1 Reply Latest reply on May 25, 2021 11:14 AM by Lyn Rowe

    NPRC Military Records Search Question

    Ben Patterson Newbie

      I’m assisting a relative, who served in Vietnam, in accessing their DD-214 through NPRC in obtaining VA benefits. My relative, as a result of a medical condition, does not recall his exact dates of service and we don’t have a copy of his service number. We’ve twice submitted SF-180s with our best estimate of his service dates; however, no records were located.  Is there a way to submit to NPRC a search request for a range of dates in order to ascertain whether the record exists? If so, what is the best way to make this request? Also, are there other data elements within the SF-180 that could assist in the search outside of service dates and service number?

        • Re: NPRC Military Records Search Question
          Lyn Rowe Wayfarer

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          Unfortunately, at this time we are unaware of a way to submit a search request with the NPRC based on a range of dates in order to ascertain whether a service record exists. As far as we are aware this is not a normal practice for the NPRC primarily due to the massive extent of their records.


          However, below I am including some helpful tips to keep in mind when submitting a request:


          When completing the form you may want to take into account that during the years of the Vietnam War military service numbers were discontinued and social security numbers were used in their place. For more information please visit our website at:  https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/social-security-numbers


          In 1973 there was a fire at the National Personnel Record Center that destroyed about 80% of Army records for personnel discharged between November 1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 and about 75% of Air Force records for personnel discharged between September 25, 1947 and January 1, 1964. After reviewing the US Department of Veteran Affair’s website we found a link that provides instructions on how to recover destroyed records. https://www.va.gov/records/get-military-service-records/reconstruct-records/


          Lastly, there may be additional information that may help to narrow down your search date and provide supporting document. The location of records may vary and will be based off the years, unit/ship/station and branch of military. From what you provided in your post a starting point may be at the National Archives in College Park, Md. To contact a reference staff please submit an email to:  Archives2Reference@nara.gov.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!