How to request your military records including your DD214
Requesting your service records
Applying for VA benefits or looking for help with a discharge upgrade?
Although looking for old service records is not a legal issue, we occasionally get asked administrative questions about records recovery and applying for benefits. Obtaining old military records is not part of our practice. We did however discover how a veteran can request copies of military records without needing an account on e-benefits with the VA. There are some veterans looking for their DD214 that may also be looking for help with a discharge upgrade. The Law office of Peter Kageleiry, Jr. can help with a discharge upgrade.
If you left the military less than 62 years ago, you can request your records through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. You do not need a DS login. This website, as part of this National Archives, provides copies of Veteran’s service records. All the ways to request the records are listed at this link and they include making the request online, faxing the request, or mailing it in. At this link a veteran can make an online request a copy of their DD214 from the National Archives Veterans Service Records section: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records. There is a blue button where they can start the online request. There are for-profit agencies that can make these requests on your behalf for a fee, however, armed with the right information, any veteran and their next of kin can make this request for free.
What information do I need to request my military records?
When doing it online or filling out a form the veteran should have the following info. Your request must contain certain basic information for the NPRC to locate your service records. This information includes:
The veteran’s complete name used while in service
Service number (if known)
Social Security number
Branch of service
Dates of service
Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).
If you suspect your records may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:
Place of discharge
Last unit of assignment
Place of entry into the service, if known.
All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or next of kin.
Can I request the records of my veteran if they are deceased?
There are a few inconsistencies on the website that doesn’t make it clear if a relative can make the request on behalf of their living relative. The website says next of kin of the veteran can ask for them if only the veteran is deceased. However, its not clear there is a barrier to stop kin from doing the online request form on behalf of the living veteran. Also the instructions seem to be inconsistent in parts of the webpage. The website says if you are the next of kin of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary. In this regard, if you do not have the necessary documents, you can try here or on other genealogy websites to find any published obituary or other information about the deceased.
When do veterans records become part of the public record?
If the service member was discharged MORE than 62 years ago then the record is publicly available, and anyone can request it. A person can even visit the NRPC in person to request the records. There are FAQs on this page as well that are informative. They also include a phone number to ask questions.
Help with a Discharge Upgrades
The Law Office of Peter Kageleiry, Jr. specializes in military law to include help with a discharge upgrade. If you have already been discharged with an Other than Honorable Discharge and are seeking to upgrade your discharge characterization and reclaim available benefits, contact us at https://www.ucmjlaw.com/contact/ or call (757) 504-2815. We may be able to assist you to help with a discharge upgrade.