Individuals can request records from the U.S. Army through the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Records are typically free for military veterans. NARA is the governmental body that manages, preserves and stores records that are judged to have continuing value, including all military personnel records. These amount to approximately 2 to 5 percent of the records generated by the U.S. government in a year.
In 2004, the government designated military personnel files as permanent historical records. The main holding facility for military records is the National Personnel Records Center, located in St. Louis, Missouri. It holds over 100 million civilian and military personnel records dating back to the 19th century. Individuals can request access to records in the NPRC, however all requests are subject to Freedom of Information Act privacy exemptions that may restrict access, as of 2015.
Veterans, service members and next of kin of deceased service members can request copies of their military records by contacting the NPRC or submitting a request through the NARA website at Archives.gov. Other individuals can request archival military documents. Veterans' records become archived 62 years after separation from the military or death.
Military records contain information on enlistment, duty stations, training, qualifications and performance. Other information includes awards and medals, disciplinary actions, and other administrative data.