Accessing Veteran Records

Are you looking for your service records or those of a family member? The National Archives in St. Louis is the official repository of millions of records for all military personnel—from all service branches—who served during the late 19th and 20th century.

Though military personnel files constitute its core holdings, the National Archives at St. Louis is the repository for numerous document types, such as the Selective Service System registration cards and classification ledgers that document the military draft between 1940 and 1975; Army General Courts Martial case files (including an index for records dated 1911-1976, and accessing records dated 1940-1976, with all records dated through 1917 in our Washington, DC building and those dated approximately 1918-1939 in our College Park, Maryland facility); and trade cards describing specific aspects of civilian work in Naval shipyards during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The holdings also include personnel files of individuals employed by the Civil Service, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, Panama Canal Commission, Department of State, U.S. Customs Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and several hundred additional government departments.

Military Personnel Records

Archival records: The National Archives at St. Louis maintains Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of those service members that were discharged, retired or deceased 62 years from the current date. These records belong to the National Archives and become archival 62 years after the service member’s separation from the military. This is a rolling date. For example, the current year (2023) minus 62 years is 1961. Therefore, records with a discharge date of 1961 and prior are archival and open to the public. Additionally, various records of Persons of Exceptional Prominence (PEP) are also archival and open to the public. Requests for archival records do not require a signature.

Non-archival records: Records of individuals who left service less than 62 years ago are not yet archival. These non-archival records are maintained at the National Personnel Records Center but remain in the legal custody of the military service departments. A non-archival OMPF is open to the Veteran, the next of kin or to a third-party requester who has the Veteran’s written authorization. Under the provisions of FOIA, the general public may only obtain limited information from these records. Requests for non-archival records must be signed and dated.

 A request for a military personnel record, archival or non-archival, should include:

    The Veteran’s complete name used in service
    Service number
    Branch of service
    Date and place of birth
    Dates of service

For archival or non-archival requests, submit a letter or Standard Form 180 with the above information to:

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

Or, to request an archival or non-archival record via eVetRecs, visit our website and follow the steps provided.

Official Military Personnel Files, as well as auxiliary records, may also be viewed by visiting our research room. If you would like to view archival records, you must schedule an appointment with the Research Room via Eventbrite.






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