Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.
Access to Military Records by the General Public
Limited information from Official Military Personnel Files is releasable to the general public without the consent of the veteran or the next-of-kin. Next-of-kin is defined as the unremarried widow or widower, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran.
The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) normally responds in ten (10) working days or less. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts
due to the 1973 fire or older records may take much longer (such as requests for your complete Official Military Personnel File).
Not all convictions can be expunged. Traffic convictions CANNOT be expunged (with the exception of first offense failure to stop for a blue light). Fish and Wildlife convictions CANNOT be expunged.
Records are usually free for veterans, next-of-kin, and authorized representatives. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as possible.
Your request must contain certain basic information to locate your service records. This information includes:
into the service, if known.
Recommended Information (optional)
While this information is not required, it is extremely helpful in understanding and fulfilling your request:
“Emergency” Requests and Deadlines
If there is an emergency, please explain this in the “Purpose” section of the SF-180.
If your request involves a burial in a National Cemetery, the cemetery staff will work to obtain the required records for the service.
If your request involves funeral services provided by a non-VA/private provider, the next of kin may fax the request.
Checking the Status of Your Request:
Once you have allowed time to receive and process your request (about 10 days), you may check the status of your request by e-mail through the NPRC
Customer Service Center at email@example.com.
Please provide the request number, the name, address and phone number of the requester, and the veteran’s branch of service to aid in finding your
You will receive a return e-mail with a projected completion date for your request.
You may telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line: 314-801-0800.
Where to send your request
You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives’s National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC. Be sure to use the address specified
by the instructions on the SF-180.
NPRC Fax Number:
NPRC Mailing Address:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
- Food Stamps
- Social Security
- Supplemental Security Income
- Unemployment Compensation
- Veterans Benfits
- Consumer & Bankruptcy
- Federal Income Tax
- Migrant Farm Workers
Additional information may be found at:
South Carolina’s guide to free legal resources
This brochure was prepared by South Carolina Legal Services and is provided as a public service.
Copyright retained by South Carolina Legal Services
Printed January 2010
South Carolina Legal Services is a statewide law firm that provides civil legal services to protect the rights and represent the interests of low-income South Carolinians.
All low-income South Carolinians will have full and fair access to justice.