Other Methods to Obtain Military Service Records
- Recently separated veterans may be able to find their records through the joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense eBenefits Portal.
- Write a letter to request records: If you are not able to obtain form SF-180, you may still submit a request for military records. Please see Military Records Requests: Standard Form SF-180 for details on what information is required in your letter.
- Contact your State or County: Some veterans may be able to obtain copies of certain military records from their state, county or municipality. Contact your state or county veterans agency for more information.
NOTE: Some companies advertise "DD Form 214 research services" and will charge a fee for obtaining copies. Generally there is no charge for basic military personnel and health 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, the NARA fee schedule authorizes the Agency to collect fees from the public for copies of archival records (44 USC 2116c and 44 USC 2307). See Archival Records for information on archival holdings and associated copy fees.
- Alternate Record Sources: If your records were damaged or destroyed, such as in the 1973 Fire, the NPRC may use alternate sources to reconstruct service data and document your military service. See Alternate Record Sources for more information on the types of records used.
Alternate Sources of Military Service Data. When proof of military service is needed, NPRC (MPR) attempts to reconstruct certain basic service data from alternate sources. NPRC (MPR) has identified many of these sources, but each contains only limited military service information. They are utilized to piece together (reconstruct) basic service data.
It is essential that requesters collect as much information from old personal papers before submitting a request pertaining to records from the fire-related collections. Good information on a request helps NPRC (MPR) identify which sources to research for reconstructing basic service data. If insufficient information is received the requester will be asked to provide additional information. In those instances the requester may receive NA Form 13075, Questionnaire About Military Service and/or NA Form 13055, Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data.
Personnel-Related Alternate Sources. A primary source of alternate data is a collection of 19 million final pay vouchers. These records provide name, service number, dates of service, and character of service. These are the most critical service data elements needed for the reconstruction process. With these and other organizational records (enlistment ledgers, service number indexes, etc.), NPRC (MPR) personnel can usually verify military service and provide a Certification of Military Service. This Certification can be used for any purpose for which the original discharge document was used, including the application for veterans benefits.
Medical-Related Alternate Records. In 1988, a collection of computer tapes containing ten million hospital/treatment facility admission records was transferred to NPRC (MPR). These records, originally created by the U.S. Army Surgeon General's Office (SGO), were discovered by the National Academy of Sciences and offered to the National Archives for use by NPRC (MPR). The source records existed in a computer code format and required extensive analysis to interpret the code into English. Between 1988-1990, NPRC (MPR) was able to salvage 7.8 million records of individual admissions for use as a major supplement to other smaller sources of medical information.
The subjects of the records were active duty Army and Army Air Corps personnel in service between 1942 to 1945. In addition, active duty Army personnel who served between 1950 and 1954 and a limited number of Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and military cadet personnel for the same period (about 5% of the 1950-54 file) are included.
The admissions records are not specific or detailed medical documents, but summarized information indexed by military service number. They contain limited medical treatment information, but diagnosis, type of operation, and dates/places of treatment or hospitalization are frequently included. Although no names are shown, patients are identified by military service number and certain personal data including age, race, sex and place of birth. THESE RECORDS ARE NOT DUPLICATES OF THE ORIGINAL MEDICAL TREATMENT FILES LOST IN THE 1973 FIRE AT NPRC (MPR). They were created using data sampling techniques for statistical purposes. Therefore, the listings are not complete and many admissions were skipped during the sampling process. Nevertheless, the information is useful as proof to support certain benefit claims.
See Services Available to the Public or Services Available to Government Agencies for instructions on preparing written requests for information from Official Military Personnel Records including Active Duty Health Records.
- What Records are Not Available? Frequently Requested Records Which Are NOT at the National Personnel Records Center.