Military Service Records and Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs, DD Form 214)
If you’ve been discharged from military service, your personnel files are stored here at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). We are 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.
Recent military service and medical records are not online. However, most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other records several ways:
Use our eVetRecs system to create your request
Mail or Fax a Standard Form SF-180
Learn more about requesting military service records
Military personnel records are primarily administrative records and can contain information such as:
duty stations and assignments
training, qualifications, performance
awards and medals
separation/discharge/retirement (including DD Form 214, Report of Separation, or equivalent)
and other personnel actions.
Detailed information about the veteran’s participation in military battles and engagements is NOT contained in the record.
Most Official Military Personnel Files contain both personnel and active duty health records, but this practice was discontinued by the service branches beginning in 1992. See Military Medical and Health Records for more details.
The National Archives’s National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records) (NPRC-MPR) stores records of individual military service pertaining to former service members who no longer have a service obligation. Included are records of veterans who are completely discharged (with no remaining reserve commitment), or who are retired or have died. Records are usually transferred to NPRC (MPR) within six months after these events. NPRC (MPR) does not have records of members who are still in the active or inactive reserves or in the National Guard. The records of each military service department on file at NPRC (MPR) are listed under Location of Military Service Records.
The Department of Defense and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) signed an agreement to make the Official Military Personnel Files a permanent series of records, transferred to NARA custody 62 years after the service member’s separation from the military. The new Archival Program Division at the National Personnel Records Center now holds nearly 1.2 million official military personnel files of former US Navy and Marine Corps enlisted personnel who served between 1885 and 1939. Also available are the records of 150 “persons of exceptional prominence”, including former Presidents, famous military leaders, celebrities, entertainers and professional athletes who served in the military and have been deceased for at least 10 years. These records above are open to the public and researchers at the Archival Research Room.
You can read more about Official Military Personnel Files and the activities within the NPRC in the article 20th-Century Veterans’ Service Records Safe, Secure—and Available.
Additional information on the contents of Military Service Records and Personnel Files:
Navy Service Records
From the Navy Office of Information
Content of the Official Military Personnel File
From the Marine Corps Personnel Management Support Branch
Special Notice to Veterans and Family Members regarding requests for copies of military personnel and/or medical files