Archives. Files. History.
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
- 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.