How to Find Military Records

Military Records
Military Records

How to request military records

Note: This article is out of date. Please read our article How to Find Someone in the Military.

Private investigators often received requests to obtain military records from all branches of the United States Military. Military records are mostly recorded with the Clerk and Recorder and are called DD214s or Certificates of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. These records are confidential by nature and so are not readily available to anyone but the veteran or to the kin of a deceased soldier. The information is also available to people who have previously served in the military.

If you ask a private investigator to request military records, then they will need to obtain the required information from the OMPF or Official Military Personnel Files. To get this information you will need to contact the National Personnel Records Center or NPRC at 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis MO 63138. You can also call and ask for this information by dialing 314 801 0800. Alternatively, you can fax your request to 314 801 9195.

If you are a veteran or if you are a spouse of a dead soldier then these records can be obtained via the Internet. However, you cannot make a request for this information by email. You can only get the military records via fax and snail mail.

After making a request for military records you will need to wait patiently for about 12 weeks (three months). However, should you need the records by a certain date then you will have to make that clear in your request. You need to state in your request that this is an emergency case. Fax the request to the emergency fax number, which is 314 801 0764. Once the office receives the request they will do their best to send the information as soon as possible.

It is possible for the general public to access certain information about a veteran without needing his or her prior authorization. This military service info is also available without getting the consent of the kin of a deceased veteran. The information you can get from the Official Military Personnel Files (without invading anybody’s privacy) includes the name of the soldier, his or her service number, dates when they started and ended their service, and branch of service.

Other pieces of information that are provided include final duty status and the last rank the soldier achieved as well as his or her assignments as well as geographical locations. The information released also includes the level of military education the soldier achieved and what awards and decorations he or she was eligible for. You will also get to see a photograph of the soldier as well as a transcript of any court-martial proceedings against him or her. Finally, the information that is released will also state the place where the soldier entered and left service.

If you are seeking information about a deceased veteran then the information released will only include the birthplace of the veteran, the date as well as the geographical location of his or her death, and the place where he or she was buried.

It is important to keep in mind that most information in the Federal Official Personnel Folder is not actually available to the public at large. To obtain the information it is necessary to get the written consent of the soldier whose military records are required. However, according to the Freedom of Information Act, it is possible to obtain certain information without requiring the concerned soldier’s consent. According to the Office of Personnel Management, the following information is available to everyone:

  • The name of the soldier
  • The positions currently held as well as past positions held by the soldier
  • The grades he presently holds and has held in the past
  • The places where he or she has worked

Cost of Military Records

It does not cost anything to obtain the records. This holds true even if you need the information urgently. If you need the information urgently then you will probably receive the military records within a month or between four and six weeks. The standard time taken to obtain the information is between 3 and 4 months.

Investigation of military records is a very particular kind of background check that is used to take a closer peek at the military career of individuals who are or have served in the military. It is not easy to obtain military records, which is why private investigators are often recruited to find the desired information. Private investigators will find out the conduct of people who have served in the military.

They will try to establish whether a particular individual had a clean military record and whether the soldier received an honorable discharge. In certain cases, the investigator may be looking for evidence that can be substantiated to support a claim of an award or honor.

Private investigators need to find out whether the solider in question has ever committed a crime for which the military courts convicted him or her and if such a solider has been convicted then what were the charges and what quantum of punishment was meted out to him or her.

Requesting and getting military records is not an easy procedure because the armed forces are less than enthusiastic about releasing information about their soldiers to anyone who is not directly connected with the military.

A properly trained private investigator can overcome hurdles and can create a detailed profile of anyone who has served in the armed forces.

There are many military personnel who make claims about their exemplary military records. These people also claim that they got an honorable discharge and that they received many honors and awards from the armed services. It is up to a good private investigator to find out whether the claims are true or concocted.

So, if you want to know the truth about people who have served in the military then you should immediately hire a private investigator to find out the truth. Though the investigator will take his or her time, they will put in a lot of effort to get to the truth. They will provide you with an accurate and honest picture of the service of a soldier. So, if you need to request military records, don’t try it on your own. Instead, hire a good private investigator to help you out.

Learn more about how to uncover background history.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


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