Veterans discharged in 1954 and later can print copies of military discharge records from the ebenifits.va.gov website. Next of kin of deceased veterans or veterans discharged before 1954 can order copies from the National Archives.
The Department of Veterans Affairs ebenefits.va.gov website contains a link where veterans discharged in 1954 or later can sign up for a free account and print copies of military records. For verification purposes, the veteran has to provide his Social Security number, military ID number, date of birth, date of discharge and current contact information. Veterans discharged before 1954 and next of kin of deceased veterans must make military records requests using Standard Form 180. Veterans can access the standard form at the National Archives website, any Veterans Administration office, the Department of Defense, or veterans service organizations.
Veterans of the Army and Air Force discharged before 1964 may have had their military records burned in the July 12, 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center where 16 to 18 million Official Military Personnel Files were lost. 80 percent of military records of veterans discharged from the Army between November 1, 1912 and January 1, 1960, as well as 75% of records of veterans discharged from the Air Force between September 25, 1947 and January 1, 1964. However, the NPRC has been collecting records and reconstructing basic service information.