Military Records and Identification | USAGov (2023)

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On This Page

  • Request Military Records
  • Get a Military or Veteran Identification (ID) Card
  • Correct a Military Service Record or Discharge
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Request Military Records

Military records help prove military service when applying for jobs or government benefits. They’re also helpful for ancestry and historical research.

Most military records are on paper or microfilm and you’ll need to request printed copies to be mailed to you. They are not typically available to view online.

Types of Military Records

World War I - Present

You can find veterans’ military service records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The NPRC houses many types of records, including Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF). These files can include the Report of Separation (DD Form 214) and show a veteran’s service history, which may include:

  • Enlistment or appointment and separation dates

  • Duty stations and assignments

  • Training and qualifications

  • Awards

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  • Disciplinary actions

Veterans’ health and medical records are located in various places, depending on their branch and date of separation. See this chart of locations of veterans’ medical and health records.

Before World War I

You can find older military service records (generally before World War I) from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Request Recent Military Records (World War I - Present)

If You Are a Veteran or Next-of-Kin

To get a copy of the vet’s military records, you can:

Most requests are free.

If You Are Not the Veteran or Next-of-Kin

You can only get limited information about non-archival records without the consent of the veteran or next-of-kin. Non-archival records are those from 62 years ago to the present. Learn about access to non-archival military records by the general public and researchers.

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Request Older Military Records (Before World War I)

You can order older military personnel records online or with a downloadable form. You may have to pay a fee for copies of archival Official Military Personnel Files, including those of veterans discharged more than 62 years ago.

Check the Status of Your Military Records Request

To check the status of your order for recent records (World War I - Present), contact the National Personnel Records Center. For older military records (generally before 1917), contact the National Archives.

Get a Military or Veteran Identification (ID) Card

Military identification (ID) cards are U.S. government property for use only by the issued card holder.

Get or Replace a Military ID Card

  • Use the ID Card Office Locatorto find an ID card office near you. Be sure to check a location's details or call that office to verify ID card issuing hours. Some offices allow or require you to make an appointment.

  • Be sure to bring the required identification documentsto the ID Card office.

Report a Lost or Stolen ID Card

  • If you are a military member, report lost or stolen cards to your base security officer or through your chain of command.

  • If you find a military ID card, return it to the nearest ID card office.

  • Or, mail it to:

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CMC Consumables Team
Defense Manpower Data Center
2102 E 21st Street N
Wichita, Kansas 67214

VeteranIdentification Card (VIC)

A VIC is a veteranphoto ID card that you can use to get veterans discounts, whichmany restaurants and businesses offer.

  • To be eligible, you must have received an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions).

  • To learn more about the card and how to apply,visit this page.

  • If you already have a VeteranHealth Identification Card, you do notneed a VIC card.

VeteranHealth Identification Card (VHIC)

The Veteran Health Identification Card is for use at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. If you're enrolled in VA health care, you'll receive one.

Correct a Military Service Record or Discharge

As a veteran, you can request changes to your military record or discharge. You can also request changes if you are the

  • Surviving spouse
  • Next of kin
  • Legal representative of a deceased or incompetent veteran

DOD Forms for Requesting Changes

More Information from the Services

For more information and where to send your completed DOD form, visit:

(Video) Reacher's Extraordinary Military Record

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Last Updated: November 10, 2022



Can you look up someone's military ID? ›

Verification of Military Service

Please use the Defense Manpower Data Center's (DMDC) Military Verification service to verify if someone is in the military. The website will tell you if the person is currently serving in the military. The site is available 24-hours a day.

How do I look up someone's military record? ›

You can find veterans' military service records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The NPRC houses many types of records, including Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF).

Can you look up military records for free? ›

Generally there is no charge for basic military personnel and medical record information provided to veterans, next of kin and authorized representatives from Federal (non-archival) records. Some companies advertise DD Form 214 research services and will charge a fee for obtaining copies.

Can I view my military service records online? ›

You can also check the status of your military records request by signing in to milConnect and going to the Personnel File tab within the Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS) section. This is also where you'll review and download your files once they're ready.

How to find a veteran by name for free? ›

The National Archives offers a database of veterans that individuals may search for free, on most occasions. The free military records search is helpful for confirming service along with other documentation.

Is a dishonorable discharge still a veteran? ›

' A dishonorable discharge limits eligibility for certain U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and programs, but it doesn't mean that the person is not a veteran for HMIS and PIT Count purposes.

Is a person's military record public? ›

Archival military service records are records of veterans who were discharged OVER than 62 years ago from today's date and are open to the public. Non-archival military service records are records of veterans who were discharged LESS than 62 years ago from today's date and are not open to the public.

Can you search military records by serial number? ›

All the records and documentation for the Army Serial Number File are available online through the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) at

How do I verify veteran status? ›

To verify Veteran status, CVE generally requests the applicant to provide official documentation from the military such as an individual's DD-214 form. A letter of explanation will not satisfy this requirement.

Is a DD-214 public record? ›

D-214 Military Discharge Papers and Separation Documents

Discharge documents are confidential and are not available to the general public. To obtain a certified copy of a military discharge form DD-214, you must be authorized under Section 6107 of the Government Code.

What benefits can I get if my father was in the military? ›

If you're the surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died in the line of duty, or the survivor of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, you may be able to get a tax-free monetary benefit called VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC).

What does DD-214 stand for? ›

The report of separation form issued in most recent years is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Before January 1, 1950, several similar forms were used by the military services, including the WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD and the NAVCG 553.

How do I get a copy of my military medical records? ›

To request a complete copy of your health record, you'll need to submit a Request Pertaining to Military Records (SF 180) to the applicable organization as identified on the form.

When did the military stop using service numbers? ›

Service numbers were eventually phased out completely by the social security number; the Army and Air Force converted to social security numbers on 1 July 1969, the Navy and Marine Corps on 1 January 1972, and the Coast Guard on 1 October 1974.

Do reservists get a DD-214? ›

Under the announced DoD policy, Guardsmen and Reservists will receive DD-214-1 forms, which will more accurately document their complete time of service and ensure they receive the military benefits they have earned.

How do I find out what medals my father was awarded? ›

Forms, addresses, and other information on requesting medals can be found on the Military Personnel Records section of NPRC's Website at For questions, call Military Personnel Records at (314) 801-0800, or e-mail questions to:

How do I claim benefits for a deceased veteran? ›

How to Apply
  1. You can apply online at, OR.
  2. To submit a paper application, download and complete VA Form 21P-530, Application for Burial Allowance and mail it to the Pension Management Center that serves your state, OR.
  3. Work with an accredited representative, OR.

Is veteran advantage free? ›

VetRewards Card Plan Options & Pricing

There is a free Veterans Advantage plan that gives you access to certain military discounts, a jobs & career network, and free Veterans Advantage events.

What are the 5 types of military discharges? ›

There are many types of military discharges, including an honorable military discharge, general discharge, under other than honorable conditions, bad conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, and entry-level separation.

How long do you have to be in the military to be considered a veteran? ›

"As long as you were deployed on active duty for at least 180 days and you didn't get a dishonorable discharge or a bad conduct discharge coming off those orders, then you could be considered a veteran," said Army Sgt.

Do you get a military funeral with a dishonorable discharge? ›

Understanding military funeral honors and eligibility

The following persons are not eligible for military funeral honors: Individuals separated from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions or those who have been barred from veteran's benefits. Those who have been convicted of a federal or state capital crime.

Can police access military records? ›

Upon request by a law enforcement officer or a prosecutor, the bureau may release information regarding a person's military service for the purposes of investigating alleged false claims of service or decoration awarded for service in the Armed Forces of the United States or a state military force.

What is a DD 14? ›

What is a DD214? The Defense Department issues to each veteran a DD-214, identifying the veteran's condition of discharge - honorable, general, other than honorable, dishonorable or bad conduct.

What is the military Records Privacy Act? ›

The Privacy Act of 1974 provides protections for the release of records from federal agencies that contain personally identifiable information. It blocks the release of these records without your written consent, unless one of 12 exceptions applies.

Where are military records stored? ›

The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. (Records prior to WWI are in Washington, DC.)

What does a military serial number look like? ›

The following formats were used to denote U.S. military service numbers: 12-345-678: United States Army and U.S. Air Force enlisted service numbers. 123-45-67: United States Navy enlisted service numbers. 1234-567: United States Coast Guard enlisted service numbers.

Are you a veteran if you only did basic training? ›

If a person has only completed boot camp or never completed basic training, would they be considered a veteran? No, training doesn't count as active duty.

What form is proof of military service? ›

A DD Form 214 proves military service. Obtaining a copy is essential if you want access to many of the benefits and services available to you. Often referred to as the Report of Separation (freedom documents, promotion to Mr. or Ms.

Is a VA ID the same as a military ID? ›

Veterans ID Cards

Please note these veteran ID cards are not military ID cards. They simply show you served honorably in the U.S. Military, and will not function to provide military benefits, base access, or other veterans' benefits.

Can you look up US military members? ›

It's not easy to find military members or get their contact information. There's no database to search. And privacy laws and military rules don't allow the services to share this information.

Can I send someone a picture of my military ID? ›

According to Title 18, US Code, Part I, Chapter 33, Section 701, Official Badges, Identification Cards, Other Insignia, the photocopying of military identification is illegal and violations of this law are punishable by fine or imprisonment.

Do soldiers have an ID number? ›

A service number is an identification code used to identify a person within a large group. Service numbers are most often associated with the military; however, they may be used in civilian organizations as well.

How do I find my military service number? ›

What if You Don't Know Your Military Service Number? If you served before the military's switch to using SSNs as identification numbers, your military ID number is on your DD Form 214.

Are all military records public? ›

Without the Veteran or Next-of-Kin's authorization:

Without the consent of the veteran or next-of-kin, the NPRC can only release limited information from non-archival Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) to the general public.

How do I verify Veteran status? ›

To verify Veteran status, CVE generally requests the applicant to provide official documentation from the military such as an individual's DD-214 form. A letter of explanation will not satisfy this requirement.

Why can't you photocopy a military ID? ›

Photocopied cards might be used for counterfeiting purposes, with no real safeguards against it. Since criminals and terrorists value U.S. government IDs when they're trying to plan acts against the U.S. military, it's best to not give them that chance.

What can someone do with a military ID? ›

A Department of Defense (DoD) Identification Card is used to show your military status and to get access to services at military bases. You may also use this card to get discounts offered to Veterans at many stores, businesses, and restaurants.

Do veterans have military IDs? ›

A Veteran ID Card (VIC) is a digital form of photo ID you can use to get discounts offered to Veterans at many restaurants, hotels, stores, and other businesses. Find out if you're eligible for a Veteran ID Card—and how to apply.

Can I get a military ID if my dad is a veteran? ›

A surviving spouse and eligible children of deceased active-duty members, retired military members, Medal of Honor recipients and 100% disabled veterans are eligible for military IDs.

Can I get a military ID with my DD214? ›

Veterans can now easily prove their eligibility to receive California state and federal veterans benefits without having to carry inconvenient and inefficient papers. Applying for the veteran driver's license and ID is easy: Simply find your military discharge certificate (DD214).

What are the 4 types of veterans? ›

Under VEVRAA, a veteran may be classified as a ''disabled veteran,'' ''recently separated veteran,'' ''active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,'' or ''Armed Forces service medal veteran. ''

Is your military ID number your Social Security number? ›

As of June 2011, the Social Security Number (SSN) is no longer printed on any DoD ID card. These changes are being made by the Department of Defense to protect the personal identity information of cardholders. ID Card Changes: New ID cards will have a DoD ID Number in place of the SSN.

How do I replace my lost military ID? ›

If you lose your Uniformed Services ID Card, you should go to the nearest Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System (RAPIDS) site and obtain your new card. You can use the RAPIDS Site Locator to find your nearest RAPIDS site. Updating information on your card starts with updating information in DEERS.


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