military records search

Military Records Search

Can I look up someone’s military record?

The Defense Department provides a website that allows you to do a military records search. The website is easy to use, and all you need to do is enter your last name, first name, and social security number. Some states even offer a similar search method. If the person you are trying to get information on is deceased, you may be able to find the death certificate on the search result page.

Can you look up military records for free?

There are two basic types of military service records but the “Official Military Personnel Files” (OMPF) is the official repository for all documentation regarding a serviceperson’s period of service and will most often contain the information you seek. The OMPF is a collection of documents that chronicle a serviceperson’s history from when they join the United States Armed Forces, until their retirement, discharge, or transfer to another military service. The OMPF also contains the serviceperson’s military personnel, medical records, and service history which may include the following::

  • Enlistment and separation dates
  • Military service title and type
  • Military duty assignments
  • Training schools attended
  • Promotions, awards, and decorations
  • Medical care received
  • Emergency Data
  • Discharge status
  • Separation information

Found in several places, military service records can be a genealogical gold mine. The National Archives and Records Administration has a special collection of more than 20 million military personnel records online—many of these are digitized World War II-era records. The military keeps most records for 100 to 200 years and is usually a good source for records. The only catch is that the records are sometimes incomplete, particularly if a soldier was wounded or killed in battle.

Are military records public?

Military records are public records although there are no guarantees on what you can find. The Department of Defense has a nice guide on how to obtain military records. You can use the guide to request records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for free. You can also visit your local veteran’s affairs office. Military records are a great place to start your genealogy search.

What are the types of military discharges?

The following are the types of discharges from the military:

Honorable Discharge: An honorable discharge is the highest type of discharge given to a person who fulfilled their contractual obligation and performed their duties honorably.

General Discharge: This is the most common type of discharge. A general discharge is given to a person who has fulfilled their contractual obligation but has not served honorably.

Bad Conduct Discharge: This is given to a person who has not fulfilled their contractual obligation or performed their duties honorably, but not so badly that they are considered a felon.

Dishonorable Discharge: This is a discharge given as punishment to a person who has committed a serious offense that is considered detrimental to the military

Can you look up if someone was dishonorably discharged?

Firstly, let’s take a look at what it means to be honorably discharged. A military person has to have a record of good behavior. The military has a system of awards, commendations, and punishments called “conduct and performance reports.” If a military person had an issue with other people or their job, a negative report is put into their official record. If a person is reported for doing something illegal, immoral or improper, the report is often considered dishonorable and the person is usually discharged.

In conclusion, the Department of Veterans Affairs makes available a multitude of resources, including indexes of military records. Its Veterans Online website provides indexed access to service records such as discharge papers and medical records, as well as searchable indexes of pension applications and applications and claims files. While it may be time-consuming to track down military records, the internet is a wonderful place to start.

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