Veterans Documents and Personnel Records

Find out how to request and update military records.

Locate U.S. Military Personnel and Veterans

Contact a Service Member in an Emergency

To reach an immediate family member currently serving on active duty in the military, contact the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Center.  The Red Cross will get information from you and relay it to the service member. You can reach the Red Cross by phone at 1-877-272-7337, through an online request,  or by smartphone using its Hero Care app

Get Help Contacting a Service Member

There is no simple process for obtaining a current or former military member's contact information. The Privacy Act of 1974 forbids the military branches from providing members' postal or email addresses or phone numbers to private citizens or organizations. In addition, the service branches generally have no way to get in touch with former military members who have separated from the service. They may be able to help you locate military retirees. 

  • For help contacting members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, or U.S. Air Force, call or write to that branch's military personnel locator. The personnel locator will generally forward your request to the military member, if possible. Each locator has its own requirements. 

  • The U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard no longer provide military locator services.

  • Watch out for people pretending to be members of the U.S. military. These scammers will try to get in an online relationship with you on social media or a dating website. They’ll then ask for money for fake service-related needs, like travel costs or medical fees. Learn how to avoid military romance scams.

Find Someone Who Has Left the Military

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) maintains a website with numerous resources that may be able to help you locate a veteran.

Request Military Records

You can order military records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center-Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR). Types of records available include:

  • Military Discharge Records (DD-214)
  • Health and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans
  • Medical treatment records of military retirees
  • Records for dependents treated at naval medical facilities

Pre-World War I military records are stored at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

How to Order Military Records

If you are a veteran or the next of kin of a deceased veteran you can order copies of military records online.

Anyone can request military records by:

Most requests are free for veterans and next-of-kin. You will be told if there is a fee.

Archival requests, including records of veterans discharged in 1954 or prior, have copying fees.

Contact the National Personnel Records Center

You can check the status of your request or get more information by contacting the records center.

Correct a Military Service Record or Discharge

You can request changes to your military record or discharge from the review or correction board for your branch of the service. You can also request changes if you are a surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative of deceased or incompetent veteran.

For more information, contact:

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

Report a Lost/Stolen ID Card

  • If you are a military member, report lost/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 issuing facility using the RAPIDS Site Locator or mail it to:

ATTN: CAC Returns
1600 N. Beauregard St., Suite 100
Alexandria, VA 22312

Veterans Identification Card (VIC) 

VIC is a new veterans ID card. It’s proof of your military service and includes your photo and a unique identification number. If you get the card, you will no longer need to carry your DD-214 papers with you.

  • Eligibility - You must have an honorable discharge from the military.
  • How to apply - You must log on to to apply online. 

Find other helpful information about VIC:

  • If you already have a Veterans Health Insurance Card (VHIC), you don’t need to have the new veterans ID card. 
  • VIC is not a substitute for other government-issued identification such as a driver’s license. 

Learn more about VIC.

Veterans Health Identification Card

If you are a veteran enrolled in the VA health care system, you will receive a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) for use at VA medical facilities.

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Last Updated: December 7, 2018