Good news for a military veteran, or next of kin of deceased, former military member as they could now get online DD-214 form, also called the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
You may know that earlier there was just one way to get a record of previous military service i.e. via mail, for which you had to submit a written request and wait for an answer. Those days are gone now, as the DD-214 form that you need, can be requested online (http://vetrecs.archives.gov/). The US Department of Defense issues the separation document – DD Form 214, which contains details about a service member’s military separation, discharge, or retirement. Note that this new online military personnel records system can be used by only military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former members of the military, to request the documents. The next of kin can be any one of them like surviving other half that has not remarried, mother, father, daughter, son, sister or brother.
When an individual is separated from military service, his/her Field Personnel File that includes all military and health records is forwarded for storage to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), which comes under the jurisdiction of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the United States Government. NPRC has provided this website (http://vetrecs.archives.gov/) for veterans to get access to their DD-214 online; though it will still take a number of weeks to months to process your DD-214. In case, you need your DD-214 quickly, then you’ll have to hire a private research company with researchers situated at different facilities where your DD-214 may be placed. Don’t worry, if you are not the veteran or next of kin, as you can complete the Standard Form 180 (SF 180), then mail it or fax it to the proper address given on the form.
A DD214 is provided to all military members upon discharge from service for both active duty and reserves, also it is given to all branches of the military including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. A DD214 is helpful to find out eligibility for a VA loan, medical benefits, education benefits, and other Veterans benefits. In case, you lose your DD214, then you could get another. There are many ways to obtain a DD214.
Different ways to request your DD-214:
Online – Just head over to www.archives.gov, go to section ‘Veterans Service Records’, and click on ‘Request DD 214/Separation Document Online’ link. Then, you will be directed to the page of Request your military service records online, by mail, or by fax, and click on ‘Submit your request online’ link and hit ‘Continue’ button to start filling out your request. Select ‘Veteran’ or ‘Next of Kin’. If you select ‘Next of Kin’, choose the alternative best representing your rapport to the veteran, and if you select ‘Veteran’ then skip this step.
Your next step is to select ‘Former Military Service’ or ‘Current Military Service’, then hit ‘Continue’ button. Specify service branch, service part – Active, Reserve or National Guard; Officer or Enlisted and Reason for Request, then press ‘Continue’ button. Specify the veteran's name and birth date, mention social security number, service number and fairly accurate date he left the service if you know, or leave empty if you don't.
Specify whichever you want from a deleted or undeleted Report of Separation (it includes items like character of separation, authority for separation, reason for separation, reenlistment eligibility code, separation code and dates of time lost). A deleted report will not contain these details. Then, you need to give your name, street address and email address, and hit ‘Continue’ button. On the next screen, review the details that you've given, hit ‘Previous’ if you want to make changes, otherwise hit ‘Continue’. Then, you have to print, sign and date your verification form. Under federal law, the veteran or next of kin has to submit all requests for military records and details in writing. Mail or fax your form to the National Personnel Records Center for processing (the address and fax number are given on the form).
Digital Express – If you want your DD-214 speedily, you must request the services of a DD-214 express service. Touchstone Research Group is one of these companies. You can get a description of their DD-214 Express Service at http://dd214express.com/. There are several services found online, and generally you have to pay a fee for it.
Fax – This is also another option to request DD-214 duplicate copies directly from the National Personnel Records Center by faxing a completed and signed SF-180 form to fax number 314-801-9195.
Mail – Mail a written request for your DD214 to:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138.