What You Need to Know to get a Copy of DD214
So you say you can’t find your separation document and you need to get a copy of DD214? Or you need to find it for your relative? You can obtain separation documents (usually called a DD-214) from The National Archives. The process is rather simple and for most cases it takes 3-4 weeks (or less). Before you begin you should gather as much of the following information as you can:
- The veteran’s complete name used while in service
- Service number (for most people it’s the same as the social security number)
- Social security number
- Branch of service
- Dates of service
- Date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).
In 1973 there was a fire where military records are stored. If you were in the Army before 1960, there’s 4 in 5 chance that your records were destroyed. If you were in the Air Force before 1964 and your name comes after Hubbard, James E., there’s a 3 in 4 chance your records are gone. 1973 fire is the web page at the National Archives that gives you the details.
If your service records were destroyed the Archives will try to provide proof of service based on other types of military records. They’re going to need the following information so you might as well include it on your first application:
- Place of discharge
- Last unit of assignment
- Place of entry into the service, if known.
All requests to get a copy of DD214 must be signed and dated by the veteran or next-of-kin.
If you are the next of kin of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary.
Requesting your Documents
You can request your documents either on-line or by mail. You can download the paper application here.
Visit this page, click ‘Launch the eVetRecs system to start your request Online’ and answer the questions. When you’re done, print, sign and either fax or mail the signature page to the address listed on the request form.
If you do not require an official copy of the DD-214 and the Veteran is/was enrolled with the VA health care system, you might be able to contact their local VA hospital and ask for a copy of the form.
I need my records today!
If time is a serious issue an organization that has provided reliable service to Veterans and their families is the Aardvark Research Group. This is not a free service but the turnaround time is much shorter. ARG is located near the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. They will provide certified copies of original DD214’s, usually within a day or so, for $89. ARG has an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has been providing this expedited option to veterans since 2007. Records can be ordered online through their website www.aardvarkresearchgroup.com.
Help make this resource available to more veterans by making a donation.