth, the service number, and the branch of service. Unless you have a written approval from the service member or the next of kin, the information that you receive will be limited.

The Freedom of Information Act prohibits or limits the release of specific information about someone without his or her written permission. Only the following information will be released without receiving written consent from the individual whose files are requested: full name, service number, branch of service, photograph, dates of service, military education, rank and date of rank, assignments and geographic locations, awards and decorations, duty status, transcripts of court-martial trial, place of entrance, and place of separation.

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