The Department of Defense Form 214, DD Form 214, or DD 214, is an essential document for veterans. Your DD214 reflects your military service records and serves as official proof to verify military service. Obtaining your military personnel records is vital to claim the many benefits and services available to you as a veteran.
Considering how vital it is to secure an official military personnel file, can you view your military records online? This guide will help you comprehend the procedure for accessing military discharge documents online.
What Is DD214?
DD 214 is a record the Department of Defense issues to prove that an individual was part of the military. Also known as a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, this document is vital to veterans because it allows them to obtain all veterans benefits they are entitled to. It serves as their official military personnel file once they have left the military. Considering how essential DD214 is in life post-service, it would be a great idea to keep multiple copies of your DD214.
The DD214 contains vital information usually needed to verify one’s military service. This information includes the following:
- Entry date and place into military service
- Mailing address upon entry into the military
- Separation date and location from military service
- Active duty home address
- Most recent duty assignment and rank
- Military job specialty
- Military education
- Medals and accolades received during the time of service
- Total service that is creditable
- Foreign service credited
- Service member’s separation
Can I View My DD214 Online?
Recent military service records and medical records are unavailable for viewing online. However, most veterans and their next of kin can request their military records online.
Alternatively, you can explore traditional ways of requesting military service records, like mail or fax. This is usually a free service, provided you’re in the continental US.
Online Access to DD214
The most common method people use to access their military records is through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The National Personnel Records Center serves as the repository of the majority of official military personnel files and medical records. If you are a veteran or their next of kin, you may submit a request at vetrecs.archives.gov.
Alternatively, you can access the milConnect website to process your request. You don’t have to pay a fee for your request. However, you may have to pay if your mailing address is outside the continental US.
Suppose you choose to request your military records through the eVetRecs website. Here are the proper steps to follow:
- Choose the Make a New Request button on the first page.
- Indicate if you are a veteran, their next-of-kin, or others. Specify if your request involves current or former military personnel.
- In the Veteran Service Details tab, share the veteran’s branch of service and service component. You should also indicate whether the veteran was an Officer or Enlisted. Then, specify the purpose of your request.
- In the Veteran’s Information tab, indicate the veteran’s complete name, social security number, date and place of birth, service or serial number, and service member’s separation and entry date into service.
- In the Documents Requested tab, specify which official document you need. In this case, you should indicate that you’re requesting DD214. You must also choose the type of report of separation (undeleted or deleted) to receive. An undeleted report is a copy of a complete separation document. Meanwhile, a deleted report of separation will not include certain information.
- In the Requester Information tab, share your name, contact details, and address.
- Review all the information shared and ensure there are no errors. If you’re confident everything is accurate, click submit.
If you submit your request via the milConnect website, you must follow these steps:
- Once you sign in, click or tap on Correspondence/Documentation. Select Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRI) from the drop-down menu.
- Choose the Personnel File tab, and select Request My Personnel File.
- Fill out the form with pertinent information. In the Document Index section, indicate that you’re requesting DD214.
- Click the Create and Send Request button to have them process your request.
Both official government platforms require you to share basic information about the veteran. Thus, you should confirm the veteran’s personal military history before submitting a request. Putting inaccurate data in your request form may delay its processing period or result in denial.
Traditional Methods of Obtaining DD214
The most traditional method to obtain one’s DD214 is by submitting a Standard Form 180 or SF-180. You may download the SF-180 in PDF format online. Alternatively, contact the National Personnel Records Center to get a copy of the form through the mail. You can also request this form from the Department of Defense, the Federal Records Center program, veterans service organizations, or local Veterans Administration offices.
If you can’t obtain an SF-180, you may still get military records through a written request. However, it involves sharing enough information to allow the government to identify the proper document and speed up the process. Some important information you can share includes the following:
- The veteran’s full name in active duty
- Service or social security number
- Military branch of service.
- Dates of service (entry and discharge date)
- Date and place of birth
- Place of discharge and entry
- Last duty assignment
It should be highlighted that you cannot submit a request for multiple veterans in one form or letter. You need to submit individual request documents to obtain their military personnel records. In addition, this should be a signed and dated request. This applies to both online and traditional requests. Requesting documents is free, provided your address is in the continental US.
You can submit your request via mail or fax to the NPRC:
National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
If you choose to fax the letter or SF-180, you may send it to 314-801-9195.
You can also visit the National Personnel Records Center office. Their office can help you process your request. If the NPRC office is too far, you may also contact your state or county’s Veterans’ agency. Hiring an independent researcher may also help obtain military personnel records but at a cost.
Limitations and Considerations
Technically speaking, you cannot automatically access your military records online. The government doesn’t always have your basic military personnel files available. Moreover, the government may take some time to process your separation documents. It may take a few weeks or months to process your requests; you need to explain why the request must be expedited for emergency requests to be fast-tracked.
Moreover, the general public, even foreign nationals, may be able to access limited information about a veteran online. While the law provides access restrictions to the general public, anyone can request documents online.
If the veteran you’re requesting was discharged over 62 years ago, their military service records are available to the public. However, you should submit a request to the National Archives. If that veteran was discharged less than 62 years ago, the public is only given limited information.
It should be emphasized how important it is to ensure all the information you share is correct or updated. If not, you may jeopardize your document request. Given how vital military service records are to obtaining veterans’ benefits, you must ensure that all the information you provide is accurate. You should also ensure there are no errors or omissions in the DD 214. If you find any inaccuracies, you may request them to be updated.
Since anyone can access limited information about any service member online, you should safeguard your personal information. There are many scams nowadays, and you should protect yourself from identity theft. Now that technology has become so advanced, it may be possible for some people to forge their way into posing as service members. It would help to be vigilant about who you share your personal information with. The consequences may be severe. There are instances where service records should be shown on a need-to-know basis only.
Given how pertinent your military records are to your life post-military, you should be vigilant in filing your request. All information must be correct. Otherwise, you might have problems having your submission processed.
There are different ways to submit your request. While you cannot view military records online, you can request documents through official government platforms. Alternatively, you may also request military records via mail or fax. You need to submit an SF-180 or write a letter with enough information to help the government locate your official personnel file. You may also seek assistance personally at the NPRC office, visit the nearest Veterans agency, or hire an independent researcher.
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Where can I find my DD214?
You can request your DD form 214 online, through fax, or by mail. The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is the government repository for all official records, but you can access them through various methods.
Can you view military records online?
No, you may not. Military service records are generally not available for online viewing due to privacy and security concerns. These records often contain sensitive information, and they are therefore kept confidential and secured. However, if you are a veteran or next-of-kin of a deceased service member, you may request a copy of the service records.
When can I get my DD214?
You can get your DD 214 in as fast as ten days. However, there may be instances wherein it takes weeks or even months to have your request processed.