Once a person leaves active duty the individual military departments do not maintain files or records pertaining to their service. When an individual is separated from military service (because of retirement, discharge from active duty, or death), his/her Field Personnel File (containing all military and health records) is forwarded for storage to the National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63172.

The Records Center is under the jurisdiction of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). An individuals’ complete service record is available to the former service member or, if deceased, to his/her next of kin (parents, spouse, or children). Limited information (such as dates of service, awards, and training) is available to anyone. Not available to the general public is information, which would invade an individuals’ privacy; for example, medical records, Social Security number, or present address.

For most of the individual records maintained at the NPRC, the center also maintains a corresponding health file, which includes records of induction and separation physical examinations, routine medical care when a patient was not admitted to a hospital, and dental treatment. Health records are filed individually, usually with the personnel file, and are retrievable if the veteran can be identified by service number, branch of service and dates of service. When requesting records veterans who do not have access to the internet should use Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded at  Please fill out the form in its entirety and mail it to the address listed in block fourteen on page 2 of the form. If you have access to the internet you may request records on-line at <>

Clinical hospital inpatient records were compiled when a person was actually admitted to a hospital. An overnight stay generally makes a person an inpatient. Clinical records are created on military service members while on active duty, on dependents of service members and on retired personnel. Clinical records are filed according to the hospital at which the person was treated. To locate a record of treatment, the NPRC needs the name of the hospital and year (month is even better) of admission, along with the name and service/social security number of the service member or retiree.


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