(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
Entry and Separation Physical Exams
Clinical Summaries/Cover Sheets
For more help finding military service records, follow this link to the veterans section of the National Archives,