When requesting the military records for an individual veteran from the national archives, I was only sent the discharge summary. How do I know if there are any more records available for the individual? Is there a better way to request the records than http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/ to ensure you are getting all the records?

2 Answers 2


I don't know what information eVetRecs asks for since I'm not next of kin for any vets, but I know that the SF-180 asks you to specify which records you want. It includes checkboxes for:

  • DD Form 2141
  • All documents in the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF)
  • Medical Records
  • Other

The "Other" option has a line next to it for specifying the additional records. What could you put there? Well I was pointed to that form by an actual vet last week (we had a conversation about my grandfather) and in addition to the above options he suggested I ask for officer evaluation reports2 and military schooling and evaluation records3.

The 1973 Fire may complicate things for you.

More information about requesting records can be found at the St Louis Archives page on military personnel records access.

1: DD Form 214 is probably the discharge summary you mentioned.
2: The vet told me that these are evaluations done at least once a year my their superior officer.
3: This would be a listing of all training he has received as well as his "grades."

  • @DavidSmith I'll be trying this out soon with my own grandfather. I'll tell you how it goes.
    – user47
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 2:49
  • From using the website, I had requested the "Personal Military History" option which was "DD Form 214". It implied that if I wanted other records then I needed to ask for them in the comments but I didn't know what other records were available for him. It sounds like I need to do another request but use the non-online request using form SF-180 and check "All Documents in Official Military Personnel File". Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 15:40
  • @DavidSmith Did you ever submit a request using the SF-180? I received the records for my grandfather a short while ago. It's a stack of pages at least an inch thick. Cost $9.50 in postage for them to send it to me.
    – user47
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 3:56
  • Yes, I did request it and got about 20 pages that I hadn't before (and for no charge). They also suggested that there are other documents that weren't included in my "Send me everything" request and I just need to request them specifically. Commented Sep 22, 2013 at 18:31

Check the Veterans' Administration website for specific help in making a request. After sending the request, expect a response that says they don't have records because of the 1973 fire. If that happens, send another request! My second request got to a second NARA researcher who DID find my father's military records. They were damaged in the fire, but portions survived in good enough shape to begin to piece together his record.
Be prepared to pay a small fortune for the copies. My Dad's record cost me $50, and that was almost 2 years ago. All that said, it's still worth asking. Be sure to give them all the information you have about the veteran. If you don't know the actual dates of service, try to provide a reasonable estimated timeframe (and be sure to say it's an "estimate").
Good luck!

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