Access to Military Service and Pension Records
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.
Paper copies of military service and pension records can be ordered by mail from the facility which holds the records:
The National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO
Sample military service records have been digitized and are available through the NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL).
Military Service Records in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
|Branch of Service||Dates|
|Volunteers||Military service performed by persons serving during an emergency and whose service was considered to be in the Federal interest, 1775 - 1902|
|Regular Army||Enlisted personnel, 1789 - October 31, 1912
Officers, 1789 - June 30, 1917
|Navy||Enlisted personnel, 1798 - 1885
Officers, 1798 - 1902
|Marine Corps||Enlisted personnel, 1789 - 1904
Some officers, 1789 - 1895
|Coast Guard||Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard: the Revenue Cutter Service (Revenue Marine), the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, 1791 - 1919|
|Confederate States||Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces, 1861 - 1865|
|Veterans Records||Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775 - 1916 and
Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775 - 1855
For more information about these records, see the information about military records on NARA's Genealogy page.
Later Military Service Records are in the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Access to Military Service Records is limited. See Services for Veterans, Next-of-Kin, or the Veteran's Representative for more information.
To order records, use Standard Form 180.
Note: Many records were destroyed by fire in the St. Louis Center in 1973.
U. S. National Archives & Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20408