How to Replace Military Medals and Order Records

How to Replace Military Medals and Order Records

The military branch may issue medals to veterans or their next-of-kin. Requests for replacement medals should be made to the corresponding military department. NPRC verifies Air Force (including Army Air Corps) and Army Veterans’ awards.

Form 180, “Request Regarding Military Records,” is available at VA offices and on the VA Forms page. NPRC’s website has information about requesting medals.

Provide the Veteran’s full name, branch of service, service number or Social Security number, and their exact or approximate dates of service. Next of kin must sign if the Veteran has passed away. The separation or discharge document, WDAGO Form 53-55 or DD Form 214.

If a Veteran lost his discharge papers, the next of kin of the deceased Veteran can obtain duplicate copies from the eBenefits website. Apply online and mail or fax to the National Preservation Research Center.

Contact the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, One Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Request separation papers. Indicate the Veteran’s full name clearly. The next of kin must sign the request if the Veteran dies.

Order Replacement Military Medals: From the Veteran

You can submit a military records request by following the steps below:

  1. The Correspondence/ Documentation section can be found on the homepage of the account you are currently logged in to. Click on the drop-down menu that appears, and then select Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS).
  2. On the next page, select the tab for Personnel Files.
  3. On the next page, select Request my files.
  4. The application form must be filled out completely. Then, select the requested document(s) in the Document Index section and tick the boxes next to them.
  5. Once you have selected the documents, they will be added to your request.

Order Replacement Military Medals: From Family

When you are a Veteran’s next of kin, it would be a great honor for you to participate in this program. You can request a copy of the Veteran’s military records by any of the following methods:

  • The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) can be reached by mail or fax for requests relating to military records (Standard Form SF180).
  • The form is available on the National Personnel Records Center’s website.
  • To request a copy of the form, write the NPRC an email.

Send it to:

The Archives Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63138

  • NPRC is located at 2035 Archives Drive St. Louis, Missouri 63138
  • You can get in touch with your local or state veteran’s agency
  • Or you can hire an independent researcher

You may be considered the veteran’s next of kin if you are related to the veteran in any of the following ways:

  • If you are the Veteran’s surviving spouse who hasn’t remarried,
  • Or if you are the Veteran’s mother or father
  • And the child of the Veteran, or
  • The veteran’s sibling

What Agencies Verify Military Service 

Records of discharged and deceased veterans, medical records, and health records are kept at the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR). The NPRC (MPR) also retains medical records of retirees and dependents at Naval medical facilities and military records before World War I. Under state laws, information from the records may be obtained upon written request (containing a signature and a date).

NPRC (MPR) intends to make this site available to people seeking medical records of military personnel.

Veterans and the next of kin of deceased veterans can now order a copy of their military records through vetrecs.archives.gov. Use a Standard Form 180 if your request is for anything else. This document explains how to prepare and submit this form.

What Documents and Forms You Will Need

Military records and medical records are not available online. Veterans and their next of kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and the following military service records through any methods listed below.

How to Find Out What Medals a Veteran Was Awarded

Medals, decorations, and awards can be requested at the Personnel Records Center.

Military service (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, including Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces):

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

For Coast Guard:

Coast Guard Personnel Service Center
4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900 (PSC-PSD-MA)
Stop 7200
Arlington, VA 20598-7200

How to Order Military Records – milConnect, by Mail, in Person, Local Veterans Agency, and Independent Researcher

Service records (including DD214) can be requested as follows:

Through milConnect, you can request your DD214 or other military records. To access your service records, sign in to milConnect.

To access this feature, you need a Premium DS Logon account. MilConnect does not accept My HealtheVet or ID.me credentials. On milConnect, you can sign in, register, or upgrade your DS Logon account.

You can submit a military records request by following the steps below:

  1. Click or tap on Correspondence/ Documentation from your signed-in homepage. From the drop-down menu, select Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS).
  2. Select the Personnel File tab.
  3. You can request your personnel file.
  4. Complete the form. Please check the boxes next to the documents you wish to request in the Document Index section.
  5. Then click on Create and Send Request.

Upon request, you can view and download documents in your military personnel file.

You can request your:

  • DD214
  • DD215
  • Report of Separation
  • Other release papers

These documents include information about your service, such as:

  • Orders and endorsements
  • Performance reports
  • Awards and decorations (commendatory items)
  • Qualifications, licenses, and certificates
  • Security clearance

Your request will be processed by email. You will receive another email once your request is complete and your files are ready.

Navigate to the Personnel File tab in the Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS) section of milConnect. Here you can also check the status of your request. If your files are ready, you can download them.

You can also request your military records in any of these other ways:

  • Request for Military Records (Standard Form SF 180) to the National Personnel Records Center.
  • Write a letter. Contact:
Related:What's Covered

1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63138

  • See the NPRC in person.
  • Get in touch with your local VA office
  • And hire a researcher

What Records Can Be Requested

Your official military personnel file can be viewed and downloaded.

You can access these documents:

  • DD214
  • DD215
  • Form of Separation Report
  • Other Release Documents

You may also request documents with information about your service, such as:

  • Orders and endorsements
  • Performance reports
  • Awards and decorations (optional)
  • Qualifications, licenses, and certificates
  • Check for security

Requesting a Correction to Military Records

You must complete and submit DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Records, if you believe you have been the victim of an error or injustice. DD Form 149 must be completed entirely and mailed to the address on page 2.

Examples of correction:

  • Upgraded Discharge
  • Promotions
  • Retired Pay
  • Household Goods
  • Pay Date Change
  • Bonus
  • MGIB Programs

DFAS pays military members if the Board of Corrections rules in their favor.

How Family and Others Can Order Veteran Records

If you plan to bury a Veteran at a national cemetery, remember the following:

The National Cemetery Scheduling Office can be reached at 800-535-1117. You can obtain your veteran’s DD214 or other discharge documents from the Veterans Administration. For families of deceased veterans:

  • Send a Request for Military Records (Standard Form SF 180) to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).
  • You will need to write the NPRC a letter.

Please contact:

Archives Drive,
St Louis, Missouri 63138

  • You can visit the NPRC in person.
  • You can also contact your county or state veterans office
  • One can also hire an independent researcher

If you are related to the Veteran in any of the following ways, you may be considered the next of kin:

  • A surviving spouse who hasn’t remarried, or
  • Parent, or
  • Child, or
  • Sibling

You can still apply even if you are not related to the Veteran:

  • Veterans who were discharged over 62 years ago may request a copy of their military records. In the United States, a standard policy is that all military records that have been discharged after 62 years are public.
  • You can request information regarding a veteran’s military service from the Veteran’s Military Personnel File if the veteran was discharged less than 62 years ago.

Is There a Fee?

Veterans, next of kin, and authorized representatives who request military personnel and medical records from the Federal (non-archival) records will generally not be charged a fee.

For Medals

Generally, military medals that are issued to veterans are free of charge, and in the case of replacement medals, the military will often provide free replacement medals for veterans.

Review of Discharge From Military Service

People who have been discharged but not by a general court-martial can appeal their discharges to a discharge review board. Review boards cannot change, correct, or modify medical discharges. After a veteran dies or becomes incompetent, their surviving spouse, next of kin, or legal representative may request a review of their discharge by submitting DoD Form 293. Veterans who served more than 15 years ago must apply to the appropriate service board for correction of military records using DoD Form 149. Correcting military records requires a review of the applicant’s record and possibly a hearing.

Discharges awarded for continuous unauthorized absences do not qualify for VA benefits. Boards for correction of military records may also consider these cases.

Veterans may be eligible for benefits based on their separation and characterization of service. Those separated under conditions other than honorable may appeal for recharacterization of their discharge if they appeal within 15 years after separation. Discharge reviews should be directed to the appropriate discharge review board listed on DoD Form 293.

Physical Disability Board of Review

Disability ratings given to service members while still in the military but before medical separation are reviewed by the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR). Veterans Affairs gave higher ratings to medical conditions for which the armed forces gave lower ratings. PDBR disability ratings in the VA must be accurate, fair, and consistent.

In most PDBR reviews, military disability ratings are increased. PDBRs cannot lower military disability ratings. Medical conditions not discussed when you were medically separated cannot be addressed by the PDBR. For medical conditions that were excluded at the time you were medically separated, you will need to request a correction to your military records.

How to Get Military Records Older Than WW2 

There are several ways in which you can request your military records:

  1. Mail or fax a Request Pertaining to Military Records (Standard Form SF 180) to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).
  2. You may also write an email to NPRC.
  3. You may also visit the NPRC in person.
  4. Contact your state’s or county’s Veterans Administration for further information.
  5. Engage the services of a professional researcher.

Replacing Military Medals and Documents: The Bottom Line

Veterans or their heirs can request medals awarded while in active service from the individual military services. If a Veteran wants to replace their medals, decorations, or awards. They should contact their branch of the military. The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) verifies awards for Air Force (including Army Air Corps) and Army Veterans and forwards requests to the appropriate service.

To request replacement medals, use VA Form 180, “Request Regarding Military Records,” available at VA offices or online at www.va.gov/vaforms.

Find forms, addresses, and other information about requesting medals on the National Archives and Records Commission (NPRC) website. Military Personnel Records can be reached at (314) 801-0800 or center@nara.gov.

You must provide the Veteran’s full name, the branch of service, service number, or Social Security number, and exact or approximate military service dates. In the case of a deceased veteran, the next of kin must sign it. If available, please include DD Form 214 or WDAGO Form 53-55.

By filling out an online form at www.archives.gov/research/index.html, you can request a duplicate discharge or separation document from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). Contact the National Personnel Records Center at Military Personnel Records, One Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Request a duplicate separation document. Veteran’s full name must be printed or typed clearly.

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