To receive a VA loan as a military Veteran, lenders require a copy of the DD214. Furthermore, potential civilian and government employers may require an applicant’s DD214 copy. Because it is a piece of paper, they get lost, ripped, and worn beyond deciphering. It is a key military document, and for that reason, Veterans should always have a clear DD214 form. So, what is the best thing a Veteran can do to get a duplicate copy of this required form? Thankfully, the Department of Veteran Affairs has created a simple online process for a DD214 request.
Veterans should always have a clear DD214 form.
What is a DD214 Form?
This piece of paper serves as the military Veteran’s proof of discharge or retirement from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Officially, this form is known as the “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.” It is one of the final items provided in the discharge or retirement process. Within the form, it includes a lot of pertinent information which summarizes the Veteran’s service and release.
What Information is on a DD214?
- Department, component, and branch
- Grade, rate, or rank
- Pay grade
- Reserve obligation termination date
- Place of entry into active duty
- Home of record at the time of entry
- Last duty assignment and major command
- Station where separated
- Command to which transferred
- Primary specialty
- Record of service
- Decorations, medals, badges, citations, and campaign ribbons
- Military education
- If contributed to Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
- High school or equivalent graduate
- Days accrued leave
- Dental exam before the separation of service
- Mailing address after separation
- Nearest living relative
DD214 Special Additional Information
- Type of separation
- Character of service
- Separation authority, code, and reentry code
- Narrative reason for separation
- Dates of time lost during this period
DD214 Request – How Can I Get a Copy of My DD214?
There are two ways to make a DD214 request, mail and online. This DD214 request along with other military documentation is possible through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). Remarkably, they hold records for about 100 million Veterans! NPRC services available include providing separation documents (DD214 request), official military personnel file, replacement medals, medical records, and burial/emergency requests.
5 Military Service Records Tips
- May call NPRC Customer Service at 314-801-0800
- Hours of operation: 6:00 AM EST – 6:00 PM EST
- Online requests still require a signature by mail or fax
- Restrictions on who may make requests (see below)
- Special process for Veterans affected by natural disasters
Who Can Order Military Records?
- A military veteran
- Next of kin of a deceased, former member of the military. The next of kin can be any of the following:
- A surviving spouse that has not remarried
DD214 Request Required Information
- The veteran’s complete name used while in service
- Service number
- Social Security Number
- Branch of service
- Dates of service
- Date and place of birth (if the service number is not known)
- If you suspect your records may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:
- Place of discharge
- Last unit of assignment
- Location of entry into the service, if known
- All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran or next of kin (see list above)
- Deceased Veteran next of kin must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of a death certificate, letter from funeral home, or published obituary.
Recommended Information (optional)
While this information is not required, it is beneficial to NPRC staff in understanding and fulfilling a request.
- The purpose or reason for your request, such as…
- Applying for veterans benefits
- Preparing to retire
- Researching your personal military history
- Any deadlines related to your request
- Applying for a VA loan with a specific closing date
- NPRC will do their best to meet priorities
- Any other specific information, documents, or records you require from your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) other than your Report of Separation (DD214 Request)
Response Times Per NPRC
National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) response times vary and are dependent upon the complexity of your request, the availability of records and our workload. Keep in mind; the center receives approximately 4,000 – 5,000 requests per day! But, they push to turn requests around within ten days. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 Fire, or older records which require extensive search efforts, may take six months or more to complete.
Special Natural Disaster Requests
Sometimes military Veterans, like others, experience loss from natural disasters such as wildfire, tornadoes, flooding, or hurricanes. Lately, many Americans have faced unbelievable losses including homes and life. For those who have been affected by a natural disaster, there is a particular process in place to receive military service records.
How to Make Natural Disaster Requests for Military Records
- Place the words “Natural Disaster” in the comments or purpose section
- Fax the request to the customer service team at 314-801-0927
Note: This process is solely for victims of a natural disaster!
Look at your DD214 now. Is it lost or difficult to read? Be proactive and request your copy! Better now than when needed in a rush situation.