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Completing A Military Records Request Form: Here’s What You Should Know

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | Disability Compensation,Legal Update,State Veteran Benefits

Whether you’re retiring, filing a claim for VA benefits, or requesting a discharge upgrade, you will want a copy of your military medical and personnel records.

Download and Print the SF-180 Form

In order to request a copy of your military records, you need to complete a SF-180 form and mail it to the appropriate location. You can download and print the SF-180 from the National Archives website.

Once you fill out the SF-180, you need to mail it to the appropriate location. The addresses are listed on the last page of the SF-180 and the location varies by your branch of service and when you served.

If you are unable to download the SF-180 for some reason, you can write a letter, but you must include enough information for National Personnel Records Center to be able to identify the veteran.

How to Complete the Military Records Request Form

Once you have the SF-180 form, you need to complete the following information:

1. Information needed to locate the records

2. Information/ documents requested

Next, you need to specify the types of records that you are requesting and for what reason:

3. Return Address and Signature

Once you fill out the above information, make sure you provide your name, your relationship to the veteran, and a return address.  If you are next-of-kin requesting records for a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death.

How to Submit the SF-180 Form

The SF-180 form must be signed in cursive and dated within the last year. You can submit more than one request per envelope or fax. But a separate request form must be filled out for each individual whose military records are being requested.

To determine where to mail the form, look on the last page of the SF-180. The mailing location will vary depending on your branch of service and when you served. I recommend mailing your SF-180 with some type of tracking number.


Q: Who can request military service records?

The veteran or the next-of-kin can request military records. The next-of-kin can be a surviving spouse (who has not remarried), father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, or legal guardian.

Q: How long is the processing or response time?

It depends on the complexity of the request and the availability of the records. Sometimes, the workload is also a determining factor. It may take up to 90 days to get a response. After 90 days, you can send a follow-up request.