Dear Jim in Florida,
Hello and thank you for your interesting inquiry regarding retrieving
By application I assume you are referring to the NPRCs Standard Form
180, and that it was in writing, signed and mailed (by the U.S.
postal service) to St. Louis. Or, the other way you could have
applied was by sending your request as a letter which must contain
enough information to identify the record, such as the veterans
complete name used while in service, service number or social security
number, branch of service, and dates of service. Date and place of
birth may also be helpful, especially if the service number is not
known. If the request pertains to a record that may have been
involved in the 1973 fire, also include place of discharge, last unit
of assignment, and place of entry into the service, if known.
If that is not the case, please go to this website to understand
exactly what needs to be done.
Military Records Request
BUT, it sounds like you have already done everything you needed to do,
therefore you are right to be curious as to why you havent heard
What I could find out for you is the following:
1. Order Processing Time:
Turnaround times for records requested from the National Personnel
Records Center (NPRC) vary greatly depending on the nature of the
request. For example, the NPRC Military Records Facility currently
has a backlog of over 200,000 requests and receives approximately
5,000 requests daily. Routine requests for separation statements
currently require 4-5 weeks for servicing. The average turnaround
time on all requests is currently 14-16 weeks; however, requests that
involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 fire may take much
2. The Fire
"A fire at the NPRC in St. Louis on July 12, 1973, destroyed about 80
percent of the records for Army personnel discharged between November
1, 1912, and January 1, 1960. Approximately 75 percent of the records
for Air Force personnel with surnames from "Hubbard" through "Z"
discharged between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964, were also
If your father was in WW2, presumably he would have been enlisted
during the above time period therefore there is a good chance that his
records were affected. This does not mean that the Center cant get
them, but it is an explanation as to why it is taking them so long to
respond to you.
I called their customer service line which is open M-F, from 7am-5pm
CST, but was on hold for quite some time with no one responding other
than an automated voice system. But if youve got some time and
patience you can try yourself at: 314 538-2050. There appears to be
no other way to get a hold of a supervisor.
They also note on their website that they will respond in writing by
The good news is there seems to be some alternative ways to retrieve
military service data.
* The VA maintains records on veterans whose military records were
affected by the fire if the veteran or a beneficiary filed a claim
prior to July 1973.
* Service information may also be found in various kinds of
"organizational" records such as unit morning reports, payrolls and
military orders on file at the NPRC or other National Archives and
Records Administration facilities.
* There is also a great deal of information available in records of
the State Adjutants General, and other state "veterans services"
By using alternate sources, NPRC may often be able to reconstruct a
veteran's beginning and ending dates of active service, the character
of service, rank while in service, time lost while on active duty, and
periods of hospitalization. NPRC can issue NA Form 13038,
Certification of Military Service, considered the equivalent of a Form
DD-214, Report of Separation From Active Duty, for the purpose of
establishing eligibility for veterans benefits.
To see what is necessary information for file reconstruction, visit:
National Personnel Records Center
All the above information and more can be found at:
National Archives and Records Administration Homepage
Search terms used:
National personnel records center
Thank you and have a good day!