Perhaps you have a father, grandfather or even great grandfather who served in the United States military and you want to get a copy of their service record for your family history. Maybe you served in the military yourself many years ago and want to obtain a fresh copy of your service information for your personal records. Whatever the reason for wanting yo get someone’s military service records, you can obtain those records with moderate ease if you know how. Militart rexcords are in the public domain, so anyone can access them if they want to. Read on to learn more about finding public military records.
How do I Search for Military records?
Military records are a really great way to fill I those gaps I your family history information. Many Americans have an ancesrotr who served in a branch of the US military during a war, and so having the military record may be the ony record of their existence you can find. These records a serve as a link to te past and make those who have deceased seem much more real and alive than ever before.
Before you even begin your search, you should make sure you have as much information as possible about the veteran you are looking for. You’ll need t have at least ht efollowing information because so many peoipe have served in the US Armed Forces:
- Their full name.
- Their social security number (If you are looking for someone who served before the Korean War, they will have a special service ID number which is different than their social security number, and having this will make your search easier).
- Their date and place of birth (which can be used in place of the social security number if you don’t have that).
- What branch of the military they served in (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard).
Having this information will make sure that you are able to find the exact right person you are looking for instead of someone who happens to share the same name.
To begin your search for military records, you should visit the website for the National Personnel Records Center. You can find this by going to http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/. Once there, click “Access to Records” under the section, “For the Public.” You’ll then have to specify whether you are next-of-kin or just a general public researcher. Some records are restricted to veterans, next-of-kin or service members, so you may have to be one of those people to access the record you’re looking for in some cases.
At that website, you can simply enter the name of the person you are trying to search for. If you are looking for a distant relative, you may want to consider using alternate spellings of the first and last names because families tend to change how their names are spelled over time in some occasions.
If you can’t find anything on the website or don’t have internet access, you can always write the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis to request information. Simply make a written request for the information you are looking for and mail it to them. If you want to make an appointment or visit, you can request an appointment in writing for a specific date or time. The address for the center is National Military personnel Records Center, Military personnel records, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.
Finally, if those options haven’t helped you locate the ancestor you’re looking for, you can use a service like Ancestry.com to search for publicly available information that other people have found and posted to the internet. If you do you use Ancestry.com, you can simply search the military section of their website or perform an advanced search and make sure “Military” is an option you’ve selected in your advanced search preferences.
I’ve Found Some Military records I Want to View—Now What?
If you have found the military records of the person you’re trying to look for, congratulations! You probably feel excited and interested in moving on to the next step which is actually retrieving the military records. If you’re trying to retrieve the records for your own purposes, you can In order to get the records you’ve been looking for, you need to fill out a special request for and send it in to the National Military personnel Records Center.
To start, you can simply write a letter to the center and request the information for a valid purpose. Some common purposes for retrieving military records include: Genealogical research, VA benefits, Personal military history.
Once you’ve written and explained what you need and why you’re looking for it, explain any deadlines you may be facing when it comes to your records search. Make sure to note any specific forms you are seeking for any reason. You’re dealing with the government and the military, so precision is important.
You’ll also want to include as much of the following information about the serviceman whose records you are requesting as possible:
- 1. The person’s full name
- 2. Place and date of birth
- 3. Dates of service
- 4. Branch of service
- 5. Social security number
- 6. Service number (if applicable)
- 7. Location person entered service
- 8. Unit of last assignment
- 9. Discharge location
If you are a family member requesting the information of a deceased veteran, you’ll have to provide a copy of the death certificate along with your request.
Once you’ve done those things, sign and date your request and then mail it off to the following address:
National Military personnel Records Center
Military personnel records
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.
Alternately, you can use services like eVetRecs and use that to speed along the process and send the request to the National Military personnel Records Center as quickly as possible.
Accessing public military records sounds like it could be a difficult process, but by following these step by step instructions, you’ll find it’s not as hard as it looks. Whether you want to research military records for your family veterans service records, to keep track of your military genealogy records or you simply like to do military records research, contacting the National Archives is the way to go to make a records request. If you want to find the record of a serviceman, send a request to the National Military personnel Records Center today.