How to Access Public Military Records
If you want to get hold of a copy of your military record, you do not require to roam around an office to another. The National Personnel Records Center-Military Personnel Records, in short NPRC-MPR, located in Missouri’s St Louis is said to be the repository of health and medical records of dead and retired defense service members. There are about 56 million records stored. It also houses records of those veterans who have been discharged from the service without any outstanding commitment. The military members, who are presently in reserves, active or inactive, have not been enlisted in the files of public military records.
Access to Public Military Records
Before you access the database, it is important to know the tenure the person concerned has served. Once you are aware of that, visit http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/about-ompfs.html. If you are looking for records of the individuals who have been separated prior to the dates mentioned here, you need to visit http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html. About 18 millions of these records were destroyed in an unfortunate fire at this repository in 1973. However, NPRC-MPR uses alternate sources if lost records are requested for. You can know about these sources at http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/alternate-record-sources.html.
To access information from NPRC-MPR, you need to be the individual or next kin of the deceased veteran. As per the regulation, widow or widower who has not married after the death of deceased personnel, offspring, spouse or sibling. There are some authorized representatives also who have full rights to access the records. This list includes genealogists, historians, lawyers and doctors. They can carry on with the research only after submission of request application enclosed with authorization letter signed by the individual or next-to-kin in case of deceased personnel.
How to Request for Free Public Military Records
In order to place your request for the records, you need to provide certain pieces of information. These include full name that was used by the veteran when was in service, SSN, Service number and dates and branch of service. In case, service number is not known, provide birth date and place. If you suspect to have the records destroyed in the fire of 1973, include last assignment unit, discharge place and place of entry. If you are deceased personnel’s next of kin, then you need to submit a copy of death certificate.
There are two ways of placing the request- eVetRecs System to request online or mail or fax the request form. Click on http://www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/ to know how to place the request online. The page will navigate you to the window to access the records.
To send the request form you need to download it. You will get this form called SF-180 at http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf. If you do not have Internet access to download this form, you can order it through mail. Send a stamped and self-addressed envelope to The National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. Send the filled up form at The National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63132. For more information you cal call up their toll free helpline at 1 86 NARA NARA. You need to submit a different form for each of your requests.