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.
Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records several ways.
Use the following to request veterans' service records from WW I - Present. (Looking for Pre-WWI Service Records?)
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 deceased, former member of the military. The next of kin can be any of the following:
- Surviving spouse that has not remarried
Please note: Records are accessioned into the National Archives, and become archival, 62 years after the service member's separation from the military. This is a rolling date; hence, the current year, 2013, minus 62 years is 1951. Records with a discharge date of 1951 or prior are archival and are open to the public. Records with a discharge date of 1951 or after are non-archival and are maintained under the Federal Records Center program. Non-archival records are subject to access restrictions. Learn more
If the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) is a Federal (non-archival) record:
- The military veteran, or
- the next-of-kin (un-remarried widow or widower, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister) of the deceased veteran can request copies of the OMPF online.
If the Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) is an Archival record:
- Any archival OMPF can be ordered online for a copying fee. Archival records are open to the public.
Use the link at the top of this page to get started using eVetRecs or visit eVetRecs Help and FAQ to learn more.
Your request must contain certain basic information for us to locate your service records. This information includes:
- The veteran's complete name used while in service
- Service number
- Social security number
- Branch of service
- Dates of service
- Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).
- If you suspect your records may have been
involved in the 1973
fire, also include:
- Place of discharge
- Last unit of assignment
- 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.
While this information is not required, it is extremely helpful to NPRC staff in understanding and fulfilling your request:
- The purpose or reason for your request, such as applying for veterans benefits, preparing to retire, or researching your personal military history.
- Any deadlines related to your request. We will do our best to meet any priorities. For example, you may be applying for a VA-guaranteed Home Loan and need to provide proof of military service by a specific date.
- Any other specific information, documents or records you require from your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) besides your Report of Separation (DD Form 214).
- For additional details on what information may or may not be included, please see the Special Notice to Veterans and Family Members regarding requests for copies of military personnel and/or medical files.
If your request is urgent (e.g. upcoming surgery, funeral, etc.) and there is a deadline associated with your request, please provide this information in the "Comments" section of eVetrecs or in the "Purpose" section of the SF-180 and fax it to our Customer Service Team at (314) 801-0764. Our goal is to complete all urgent requests within two working days. Please contact our customer service staff at (314) 801-0800 if you have questions or require same day service. Due to the large number of calls we receive at this number, hold times are often long. However, once you reach a technician they will be happy to assist you with emergency service.
If your burial request involves interment at a Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117 or visit their website http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/. We work directly with the Veterans Affairs staff to obtain records to verify service for burial benefits. If the veteran is not going to be interned at a National Cemetery, the requester may fax the SF-180 or signature page from eVetRecs (including signature of the next of kin and proof of death) to the Customer Service Team at (314) 801-0764. If your request involves the burial of a Marine Corps veteran, you may also contact the USMC Liaison Officer at (314) 538-2344.
NOTE: The 1973 Fire at the National Personnel Records Center damaged or destroyed 16-18 million Army and Air Force records that documented the service history of former military personnel discharged from 1912-1964. Although the information in many of these primary source records was either badly damaged or completely destroyed, often alternate record sources can be used to reconstruct the service of the veterans impacted by the fire. Sometimes we are able to reconstruct the service promptly using alternate records that are in our holdings, but other times we must request information from other external agencies for use in records reconstruction. In some instances, therefore, requests that involve reconstruction efforts may take several weeks to a month to complete.
You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives's National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC. Be sure to use the address specified by eVetRecs or the instructions on the SF-180. Locations of Military Service Records.
- NPRC Fax Number :
- NPRC Mailing Address:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Please note that requests which are sent by Priority Mail, FedEx, UPS, or other "express" services will only arrive at the NPRC sooner. They will not be processed any faster than standard requests. See the section above on emergency requests and deadlines.
Generally there is no charge for basic military personnel and medical record information provided to veterans, next-of-kin and authorized representatives from Federal (non-archival) records. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as that determination is made.
However, Archival OMPFs are subject to the NARA fee schedule that authorizes the Agency to collect fees from the public for copies of archival records (44 USC 2116c and 44 USC 2307).
Online, mailed and faxed archival requests require the purchase of the COMPLETE photocopy of the OMPF:
- A routine OMPF of 5 pages or less: $25 flat fee
- A routine OMPF of 6 pages or more: $70 flat fee (most OMPFs fall in this category)
- Persons of Exceptional Prominence (PEP) OMPF: $.80 cents per page ($20 minimum)
Once you have allowed sufficient time for us to receive and process your request (about 10 days), you may check the status of your request by e-mail through our NPRC Customer Service Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide the request number if you have one, the name, address and phone number of the requester, and the veteran's branch of service to aid us to finding your request in our system. You will receive a return e-mail from us with a projected completion date for your request.
You may also telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line (this is a long-distance call for most customers): 314-801-0800
Note: Our peak calling times are weekdays between 10:00 am CST and 3:00 pm CST. Staff is available to take your call as early as 7:00 am and as late as 5:00 pm cst.
Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records
Other potential methods to obtain your records include writing a letter, visiting the NPRC, contacting your state or county, or hiring an independent researcher. See Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records for more details.
NOTE: 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.
Special Note on Contacting by E-mail: Requests for military personnel records or information from them cannot be accepted by e-mail at this time. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) and Department of Defense directives require a written request, signed and dated, to access information from military personnel records. Our e-mail address should only be used only to request general information (hours of operations, procedures and forms) or to submit compliments, complaints or concerns.
NOTE: If you send messages using WebTV or a free-email service, you will not receive our response if your mailbox is full. Messages sent to full mailboxes are returned to us as "undeliverable." You may wish to include your mailing address in your message so that we may respond via the U.S. Postal Service.
Access to Military Records by the General Public
Limited information from Official Military Personnel Files is releasable to the general public without the consent of the veteran or the next-of-kin. You are considered a member of the general public if you are asking about a veteran who is no relation to you, or a veteran who is a relative but you are not the next-of-kin. Next-of-kin is defined as the unremarried widow or widower, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran.
See Access to Military Records by the General Public and Researchers for details on how to request service records.
Due to technical issues, costs, and other factors, eVetRecs is ONLY compatible with Internet Explorer versions 4.5 to 8.0. If you do not have one of those versions, please use Standard Form 180. eVetRecs upgrade is currently planned for 2013.