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Military Records and Identification

Answers to common questions about IDs and how to change or request military records.

Request Military Records

Military records help prove military service when applying for jobs or government benefits. They’re also helpful for ancestry and historical research.

Most military records are on paper or microfilm and you’ll need to request printed copies to be mailed to you. They are not typically available to view online.

Types of Military Records

World War I - Present

You can find veterans’ military service records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The NPRC houses many types of records, including Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF). These files can include the Report of Separation (DD Form 214) and show a veteran’s service history, which may include:

  • Enlistment or appointment and separation dates

  • Duty stations and assignments

  • Training and qualifications

  • Awards

  • Disciplinary actions

Veterans’ health and medical records are located in various places, depending on their branch and date of separation. See this chart of locations of veterans’ medical and health records.

Before World War I

You can find older military service records (generally before World War I) from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. 

Request Recent Military Records (World War I - Present)

If You Are a Veteran or Next-of-Kin

To get a copy of the vet’s military records, you can:

Most requests are free.

If You Are Not the Veteran or Next-of-Kin

You can only get limited information about non-archival records without the consent of the veteran or next-of-kin. Non-archival records are those from 62 years ago to the present. Learn about access to non-archival military records by the general public and researchers.

Request Older Military Records (Before World War I)

You can order older military personnel records online or with a downloadable form. You may have to pay a fee for copies of archival Official Military Personnel Files, including those of veterans discharged more than 62 years ago.

Check the Status of Your Military Records Request

To check the status of your order for recent records (World War I - Present), contact the National Personnel Records Center. For older military records (generally before 1917), contact the National Archives.

Get a Military or Veteran Identification (ID) Card

Military identification (ID) cards are U.S. government property for use only by the issued card holder.

Get or Replace a Military ID Card

  • Use the ID Card Office Locator to find an ID card office near you. Be sure to check a location's details or call that office to verify ID card issuing hours. Some offices allow or require you to make an appointment

  • Be sure to bring the required identification documents to the ID Card office.

Report a Lost or Stolen ID Card

  • If you are a military member, report lost or stolen cards to your base security officer or through your chain of command.

  • If you find a military ID card, return it to the nearest ID card office.

  • Or, mail it to:

CMC Consumables Team
Defense Manpower Data Center
2102 E 21st Street N
Wichita, Kansas 67214

Veteran Identification Card (VIC) 

A VIC is a veteran photo ID card that you can use to get veterans discounts, which many restaurants and businesses offer.

  • To be eligible, you must have received an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions).

  • To learn about more about the card and how to apply, visit this page

  • If you already have a Veteran Health Identification Card, you do not need a VIC card.

Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

The Veteran Health Identification Card is for use at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. If you're enrolled in VA health care, you'll receive one.

Correct a Military Service Record or Discharge

As a veteran, you can request changes to your military record or discharge. You can also request changes if you are the

  • Surviving spouse
  • Next of kin
  • Legal representative of a deceased or incompetent veteran

DOD Forms for Requesting Changes

More Information from the Services 

For more information and where to send your completed DOD form, visit:

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Last Updated: November 8, 2021