DD Form 214 Explained

By Paul King
Veterans' DD Form 214 are maintained at the National Archives.

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DD Form 214, also known as a Report of Separation, is issued to service member discharged from United States military service after 90 or more consecutive days of active duty.

DD Form 214 Purpose

The Report of Separation contains a wealth of information service members need to verify their service, apply for benefits, or gain membership in veterans organizations.

DD Form 214 Contents

The DD Form 214 provides a synopsis of all information related to a service member's time on active duty. Some of the details contained in a Report of Separation include:

Home address at time of entry into service;

Location and date of entry into service;

Military education;

Military job;

Awards achieved (medals, badges, citations, etc.);

Final duty assignment;

Rank at time of discharge;

Total time in service;

Time in foreign service;

Location and date of release from service;

Home address at time of discharge;

Type of separation from service;

Character of service;

Reason for separation; and

Reenlistment eligibility.

National Personnel Records Center

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is tasked with maintaining service records including DD Form 214 for U.S. military personnel. The NPRC is an operation of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Obtaining a Copy of a DD Form 214

Service members, or their next of kin, can obtain a copy of DD Form 214 from the NPRC. To receive a copy of DD Form 214 simply obtain, complete, and return Standard Form SF-180 to the NPRC. If preferred, a custom request form can be completed online followed up by a faxed or mailed signature form. Whichever method is chosen, a physical signature must be either faxed or mailed to the NPRC in order for the request to be filled. The signature is required by the Privacy Act of 1974.

Fire of 1973

Army personnel discharged between Nov. 1, 1912 and Jan. 1, 1960; and Air Force personnel discharged between Sept. 25, 1947, and Jan. 1, 1964, will need to provide additional information in order to obtain a copy of their DD Form 214. In July of 1973, a fire destroyed the NPRC facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Approximately 18 million service records were destroyed in that fire.

About the Author

Paul King has worked as a freelance writer since 2009. His work appears on various websites, covering a wide variety of topics. King is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English at Northwest Florida State College.

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