How to safeguard your DD Form 214


DD Form 214s, first issued in 1950, are military service documents that represent the complete, verified record of a service member’s time in the military.

It lists all awards, medals and other pertinent service information such as highest rank, rate and pay grade held on active duty, total military combat service and/or overseas service. The form also contains an MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), or an AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code), or an NOBC (Navy Officer billet Code), or an ACD ( Additional Qualification Designation), or and NEC (Navy Enlisted Classification), and a record of training and schools completed.

Those service members who served exclusively in the Air National Guard or the Army National Guard receive Form NGB-22.

The DD Form 214, or its counterpart, is commonly used by the Department of Veteran Affairs to secure veteran benefits and may be requested by employers should a service member indicate he or she served in the military.

The form also contains codes used by the Armed Forces to describe a former service member’s reason for discharge and, in the case of enlisted personnel, their re-enlistment eligibility.

The DD Form 214 is also generally required by funeral directors in order to immediately prove eligibility for internment in VA Cemeteries and/or for obtaining a grave marker and/or provide military honors to a deceased veteran. On Sept. 1, 2000, the National Defense Authorization Act enabled, upon the family’s request, every eligible veteran to receive a Military Funeral Honors ceremony to include the folding and presentation of the United States burial flag and the sounding of Taps, at no cost to the family.

Copies of the DD Form 214 are typically maintained by the government as part of a service member’s 201 File (official military personnel file). The most important copy of the DD Form 214, for the individual, is the “Member 4” copy. It is the standard form needed to obtain benefits such as the GI Bill or government employment priority. The Report of Separation contains information generally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans’ organizations.

In January of 1973, a disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center, located in St. Louis, Mo., destroyed 16 to 18 million Official Military Personnel Files. There were no duplicates of any of these files. The government has been working to restore these files but it is a tedious, slow process.

Anyone could suffer a fire, a flood, a tornado. To keep your military information safe, make sure the Fayette County Veteran’s Service Office and the Fayette County Recorder’s Office both have a copy of your DD Form 214 or its equivalent.

You served your county, make sure your county can serve you. File your DD Form 214!

By Bev Mullen

For the Record-Herald

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