DD Form 214 – The Most Important Military Document You Will Ever Receive

Your DD Form 214, Verification of Military Service, is one of the most valuable military service records you will ever hold – it verifies your military service and includes your complete name used while in service, service number or social security number, branch of service, dates of service, and additional information regarding your military service.

Without your DD Form 214, you are ineligible for veteran’s benefits, including VA medical care, the GI Bill, VA Loans, and many other programs. Veterans should treat their DD Form 214 like any other important document – birth and marriage certificates, wills, vehicle titles, land deeds, insurance policies, etc.

Safeguard your DD Form 214

One of the most important things you can do is maintain its safety. I recommend keeping several copies, just in case. Because it has your SSN and other private information, you should keep your copy locked away in a lock box or safety deposit box – you don’t want to become a victim of identity theft because someone swiped your SSN from your military records.

Consider registering it with your county or town hall

In many states your DD Form 214 can be registered with your town hall or county registrar, just like a land deed or vehicle title. You can consider doing this to maintain a record of your service, because it will make document retrieval quick and easy (though you may have to pay a small fee). Before registering your DD Form 214 with any office, make sure state or local laws do not permit public access to your DD Form 214. Because it has your SSN, you may be exposing your private information to the world, making you an easy target for identity theft.

What to do if you lose your DD Form 214

If you lose your DD Form 214, it is not the end of the world. But it can take several weeks, or even months to get it replaced. If you lose you DD Form 214, you will need to contact the National Personnel Records Center to get a new copy of your DD Form 214.

National Personnel Records Center
Attention: [Your Service, e.g., Air Force] Records
9700 Page Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63132-5000

Here are step by step instructions for getting a new copy of your DD Form 214.

You may also call the National Records Personnel Center telephone information lines:

Army Reference Branch: (314) 538 – 4122
Air Force Branch: (314) 538 – 4218
Navy Reference Branch: (314) 538 – 4200
Marines Reference Branch: (314) 538 – 4200
Coast Guard: (314) 538 – 4200

Be sure to have the following information available when you make your request:

  • Your full name
  • Social Security number
  • Current phone number (including area code)
  • Approximate dates of service
  • Place of discharge
  • Return address
  • Reason for request

You can find more information about replacing your DD Form 214, including which forms you will need to send to the National Personnel Records Center, at the National Archives website. Remember, it can take a long time to get your document replaced, so take care of it. It is the most important military document you have!

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Date published: December 7, 2008. Last updated: November 29, 2011.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.


  1. della mann says

    I served in the gulf conflict from 1/9/91 to 3/12/91. My DD214 dose not show the suthwest asia medal information, even though it was given to me when i reached state side and was discharged. What should I do to find out if I am eligible.

  2. says

    I used the phone #s that you printed in this article for contacting the navy
    they are not in service i am told
    You may also call the National Records Personnel Center telephone information lines:

    Army Reference Branch: (314) 538 – 4122
    Air Force Branch: (314) 538 – 4218
    Navy Reference Branch: (314) 538 – 4200
    Marines Reference Branch: (314) 538 – 4200
    Coast Guard: (314) 538 – 4200

    I need my Discharge date corrected in my DD214. I have been trying to get it corrected for years, but no luck. I was discharged a few days later due to a Snow Storm that year, and that gave me over 4 years in the service. How do i get all my records corrected and get a replacement copy for my wallet I was officially Discharged in 22 March 1956

  3. Bevi says

    How would I go about getting a copy of so to find out if they were honorably discharged or. Dishonorably discharged i belive they lied under oath on the witness stand. This is very well could be the key that I need to prove that they lied under oath. Thanks so much for any help.

    • says

      Bevi, you will need to contact the National Archives, which is where official military records are maintained. It’s important to note that in most cases only family members can obtain these documents, though some of them are public information. If you are not a family member and wish to see a copy of the D Form 214, the you may need a court order and will need to go through the official process.

  4. Jimmy downs says

    I was discharge in 4-14-70 with a dd256a form a company that give veteran a discount on there equipment will not except this form so no discount for me

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