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Access to Military Records and Pension Records

What's New?
If you are a veteran or next-of-kin of a deceased veteran, you may now use eVetRecs to order
copies of military records (or use the paper form,SF-180).

Ordering online is available to order copies of:Federal military pension applications for
military service from the American Revolutionup to before World War I. Bounty-land warrant applications for Federal military service before 1856.

Compiled military service records for regular forces up to before World War I.

Access to Military Service and Pension Records

Attention: There is a rumor circulating among veteran service organizations that Official Military
Personnel Files (OMPFs) at the National Personnel Records Center will be digitized and then
destroyed. This rumor is NOT TRUE. Neither the Department of Defense (DoD) nor the National Personnel Records Center intend to destroy any OMPFs stored at the Center. The purpose of any electronic scanning would be to reduce the handling of fragile records during the reference process or to reduce the time necessary to locate and answer an OMPF inquiry.

The National Archives and Records Administration preserves and protects OMPFs because they
are permanently valuable records that document the essential evidence of military service for the
veterans of our nation. More...

Introduction

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard. Paper copies of military service and pension records can be ordered by mail from the facility which holds the records (see below).

Note: Individual military records are not online. However, sample military service records have been digitized and can be found in the Archival Research Catalog (ARC)

The two main repositories for records relating to military service are:

The National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
Holdings
To Order Records

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri.
Holdings
To Order Records

Military Records Holdings in Washington, D.C.

The National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., holds records relating to:
Branch of Service
Dates
Volunteers
Military service performed by persons serving during an emergency and whose service was considered to be in the Federal interest, 1775 - 1902
Regular Army
Enlisted personnel, 1789 - October 31, 1912
Officers, 1789 - June 30, 1917
Navy
Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1885
Officers, 1798 - 1902
Marine Corps
Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1904
Some officers, 1798 - 1895
Coast Guard
Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard: the Revenue Cutter Service (Revenue Marine), the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, 1791 - 1919
Confederate States
Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces, 1861 -1865
Veterans Records
Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775 - 1916 and Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775 - 1855

Ordering Copies

To order military service records from Washington, D.C., order online or the NATF Form 86.
Copies of military pension claim files for military service from the American Revolution up to before World War I and bounty-land warrant applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85.

Military Records Holdings in St. Louis, Missouri

The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, holds military personnel files of later military service records.
Branch of Service Dates

U.S. Army
Officers separated after June 29, 1917
Enlisted personnel separated after October 31, 1912
Note: Many records were destroyed by fire in the St. Louis Center in 1973.

Personnel records of Army members discharged/retired after September 30, 2002, are retained inelectronic format by the Army. NPRC has access to the Army's electronic system and will respond to requests for those records.

Officers and enlisted personnel separated after September 24, 1947

Note: Many records were destroyed by fire in the St. Louis Center in 1973.

US Air Force
Personnel records of Air Force members discharged/retired after September 30, 2004, are retained in electronic format by the Air Force and are not transferred to NPRC.
US Navy
Officers separated after 1901
Enlisted personnel separated after 1884
Personnel records of Navy members discharged/retired after December 31, 1994, are retained in
electronic format by the Navy and are not transferred to NPRC.
US Marine
Corps
Officers separated after 1904
Enlisted personnel separated after 1905
Personnel records of Marine Corps members discharged/retired after December 31, 1999, are retained in electronic format by the Marine Corps and are not transferred to NPRC.
US Coast Guard
Officers separated after 1897
Enlisted personnel separated after 1905
U.S. Coast
Guard
predecessor
agencies
Civilian employees of agencies such as Revenue Cutter Service, Lifesaving Service, and Lighthouse Service, retired after 1919.

Ordering Copies

To order records from St. Louis:
If you are a veteran or next-of-kin of a deceased veteran, use eVetRecs, at
vetrecs.archives.gov (or use the paper form, SF-180).
All others, use Standard Form 180.
Access to Military Service Records is limited. See Services for Veterans, Next-of-Kin, or the Veteran's Representative for more information.
For more information about researching military service records, see:
NARA's Genealogy page
An Overview of Records at the National Archives Relating to Military Service

Contact Us Accessibility Privacy Policy Freedom of Information Act No FEAR Act USA.gov
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

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