Looking for military records for my 1st cousin Robert J Filipowski

Robert J Filipowski served in Vietnam. Not sure exactly how many tours. Probably more than three less than six. He was awarded the Disgusting Flying Cross. I believe that was Feb 1971.

He also was awarded a Purple Heart. i tend to think that was the same incident. He received a couple of other

How can I find basic information on his service. He was Army and a helicopter pilot.

  • If he is still alive, he can submit a request at the site below. If he's not, you cna submit one, but parts of it may be redacted:

    Request Military Service Records | National Archives

  • Thank you for the response.  He died in 1994. 

    I have been on that sight. Because I am not  "next of kin" I am not able to make a direct request. 

  • You can do one of two things, then. If he has a next of kin, you can ask them to submit the request (and I understand sometimes that can be problematic because of family dynamics).


    You can put in the remarks block "Request release of award citations under the Freedom of Information Act" or "Request release of all information available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)" Then explain that the information is for family history research, that you are willing to pay a fee of up to (pick a number) and ask for the fee to be waived.


    Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!

    We suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) and individual medical reports for those who served in the U.S. Army after 1959 and before October 16, 1992 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002.

    Veterans and next of kin of deceased veterans also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file. Certain information in the records is not available to the general public without the written consent of the Veteran or the next of kin the deceased veteran. If you are the next of kin of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary. For more information see Request Military Service Records.

    We invite you to continue the conversation with community members on History Hub, but should you have follow up questions for the staff at Archives II, please email us at archives2reference@nara.gov so that we can assist you further. 

    We hope this assists you with your research! 


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  • Donald Hall

    I tried the military records site several times. Response said couldn't find individual or something like that.

    I don't have a SSN but found a document with service number. That number is, Service Number W-3151638

    When I tried to enter that number it was rejected as invalid. What would the number look like? Syntax or format?



  • Try mailing in the form, instead of doing it electronically. And include any documentation you have.

  • I checked on Fold3.com, and that is his valid Service number. He was a warrant officer.

    And according to Military Time's Hall of Valor, the 1971 award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was actually the third award--so he had at least three DFCs (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster):


    As I said earlier, if you send in a written request, instead of doing it online, you might have better luck. Because then it will be handled by a human, who may be able to correct what the computer sees as a mistake, and override it.

    But send in copies of any documentation you have, all the same, so they can see exactly what it says.

    I suspect the confusion with the computer is because your cousin got commissioned. In the Army Register I found him in, he was a Warrant Officer. Warrant Officers have Service Numbers which began with "W." When he got commissioned, he would have gotten a new Service Number which began with "O." Nurses had Service Numbers which began with "N."

    You could try putting his rank in the rank field as CW-2 and see what happens as an alternative, then put in the remarks section that he was latter commissioned, but that you don't have his officer service number and see what happens.

  • Donald Hall

     Thanks you have been a big help.

     Yes I saw that he had a total of three Distinguished flying crosses. He also had a purple heart.

     I heard, seems it was another cousin said, Bob flew a Huey gun ship. During an extraction ground fire opened up.

    He flew between the rescue helicopter and the ground fire so that his machine gunner could provide some cover.

    I was told a bullet went through his face in that encounter. He spent some time in Hong Kong for surgery and recovery, went back to Vietnam.

  • Actually, if he was evacuated out of country to recuperate, but not to the US, he would have gone to Japan. We had several hospitals there to support that mission for Vietnam, with thousands of operational beds.

    If he went to Hong Kong, which was British at the time, it would have been for R&R.

    We also flew patients to the Philippines, but patients didn’t stay there until they recovered, it was a way-point for evacuation back to the United States—take them off the planes, check their condition, let them rest in the hospital overnight, then load them on another plane for the remainder of their flight.

  • Donald Hall


    Thanks again for your response.

    Great example of not having actual records. What I recalled was he went for surgery, plastic surgery. I recall that either accurately or inaccurately that he spent some time in HK before returning to Vietnam.

    I’m going to try another request via web. I saw a phone number might call and see what I can do.