If you seek to obtain a family members military record such as the DD-214 Separation Documents, Personnel Records, Replacement Medal / Ribbons earned, as well as military medical records, you can request any and all of the above by using the Standard Form 180 - Request Pertaining to Military Records. These documents can be used for a variety of reasons such as in proving military service, medical and legal evidence, as well as genealogical efforts.
If you have a relative that served and you know very little about his / her service the National Archives maintain these records and such information that can be a source of pride for your family. You can request your family members military records online, by fax, or by mail by using the SF-180 submitted to the National Archives - National Personnel Records Center.
You can submit the SF-180 form online or the following fax/mail address:
- NPRC Fax Number :
- NPRC Mailing Address:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
How The Archives Is Organized
Records are organized in the National Archives and become archived 62 years after the service member's separation from the military. As this is a rolling date, the current year, minus 62 years, is the latest year of service kept on file. Records with a discharge date of 62 years or prior are open to the public. Records with a discharge date of 62 years after the current date are non-archival and are maintained under the Federal Records Center program. Non-archival records are subject to access restrictions.
The National Personnel Records Center, in St Louis, MO, is home to all of the Agency's archival and permanent records. The NPRC houses all Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Organizational and Auxiliary files, and Official Personnel Folders (OPF) of former civilian Federal personnel who separated prior to 1973 at the center.
The Mission of the NPRC "is to provide world class service to government agencies, military veterans and their family members, former civilian Federal employees, and the general public."
The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is one of the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) largest operations. The NPRC is the central repository of personnel-related records for both the military and civil services of the United States Government. It has a state-of-the-art preservation laboratory for records conservation, a large public research room, and a multi-purpose room for meetings and public outreach.
Public Information (General Public and Family Access)
The release of information is subject to restrictions imposed by the Department of Defense regulations, the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974. Other people requesting information than the actual service member from military personnel records must have the release authorization signed by the service member or legal guardian. Access to only limited types of information can be provided if the service member's signature cannot be provided. If the former member is deceased, the surviving next-of-kin may, under certain circumstances, be entitled to greater access to a deceased veteran's records than a member of the general public. The next-of-kin may be any of the following: non-remarried surviving spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother.
The Standard Form 180 is formatted for legal size paper (8.5" X 14"), please print that way if your printer can accommodate. If your printer can only print on letter size paper (8.5" X 11"), select "shrink to fit" when the Adobe Acrobat Reader "Print" dialog box appears.
On a personal note, my Grandfather was a World War II veteran and served in Patton's 3rd Army. He was in 10 battles in 11 months as they traveled from Normandy to Berlin, then into Czechoslovakia. I was able to receive his DD-214, they placed the medals in the package, and together my father and I made a shadow box full of his awards, unit patches, and service related badges. For more than 40 years, he had not seen his ribbons and awards as he gave them to his kids when he came home after four years of being overseas. It became one of his prized possessions and was featured with pride at his funeral.