Military personnel records prove military service and show medals awarded during a veteran's time in the armed forces. Records older than 62 years, including WWII personnel records, are archived and held by the National Archives & Records Administration. WWII medals and commendations are listed in a report of separation. Form SF180, "Request Pertaining to Military Records", is used to request copies of reports of separation. Requests may also be made online at a website provided by the National Archives.
Download the SF180 Request Pertaining to Military Records from www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs if you wish to submit a standard records request. Open the form in any PDF reader program. Read the first page and fill in all requested information in Section I of the second page. In Section II, place a check next to "DD Form 214 or equivalent" and select "undeleted" or "deleted" record based on your needs. Select one or more purposes for the request in Question 2 of Section II. Chose your relationship to the veteran in Section III. Enter your mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, and the date in Section III.
Print the SF180 and sign your name in Question 3 of Section III. Mail the completed form to National Archives & Records Administration, Old Military and Civil Records (NWCTB-Military), Textual Services Division, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20408-0001.
Go to vetrecs.archives.gov if you wish to complete a request for records online and print it from the Internet. This method creates a document with a bar-code and speeds up the processing of your request. Click "Launch eVetRecs -- Request Military Records" in the column on the right side of the page. Read the Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act notices and click "Continue".
Select "Next of Kin of Deceased Veteran" in the first drop-down menu. Select your relationship to the veteran in Question 2 and select "Former Military Service" in Question 3. Click "Continue" in the right-side column.
Select the appropriate military branch, service component and enlisted or officer status in Questions 4 through 6. Choose "Employment" in Question 7 and "Service Verification" in Question 8, then click "Continue" in the right-side column.
Enter the first, middle and last names of the veteran in Step 3. Leave the "Social Security Number" space blank. Enter the date and place of the veteran's birth and the military service number if known. Refer to the red-coloured text next to each question to see the appropriate format for each entry. Enter the approximate date of separation from military service in the last space and click "Continue". In the next section, chose an undeleted or deleted version of the report depending on your needs and click "Continue". Enter your name and mailing address and, if you wish, your phone number and e-mail address and click "Continue" again.
Review and verify the summary of information you have entered. If you need to make changes, click "Previous" and correct any missing information or errors before proceeding. Click "Continue" if all the information is accurate.
Print the signature verification document and sign and print your name in the blank spaces. Mail the first page of the verification to NPRC WEB, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100 or fax the first page to 314-801-9049.
Wait for the records to be found, copied and mailed to you (this may take several weeks). You will be notified if there is a fee associated with your archival request. When the Report of Separation arrives review the Service Data section to see a list of specific medals and commendations that the veteran was awarded during their military service career.
The military did not begin using social security numbers for tracking purposes until July 1, 1969 so provide the veteran's military service number. If you do not know the military service number give as many details as possible, especially the date and place of birth.
Tips and warnings
- The military did not begin using social security numbers for tracking purposes until July 1, 1969 so provide the veteran's military service number. If you do not know the military service number give as many details as possible, especially the date and place of birth.