Approximately 200,000 service members transition to civilian life each year, according to the Department of Defense, adding a huge pool of candidates for work in national security. As a cleared recruiter or human resources professional, you may need to verify military service for your employees for grants like the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program or for deployment requirements on certain contracts.
National Personnel Records Center
Military personnel records are open to the public 62 years after a service member leaves the military. You can find veterans’ military service records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). You can call NPRC at 1-314-801-0800 or submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by mail at:
National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
The NPRC houses many types of records. This entity is one of the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) largest operations, and it is the central source of personnel-related records for the military. Their mission is to provide world class service to government agencies, military veterans and their family members, former civilian Federal employees, and the general public.
The NPRC is the product of several previous operations. Today’s organization is the embodiment of NARA’s policy that places all inactive Federal personnel records, both military and civilian, in the custody of a single unit.
Here is a template you can use for the request:
Agency Head [or Freedom of Information Act Officer]
Name of Agency
Address of Agency
City, State, Zip Code
Re: Freedom of Information Act Request
Dear (enter name of Agency head):
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I request that a copy of the following documents be provided to me: [identify the documents or information as specifically as possible].
Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government [Include a specific explanation of how the documents will be used.]
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Address City, State, Zip Code
Telephone number [Optional]
DD-214 Report of Separation Papers
You may also ask candidates or employees directly for this information to help you determine if a candidate meets the requirements of a contract they are applying to or for your own employee veteran percentage records. The report of separation form is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
A report of separation is issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. This document contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment and membership in veterans’ organizations. Information shown may include:
- Date and place of entry into active duty
- Home address at time of entry
- Date and place of release from active duty
- Home address after separation
- Last duty assignment and rank
- Military job specialty
- Military education
- Decorations, medals, badges, citations and campaign awards received
- Total creditable service
- Foreign service credited
- Separation information (date and type of separation, character of service, authority and reason for separation and separation and reenlistment eligibility codes