How to find dates of U.S.military service?
May 11, 2012 8:59 AM   Subscribe

My 82 year old brother can't recall his dates of military service. He was in the U.S. Air Force in the 1950's and left with an Honorable Discharge but he can't recall the dates. Can anyone give advice as to how these dates could be ascertained? What agency should be contacted and can it be done online? Thanks.
posted by Tullyogallaghan to Law & Government (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: P.S. His wife claims she has contacted the Air Force and they could not help her.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 9:01 AM on May 11, 2012

Have you looked here? Click the eVetRecs link, and go to work.
posted by beagle at 9:03 AM on May 11, 2012

Contact your US Senator, he/she will be able to help you track down information, BUT the request will need to come from your brother or someone who has power of attorney.
posted by photodegas at 9:09 AM on May 11, 2012

When soldiers were discharged in those days, they were often instructed to register their discharge papers with their county recorder. Not everybody did, but the county recorder's office might have a copy of his discharge papers (which shows a lot of info about his service) in their older records. They might also act like you're crazy, too, since it depends on how they handled records, but at least in North Dakota and Minnesota there are a whole bunch of military records copied and filed in county recorders' offices.
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:10 AM on May 11, 2012

You can also contact the VA to request assistance registering for benefits (and likely advice about tracking down records). Regional offices are located here. Also try identifying your local Veteran's Service Organization Representative (should be able to Google that with your location). They can assist in locating records, but may require fees for clerical services.
posted by goggie at 9:16 AM on May 11, 2012

Contact the National Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Mo. --- it's not just for finding your grandpa's info!
posted by easily confused at 9:19 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could try contacting the National Archives. The online request form seems to require the dates of service, but the paper form just says "provide as much information as possible"; it might be worth a shot. Note, though, that the original records may have been destroyed in 1973.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:22 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Start with Ironmouth's link. If that doesn't work, contact your brother's local Veteran's Agent. If he or she can't help, contact the staff of one of your brother's representatives in Congress (the ideal would be a Representative or Senator who serves on a committee related to the military).
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:35 AM on May 11, 2012

His DD214 (pronounced "two fourteen" not "two one four") would have this information. He can request this from the National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri by completing a basic form. Generally name/ss#/branch of service should get him started.
posted by muirne81 at 9:46 AM on May 11, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks very much for all the great information. I will pass it on to his wife.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 9:49 AM on May 11, 2012

Ditto calling the local office for your senator or congressman - this is the sort of thing their caseworkers do all the time.
posted by naoko at 9:30 AM on May 15, 2012

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