Records at NPRC
S&D may wish to obtain the military records of their fallen
Rangers. Many of you may also
choose to memorialize your
Ranger in some way. The
opportunity is there for you to do so by
stone in their honor at the Ranger Memorial at Fort Benning, GA.
Ranger Memorial Foundation
on photo to purchase a stone)
Military Burials and Honors
Guard in dress blues, rifle salute, etc.
Information and assistance may
be easily obtained from a nearby Veterans
Administration office or VA Hospital, also any VFW, or
American Legion post. Burial and honors are
at government expense. (Wives may be
buried in the same plot at a National Cemetery) Go to: http://www.va.gov
Arlington National Cemetery
is an option for Rangers across the country. For
more information go to: http://www.Arlingtoncemetery.org
and then to funeral information. Cost: none once
inside the gate.
writing to obtain military records, there is one thing to be
July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at NPRC (MPR) destroyed
approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files.
The affected record collections are described below.
of Personnel and Period Affected
of Army Personnel discharged November 1, 1912 to January 1,
duplicate copies of the records that were destroyed in the
fire were maintained, nor was a microfilm copy ever produced.
There were no indexes created prior to the fire. In addition,
millions of documents had been lent to the Department of
Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a
complete listing of the records that were lost is not
Release: Veterans Administration:
About the 1973 St. Louis Fire and Lost Records
National Archives and Records Administration is the
official depository for records of military
personnel separated from the United States Air
Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy.
The records are housed in three locations: The
National Archives Building in Washington, DC, the
Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Md.,
and the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in
St. Louis, Mo.
NPRC contains records relating to:
Army officers separated after June 30, 1917, and
enlisted Army personnel separated after October 31,
Air Force officers and enlisted personnel separated
after September 1947.
Naval officers separated after 1902, and naval
enlisted personnel separated after 1885. US Marine
Corps officers separated after 1895, and enlisted
personnel separated after 1904.
Coast Guard officers separated after 1928, and
enlisted personnel separated after 1914. Civilian
employees of predecessor agencies (Revenue Cutter
Service, Life-Saving Service and Lighthouse Service)
of the US Coast Guard from 1864-1919.
fire at the NPRC in St. Louis on July 12, 1973,
destroyed about 80 percent of the records for Army
personnel discharged between November 1, 1912, and
January 1, 1960. About 75 percent of the records for
Air Force personnel with surnames from
"Hubbard" through "Z" discharged
between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964,
were also destroyed.
is hard to determine exactly what was lost in the
were no indices to the blocks of records involved.
The records were merely filed in alphabetical order
for the following groups:
7, 1939 to November 1, 1912
31, 1946 to September 8, 1939
31, 1959 to January 1, 1947
31, 1963 to September 25, 1947
of records, especially medical records, had been
withdrawn from all three groups and loaned to the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prior to the
fire. The fact that one's records are not in NPRC
files at a particular time does not mean the records
were destroyed in the fire.
of Lost Records
a veteran is advised that his or her records may
have been lost in the fire, he or she may send
photocopies of any documents they possess to the
NPRC, particularly separation documents. This
enables the NPRC to reestablish files by adding
those documents to the computerized index and filing
them permanently. Another helpful source to speed up
the process is to contact your Congressman and
solicit his help. Explain the records you desire are
those of a World War II Ranger.
Personnel Records Center
(Note: The NPRC
states in its annual report and
recommendations which will lead it to 2007 that the system
is so clogged with paperwork and requests, that they can not
handle them all. Individuals seeking their help may
have to wait weeks, months, and sometimes years according
to other sources!)
Sources of Military Service Data
the event a veteran does not have any records in his
or her possession, the essential military service
data may be available from a number of alternate
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains
records on veterans whose military records were
affected by the fire if the veteran or a beneficiary
filed a claim prior to July 1973.
information may also be found in various kinds of
"organizational" records such as unit
morning reports, payrolls and military orders on
file at the NPRC or other National Archives and
Records Administration facilities.
also is a great deal of information available in
records of the State Adjutants General, and other
state "veterans services" offices.
using alternate sources, NPRC may often be able to
reconstruct a veteran's beginning and ending dates
of active service, the character of service, rank
while in service, time lost while on active duty,
and periods of hospitalization. NPRC is usually able
to issue NA Form 13038, "Certification of
Military Service," considered the equivalent of
a Form DD-214, "Report of Separation From
Active Duty," for the purpose of establishing
eligibility for veterans benefits.
Information for File Reconstruction
key to reconstructing military data is to give the
NPRC enough specific information so the staff can
properly search the various sources. The following
information is normally required: