Dear Mr. Lewis,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
If you have not done so already, we suggest that you request a copy of your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs for those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were separated from the service before October 2002 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where Army and Air Force personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Navy and Marine Corps OMPFs were not affected by the fire. 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 their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions.
Please note that the "official" photograph of an individual is not considered to be a permanent federal record by the respective military services and is not retained in a separate collection by the service. If the photograph you are seeking still exists, it will most likely be found in the individual's Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). However, there is no guarantee the photograph will be present.
Photographs of various U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps activities dating from 1940 to 2007 are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Still Picture (RDSS). Please contact RDSS via email at email@example.com for assistance with these records, and please include as much information as possible in your inquiry, such as full name, dates of interest, branch of military service, and unit number.
Again, please note that group photographs taken at basic training or boot camp were not considered permanent records unless the photographs were taken by official military photographers usually for publicity. Usually, the instructor of a training facility paid a civilian photographer to come to the base to take pictures. These photographs sometimes are filed in the records of the unit but oftentimes they are just distributed to the individual members with no permanent copy kept.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDSS. Also, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter, and those involving the VA Home Loan program. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels. Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) for those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and were separated after September 30, 2002 (Army); after September 30, 2004 (Air Force); after 1994 (Navy); and after 1998 (Marine Corps) are available in electronic format via https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/.
Finally, photographs of U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps subjects (2008 to present) are in the custody of the DoD Visual Information Archives. Please contact DVIA via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!