How to Find Free Military Records

Finding military records can be a time-consuming process, but there are ways to get it done.

Locating military records, especially if you're trying to track down a family history, can be a necessary part of finding out about your past. However, there are several places you can look, and a number of different services that will offer to assist your search (usually for a fee). Finding military records free of charge isn't hard, but it can be a time consuming and tedious process.

Establish all the information you can about the person for whose records you're searching. His name, date of birth, when he enlisted, when he retired and any other pertinent information will only assist you in finding records more easily.

Contact the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, located at 9700 Page Avenue in St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. This location is where a great number of military personnel records are stored. You will need to mail a standard Form 180, which is a request for military records, to the center to make your request. Again, the more information you provide the center with, the more likely they are to find the records you want. Having this search conducted is free.

Wait for the records you requested to be sent to you. Call or email the Records Center (see References) in order to check the status of your request if more than 90 days pass without a response. Include your mailing address, since not all email can be answered electronically due to veterans' privacy laws.

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.