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What is a military service record archive?

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Quick Answer

A military service record archive holds valuable military service records, medical records, personnel records, and records of awards and medals earned. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration 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. NARA is also developing the Electronic Records Archives.

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Full Answer

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 requests through the NARA website at Archives.gov. Other individuals can request archival military documents. Veterans' records become archive 62 years after their separation from the military or death.

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