How to request your military service records

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 ┬ámost service records. Their website is pretty good and┬álets 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!