Step 2: What Records Do I Need? How Do I Request Records I Don't Have?

Below is a list of forms you need to complete to obtain your records. Sending in a copy of your records with your discharge upgrade application can support your story about what happened during your service and what you have done since your discharge.
 
Be sure to keep track of when and where you send requests for records so you know to follow up if you don’t hear back.
 
This step will tell you how to:
  • Get a copy of your DD-214 and complete military record
  • Let the Board see your medical and dental records
  • Get your own copy of your medical and dental records

Get a copy of your DD-214

Your DD-214 is your official discharge form. It is the first piece of paper you need to apply for a discharge upgrade. Your DD-214 will include important information about the reasons for and character of your discharge.

If you do not have a copy of your DD-214, you will need to fill out the Standard Form 180 (SF-180). You can download this form here.
 
Tip: Include a separate note with the form that you are unable to pay any fees and ask the military or VA to notify you if they are going to charge a fee.
 
Look at the table on page 3 of the form to figure out where to mail it. It will depend on your service branch and what records you are asking the military to send you.
 

Get a copy of your complete military record

To request your entire personnel record from the military, you will need to fill out the Standard Form 180 (SF-180). You can download this form here.

Tip: Include a separate note with the form that you are unable to pay any fees and ask the military or VA to notify you if they are going to charge a fee.
 
Be sure that the records you receive after receiving this form include complete copies of your discharge packet and any relevant records from NCIS, OSI, CID, or DIS records (if an investigation was conducted). 
 
Look at the table on page 3 of the SF-180 form to figure out where to mail it. It will depend on your service branch and what records you are asking the military to send you.
 

Give the Board access to your medical and dental records from your time in service

To let the Board see your medical and dental records from when you served, you will need to fill out DD Form 2870. You can download this form here.

After you have filled out this form, mail it to the local regional office near where you were based, or to:
 
TRICARE West Region 
Priority Services Department 
PO Box 7074
Camden, SC 29021-7074

 

Give the Board access to records of your medical and dental treatment at the VA after you were discharged

If you have never been evaluated or treated at the VA, you do not need to fill out this form.

If you have been evaluated or treated by the VA, you should let the Board see those medical and dental records. You will need to fill out VA Form 10-5345. You can download this form here.
 
After you have filled out this form, mail it to:
 
Washington VA Medical Center 
Release of Information Office 
50 Irving Street
N.W. Washington, DC 20422
 
  

If you want, get your own copy of your medical and dental treatment at the VA after you were discharged

If you have never been evaluated or treated at the VA, you do not need to fill out this form.

If you have been evaluated or treated by the VA, you might want your own copy of those records. To get a copy, you will need to fill out VA Form 10-5345a. You can download this form here.
 
After you have filled out this form, mail it to:
Washington VA Medical Center 
Release of Information Office 
50 Irving Street
N.W. Washington, DC 20422

Other records to gather, if applicable (request from the appropriate agency)

  • Records from the DRB or BCMR (if you have applied for an upgrade before)
  • Military and non-military inpatient medical records
  • Brig or stockade records
  • Non-VA medical records or mental health evaluations
  • Rehabilitation center records
  • Trial records
  • Educational documents (transcripts, diplomas)
  • Post-service police and criminal records
  • Documentation of community service