Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last year, I became a hospice care volunteer. I am the first in a new State program where I (as a
Veteran) visit other Veterans. In the short time Iíve been doing this, the main question Iím asked
(by either the patient or caregiver) is about obtaining copies of the patientís military records.
Iíve been doing this for other veterans since my enlistment (1974), so am very familiar with the
The reason for this letter is to highly recommend that if you (or someone you know) does not possess
a copy of their military records, please ensure you take the time to investigate
NOW. The time to
do it isnít when the military member is faced with a medical emergency and/or requiring VA health
care. Even if the military member doesnít want VA coverage (or a military burial), that may change
later in life.
History: If youíre not aware, there was a major fire in St. Louis during 1973 that destroyed almost
18 million records (http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/fire-1973.html). You can request a copy of military records by going to http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/about-ompfs.html.
You can pay for services like http://www.myfreedd214.com/ but theyíre
a rip off. Trust me; everyone (eventually) goes through the National Archives.
If you assume the military has copies of these records, well, think again. I
recently read a letter sent by the National Archives to a fellow Veteran that
basically said his records had been destroyed in the earlier fire and unless he
could provide additional information, he never served. Now, this particular
Veteran happens to be bed ridden, on oxygen and 94 years old! Obviously he canít
research anything and unfortunately all of his personal records had been
destroyed in an earlier fire. Fortunately I remembered that years ago when
someone was discharged, the S-1 of the unit provided the State home of record a
copy of their DD214.
Again, donít wait around to obtain copies of military records. When in doubt, well, get them
One of the best reference sites Iíve found regarding DD214s is http://dd214.us/
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