How to Find Military Records of the Deceased

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The National Archives houses records for deceased soldiers.

If you need to track down the military records of someone who has died, the National Archives provides access to a deceased serviceman's history for next of kin as well as the general public. These records can be used for genealogical purposes or for research and are released as part of the Freedom of Information Act. Next of kin is defined as the veteran's un-remarried widow or widower, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister. According to the Privacy Act of 1974, all military records requests must be submitted in writing, although you can begin the application process online.

Things You'll Need

  • Veteran's full name, Social Security number and service number
  • Veteran's dates of service and branch
  • Veteran's birthplace and date of birth
  • Proof of death (if next of kin)
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Instructions

    • 1

      Go to the National Archives eVetRecs page. Click on "Request Military Records" to begin your request.

    • 2

      Complete the required information fields on the request form and choose what portions of the military records you would like to obtain. You will need to complete all four steps in this process.

    • 3

      Print your request form. The deceased veteran's next of kin must also sign and date the application. If you are not next of kin but can reach someone who is, complete the Standard Form 180 (see Resources). If you are the veteran's next of kin, also provide proof of her death in the form of a death certificate, funeral home letter or published obituary.

    • 4

      Mail or fax your application with accompanying forms within 20 days of entering a request. If you do not send your request within 20 days, it will be removed from the online system. Send it to

      The National Personnel Records Center

      Military Personnel Records

      9700 Page Ave.

      St. Louis, MO 63132

      314-801-9195 (fax)

Tips & Warnings

  • Obtaining military records is usually free for veterans, their next of kin and authorized representatives. However, if your request carries a fee, you will be notified as soon as possible.

  • If you think the serviceman's records may have been destroyed in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, you will also need to provide his place of discharge, last assigned unit and place of enlistment.

  • You can also request military records in person by visiting the National Archives and Records Administration's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Additionally, you can contact your state or county veterans agency or hire an independent researcher for assistance.

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References

Resources

  • Photo Credit Rick Hyman/Photodisc/Getty Images

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