3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 12, 2019 7:34 AM by Holly Rivet

    How to locate military records of an individual if records were burned in 1973 fire


      I recently received a response from the National Archives in St. Louis that the only record they are able to assist with is a final pay voucher for my late grandfather.  His records were a casualty of the 1973 fire.  Is there any other avenue to obtain his records?  Would partial records be housed anywhere else? 



        • Re: How to locate military records of an individual if records were burned in 1973 fire
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Have you tried obtaining through state veterans office, or try locating the county recorder's office to see if he may have filed with the county after the war. I got my grandfathera that way.





          Elliot Schneider

          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: How to locate military records of an individual if records were burned in 1973 fire
            joan stachnik Tracker

            Tim, in addition to Elliot's suggestion, if you know the unit at time of discharge (based on final pay voucher), you might be able to trace your grandfather's service through unit morning reports. These are available at the National Archives in St. Louis. It takes some time to do, but you can find a lot of information this way. Hope this is of help. joan

            1 person found this helpful
            • Re: How to locate military records of an individual if records were burned in 1973 fire
              Holly Rivet Tracker

              Dear Mr. Kennedy,


              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


              The Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) was a living document that followed a service member from enlistment to discharge.  While the person was in service the OMPF was in the custody of the branch under which they served. Once they separated from service the file was sent to the National Archives for retention.


              All Official Military Personnel Files of Army, Army Air Corps, and the Air Force of service members separated from service were housed at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) at St. Louis at the time of the fire.  It is estimated that 80% of our Army OMPF and 75% of our Air Force OMPFs were lost in the 1973 fire. The branches sent the St. Louis NPRC auxiliary files to assist in the reconstruction of records for the purposes of veteran benefits.


              We suggest searching the Morning Reports, U.S. Army (Record Group 338, Records of the U.S. Army Commands) in the custody of National Archives at St. Louis. This series covers the years 1912-1943.  These are daily reports created by the Army for routine administrative purposes.  They contain the following information: date, name of reporting unit, parent unit location, arm of service, and a tabular breakdown of the unit’s composition by rank.


              An individual will only be reported if they caused a change in the unit’s strength (transfer, sick, AWOL, etc.).  If a person is mentioned, the report will include their name, rank, and service number. With the date and location of discharge from the final pay voucher, a researcher can track a service member by going through this series backward in time.


              Researchers must specify the organizational unit and date. A battalion, regiment, or company within the 3rd Infantry would be most helpful.  NARA staff can then use an index to locate the microfilm reel or paper report for the given unit on a particular date.  Upon request, we will provide digitized images on DVD of organizational records, each taken from a roll of microfilm created by the U.S. Army.  The original paper documents no longer exist. The response time for future requests may be twenty or more months, depending upon our available resources and the total volume of requests received. You may also hire a private researcher to locate this information for you.  This page lists researchers in the St. Louis area in no particular order.


              In order to answer your request for Morning Reports, please provide the specific month and year you would like to request for the unit you seek. You may mail your request to:


              National Archives and Records Administration

              National Archives at St. Louis

              ATTN: RL-SL

              PO Box 38757

              St. Louis, MO 63138

              Or email stl.archives@nara.gov


              If you would like to personally view the rosters or morning reports, we will make them available, by appointment only, in our Archival Research Room located at the National Personnel Records Center, Archival Research Room, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138. For a small fee, you may print copies of the pages you want from the microfilm. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Archival Research Room in advance, by phone at (314) 801-0850 or by email at stlarr.archives@nara.gov.


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


              Holly Rivet

              St. Louis, MO