Last Updated: Sep 30, 2020     Views: 115

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is not the official repository for Veteran service records. That responsibility does belong to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Unfortunately, on July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF). The loss of records pertaining to Army Personnel discharged from November 1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 is estimated to be 80%.

No duplicate copies of these records were ever maintained, nor were microfilm copies produced. Neither were any indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available. However, in the years following the fire, the NPRC collected numerous series of records (referred to as Auxiliary Records) that are used to reconstruct basic service information.

With that being stated, there is the possibility a copy of your family member's service record could still exist with another government agency. After WWII, Veterans were encouraged to give a copy of their service records to their local county or municipal court house. Also, if your family member belonged to their local chapter of the American Legion or another Veteran's organization, it is possible they would have kept a copy of their service records.

Even if you are still unable to obtain a copy of their records from alternative agencies, there are other records which can be used to rebuild and document your veteran’s story. For more information, please visit the website linked below.


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