DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents

A Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. The Report of Separation contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans' organizations. Information shown on the Report of Separation may include the service member's:

  • 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
  • Total creditable service
  • Foreign service credited
  • Separation information (type of separation, character of service, authority and reason for separation, separation and reenlistment eligibility codes)

The report of separation form issued in most recent years is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Before January 1, 1950, several similar forms were used by the military services, including the WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD, and the NAVCG 553.

To get copies of DD Form 214, Discharge Papers or Separation Documents, you can use the eVetRecs request system at www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/index.html or you can use the Standard Form SF-180.

You may obtain the SF-180 in one of two ways.

1. How to Obtain Standard Form 180 (SF-180),
   Request Pertaining to Military Records

There are several ways to obtain an SF-180. You can:

  1. Download and print a copy of the SF-180 in PDF format.
    • You need access to a printer and the Adobe Acrobat Reader software (see link at the bottom of the page). The form is a total of 3 pages.
    • The SF-180 is formatted for letter size paper (8.5" x 11").  If your printer can not accommodate this, select "shrink to fit" when the Adobe Acrobat Reader "Print" dialog box appears.
    • This is also a fillable version of the SF-180. It will allow you to type the needed information into the form using your keyboard.  You will still need to print, sign and mail the form. Otherwise, it works the same as stated above.

    PDF Standard Form 180

  2. Contact the VA to order the form through the mail.

  3. Write to The National Personnel Records Center
    9700 Page Avenue
    St. Louis, Missouri 63132

    You may also be able to obtain the SF-180:

  4. From Federal Information Centers

  5. From local Veterans Administration offices

  6. From veterans service organizations

The SF 180 may be photocopied as needed. Please submit a separate SF 180 for each individual whose records are being requested.

2. Write a Letter to Request Records

If you are not able to obtain SF-180, you may still submit a request for military records. Requests must contain enough information to identify the record among the more than 70 million on file at NPRC (MPR). Certain basic information is needed to locate military service records. This information includes:

  • The veteran's complete name used while in service
  • Service number or social security number
  • Branch of service
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of birth may also be helpful, especially if the service number is not known
  • If the request pertains to a record that may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:
    • Place of discharge
    • Last unit of assignment
    • Place of entry into the service, if known.
  • While this information is not required, it is extremely helpful to NPRC staff in understanding and fulfilling your request:
    • The purpose or reason for your request, such as applying for veterans benefits, preparing to retire, or researching your personal military history.
    • Any deadlines related to your request. We will do our best to meet any priorities. For example, you may be applying for a VA-guaranteed Home Loan and need to provide proof of military service by a specific date.
    • Any other specific information, documents or records you require from your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) besides your Report of Separation (DD Form 214).

Please submit a separate request (either SF 180 or letter) for each individual whose records are being requested.  

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