We often receive requests for assistance to obtain access to veterans’ medical and service records of those men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. These requests come from the veterans themselves, from their family members, and from interested researchers, historians, scholars and journalists. The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri, is one of NARA’s largest operations and serves as a repository for Official Military Personnel files (OMPFs) from all service branches for veterans as far back as 1885. These include Army, Army Air Corps, Army Air Forces, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. OMPFs of veterans who were discharged prior to 1955 are part of NARA’s archival holdings. For veterans who separated from military service after 1955, NPRC can still help provide access to those OMPFs.
In the interest of making it easier for the public to understand what agency might hold a veteran’s records, and the process that someone must follow to request these records, we asked some of our staff to share the resources that they find must useful when helping someone who is having difficulty obtaining veteran records.
Suggested Resources for Veterans and Their Families
- Requesting Your Military Service Records – https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records
- Military Personnel Records, FAQ – https://www.archives.gov/veterans/faq.html#military
- Online Veterans and Military Documents – https://www.archives.gov/research/military/veterans/online.html
- About Military Service Records and Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs, DD Form 214) – https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/about-service-records.html
- Veterans Medical and Health Records – https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/medical-records.html
- Locations of Service Records – https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/locations (This page provides listings and locations of military personnel and health records.)
Other Suggested Resources for Archival Military Records for Historical Research
- History Hub: Military Records Blog – https://historyhub.history.gov/groups/military-records/blog
- Research in Military Records – https://www.archives.gov/research/military
NARA is also excited to announce the opening of the Remembering Vietnam exhibition in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, Washington, D.C., from November 10, 2017 to January 6, 2019. This exhibition will present both iconic and recently discovered NARA records related to 12 critical episodes in the Vietnam War.
Do you have any suggested resources or tips to help the public request veterans’ records? Let us know in the comments or Tweet your suggestion to @FOIA_Ombuds!
One thought on “Useful Resources for Veterans Records”
When I worked for the Utah State Archives, we also often told people to check for discharge documents (DD214s) with the county recorder’s office for the county in which the service member may have resided, especially for WW11 and Korea. As I understood it, if the individual service member requested it, the military would send a copy to the recorder’s office for the county of residence. By the time of Vietnam, the state had a veteran’s affairs office that would get copies at the service member’s request as well.
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