by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
Sent off my snail mail request on Saturday to get copies of my Dad’s military and medical records. Have been meaning to do it for a couple months now, but finally made it happen. It’s a pretty simple process, but most folks won’t realize they need to deal with the National Archives, not the military branches.
Couple of things to know:
- If the veteran is living, they have to request their own records.
- If the veteran is deceased, only next of kin can request the records. Next of kin is limited to unremarried surviving spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, sister or brother.
Proof of death must be provided by a death certificate or obituary or death notice, coroner’s report of death, funeral director’s signed statement of death, or verdict of a coroner’s jury.
If you want to request military records for service completed before World War I, National Archives Trust Fund forms must be used to request those records. You can get the forms by email.
While there is a way to file electronically for the records if you’re next of kin, I went with old-fashioned snail mail. Filled out the pretty simple one page form, then figured out based on Dad’s service time where to mail it.
So that envelope is on its way to the National Personnel Records Center in St Louis, MO. They receive between 4,000 and 5,000 record requests a day, so they say not to even ask about status until 90 days have gone by. I will let you know what happens!
Link to National Archives veteran service records – http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/
Link to SF180 Request Form – http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html