I got out of the Army in 2002, but just recently requested my military service records. The main reason I waited so long is that I didn’t know how to submit a request. Having a copy of your service records can be beneficial if you are going to file a disability claim with the VA. The VA use your service records as part of their decision-making process for disability claims.
What you get back in your service records request may be different than what I received depending on how your unit kept their records. I received a lot of medical documents and all of my orders (Airborne school, new post assignment, etc.)
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) hold most service records. Their website is pretty good and lets you know which agency has your records if they aren’t at NARA. When I requested my records from NARA, I never received them and they never contacted me to tell me why. Here is why NARA didn’t have them. When you put in a disability claim at the VA, the VA tells NARA to send your service records to the VA. So if you have ever put in a claim at the VA, the VA will be the only agency that has your service records. I had to call them to request that they send me a copy.
So here is the cool thing about requesting your service records from NARA. They send you all of your medals from your DD-214. You will get the ribbon and the medal for most. It takes a few months for the ribbons to get to you but was a pleasant surprise. You will also get any badges you earned like Airborne/Air Assault, etc.
You can fax your request to NARA but I would recommend sending the request using their online submission system. Good luck!