Searching for service records/discharge papers

Discussion in 'Tips and Resources' started by Red Headed Mommy, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Red Headed Mommy

    Red Headed Mommy Jr. Member

    I am so grateful for all of the tips and guidance I have received from this forum...

    I am in the process of preparing the application for Aid & Attendance, and hated to file the application without the Active Duty Service Information required in Part III of VA Form 21-526. I had already submitted an online request of my father-in-law's military service record using the eVetRecs system, but hadn't heard anything in the past 3 1/2 weeks. Based on a comment I read on the forum, I decided to get my father-in-law on the telephone with me to call the National Call Center for the VA (1-800-827-1000) to try to dig more to locate his military service record information.

    In searching for the discharge papers (DD214 or equivalent), we were able to find an 8 digit number that we hoped would be my father-in-laws service number. This number was located on a document from 1943 that my father-in-law was listed as an Aviation Cadet at the Army Air Force Technical Training Command in Chicago. The gentleman at the VA Call Center was able to tell us that indeed this 8 digit number was Dad's service number, however, the file this man had was abbreviated. It merely linked my father-in-law's name, date of birth, branch of service (with no service dates) and the service number.

    The gentleman at the VA Call Center provided 2 pieces of useful information that I wanted to pass on:

    1. He suggested that since we have a copy of a "military type" document from 1943 that would indicate Dad was in the Army Air Force, to make a copy of the document (keep the original, of course) and use that to help substantiate the fact that indeed Dad was a WWII veteran. He said including such documents aid in providing the support to determine he was a veteran.

    2. The gentleman asked my father-in-law if he possibly had filed his documents with the clerk of the court in the city where he lived upon discharge. The VA rep indicated that such recording was, and still is, a common practice to ensure these documents are not lost. My father-in-law (at 90 years old) had no memory of it, and in fact told me that he lived in Shreveport, LA at the time he got out of the military. I started down the path of contacting the Caddo Parish in Louisiana, when I recalled that in our "digging for documents", we located a letter from my father-in-law to his parents stating that he was going to get out of the military at the end of 1945. Fortunately, the letter was still in the original envelope--his parents lived in Fort Worth, Texas at the time--where my father-in-law and I both currently reside.

    I contacted the Tarrant County Clerk's office (Fort Worth is located in this county) and inquired whether they maintained copies of military discharge records from 1945. The office assured me that they did, but would not look up the information while I was on the telephone. These records were copies of old microfilms, and could not be searched online. I had to either submit my request in writing, or go to the Courthouse and make my request in person. I opted to head downtown, and to my great delight--my father in law had indeed filed a copy with the County Clerk. At no charge, the County Clerk's office made me 3 certified copies of all the discharge papers I needed.

    I have no idea how long it may have taken to get these military records or whether they were involved in the fire years ago at the National Records Center. I wanted to pass these tips in case it can help someone else.
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for sharing in the event others have encountered such a challenge. So glad we are able to help and that you were successful in getting the paperwork you needed. Seems like you were fortunate in getting to the right people at the right time.

    Keep us posted.
  3. squarah

    squarah Newbie

    I sent my dad's info in thru the Evetrecs as well and after almost 10 weeks I got a letter back from the National Personnel Records Center in Missouri. The letter basically said that they couldn't find my dad's info. There was a fire at their facility in 1973 and it damaged or destroyed the major portion of the Army military personnel records for the period 1912-1953 for people with the last names Hubbard thru Z. (The Air Force was considered part of the Army during the WWII period.) My dad fell into this category. They instead sent me a Certification of Military Service that verifies military service and may be used to official purpose (according to them!) I'm submitting the VA paperwork this week, so hopefully the VA accepts this too! It includes his name, DOB, SS#, service number, service entrance and exit dates as well as his rank at discharge. Maybe you'll receive something like this too??
  4. Max

    Max Hero Member

    If you haven't already submitted the claim, I would suggest to just turn it in without the discharge. Give VA whatever you have as far as copies of the discharge, dates, service numbers, etc and wait for them to do it. VA can get this info for you in almost all cases.

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