DD214 Form, the Document that Proves Your Military Service

The DD214 form is a document used by the U.S. Department of Defense. With a formal title of Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, it is issued when a member of the army is discharged, separated, or retired from active duty of the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more about this particular document below.

DD214 Form

History and Usage

The DD214 form was initially published in 1950 as a replacement for the War Department Adjutant General’s Office (WD AGO) form as well as Naval Personnel (NAVPERS) document for discouragement purposes. Both of these predecessor documents were used since 1941.

This document is deemed as the pinnacle of all documents related to military service. This is because the form provides the verified and complete record of military member service time, medals, and awards, as well as other relevant information to their service, including their highest military rank and their pay scale during active duty, combat, or abroad services.

However, not all of the U.S. army members receive this document. There is an exception of the United States Army National Guard or Air National Guard who receive the National Guard Bureau-issued document titled NGB-22 form instead of the DD214 form.

This form has two available versions: First is the edited version copies, which are typically referred to as the ‘redacted’, ‘short’, or ‘deleted’ version, and the second is the unedited version copies, which normally referred to as the ‘unredacted’, ‘long’, or ‘undeleted’ version. Despite the name, even the ‘short’ version alone contains a huge amount of information.

The form is widely used by different United States government agencies – primarily the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to approve veteran benefits. The document may also be requested to prove someone’s serving time in the military by job employers.


There are eight copies made of each DD214 form, which were distributed as shown below:

  • Copy 1: Occupied by the military member
  • Copy 2: Given as record for the service personnel
  • Copy 3: Provided for the U.S. VA
  • Copy 4: Obtained by the member, if inscribed in Block 30
  • Copy 5: Delivered to the U.S Department of Labor
  • Copy 6: Passed to the State Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Copy 7 and 8: Issued according to the directions by the Military Service Department

How to Obtain DD214 Form?

If you have lost your DD214 form, then it might be obtained back by making a request to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The request of gaining copies of this document should be mailed to the Military Personnel Records Center.

Veterans who terminated or separated from their military service prior to 1992 and want to get this document should also contact the NPRC. There are two different ways to do so: either by submitting the Standard Form 180 (SF180) to the U.S Department of Defense via fax or mail or by directly visiting the facility.

In general, basic army members and veterans requesting this document won’t be charged. The request may also be made by their next of kin or approved representatives. That being said, based on the request’s complexity, record availability, and the current NRPC’s workload, the response times for each request may vary widely. In general, the request may take 10 days to proceed and for the document to be issued.

Aside from submitting a request via mail or fax, might also be acquired via eBenefits. eBenefits is an online portal site that’s operated in joined by the U.S Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This website is meant to provide free service and electronic copies of members’ military personnel files. By using this method, you can obtain the document within 2 days or 48 hours since the request was made. Note that in order to request the form, you have to register a premium account of eBenefits.

You may make a request record online by clicking here: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records

DD214 Form (Request Pertaining To Military Records) Downloads

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