1. Introduction to Military Records
Former U.S. service members and their family members often need copies of certain military records for a host of reasons such as obtaining benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), seeking employment and genealogy. Many relatives of former service members, also known as veterans, want copies for:
- benefits purposes and
- to learn more about what their relatives did while on active duty.
In addition to military personnel records and medical records veterans and eligible family members can also request a free replacement set of medals and ribbons that were awarded to the veteran. The majority of these records and awards and decorations are available from the National Archives and Record Administration which is frequently referred to as the Archives or NARA. The Archives is the nation's record keeper. In an effort to preserve important historical and legal documents the Archives maintains approximately one to two percent of all documents and material created in the normal course of business by the Federal government. These important documents include military records.