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Getting a Copy of Your Military Records

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Medical Records

Active Duty Health Records. Health records cover outpatient, dental, and mental health treatment which a former member received while in the military service. Health records documents include induction and separation physical examinations, and routine medical care (doctor/dental visits, lab tests, etc.) when the patient was not admitted to a hospital. In comparison, clinical (hospital inpatient) records are NOT filed with the health records but are generally retired to National Personnel Records Center by the facility which created them.

The health records were formerly retired to NPRC with the personnel record portion when a member was released, discharged, or retired from active duty. That practice has been discontinued. In 1992, the Army began retiring most of its former members' health records to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The other services made this change on the dates shown below:

    Army (Discharged, retired, or separated from any component) -- October 16, 1992

    Air Force (Discharged, retired, or separated from Active Duty) -- May 1, 1994

    Air Force (Discharged or retired from Reserves or National Guard) -- June 1, 1994

    Navy (Discharged, retired, or separated from any component) -- January 31, 1994

    Marine Corps (Discharged, retired, or separated from any component) -- May 1, 1994

    Coast Guard (Discharged, retired, or separated from Active Duty - Reservists with 90 days active duty for training) -- April 1, 1998

After the dates shown on the chart above, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Records Management Center , St. Louis, MO, maintains the active duty health records or manages their whereabouts when on loan within the VA. Call the VA toll free number at 1-800-827-1000 to identify the current location of specific health records and to find out how to obtain releasable documents or information.

For active duty medical records requests for records before the dates listed above, send requests to:

    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records
    111 Winnebago Street
    St. Louis, MO 63118-4126

Active Duty Clinical (Inpatient) Hospital Records. Clinical (inpatient) records are compiled when members are actually hospitalized while in the service. An overnight stay or admission generally makes a patient an inpatient. The resulting records from hospital care are called either clinical or inpatient records. Clinical (inpatient) records are filed at NPRC by the name of the hospital in which the member was treated. Therefore, NPRC needs the name of the hospital, month (if known) and year of treatment, as well as the veteran's name and social security or service number to locate a clinical record.

Clinical records are retired to NPRC in annual collections by the creating hospital. Army and Air Force records are retained one calendar year and Navy records are retained two calendar years before retirement. Teaching hospitals that maintain Clinical Record Libraries may retain records up to 5 years before retirement to NPRC.

Send requests to:

    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records
    111 Winnebago Street
    St. Louis, MO 63118-4126

Retiree Medical Records. NPRC stores records of inpatient, outpatient, dental, and mental health treatment provided to military retirees. These records reflect health care for former members during their retirement years and do NOT include active duty medical records. Some record collections date from the 1940's and 1950's, but more comprehensive information exists beginning in the 1960's. The retiree records are sent to NPRC (Military Personnel Records Section) from facilities of all military services generally after 1-5 years of inactivity and are retained for 50 years from the year of last patient activity.

Prior to 2003 the Army, Navy and Air Force retired their retiree records to NPRC (MPR). Beginning in 2003 the Army and Navy retired their retiree records to NPRC (MPR), but the Air Force began retiring their retiree records to NPRC (Civilian Personnel Records Section). If possible, contact the last medical treatment facility to determine if records have been retired to NPRC before sending a request.

    National Personnel Records Center
    Military Personnel Records
    111 Winnebago Street
    St. Louis, MO 63118-4126

    National Personnel Records Center
    Civilian Personnel Records
    111 Winnebago Street
    St. Louis, MO 63118-4126

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