1 of 1 people found this helpful
Dear Mr. Haines,
Thank you for your question to History Hub!
Whether or not you are required to be immediate next-of-kin to submit an SF-180 for your grandfather’s records depends on when he left military service. In other words, if your grandfather was discharged BEFORE 1955, you (and anyone else who wanted to request them) should have free and open access to his personnel records. The exemption at the bottom relates to his personal information, which would be excluded from the file during the process of the request. If you wanted that excluded information, you would have to retain permission from your father and submit it with the SF-180 (see http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/). Assuming he did remain in the service AFTER 1955, then any request would have to be made by your father. In any case, the location of these personnel records are listed for the various military services at the bottom of the form. Most standard military requests will go through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis (the last address at the bottom of the form).
If you are looking for unit records in addition to personnel records, those requests would be made either by showing up at the research room in College Park, Maryland, or by submitting a remote reference request at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RDT2) has custody of the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917- (Record Group 407) and the Records of U.S. Army Operational, Tactical, and Support Organizations (World War II and Thereafter) (Record Group 338). Military unit files among these records consist mostly of historical reports, after action reports, unit journals, and general orders. Because the files are arranged hierarchically, identification of the specific unit (i.e., division, regiment, and battalion) and date of interest are necessary before a search can be conducted. Please be aware that they do not include personnel or medical information. RDT2 does not have a name index to these records.
More information related to researching and requesting unit records is linked here. Reference Information Paper No. 105 Records of Military Agencies Relating to African Americans from the Post-World War I Period to the Korean War may be of use to you as well.
Hope this helps! Best of luck with your research.