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Requesting Copies of Military Personnel Records

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Getting Records of Military Personnel or Others



    Have you lost or need to replace an individual's service record? Know what information you are entitled to and how to go about receiving it.
    An individual's complete service record is available to the former service member or, if deceased, to his/her next of kin (parents, spouse, or children). Limited information (such as dates of service, awards, and training) is available to anyone. Not available to the general public is information which would invade an individual's privacy; for example, medical records, Social Security number, or present address.
    The St. Louis Center receives many requests for service records each week, so a request will be processed with greater speed and accuracy if the requester uses a Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining to Military Records". If requesting the records of a relative, a requester should mention the relationship to the former member (brother, uncle, or other). There is no charge for this service to former service members or their next of kin. For others, a nominal fee is charged for research and reproduction costs.
    You may submit more than one request per envelope or fax, but submit a separate request (either SF 180 or letter) for each individual whose records are being requested.
    • Send by Mail:
      National Personnel Records Center
      Military Personnel Records
      9700 Page Avenue
      St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
    • Send by Fax: 314-801-9195.
      The Center will respond in writing by U.S. Mail.
    You may also check out the this official NARA web page for more information about form SF 180.
    Order Processing Time

    Response times for records requested from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) vary greatly depending on the nature of the request. For example, the NPRC Military Records Facility currently has a backlog of 180,000 requests and receives approximately 5,000 requests per day. Routine requests for separation documents currently require only 2-4 weeks for servicing. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire or older records which require extensive search efforts may take much longer. The average turnaround time on all requests is currently running at approximately 12 weeks.
     
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  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thread is pinned.
     
  4. ItemCo16527

    ItemCo16527 Member

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    If you need to find a service number to a member of the US Army in World War II, this National Archives link is very helpful. There is a version of this database on ancestry.com, but their version does not include service numbers for some reason.

    Link: NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records

    Edit: When filling in the search form, be sure to follow their guidelines on how to fill in the information, or else you may not find a record that is actually there. Example: In the name field, fill in the name in this format: "SMITH#JOHN#Q"
     
  5. ItemCo16527

    ItemCo16527 Member

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    Another great resource to use is the Social Security Death Index. The SF-180 asks for a veteran's service number, and also their Social Security Number. If the veteran is deceased, they will be listed on the SSDI, and you will have another piece of information to add to the SF-180, thus making the NPRC's search for your veteran's record that much easier.

    Link: Social Security Death Index
     
  6. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter of a Canadian WWII Veteran

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    Canadian Forces after 1918 (including Second World War) - Military - What to Search: Topics - Canadian Genealogy Centre - Library and Archives Canada

    Towards the bottom of the page gives reference and links to military records from other countries.

    Canadian Forces after 1918 (including Second World War)

    Research at Library and Archives Canada

    About the Records

    Military personnel files include documentation about enlistment, discharge, military units served with, and may also include other documents concerning medical history, medals awarded, personal evaluation reports and dentalcharts. There is no online database for these records.

    Requests for Information

    We try to answer inquiries within 30 days; however, due to the large number of inquiries being received, we are currently experiencing delays in our response times. Clients who submit a written request should expect to wait six months for a response. Priority service is given to people who require documentation to prove that they qualify for pensions, allowances, claims and other benefits, therefore, these types of requests should be clearly identified.

    For projects involving research in a large number of files, the request will be assessed by our staff to determine if current resources can accommodate such an extensive commitment.

    How to Send an Inquiry Concerning Your Own or Another Individual's Records
    • Your request must be signed.
    • To identify a file, we require surname, full given name(s), date of birth, and service number or social insurance number.
    • If you do not know the date of birth, service number or S.I.N. (social insurance number), secondary information (e.g., the names of next of kin, postings, dates of service, place of enlistment) can assist in identifying the correct individual.
    • Consult the section below on Access Restrictions.
    • Please specify what document(s) you require. If you are doing family history research, we recommend that you request a "genealogy package," which will include copies of selected documents from the file that highlight/summarize the individual's service.
    • We do not accept email inquiries for these records. Inquiries must be sent by mail or fax.
    • Your request can be written as a letter or you can print off a blank copy of the Application Form [PDF 108 KB], which should be filled in, signed and sent by mail or fax.
    • Inquiries should be sent by mail or fax to:
    ATIP and Personnel Records Division
    Library and Archives Canada
    395 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4
    Fax: 613-947-8456
    If you are an ex-service member released less than five years:
    • Please send your request to National Defence Headquarters if you are requesting your entire military personnel file, information under the Privacy Act or a complete personal information bank, such as all your medical records, all your pension information or all your performance evaluation and course reports. See the section below on Research in Other Institutions.
    • Please send your request to our Personnel Records Unit if you only require a copy of a specific document(s), such as your discharge certificate or immunization records.
    Access Restrictions
    • Access to personal information relating to an individual who is still living requires that person's signed consent.
    • If the individual has been deceased for less than 20 years, limited information may be released to immediate family. Proof of death and relationship must be provided.
    • There are no restrictions on access to information relating to an individual who has been deceased for more than 20 years. Proof of death is required.
    Proof of Death: A copy of a death certificate, newspaper obituary, funeral notice or photograph of the gravestone. Note that proof of death is not required if the individual died while in service.
    Proof of Relationship: A document that clearly demonstrates the relationship between the individual concerned and the person requesting the record. Both names must appear on the document. A newspaper obituary, baptismal certificate or full-form birth certificate are acceptable. A wallet-sized birth certificate that does not indicate parents' names is not accepted. Please do not send original documents; photocopies are acceptable.
    Immediate Family: A parent, spouse, child, sibling or grandchild of the individual.

    Should you wish to submit a formal request under privacy legislation, see: Records of the Government of Canada.

    Research Online

    Personnel files after 1918 and the personal information contained in them are protected by the provisions of privacy legislation. For the same reason, the database and indexes that are used to identify the files cannot be made available on our Web site. Only staff may access them.

    Canada Remembers: The Second World War []Veterans Affairs Canada - Anciens Combattants Canada

    Information about the Second World War (Veterans Affairs Canada)
    Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War

    [www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/newspapers/intro_e.html]
    The history of the Second World War as reported in Canadian newspapers. This free newspaper archives of more than 144,000 newspaper articles offers wonderful opportunities for research in every aspect of war.

    Research in Other Institutions

    Records of individuals still serving or recently released (less than one year for Regular Force service or three years for Reserve Force service) are still in the custody of National Defence. Please submit your inquiry to:
    Director, Access to Information and Privacy (DAIP)
    National Defence Headquarters
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2

    Armed Forces of Other Countries

    The service records of those who served in the Armed Forces of countries other than Canada are held by those countries.

    Australia

    World War 2 Nominal Roll [www.ww2roll.gov.au/]

    Great Britain:

    The Veterans Agency at the Ministry of Defence []Service records provides a Web page that explains how and where to request documents from service files of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel.

    United States of America (All Forces):

    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records [www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/index.html]

    9700 Page Boulevard
    St. Louis, Missouri 63132
    United States of America
    American Second World War enlistment records and other records relating to military personnel are available online on the Web site of the National Archives. [http://aad.archives.gov/aad/]

    Note: Canada did not participate in the Vietnam War. Records of Canadians who served with the American Forces are held at the above-noted office.

    Related Topics

    Merchant Marine/Merchant Navy
     
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  7. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Search More Than 9 Million NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records Online at WorldVitalRecords.com

    Provo, UT, April 04, 2007 --(PR.com)-- More than 9 million World War II army enlistment records are now searchable online at WorldVitalRecords.com through a shipment provided by National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), one of the largest archives in the US.

    “The National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC, preserves and provides access to billions of genealogical and historical records, photographs, and computerized resources. I am pleased that WorldVitalRecords.com is including these NARA records on its site,” said Kip Sperry, Professor of Family History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

    NARA created the database in 2002 in conjunction with the Bureau of the Census. The World War II Army Enlistment database contains the majority of the Army enlistments during World War II from 1938-1946. "I am very grateful that the government went to such great lengths to track all of the valuable details of each individual's life over time. I am very excited to include that depth of detail for our members at WorldVitalRecords.com," said David Lifferth, President, WorldVitalRecords.com.

    The World War II database contains the serial number, name, state and county of residence, place of enlistment, date of enlistment, race, grade, Army branch, term of enlistment, longevity, nativity (place of birth), year of birth, civilian occupation, marital status, education, military occupational specialty (1945 and later), height and weight (before 1943), component, and box and reel number of the microfilmed punch cards.

    "The World War II generation brought us out of the Great Depression and established much of the American modern infrastructure we enjoy today. We celebrate their lives with the inclusion of these records," said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Acquisition, WorldVitalRecords.com.

    At WorldVitalRecords.com, these NARA databases are part of a global search, allowing users to search all of the databases at one time. These records will also be enhanced with geomapping and the Google Book search features.

    “This new database at WorldVitalRecords.com adds a wealth of material from the rich resources of NARA. With this addition, the records of millions of veterans have been made available to researchers,” said Robert Freeman, Director of the Saints at War Project at Brigham Young University.

    About WorldVitalRecords.com
    Finding your ancestors can be overwhelming, and expensive. At WorldVitalRecords.com, they’ve made it easy and affordable for individuals to connect to their families and find answers to their genealogical questions. WorldVitalRecords.com was founded by Paul Allen, who also founded Ancestry.com, one of the leading genealogy companies. WorldVitalRecords.com aims to be a top player in the genealogy industry and will offer users international record databases, references to top genealogical resources, including Everton’s Online Genealogical Helper and Family Group Sheets and Pedigree Files, a blog planet, podcasts, videocasts, Webinars, expert advice, training, and user-generated content

    ###



    Contact InformationWorldVitalRecords.com
    Whitney Ransom
    801-377-0588
    whitney@worldvitalrecords.com
    World Vital Records
     
  8. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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  9. Halldin

    Halldin Member

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    I'm trying to get info and documents about my grandfathers uncle, but since nobody knows in what kind of branch he served in, I don't know where to send the 180 form, is there some other way to get access to that kind of info?
     
  10. ToddHC

    ToddHC recruit

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    I think that it is important to point out that the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis suffered a devistating fire in 1973 and the loss of original and almost always only copies of personel records from WWII was all but complete. Their website lists the following as the affected records (losses):

    Army - Personnel dischared November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960 - 80%

    Air Force - Personnel discharded, September 25, 1947, to January 1, 1964 (with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.) - 75%

    1973 Fire

    They will compile a record for you from other sources at their disposal and do an admirable job, but you should be aware that you most likely not receive a copy of the "official personnel" record. They will also forward requests to the armed services (For instance Army TACOM) and will have medals and ribbons sent to next of kin for officially recognized service.

    This is important because the majority of WWII vets went home without their medals, and few followed up to get them once they transitioned back to civilian life and went about rebuilding our society and the global economy.
     
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  11. NathanJ

    NathanJ Member

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    I sincerely hope that I am not speaking out of turn here but if your relative was wounded, disabled etc you may be able to follow channels and get his (or her) medical records also and that can provide you with other information as well.
     
  12. gunbunnyb/3/75FA

    gunbunnyb/3/75FA Member

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    um guys, not trying to sound like an idiot, but great grandfather on moms side served with the mo.nat. guard with pershing in mexico. his last name started with an m,and granddad on dads side was in ww1, his name started with m as well, problem is i dont have much info on ether man.
     
  13. shutzel

    shutzel recruit

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    My great grandfather served in pattons third army, and until he died in the late 80's noone in the family knew too muchuntil we found 2 silver stars in his nightstand that he hadn't told a soul about. I have always been enamored with patton and all wwII history and would really like to find out why he got those medals. My dad tried once many years ago and was told the records were lost in the fire. Is there any other way I can find out more and also id like to see about getting a set of his medals for myself. Can you please help me with where to start this journey?
     
  14. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    If you are lucky, you may find his name here.

    Index to Army Silver Star Recipient in World War II

    I don't know if the owner of the website has all of the General Orders listed.
    If he does not, the relevant G.O. can be obtained - at cost - from the NARA II, College Park.


    Dave
     
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  15. 693FA

    693FA Member

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    Dave,
    Great link thanks for posting it.....gonna be obtaining one of the aforementioned G.O.'s from NARA now that that site gave me the order# relevant to my uncles Silver Star. Thanks!
     
  16. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    You are very welcome, Clint. By the way, do you need the email address of the NARA in College Park?


    Dave
     
  17. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Another good source if attempting to get copy of a separation paper (WD AGO Form 53-55 or DD-214) is to check the auditors office in the County that he/she would have returned to. The military stress having this important document recorded in case the original is lost or destroyed.

    Also, I didn't see any mention of the Individual Deceased Personnel File if the soldier was killed in action--
    [TABLE="class: MsoNormalTable, width: 90%"]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 93%, bgcolor: transparent"]
    Next-of-kin may request information on veterans who were Killed in Action, (KIA), and in many cases, can get a detailed file on the handling of the body from the time of death until burial in a U.S. Military cemetery and/or removal to the U.S., and in some cases, information on where the body was re-interred in the U.S.A.

    This information is contained in an "Individual Deceased Personnel File (I.D.P.F.), and may be obtained as follows:
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 48%, bgcolor: transparent"] Write to the agency below, requesting the "IDPF". on: Veteran's full name; Army Serial #; Unit if known; date and place of death if known; and your relationship to the deceased veteran.
    The more details that are furnished, the quicker they can research this information and reply to you. Replies typically are made within 6-8 weeks of receiving this data.
    U.S. Army Human Resources Command
    ATTN: AHRC-PAO (FOIA), Rm 7S65
    200 Stovall Street
    Alexandria, VA 22331-0400
    For those who would like a copy of the IDPF for Soldiers that are listed as Missing, body not recovered, they should send their request to:

    U.S. Army Human Resources Command
    ATTN: AHRC-PER, Rm 4S15
    200 Stovall Street
    Alexandria, VA 22331-0482
    This is the office of Repatriation & Family Affairs Division, that deals with those service members missing from previous conflicts i.e., WW II, KOREA, Southeast Asia. [Click Here for a link to their website that might be helpful:].
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
  18. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    This is such a great thread to reference, thought I'd add one more source that may be helpful. Many times the Veterans Administration was given the medical records of soldiers who needed treatment after they were separated from active duty.
    Many times they had these records in 1972 when the infamous fire burned so many records at the NARA in ST. Louis.
    If all else fails, it's worth a try to contact the regional VA office near the soldier's hometown.
     
  19. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    If a veteran was given a military service during burial, the cemetery requires a copy of the separation papers to verify veteran status to qualify for a plat and monument (or headstone). If all else fails, try contacting the cemetery to see if they have a copy of the separation papers on file.
     
  20. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    Remember, the HRC moved to Fort Knox:

    http://www.ww2f.com/information-requests/53184-individual-deceased-personnel-file.html



    Dave
     

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