INSTRUCTION AND INFORMATION SHEET FOR SF 180, REQUEST PERTAINING TO MILITARY RECORDS

1.  General Information.  The Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records (SF180) is used to request information from military records. Certain identifying information is necessary to determine the location of an individual’s record of military service. Please try to answer each item on the SF 180. If you do not have and cannot obtain the information for an item, show “NA,” meaning the information is “not available.” Include as much of the requested information as you can. Incomplete information may delay response time.

To determine where to mail this request see Page 2 of the SF180 for record locations and facility addresses.

Online requests may be submitted to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) by a veteran or deceased veteran’s next of kin using eVetRecs at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.

2. Personnel Records/Military Human Resource Records/Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) and Medical Records/Service Treatment Records (STR).  Personnel records of military members who were discharged, retired, or died in service less than 62 years ago and medical records are in the legal custody of the military service department and are administered in accordance with rules issued by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, Coast Guard).  STR’s of persons on active duty are generally kept at the local servicing clinic, and usually are available from the Department of Veterans Affairs approximately 40 days after the last day of active duty.  (See item 3, Archival Records, if the military member was discharged, retired or died in service over 62 years ago.)

a.    Release of information: Release of information is subject to restrictions imposed by the military services consistent with Department of Defense regulations and the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974. The service member (either past or present)  or the member’s legal guardian has access to almost any information contained in that member’s own record. An authorization signature, of the service member or the member’s legal guardian, is needed in Section III of the SF180.  Others requesting information from military personnel records and/or STR’s must have the release authorization in Section III of  the SF 180 signed by the member or legal guardian.  If the appropriate signature cannot be obtained, only limited types of information can be provided. If the former member is deceased, surviving next of kin may, under certain circumstances, be entitled to greater access to a deceased veteran’s records than a member of the general public. The next of kin may be any of the following:  unremarried surviving spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother. Requesters must provide proof of death, such as a copy of a death certificate, newspaper article (obituary) or death notice, coroner’s report of death; funeral director’s signed statement of death, or verdict of coroner’s jury.

b.  Fees for records:  There is no charge for most services provided to service members or next of kin of deceased veterans. A nominal fee is charged for certain types of service. In most instances service fees cannot be determined in advance. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified.

3.  Archival Records.  Personnel records of military members who were discharged, retired, or died in service 62 or more years ago have been transferred to the legal custody of NARA and are referred to as “archival” records.

a.  Release of Information:  Archival records are open to the public.  The Privacy Act of 1974 does not apply to archival records, therefore, written authorization from the veteran or next of kin is not required.  However, in order to protect the privacy of the veteran, his/her family, and third parties named in the records, the personal privacy exemption of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552 (b) (6)) may still apply and preclude the release of some information.

b.  Fees for Archival Records:  Access to archival records is granted by offering copies of the records for a fee (44 U.S.C. 2116 (c)).

You will be notified if there is a charge for photocopies of documents contained in the record you are requesting.  For more information see http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/military-personnel-archival/ompf-archival-requests.html.

4. Where reply may be sent. The reply may be sent to the service member or any other address designated by the service member or other authorized requester.

5.  Definitions and abbreviations. DISCHARGED — the individual has no current military status; SERVICE TREATMENT RECORD (STR) — The chronology of medical, mental health and dental care received by service members during the course of their military career (does not include records of treatment while hospitalized); TDRL – Temporary Disability Retired List.

6.  Service completed before World War I. National Archives Trust Fund (NATF) forms must be used to request these records. Obtain the forms by e-mail from inquire@nara.gov or write to the Code 6 address on page 2 of the SF 180.

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