How Do I Find Military Records of My Father or Mother?

If your father or mother was in the military, you’re probably interested in learning about their past. Your parents’ military service records can help you understand what they went through when they were on active duty service. An official military personnel file (OMPF) is more than just a piece of paper. Their military personnel records paint a picture of their military legacy. Thus, getting a copy of this document is considered a historical piece in your family.

Given how important it is for family members to locate military records, it is understandable how people get frustrated when they find it hard to obtain the file. We’ll help you with your search through this helpful guide.

Find family member's military service records

Importance of Military Records

Your parent’s military records would give you a comprehensive view of their military service. Their historical military personnel records detail pertinent information that helps you understand their role in the military. These include their rank, unit, deployments, accolades, last assignment place, and more.

Looking at the bigger picture, their military records provide proof of their participation in historical events. Moreover, it provides evidence that their personal stories about military life were true.

Laying the Groundwork: Gather Existing Information

The key to obtaining your parent’s military personnel records is collecting any available information you have. This includes their full name during military service, date of birth, service dates, and the branch of service they were in.

It would also be helpful if you asked for more information from other family members who might have input that would aid your search. They might provide some vital hidden details or documents for your convenience. Moreover, you should thoroughly search old photographs, letters, or other memorabilia that might contain clues about their military past.

How Do I Find Military Records of My Father or Mother? Navigating Online Resources

Official Government Websites

Fortunately, the US military has online platforms that allow veterans’ next of kin to search for military records. You can request records at the e-Vetrecs website to obtain a copy of their military records. Alternatively, you may use the milConnect website for your search. If you have your own military records, you wouldn’t find it challenging to find your parent’s records.

When filling out request forms online, you should be vigilant in ensuring all details are accurate, especially those with numbers. You should fill out the form patiently to avoid mistakes.

You can also opt to visit your parent’s respective military branch website. Here’s a quick list for your reference:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

National archives and records administration building

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is a gold mine for information on veterans. The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), in particular, is a vital source that can help you find service and medical records.

The key to acquiring military records through the National Archives is determining when your parent was discharged from military service. Records issued 62 years ago are available to the public, making them easy to obtain. Meanwhile, the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is your best option if they were discharged more recently. If you have any questions, you can call the NPRC customer service line at 314-801-0800.

Online Databases and Third-Party Services

You can also refer to online databases for your search. There are plenty of reputable resources, such as the New York Public Library and the National Archives’ Access to Archival Databases, you can turn to during your research.

Meanwhile, if you need proof that your parent or someone is in the military, we at Military Verification can assist you. Even if you have limited information available, we can confirm the active duty service of service members.

Tapping into Offline Resources for Military Personnel Records

Local Archives and Libraries

You can also explore local libraries, historical societies, and military museums to get insights into your parent’s military past. If they participated in a significant event or were last stationed in your local area, your local archives may have information on your parent.

What’s great about this option is that you can seek assistance from the staff of the institution you visit. They can help you locate information on recent military service and beyond.

Veterans’ Organizations and Social Networks

Alternatively, you may also refer to veterans’ organizations and social networks to search for information on a former service member. These groups may have insight to help narrow your search. You might even encounter someone who once served with your parent for additional insight into how they were in the military.

How Can I Find My Mom or Dad’s Military Photo?

You may refer to some of the sources already mentioned above. You may submit a request to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or via the e-VetRecs website to locate your parent’s military photo.

Overcoming Challenges and Unexpected Discoveries

Dealing with Incomplete Records

If your search concerns a deceased veteran or if your parent can’t recall vital information on their military history, you might find it challenging to locate their military service records. Most people find it hard to find military records because of missing important documents or incomplete information.

It would be best if you cross-reference multiple resources to build a more complete picture of your parent’s military past.

Uncovering Surprising Details

When digging into a veteran’s military records, you might find yourself discovering things you never knew about your parent. Being part of the military is anything but easy. However, your research will provide insight into the honorable service your parent has provided.


locating your father or mother's military records

The key to locating your father or mother’s military records is maximizing all available information and resources. With the help of the National Personnel Records Center and other credible sources, you may unearth your parent’s military history. To learn more about locating military records, explore our website further.

Need to confirm someone’s military status? Reach out to Military Verification for fast turnaround time!


Can you look up soldiers by name?

Yes, but you would need additional information to obtain that person’s military records. Note that many Americans share the same name, so it would help to provide supporting information to expedite the process and ensure the accuracy of records.

Can you find military records online?

You can find military records through various online resources. The NPRC is one of the best resources for locating military personnel records.

Are military photos public?

Unless otherwise stated, Department of Defense photos are in the public domain. Anyone can access public military photos with the right resources.

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