Military Service Records

(If you are looking for military service records, keep reading.)

The National Personnel Records Center responds to requests annually for copies of military military service records and/or medical records. Our goal is to provide timely responses in an efficient manner, so that veterans and their families obtain the information needed to qualify for benefits and entitlements.

Nearly half of all requesters seek only a copy of the separation document, which is the necessary document required for veteran benefits. However, about ten percent of the requests that we receive ask for a copy of a file.

Since the 1970s, our standard procedure for replying to requests for entire files has been to provide only copies of key documents and extracts of vital information, rather than a copy of every document in a personnel and/or medical file. This approach avoids costly delays in reviewing and copying some documents — such as leave papers, identification card applications, and clothing issuances — that are not normally needed for benefit claim purposes. As a result, we are able to respond to more requesters, faster, and at less cost to the taxpayers. Exceptions to this procedure are files more than 62 years old, US Marine Corps files, all certified legal cases, and all requests from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In these instances, all documents are provided.

This extract contains copies of all essential documents to certify entitlement to most rights and benefits associated with military service, to identify key events in a military career, and to identify significant events in health care. Personal data pertaining to third parties is redacted from the file, pursuant to Privacy Act provisions.

When only key documents and extracts are provided from the Official Military Personnel File and the Medical Record, the response package contains a copy of all separation documents and all of the following information if it is in the file:

Military Services Dates
Character of Service
Promotions and Reductions
Duty Stations and Assignments
Foreign or Sea Service
Military Schooling and Training
Awards and Letters of Commendation
Disciplinary Actions
Lost Time
Enlistments Contracts
Entry and Separation Physical Exams
Dental Examinations
Clinical Summaries/Cover Sheets

For more help finding military service records, follow this link to the veterans section of the National Archives,

Military Working Dogs

“I was a regular military policeman before I became a military working dog handler,” said Sgt. Brendon Parkhill, a dog handler with the Provost Marshal’s Office. “This job has opened my eyes and taught me a lot about one of the smallest programs in the Marine Corps. Growing up, I only had two dogs and now part of my duties is being responsible for an entire kennel of MWDs.”

According to the handlers, historians have documented humans using dogs as tools of war all the way to 600 B.C. Marines can trace their origins of working with K-9s to 1942 when using breeds such as Doberman Pinchers and Rottweilers as guard and attack dogs. As tactics of war changed throughout the decades, so did the roles and breeds of MWDs. Instead of Rottweilers, the Marine Corps began incorporating German Sheppard’s, Belgian Malenois, and Labrador Retrievers into
the MWD program. These breeds detect narcotics and explosives as well as supporting Marines on patrols and sentries.

“We are assigned to only one dog at a time but we take care of all of them collectively,” said Officer Matthew Buckley, a dog handler with the Provost Marshal’s Office. “To be an effective team, the handler
and MWD must sync. The handler feeds trains and exercises their dog every day to keep up the bond and rapport that has been built over time. Before a team can go on the road, they must be certified. The handler has to prove that his MWD will listen to basic obedience commands and
that they can work together to accomplish a mission. Because of how strong this bond can become, when a MWD is ready to retire, its handler is given the first opportunity to adopt it.”

In order to become a handler, Marines must attend a 12-week course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio where service members from every branch learn skills on dog handling procedures. Marines learn tactics such as detecting and patrol work with their K-9’s as well as how to properly groom and take care of their dogs.

“Before we were able to go to Lackland Air Force Base, each Marine had to do on the job training,” Parkhill said. “This exposes the Marine to life as a MWD handler. You help with the bite training and cleaning the kennel and get used to being around dogs all day every day. In order to be an effective handler, a Marine needs to have thick skin and not have a big ego. Handlers have to act funny for their dogs to get their attention or reward them. The OJT shows the MWD leadership that a Marine is ready to go to the school and become a trained handler. The school house taught me a lot and how to be a basic dog handler, but the OJT set me up for success and showed me what my future could be after certifying as a MWD handler.”

From helping officers detect contraband and aiding in vehicle searches, the military working dogs of MCAS Beaufort engage in operations to keep the Tri-command and lowcountry safe.

“These dogs are an integral part of the security system in place that keeps our bases and surrounding communities’ safe,” said Lt. Col. William Butters, the Provost Marshal for MCAS Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. “Our MWD teams help keep the Marines and Sailors of the Tri-command safe as well as support missions outside our gates. These teams help support local and federal law enforcement. They can go to a temporary assignment of duty as far south as Florida and as far north as New York to help accomplish a mission. I have been in the Marine Corps for 17 years and have not seen a greater asset than a base’s MWD program.”

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Story by Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort


PGR Snowball Express Loop Run

PGR Snowball Express Loop Run
Palm Bay, Florida – 06-23-18

Space Coast Harley Davidson and the United States Motorcycle Corps Charities are graciously sponsoring a ride to help support the PGR’s upcoming obligation to the Snowball Express event for our Gold Star Children in Orlando.

Included in this event, is a closed loop ride, two bands, bike wash, food tent and beverage tent, for which proceeds will be presented to the PGR.

In addition to the above events, there will be a guest speaker from the Gary Sinise Foundation, Snowball Express Program to give a presentation about Snowball Express.

The Snowball Express serves the children of our fallen military heroes, surviving spouses, and Gold Star families. An important aspect of this program is its annual four-day experience in December, where they bring families together from all around the nation with the help of their official airline partner, American Airlines.

This December, the Snowball Express’ mission will bring the children of our fallen military heroes to the Happiest Place on Earth… Walt Disney World.

We encourage all to attend and support this very worthwhile event for our Gold Star Children.
Staging Time: 10:00 AM
Space Coast Harley Davidson
1440 Sportsman Ln NE
Palm Bay, Florida 32905

Ride Captain:
Doug “Easy D” Stone

Special Instructions:
10:30 AM – Event Registration
10:50 AM – Ride Briefing
12:00 AM – Ride KSU

Flags & Water:
Flags will not be provided
Large Bike Flags will NOT be needed.
Water WILL NOT be provided, please bring your own.

Submitted By: David Shelton
Position: Florida State Captain

Mission details are subject to change. For the latest information on this mission or to post condolences, visit the mission link at


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War Secrets Must Not Be Shared Even With Family

(This article appeared in a 1942 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron. The advice is as true today as it was then.)

The following is another in a series on lip-silence and national security taken from an address by the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

There is danger of having faith in your fellow men. But what about the faith you have in your friends and relatives —- in your mother and father, and the girl you are going to marry? Of all Security lessons, this is the hardest to- learn — that Service information must be shared with no one, not even with those you love. Now that is not to say that you must no longer put your trust in these people in whom you may have confided all your life. But you must not share with them secrets that are not yours to impart—secrets that belong to the Navy and to tho Navy alone. It is no good arguing that you have absolute faith in the girl you are going to marry, and that if you cannot trust her, then you cannot trust anyone. That is not the point. She will not have had the advantage of Security instruction such as you have had. She may not properly understand what you are talking about. She may give away information without knowing she has done so. And remember that the first person an enemy agent contacts when he wants to know anything secret is the wife or girl friend of the man who knows that secret. You may feel that your wife or mother has the right to know when you are in danger a right to be told if you know that on a certain date you are sailing in convoy, or are going on a raid from which you may never return. And you may also feel that they have a right to know if this raid is cancelled so that their minds may be set at rest. But this must not happen. The more people who know a secret, the less chance there is of it being kept, keep this quite clear in your minds, because it is the first rule of Security. Once you realize this, you will see that it is not only careless talk that costs lives. Too many people are of the opinion that careless talk is loud-mouthed conversation in public bars to perfect strangers, and that its opposite, careful talk, is a confidential whisper to your wife or sweetheart. But it is talk of any sort that must be stopped, no matter what the precautions that are taken.

Public Domain

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