Military Records - A Variety of Methods to Obtain Military Records




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How to Find Military Records



A Variety of Methods to Obtain Military Records

Searching for military records is a relatively simple process if you have the proper guidelines at hand. Whether you are looking to verify military service or dates of service, military records can provide the information. In fact, military records include a vast amount of information including name, training assignments, duty assignments, promotions, awards, medical records, disciplinary actions, and separation or discharge.

The manner in which you search for military records depends upon your relationship with the person whose military records you are looking to find. Service members and their immediate families have easier access to personnel files. The following three sets of instructions pertain to them.

An individual or single request for specific military records can be sent through the mail. The request should be sent to National Personnel Records Center. Questions can be asked and answered prior to mailing the request at the following contact phone number: 1-314-801-0800. This is not a toll free number, and charges will incur.

Use the following address for mailing your request:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Mo. 63132-5100

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

A request for personnel military records can be generated through the Internet on the government website. Only veterans and their next of kin may use the online request service for military records using the eVetRecs system. Next of kin or immediate family is defined as mother, father, son, daughter, unmarried widow, unmarried widower, sister, or brother. To get started 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 information should be included with all written requests. It should also accompany all other requests:
• Name
• Social security number
• Service number
• Branch of service
• Dates of service
• Date and place of birth

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

Occasionally, members of the general public, that is to say, unrelated individuals, may request personnel records from the military. Their purposes are varied, but may include historical research, personal interest, or

Filing a Standard Form 180, or SF-180, is the best avenue to take if you are not a member of the immediate family.

Several methods are available for obtaining an SF-180 including:

1. Download a copy of the SF-180 at the following link:
You may 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 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 SF-180 to the following address:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, Mo. 63132-5100

Additionally, the following information should be included with all requests for military records: the service member’s full name, social security number, dates of service, the date and place of birth, service number, and the branch of service. Many military personnel records were destroyed in a fire in 1973. If you believe that the files you are interested in may have been destroyed, then the following information should also be included with the request: the place of entry into the service member’s service branch, the last unit of assignment, and the date of discharge.

The more information that is included with any request, the more likely it is that the proper records will be located. Additionally, it is important to note that individuals who request military records for someone other than themselves or a related family member will receive less information in the files sent to them.

The Freedom of Information Act prohibits the release of particular information about an individual without his or her written permission. The following information can be released without receiving written consent: full name, photograph, service number, branch of service, dates of service, rank and date of rank, military education, 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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