Can You Use a DD Form 256 to Get a DD Form 214?

National Guard and Reserve members are issued DD Form 256 when they separate. Find out how to get a DD Form 214 to prove active duty military service and qualify for certain veterans benefits.
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DD Form 256

Military and veterans benefits often vary from person to person. Many factors determine which benefits you may be eligible for, including when and where you served, how long you were in the service, and whether you were on active duty or in the Guard or Reserves. Our question today is from a former Reservist who received a DD Form 256 and wants to know if this can be used to obtain a DD Form 214 to qualify for certain Veterans Benefits.

Here is his question:

I am wondering if you have had any experience helping a veteran receive a DD214. I was in the USAFR from January 1967 through January 1973, Honorably Discharged. I received my DD256 but it is not sufficient to qualify for Medical Benefits. The requirement is to have a DD214. My question involves determining if there is a process to now secure a DD214. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thanks for contacting me. This is a common question among former Guard and Reserve members. Let’s define a couple of common military discharge forms to answer your question better.

A DD Form 214 is only issued to servicemembers when they separate from active duty service. This can include active duty for purposes of initial training (basic training plus AIT / Tech school), even if the member then goes to the Reserve Component as a Traditional Guard or Reserve member.

In addition to the DD Form 214 received after initial training, members of the Reserve Component should receive a DD Form 214 when they leave active duty if they served at least 90 consecutive days or more of active duty service. This often applies to mobilizations or activation under Title 10 orders and other circumstances.

Members of the Guard or Reserves who have been activated more than once may have been issued more than one DD Form 214. The paperwork can get tricky in these circumstances because, technically, the member is released from his Guard commitment and immediately enrolled on active duty service. At the end of the activation period, the member is discharged from active duty, issued a DD Form 214, and reinstated into his or her Guard or Reserve status.

Be sure to verify your DD form 214 shows all periods of active duty service. The best time to correct service records is while you are still serving. So be sure to get copies of all records and ensure their accuracy. As always, try to keep copies of your military records forever. You can keep physical copies or scan them and keep digital copies backed up online.

Members of the Guard and Reserves receive a DD Form 256, Discharge Certificate, upon completion of their service agreement and their time in the Regular Reserves, Guard, or Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

Learn More about these discharge certificates and when they are issued: Each military branch most likely publishes a guide for discharge certificates. Here is the latest from the USAF Reserves: AFI 36-3202, Separation Documents. It covers when certain forms are issued and why.

Why a DD Form 214 is Important

As alluded to in the reader question, a DD Form 214 is often required by the VA and other benefits organizations to qualify for veterans benefits. It is the key to proving military service and qualifying for various veterans benefits. Because of this, a veteran’s DD Form 214 is probably his or her most valuable military document.

The instructions the veteran receives with the DD Form 214 are simple: Don’t lose it! (It’s OK if you did; we will show you how to get a replacement further down the page).

But what if you never received a DD Form 214?

All active duty servicemembers are issued a DD Form 214 when they separate from active duty. If you didn’t receive a DD Form 214 when you left the service, you should contact your last unit if you separated recently. You can also contact your branch of service admin headquarters (Army Human Resources Command, Air Force Personnel Center, or Navy BUPERS).

Each branch of the service maintains personnel records for about 5-10 years before sending them to the National Archives. If your branch of service no longer has these records, then you should contact the National Archives, where military service records are permanently maintained.

Members of the Reserve Corp only receive a DD Form 214 when they served on active duty – usually after initial training and after separating from active duty after serving at least 90 consecutive days.

If you served in the Guard or Reserves but were never activated, you may not have a DD Form 214. This is the case even if you successfully and honorably served your term. Guard and Reserve members who complete their term of service are issued a DD Form 256 (Honorable Discharge Certificate) or DD Form 257 (General Discharge Certificate) upon completion of their term.

If you were activated while part of the Reserves, you should have a DD Form 214. However, some older Guard or Reserve members have reported not receiving a physical form. If you believe you should have received a DD Form 214, you must contact your unit, your branch of service, or the National Archives to obtain a copy of your DD Form 214.

How to get Copies of Your Records

Here are some tips for getting copies of your DD Form 214, military records, and other information:

Correcting Errors in Your Military Records

If there is an error in your military records and you were supposed to have been issued a DD Form 214, but for some reason it was never issued, you would need to file a request with the Board of Corrections for Military Records. That can be done with DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Records.

You must substantiate any request for change of military records with evidence, such as a copy of your orders, travel vouchers, signed statements from your commanding officer or someone you served with, or other evidence. Filling out this type of form is outside of the scope of this article. Still, you should be able to obtain free assistance with any of these issues at your county or state Veterans Affairs office or through a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc.

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  1. Peter Min says

    You gave a lot of info without actually answering the question itself. Can you convert DD256 to DD214 to get access to VA health benefits? Yes? No? If yes, then how?

  2. Reginald Colley says

    I have a copy of my DD214. This only shows my Tech school time period and from Tech school I went to my reserve unit and I have no record of the six active reserve years as well as the two years inactive after that. My records look like I was only in the Air Force reserves for a little over a year and that was in tech school. It shows nothing of the six years of completed drills.

    Thank you for your time and help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Reginald,

      Your DD Form 214 will only list active duty time. It does not list your drill periods or inactive training periods. You would need a Points Summary Statement for a record of those service dates. You will need to contact AFPC to obtain those records.

      Best wishes!

  3. Windy Hargiss says

    Hi Ryan, this is just a shot in the dark. My older brother served in the Navy from 1985 -1989.He was injured and had to have a metal plate placed in his leg. He served until the end of his tour. He wanted to make a career I’ve been in the Navy. However, when he tried to re-enlist, they denied him because they considered him to be physically disabled due to the injury. He was very disappointed To have his dreams crushed.
    He was denied reenlistment but had never received any type of disability from the Navy/government.
    When he applied for disability, they told him that he needed the letter declining his reenlistment. He no longer has the letter or is unable to find it. Would a copy of the letter be on file somewhere?
    Thank you in advance for any help you could offer.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Windy, I don’t know if this letter will still exist anywhere. However, this may be documented on his DD Form 214, which he should be able to get from the National Archives. Additionally, if he has a copy of his medical records or proof that the injury or surgery occurred while he was in the military, then he should be able to file for VA disability compensation. Best wishes!

  4. Kevin says

    I signed up for the USCGreserves Feb 1980 and was in Cape May NJ for my 8 weeks basic training and then to Yorktown VA for my 16 weeks rate training (MK). The requirements have apparently been changed to take this time for service members to be recognized as “Veterans”. I never received a DD214 at the conclusion of any of my active duty trainings. I served every required weekend (that allowed the active duty to have that time off) and I served every 2 week requirement (also allowed the active duty that time off). I did not receive a DD214 for any of the active duty events I participated in. I was never issued any type of discharge documentation until I sent off for “copies” of said documentation. I received an Honorable Discharge certificate as well as a shoddly semi completed DD256.
    I do not want any veteran’s benefits except the right to display on my license and license plate that I am a Veteran. I willingly signed up to fulfill my obligation and just want to be recognized as such. Is that too much to ask?

  5. James J. Hanrahan says

    I joined in good faith at 17 years of age, it was back in 1953, I enlisted while I was still in High School, I attended meetings at an armory in, White stone Queens,NYC. I joined in a program called. “The Baby Hitch” we were to be discharged the day before we turned 21 years of age. The enlistment changed to, a, “Six Year Enlistment and finally they changed it once more to an eight year enlistment. I didn’t mind, I loved being involved with the, USN-R I had trained as a Hospital Corpsman and was quite good at it, I did my training at the White stone armory, also aboard the, USS Osberg DD 538 I also was stationed aboard the, USS Amphion a repair ship, I was on a, training cruise to, “Spain And Portugal, I was sent to a naval air station in Dallas Tx. I eventually did ny training at St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens NYC. My question is, “Did I Do my Military Obligation, of eight years for nothing, to receive any recognition for my time in the USNR? There are millions of people who served, just as I have are we to be disregarded and made to be, considered, “Non-Military?” I went to boot camp at Bainbridge MD. I served aboard USS Warships, Repairships I attended to injured shipmates and made every drill required of me! Now, myself and other, “Reservists” are being, disrespected and considered, as though we had never served our country! While many Americans never served, guys such as myself volunteered and proudly joined, We received, “Honorable Discharge Certificates” which have no meaning or standard in the, military! We could have been, “Draft Dodgers” and never served but we, “Enlisted” free will, we didn’t get drafted, wanted to serve and we did! This is a, Shabby Way” to treat the people who joined the service willingly, we did not wait around to be drafted, We joined because we wanted to serve our country! Is there any movement that is seeking to right this wrong, if so, please inform me how to participate!

    • Barry M. says

      Did you spend at least 90 CONSECUTIVE days on active duty? If not, you MAY not be considered a “Veteran” for benefits purposes. If you are in Texas, each county is supposed to have a Veterans Service officer(s). He or she will be able to check your service and advise.

  6. Anthony says

    I was a Coast Guard Reservist for 14 good years, completing basic and attending A school. During my time in the guard, I was port security small boat MK, I did the 1990 goodwill games in Seattle and was attached to units accompanying scrape reactors on barges to hanford site, both were more than two weeks evolution not training; however, not meeting 90 or 180 active duty.

    In the Tacoma unit, we had vessel assigned to the unit maintain readiness, we relieve regular units in Seattle.

    I think it’s a shame that my fellow mates are not considered vet’s and not eligible for a DD214. It appears that not having a DD214 disqualify you as a vet.

  7. Carol Cadigan says

    My late husband was a Navy Reservist for 25 years 8 months earning a rank of Chief Petty Officer. Tried to get some benefits but was denied. I have all his original paperwork. There were a few years he did not attend two week duty and just short of 180. I tried for years but because he died at age 47 he did not meet regulations for retirement at 60. I tried when he would have reached 60 and 65 and when I reached 60 and 65. We fell through the holes.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Carol, I am sorry for your loss. If your husband met the retirement eligibility requirements of 20 Good Years of service and received his 20-year retirement eligibility letter, then he would have been eligible for retirement, even though he didn’t reach age 60 (retirees prior to age 60 are “gray area retirees” meaning they are eligible for retirement, but they are awaiting age 60 to be eligible to receive their pay and other benefits).

      If he did not receive a 20-year retirement eligibility letter, then he may not have been eligible for retirement. (The key is not just 20 years of service, but 20 Good Years, which means earning the required number of points and meeting other criteria. It is possible to be in the Reserves for more than 20 years, but not to have earned 20 good Years).

      If he was eligible for retirement and passed away prior to age 60, he may have been participating in the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan which would provide certain benefits to his surviving spouse. More info on the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan.

      Please note that the type of enrollment can have a major impact on how (or if) benefits are paid out via the Survivor Benefit Plan. Please see this reference.

      The Navy should have a copy of his Reserve Component SBP Election Certificate, Form DD 2656-5. I would try to obtain a copy of this form to determine the election he made if he was retirement eligible. This will help you determine if you should be eligible for benefits or not.

      I recommend contacting the closest Navy Reserve base and asking to speak with their personnel office so you can ask about this and see if they can provide more assistance or help you obtain a copy of this form.

      Another option would be to contact a Veterans Service Organization to see if they can assist you. Some examples include your county Veterans Affairs Office, the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, etc.

      I hope this points you in the right direction and I wish you the best.

  8. Derek Smith says

    Hello Ryan, I really don’t have any savings to speak of. However, I am 55 years old and would like to retire from the federal government next year with a full pension. I will earn about $4000 per month in pensions, I have $1700 per month in military disability, and at 60 I will have my National Guard pension of about $1700 per month as well. Additionally, I teach college and have a small cybersecurity training business that I plan to continue. I also have a PI license and can start taking on cases. Is it realistic for me to want to retire with these facts.

  9. Sherry says

    Hi, my father was in the Navy for 4 years and received an honorable discharge, then went into the Air Force for 4 years and received an honorable discharge, but his form says DD256AF. He has passed away almost 20 years now and had been cremated. My mother is in hospice and when she passes, she will also be cremated. We were looking into seeing if they could be buried in
    a military cemetery. Please let me know.

    Thank you

  10. Daryl says

    I received my DD 214 from serving Active duty in the army for 5 yrs. Now, I am with the army reserves as a TPU soldier. If I get an unsatisfactory for TPU and got sent to IRR to fulfill my military service obligation, will I be getting an honorable discharge after completing my MSO? Also, will it be a big deal getting an unsatisfactory from the reserves even though I earned my honorable DD 214 from active duty?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Daryl, I don’t have answers to these questions. I would bring them up with your human resources office. They should be able to explain the discharge questions.

      As for the unsatisfactory – again, I’m not sure. It most likely depends on the situation. Many civilian employers never look at your discharge rating. It is also a protected question for job interviews. That said, some state or federal jobs may request that information if you are seeking a veterans preference rating. So it may have an impact there. I’m not certain.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  11. Catherine Juera says

    Hi. Steve Ruyle just died. He was a military. His body is still at the funeral. i would like to ask if he could be given a military funeral service since he is here in the Philippines?

  12. Bob Miller says

    Am now 82, so no hope, but feel a little left out.
    ROTC 1954 -1958. Fort Benning for IOLC (Infantry Officer Leadership Corps) and then Ft Devens for a total of 1 day short of 6 months. So ACDUTRA. There were orders for guys in my position, for either Germany or Korea.
    My dear wife was 6 months pregnant at the time, and we were worried about the probable post.
    Then… probably the only time ever… in 1959… The government was facing soldiers returning from Korea, who wanted to remain in the army. With thousands of ROTC graduates waiting for commission, it meant over strength in officers. For a two week period, “for the interests of the government” we, among others in the same situation… were offered the option of staying in for the required 2 years service, or an “early out” and transfer to the US Army reserves.
    For us, a no brainer. We opted for the reserves.
    So… a DD214,, with a transfer to the reserves. From 1959 to 1969, active reserves with meetings and summer camp. DD256A for honorable discharge from reserves as Captain.
    Applied for VA benefits in 1975, and was denied, citing the ACDUTRA on the DD214, not counted.
    A great experience from 1954 to 1969, but, not a qualified veteran.
    Now, soon facing early dementia, not sure there will be enough left to cover my wife.
    The only thing that bothers me a little bit is that others who received an “other than honorable discharge) are getting full benefits.
    C’est la vie…

  13. Gerald Reichert says

    I joined the navy reserve in 1963 and went to boot camp for 90 days in N.A.S JACKSONVILLE FL. from June to August and attained pay grade E-3. I did weekend drills from Sept. to the following June when I went to ‘A’ school at Glenview N.A.S in Illinois from June thru August where on completion I bumped up to E-4 ADR-3. I then went on active duty from Sept. 1964 for 3 years at Floyd Bennett N.A.S until Sept. 1967 at which time I was released from active duty and finished the rest of my enlistment as inactive until 1969. I received a DD256N in the mail at that time. Should I not be eligible for a DD-214 ?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gerald, Thank you for your question. Yes, it seems to me that you should be eligible for a DD 214 based on your service dates and type of service. I recommend contacting the National Archives to see if they have additional military service records. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  14. Teri says

    I’m needing the DD214 to make an application for Memory Care at a VA facility for my father who has Alzheimers, he was honorably discharged in 1958. He has either lost or thrown away a lot of his military paper work and he can’t fill out the forms or paper work to request the DD214. In my research it only allows for the Veteran or next of kin for deceased veteran to make the application for the form so if he’s not deceased or able to request the DD214 on his own, how do we get the required form? I do have power of attorney but i don’t see that as one of their options/requirements for requesting the informatio. I’m hoping someone has some suggestions.

    • Thomas E. Carpenter says

      Hi, I served 18.118 years active duty and a total of 3.8 years IRR. I’m currently Permanent and totally disabled due to service connected disabilities. I am 100% due to In-employability (IU). Can I now retire from the Reserves Early? Please help!

  15. Lloyd Brickey says

    Hi There: I served in the Navy from May 1965 to May 1971, 2 years reserve, 2 years active in Vietnam, 2 years reserve. During my 1st 2 years of reserve time I was injured requiring stitches on my head when a hatch fell on me. I have had problems with my neck ever since. I requested my “C” file which I finally received. After reviewing the info, I do not find all my information concerning my reserve time. I had Fire Fighting training, my injury requiring stitches. I contacted the NPRC, they told me they did not have reserve records only active duty. So now my question is and maybe someone might know. Where are the records for my service as a reservist? Has anyone requested their reserve time records?

  16. Dennis says

    I was a Navy reservist an got injured on AT. I was put on a NOE and was discharged after 11 months being treated at Navy hospital. My question is I have a Dd-214 for a short stint but I never got a new Dd-214 when I was discharged, I received a Dd256n, after not getting well enough to continue serving. Currently I’m 100% with the VA but I don’t have a Dd-214 showing my last rank or awards can my old add-214 be updated?

  17. Paul Piana says

    Hello I was in the Navy Seabee reserves from 1986 to 92,I received my DD 256N,I’m I entitled to a DD 214 after attending basic and A school from 4/86 to 9/86?

  18. William S. Russell says

    I am a USAF veteran from 1982 to 1988 full active duty, never a reserve. I received a DD256AF when I left the service on termanal leave. I had 25 days vacation that I took when I left from my active duty station to go back home and never returned. I was discharged without having to go back. I never got my DD form 214, but the AF knew where I went. I received a commendation medal later at my home, so there was no misunderstanding where I went. The statement that only reservist get the 256DD is incorrect or I was sent the wrong thing. I just sent a request to the archives for a copy of my DD form 214.

  19. Evan Bouchard says

    I served in the Army Reserve from 2007 to 2015, I don’t have a DD214 because I wasn’t on active duty other than Basic and AIT. When I separated I received orders stating my honorable discharge, but never received a DD256. I contacted the NPRC for records but my DD256 wasn’t in them. Any advice on what I can do? I want the DD256 to get a Veterans License and plate in Georgia as well as to frame it. Thanks in advance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Evan, Thank you for contacting me. I would start by contacting the human resources or personnel section for your branch of service – Human Resources Command for Army (AFPC and BUPERS for Air Force and Navy respectively). The records usually aren’t sent to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) for several years after the service member has left the military. Records are maintained by each branch of service for several years, then are sent on to the National Archives.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  20. Joe says

    My Reserve unit was activated 1 Oct 2001 and was demob’ed 27 Sept 2002. I did get a DD-214 and used it to transfer from Reserve to Active 1 Oct 2002. I requested all my DD-214’s from the national archives but they claim I never served active during that time. I need it to file for a VA claim. This also has will change my total time of active service for my medical retirement. Do you know how I can get a copy or get one recreated?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joel, Thank you for contacting me. Each branch of the service holds service records for several years before sending them to the National Archives. I would contact your former unit if you recently separated, or your service’s Human Resources Commend or Personnel Unit (HRC, AFPC, or BUPERS). They should be able to get you a copy of your personnel records. I hope this points you in the right direction.

  21. Arthur Miller says

    I have a DD256 Honerable Discharge for medical reasons. I have served over six years in the Air Force Reserve. Do I qualify for a Georgia (Vererans) license plate?

  22. Chris says

    Hi, I received a DD 214 for completion of basic and MOS school – combined training in 1992. I served 13 weeks of active duty for training and completed it with no issues, even served as a squad leader. I was a reservist only so once completed I went back to my reserve unit and served 12 years, ultimately receiving an Honorable Discharge Certificate. Now, 24 years later, my employer is providing credit for ALL active duty service including training. I gladly order my DD 214 and it says uncharacterized for the 13 weeks, reason due to completion of entry level training. My employer says I do not have an honorable discharge. I am lost as to how I can rectify this. I was promoted, served honorably in two different units.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chris, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a firm answer for this, but you may be able to try a Military Records Review Boards to get your records updated. Another option would be contacting a veterans benefits counselor (VA, DAV, AMVETS, VFW, etc.). They may be able to point you in the right direction. I wish you the best and thank you for your service!

  23. Terry Rosendahl says

    So let me see if I have this correct.

    Both myself and my husband were civilian workers, at different times.

    He was on a carrier and a boiler blew up and he was injured.

    I myself served during the years 1995-1996 with the AF.

    Neither one of us got anything stating that we served even as civilians.

    We have researched and nobody can find us as being in the military.

    I keep saying that we were civilian workers, and are being called liars.

    People claim that there are no such things, even those who claimed to have served in the military. They also say that the only civilians were independent contractors, which I know is incorrect. Then they also say that civilian workers never go into war zones, because I have PTSD as well as the squad I was with got shelled and I hurt my back due to being knocked backwards.

    Neither problem has effected my way of life until about 5 years ago, it started getting worse, then 2 years ago I got injured on the job, and workman’s comp denied my claim because it was an old injury and it just reaggrivated the old injury.

    I have since been approved for disability, but never once did Social Security mention my time in the service.

    They mentioned that I had health care experience, that is what I was doing over there. I helped aid the orphaned children that were hurt.

    I bandaged them up for safe transport to a safe house.

    That is why with the squad and myself getting shelled it was a shock to us all, because we were like the clean up crew.

    Sorry for being so long, but lots of information to digest and lots of questions that need to be answered.

  24. Robert Lovdahl says

    I served 24 continuous years in the Navy Reserve but never served Active Duty, I did do all 24 periods of ACDUTRA (Active Duty for Training) and retired as an E6. I have a retired ID card and enjoy all the benefits (Commissary, PX, travel, berthing) of a Veteran. I was issued a DD256, am I considered a Veteran? Not looking for VA benefits as my employment benefits are fine but “Veterans” do get community privileges, mostly tax breaks, recreational benefits, etc. What’s your thoughts…thank you!

  25. Victor Garcia says

    As I was looking to get a Veterans ID card I noticed that the DMV in CA allowed you to have “Veteran” printed on your license. The DMV is also asking for DD214.
    If I’m understating correctly, I can only get DD214 if I was in active duty? or being activated during war? Which I never was. I was in the National Guard, and during my time there remember being activated for the LA Riots, and the Northridge earthquake. I know it’s not war, but would that count?

    • Anon says

      Your basic training and your active duty in Operation Garden Plot should get you a DD214. Check with your old duty station and ask the S1.

  26. Richard Stein says

    I completed the six month us army reserve program 1n 1957 and six or seven years active reserve. One drill per month, two weeks per year training. Also weekend drills. Am I entitled to any benefits at all. Received Honorable Discharge. I am now 77 years old. Thank you
    Richard STEIN

    • Ryan Guina says

      Richard, Thank you for contacting me. Benefits vary based on individual circumstances, so I can’t tell you exactly which benefits you may be eligible to receive.he best way to know if you are eligible for any veterans benefits is to contact a veterans benefits counselor to give you a customized benefits review session. There are many organizations that offer free benefits claims assistance, including the DAV, VFW, and others.

  27. Betsy says

    I have a question; My Father retired from the Army in 1967 after 25 years. He is elderly ill now and we are going through the application process to get benefits for Nursing Home care for him. We are told that because of his dates and type of service he is eligible. I am not sure he has ad DD214, I found a DD256A should he also have a DD214?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

  28. Juan Vasquez says

    I joined the Navy Sea-bees (reserves) in 1989 and during desert storm my unit nmcb22 was activated by from what i remember the president. We were to get our affairs in order and at a given date we were going to be sent to another base for additional training. After the training we were then to be shipped out to participate in desert storm. However, desert storm had ended rather fast and we never even made it for the additional training. My question- even though i did not see any active duty do i qualify for a DD214? Getting activated by a presidential order does it qualify me for a DD214?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Juan, Thank you for contacting me. I believe you should be eligible for a DD214 if your unit was officially activated. You should contact the Navy Personnel Command (BUPERS). They should have a record of all your service dates and statuses. You should be able to use those records to obtain a DD214 if your unit was officially activated. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  29. Francisco says

    Hi I was wondering I didn’t finish basic training but got an honorable discharge am I eligible to be buried in a military cemetery.
    Thank you Francisco

    • Chris D says

      No you do not. Especially if your referring to a national cemetery. Their guidelines are very strict and serving only a couple weeks doesn’t even qualify you as a veteran yet alone to be buried in a place of such high honor. Sorry to be so blunt but it is what it is.

  30. Doug XNAVY says

    I am trying to have all my military time counted toward my Army civilian retirement. I have purchased all my active time a few years ago. All my time was approved by OPM & DFAS using my supporting documentation. However there is a problem with proving all the active time for my Army civilian retirement.
    I enlisted for 4ry in 1967. 3yr 9mo later I re-enlisted for 6yr. The DD214N shows the re-enlistment date as date of active service for this period (block 15).
    The DD214N also shows my total time for pay as 9yr 9mo 29days which is correct. The problem here is that OPM requires supporting FROM and TO dates.
    The DD214N does not include blocks for DATE of ENTRY or Prior Regular Enlistments as the ARMY DD214 does. Therefor I cannot support my initial 3yr 9mo+ time in my civilian retirement. No pay slips no orders from that time period. Of course the DD256 certificate is worthless for supporting dates for OPM. Anybody out there from the NAVSTA data processing shop Keflavik 1968-70? Since this does not appear to be an error on the DD214N how do I capture my time? Thank You

    • Ryan Guina says

      Doug, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t have much experience working this type of issue. I’m not sure how you can get this information, short of contacting the National Archives to determine if they have any copies of your military records that support your service dates. Perhaps the folks at the National Archives have more information on sourcing military records. Other than this, I’m not sure where to go. I wish you the best in getting copies of your service records!

  31. Ralph says

    It seems I’m on the outside looking in with many other former/retired service members. We are the reservists who never deployed, thus no “active duty” as far as the VA is concerned. We’ve all spent many years, 28 in my case, serving, wearing the uniform and standing ready and willing to deploy as needed. We all have many weeks and months of ADT/AT (Active Duty for Training/Active Training) to show for it, sometimes in hazardous environments and situations. For what? No VA or burial benefits? Some of our “active duty” friends look down on us for having never gone down range or got shot at in a hostile environment. Remember, we’ve all serve differently. We didn’t all take the same military career path. But the bottom line is, WE’VE ALL SERVED. We all signed a blank check to be cashed with our lives if necessary! We all took the oath and took the risk. Seems like EVERY service member should be issued a Form DD214 for all “active” service, reserve or active and be allowed VA benefits accordingly. Not to diminish the service of those who were deployed, but both traditional active duty or active duty for training should be recognized with a Form DD214. I’m not even asking for medical benefits. But, they should be available in varying degrees to ALL service members who served on active duty or in the reserves. At the very least, all service members should be entitled to burial benefits in a military or state memorial park with graveside honors. It’s time to re-think how we think of “active duty”.

    • Carrie Delaney says

      I so much agree with this. I cannot tell you how many times, I was approached by my local command and asked to fill in a billet as active duty or extend AT to meet a need…and I did it. I get tired of the crap from people who went full active duty in their attitude toward those who were reserve. There are sometime reasons people did not go active duty immediately like being in Nursing School full time planning to go active duty as an officer instead of enlisted. Then there are those of us who tried to go active duty but kept running into roadblocks…you know, like folks sho promised to help take care of your children but then backed out even though they knew from the get-go you may be called up any time. I am a daughter of the American Revolution. I love this country and her people like no other; I would do anything to defend her. I served!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Derrick, There are specific rules for medical retirement benefits. You will need to contact your branch of service about this. If you need assistance with any claims, I recommend contacting a Veterans Service Officer at your county, or through a Veterans Service Organization such as the VFW, DAV, American Legion, etc. Here are some recommended organizations. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  32. Craig Edsen says

    I was in the US Army Reserves for 14 years, 1970-1984— no active duty just ADT. I have a DD Form 256A. I am trying to get on my driver license that I am a VET. I know I don’t qualify for government medical benefits, etc. All I want is to be able to show on my drivers license to some local retailers that I was a vet for their discount- nothing to do with any government benefits. Can someone help me? I want it on my drivers license. Thank you.

    • Sandra says

      Just show a copy of a your dd214 when you did basics training. That is all I did and I received my driver license.

  33. Craig Edsen says

    I was in the US Army Reserves for 14 years, 1970-1984— no active duty just ADT. I have a DD Form 256A. I am trying to get on my driver license that I am a VET. I know I don’t qualify for government medical benefits, etc. All I want is to be able to show on my drivers license to some local retailers that I was a vet for their discount- nothing to do with any government benefits. Can someone help me? I want it on my drivers license. Thank you.

  34. Diane says

    I have a question about a reconstructed DD214 that says “For Training Purposes Only”. What exactly does this mean?

    My father was on duty for the Little Rock integration, went to meetings, training etc. My father who has since passed received a reconstructed DD214 when his was lost in the St Louis fire. My father said that whom ever reconstructed it added the “For Training Purposes Only” to the one sent to him. When mom went to get his benefits she was denied. Because of the ‘wordage’ my mother gets no benefits which she could desperately use.

    Any help with information would be such a blessing.

    Thank you.

  35. Luigi AEsposito says

    I was ordered to report for armed forces physical examination Mar 18th 1957. I was found fully acceptable for induction in the armed forces, on May 12, 1958 I was inducted in the service. I went to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for one month & 12 days we agreed that if I had a job back home I could get an honorable discharge but I would be on call for 7 years. When I used to get the post card to report they would give me 24 hr. or 48 hr. My discharge papers DD Form 256A. What is it? Am I a veteran?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Luigi, A DD Form 256 is the discharge form used by the military reserves. Basically it shows that you served with a military reserve unit, and often includes information such as dates and locations served, your career field, discharge classification (Honorable, less than honorable, etc.). This is your proof of service.

      Are you a veteran? You are in my book. However, the government has certain requirements people must meet before they are eligible for certain veterans benefits through the VA or through your state. You often need to have served a minimum of 180 days on active duty, served in war, or served a certain amount of time in the Guard or Reserves (usually a certain number of days on duty).

      I won’t be able to give you any specifics regarding which benefits you may be eligible to receive. You would need to contact the VA to see if you are eligible for any benefits. They will be able to go through your military records and give you an idea if you are eligible for any benefits. I hope this is helpful, and thanks for your service!

  36. Ken Wolf says

    I, too, served under the AFRTA (Armed Forces Reserve Training Act of 1954), which included 6 months active duty followed by (I think) 4 1/2 years active reserve and 3 years inactive reserve (no weekly meetings or summer camp) for a total of 8 years. I received a DD256A at the end of my total commitment in 1964.

    If I remember correctly, those of us in AFRTA served a certain number of days (maybe 180) which is not enough to qualify for most military-related benefits.

    Everyone who served under this program should proudly consider themselves a veteran; after all we were serving and subject to call-up for our entire 8 year commitment. By the same token, we should also recognize that our service was not equal, as far as earned benefits are concerned, to those who actually spent 2, 4, or more years eating army chow and army b.s.

  37. Daniel says

    I am trying to enlist in the National Guard. I am a honorably discharged Army Reservist. I was separated in 2007. I have my dd214 for basic and ait. I do not have any paperwork with my separation or re codes on them. I have already contacted records and they sent me my whole service record. There is still no separation or re codes. All I have is my discharge notice which states honorable discharge for reserve component and my honorable certificate. Where do I find my separation and RE codes?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Daniel, Your DD 214 will normally have a reenlistment code on it. However, I’m not sure if the DD 214 includes a reenlistment code if you only had a DD 214 for training purposes and you were going directly back into your Reserve unit. I’m not exactly sure how it would work in this situation. My recommendation is to ask your recruiter to walk you through the process to make you get the correct paperwork you need. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, but I’m not sure the regs here.

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  38. Harry Poole says

    I spent 12-years, 2-months in USMCR and have always had the same question as asked by Rick Voss above. I was never deployed for “active duty”, but as he states, I did boot camp and all sorts of ADT training every year (usually 2-3 week at a time).

    I requested my military records from NPRC (National Personnel Record Center), which showed DD-214 records but they were all for ADT (active duty for training).

    So now I think none of this really qualifies for any true veteran benefits, correct? (I’m not wanting anything special in terms of benefits; just a few military discounts here & there). Who do I contact to confirm if I qualify for anything?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Thanks for your comment, Harry. Military discounts are up to individual stores – and they vary widely in terms of who is eligible. Some stores only offer discounts to current service members, some include retirees, and some also include veterans who served, but didn’t stay in long enough to retire. It’s best to have some form of ID that shows proof of service.

      The best way is with a military ID card (not applicable for you, but it would be for others), a VA Issued ID card, or a drivers license or other state ID card with a veterans designation. Those links will help you find more information on how to get one of those forms of ID.

      You might also be able to prove your military service with a membership card to a military organization such as the VFW, American Legion, or similar service organization.

      Regarding veterans benefits: This will vary depending on many factors. Benefits are often available at the local, state, and federal level, and all of them have different eligibility guidelines. The best way to find out which benefits you are eligible to receive is by contacting the VA and scheduling an appointment to discuss possible benefits. You are likely eligible for the VA Loan, and it’s possible you are eligible for other benefits. Local and state benefits also vary and will depend on your service, which benefits are available, requirements for the benefits, etc.

      Another good place to go for benefits assistance is through a veterans service organization such as the VFW, American Legion, or similar organization. They have trained volunteers who can help you navigate the benefits system to learn what you may be eligible for. I hope this is helpful, and thanks for your service!

      • Anthony says

        You can not get a State ID with “Veteran” on it with out a DD214. I recently tried to get Veteran added to my California DL because I did not serve enough years to retire, so no DOD ID. And I also do t rate VA benefited so no VA ID.

        Non activated Reserves and National Guards are not viewed as “Veterans” even if they have a DD256

        No one cares about a DD256 if you don’t have a DD214 it’s like you never served at all.

  39. Louis Elsner says

    I received a Honorable Discharge DD Form 256A on 31 August 1965. I joined sometime in October 1959 and served 6 months active duty at Ft Leonardwood, MO. Am I considered a veteran? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Yes, Louis, you are considered a veteran. However, the Veterans Affairs office has different qualifications for earning different benefits. You would need to check with them to see what you are eligible to receive.

  40. Richard Flynn says

    I served 8 years active duty in the US Navy Aviation during Vietnam war. I was honorably discharged (DD-FORM 214N) as pay grade E-6. I immediately joined the US Navy Reserves (inactive). I served 7 years in the USN-R and was honorably discharged (DD FORM 256N) as pay grade E-7. It is now 33 years later and I am 100% disabled, caused from Agent Orange. I am going through all the processes now for disability benefits. I just came back from a local Air Force Reserve Base after applying for and receiving my ID and Privilege card as a status/grade; DAVPRM/E6. I could not get an ID card as pay grade E-7 because I only have the DD FORM 256N showing me being discharged as an E-7. They would only accept a DD FORM 214 to receive my ID card which shows being discharged as an E-6. Can I ask for a DD FORM 214 in addition to my DD FORM 256N so I can receive benefits as an E-7 since I do not have any broken time between my active duty and my reserve duty?

  41. Denise Haystrand says

    I have a question regarding my father’s form and burial benefits. I have recently come across a DD Form 256 AF for my dad. Both my mother and father have passed away and are cremated and in Urns. We would like to place them into a cemetery and was wondering if this form would qualify for a Military Cemetery. Please advise.

    Thank you,

    • Jerome A Berger says

      I spent 8 years in the active USNR and received a dd 256n in 1963. Am I eligible for any services now that I am 80 years old and am diabetic?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Jerome, Thank you for contacting me. The only way to know for certain is to have the VA verify your service dates and type of service to see if you are eligible for any benefits. They will do a free records review. You can also work with a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion or similar organizations. They have trained veterans benefits counselors that can assist you to verify benefits eligibility and make any benefits claims if you are eligible. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  42. Rick Voss says

    Here’s what’s confusing about that. Anyone who serves in the reserves typically has at least 6 months’ active duty. In my case, with USMCR, that was 6 months for training. I don’t think that qualifies as “active duty” for purposes of veteran’s benefits or qualification for a DD-214, but I’ve never seen that question answered directly. Can anyone answer that question? Are there 2 kinds of active duty, where active duty only for training is not real “active duty”?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Active duty for training doesn’t always count for all benefits purposes. It can get very confusing, depending on service records and various benefits requirements. The best course of action is contacting a veterans benefits office that can help you go through your service records, time of service, and other factors to help you determine your benefits eligibility.

      • LaTonya Parker says

        FOR RESERVISTS: VA Guidance states that all Active Duty periods which includes your 15 days on Annual Training counts towards your Federal Retirement and Leave. Note that the guidance for prior reservist is different than for Active Duty and National Guard. Take your retirement into your own hands and read the guidance yourself on OPMs site. Alot of VA HR Benefits Personnel think that Reservist guidance is the same as all others but it is not for the simple reason that the reserves is different. Drills don’t count. You will only have a DD Form 214 for Active Duty periods of 30 days or more. For all other active duty days, you were on orders (1610s or 938s, etc), which states that you were on Active Duty and the dates. You should be able to request copies of your orders from your reserve military branch that archives your records. I am prior active and reserve, and have about 5 years of active time while in the reserves. About 2.5 of those years are accounted for on my DD 214s, but the rest is accounted for on my 256 and the supporting copies of my orders. Not sure about every branch, but the Air Force Reserve providing us with a 256 every year that has a complete breakdown of all Active dates (starting and ending) performed for that year. I did not have a copy for my last reserve year so I printed off one from our records site but it doesn’t show the complete breakdown of dates, but it shows each fiscal year and my total active time for that fiscal year. This process will take a lot of work on your part because you will have to put every Active Duty date on the forms to request your earnings for buyback. I have a huge stack of orders because I hardly ever did my 15 days together, so I have an order for 1, 2, or 3 days in most cases, and each order has to be entered separately. Then once DFAS gets it, no telling how long it will be before I get my military earnings statement back because they have to account for each individual order. Then once I do get my earnings statement, my VA Human Resources Benefits Rep has to enter every single 214 and order as well because all entries have to have a start and end date. Hopefully this helps. Trust me, I have my HR Benefits person scratching his head because they have never processed reservist the way that they should because they don’t pay any attention to the prior active duty that actually shows on the 214 but that is not actually all accounted for by just using a 214. I wonder how many reservist are out there that have no clue if all their active time is accounted for. Hopefully by the time I finish, they will have more guidance and training for the VA Benefits Personnel. Do your research and don’t leave any time unaccounted for because it counts for federal retirement and leave.

    • Bill says

      This article is wrong! Reserve and Guard get issued 214 / 215 after completion of initial entry training. It will say Honorable Discharge even though you are still serving. FYI: There are 2 forms, long and short. The long form will have discharge info. If you are activated, you will get another 214 to cover the time on active duty.

      Please no one post bull crap replies, I know what I talking about. 11B4PX / 79R

      • Oscar Hudson says

        Actually, you’re partially correct, but I won’t say what as you will need to refresh your toolbox as there were lots of changes regarding this very issue. Nevertheless, don’t be upset pumpkin, it won’t be the last time someone will correct you. Thanks for serving and take care.
        P.s. Someone who was recently on the board to make these changes.

      • Elihu says

        I served 9.2 years in the National Guard. Got a DD214 after IADT and after every deployment. However when I reached ETS I was issued a NGB22. It looks similar to a DD214 but for National Guard Service.

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