WWII Footsteps Research

Service Records

Archives. Files. History.

Discharge Papers of Michael C. Bilder

What constitutes your veteran’s service records?

Every veteran who fought in WWII has his own Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). Soldiers who were killed or died during their military service also have an Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF), which documents their death and actions associated with the disposition of their remains. These files are housed at NARA St. Louis, Missouri.

The OMPF contains details about the veteran’s service history, which may include:

  • enlistment documentation
  • training
  • duty stations and assignments, including campaigns fought
  • payroll records
  • discharge information, including list of decorations earned

In 1973, a fire destroyed 80% of these files, and many relatives were told their veteran’s records no longer exist.

Don’t be discouraged! The archivists have been reconstructing the damaged and destroyed files, and we have found that in most cases, some records exist. You simply can’t know until we submit your OMPF form. You never know, you may be one of the lucky ones who get a B-File (burned file) that has gone through the preservation department at the Archives. For information about what happened after the fire of 1973, go to https://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/preservation-program/burned-records.html

The IDPF documents the processes of the military after a soldier’s death while in service and may include:

  • location and circumstances of death
  • medical examiner’s report
  • the soldier’s possessions at the time of death
  • burial or repatriation information
  • correspondence between the family and the government

Disclaimer: Please bare in mind that requesting and receiving your files usually takes two to four weeks! However, the request takes longer if it has to go through preservation.








At NARA College Park, Maryland, the WWII Unit Journals, After Action Reports, photographs, and maps can be researched for you. It is a different process to research at this facility. We would request a wish list and figure a capped dollar amount before researching files. We would then communicate about our progress to let you know the success of the project.


4 thoughts on “Service Records

  1. Hi!

    Small question: do You also search german ww2 veterans footsteps? I want to know were my grandfather has been stationed during the war. I already have a lot of information but i juist dont get the puzzle together tho.
    Hope You can help

    Kind regards
    Roel maas

  2. HI,

    I was wondering, I sent for my fathers records at the national archives. They sent me a letter that his records where in area that was destroyed in a fire in 1973. They say that the (OMPF) was recovered and they would send me copies for 70.00. Since he would never talk about the service and passed away when I was young we do not know much, I am trying to get as much info as possible. All I know is that he was in the Army air in the pacific. So i was wondering could this OMPF file tell me the places he was stationed or just his enlistment dates. Is there any way possible to find out where he was stationed in the pacific and the U.S.


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