From the Desk of the Department of California Service Officer, Marc Jenkins
The key to all VA Benefits is your DD-214 or Discharge Papers. Without that important document you will not be granted a disability claim, pension claim, education benefits, burial benefits, survivor benefits, home loan benefits, and/or state of California benefits.
It is quite easy to get your records nowadays online, by fax or by snail mail. First go to the following website located at http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel.
Once there, click on the link on the left side of the page titled “Request Military Service Records.” That page will allow you the option to either submit a request your form online or submit a request by FAX or Mail. If you are submitting a request online, launch the eVetRecs System to start the process. A new window will open and will take you through a four easy step process.
- Step #1:
Privacy Act of 1974 Compliance Information; Paperwork Reduction Act Public Burden Statement, and a Continue button-click and it will proceed to the next screen. There are 3 parts for this screen:
- (Pick one) Are you the-Veteran or Next of Kin of deceased veteran
- (Pick one) What is your relationship to the deceased veteran?
- If you are the Veteran this step is: Not Applicable
- If you are not the Veterans the options are: Unremarried Surviving Spouse; Father; Mother; Son; Daughter; Sister; Brother
- (Pick one) Are you seeking information concerning?
- Former Military Service
- Current Military Service
- Click “Continue” after Selections
- Step #2: Answer the 5 following questions:
- What was the veteran’s branch of service?
- (If the veteran served in more than one branch of service, a separate request form is required for each.) Please Select from the Following: Army; Army Air Corps; Army Air Force; Air Force; Marine Corps; Navy; Coast Guard; Philippine Commonwealth; Philippine Guerillas; Philippine Scouts
- What was the veteran’s service component?
- Active; Reserve; National Guard
- Was the veteran an Officer or Enlisted?
- Officer; Enlisted
- Please select the most appropriate category for your request, even if more than one applies:
- Benefits; Employment; Medical; Retirement; Military Awards/Decorations; Correction of Records; Personal Military History; Genealogy; Decline to Disclose
- Please select from the following:
- Not Applicable (For Benefits Only)
- There will be other selections, which will pop-up depending on what category you are requesting
- Click “Continue”
- What was the veteran’s branch of service?
- Step #3: Fill in the Blanks:
- Name used while in the Military: First Name: Middle Name: Last Name
- Social Security Number- (XXX-XX-XXXX)
- Date of Birth: (MM/DD/YYYY)
- Service Number: (Do Not Enter Any Letters)
- Approximate date the veteran left the Service: (MM/YYYY)
- Branch of Service: Service Unit: Officer/Enlist: (These will be already filled in)
- Place of Birth (City, State)
The Next Screen will be as follows-click a request:
Report of Separation (DD Form 214 or equivalent) This contains information normally needed to verify military service. Using this online system, a copy may be sent to the veteran or the deceased veteran’s next of kin at this time. Choose one of the following options:
- (select this option) I would like to request an UNDELETED Report of Separation.This normally will be a copy of the full separation document including such sensitive items as the character of separation, authority for separation, reason for separation, reenlistment eligibility code, separation (SPD/SPN) code, and dates of time lost. An undeleted version is ordinarily required to determine eligibility for benefits.
- (do not select this option) I would like to request a DELETED Report of SeparationThe following information will be deleted from the copy sent: authority for separation, reason for separation, reenlistment eligibility code, separation (SPD/SPN) code, and for separations after June 30, 1979, character of separation and dates of time lost.
- After marking the document requested in the blank box below it you can request other Military Documentation by typing it into this section. Then Click Continue
- Step #4: Final Step –
- In this widow you will reviews all the information you imputed before transmitting to the National Personnel Records.
- After you are satisfied with your inputs you will click to print out a signature sheet and a copy for your records. On the signature sheet, it will tell you where to snail mail it or fax it directly to NMPRC. Our recommendation is to Fax it directly to NMPRC, so you can receive your requested documents quickly. It should take about 4 to six weeks.
That is an outline of the four easy steps to submit a request or your DD-214. It is quick and easy, as well as timely. However if you want to do this the old-fashioned paper route you can download a PDF and print out the standard SF-180 Request Form, fill it out by hand and mail it to the archive if you prefer. That option is on the same webpage as the option to fill out the data online.
Military Honors for our Deceased Veterans
Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible Veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony,
to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps.