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Requesting Your Copy of Your Veteran Affairs Claims Folder (C-File)

We can not stress enough how important it is to:

  1. View your VA claims folder at the Veterans Affairs regional office. Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 and request an appointment to view your VA c-file (claims folder).

  2. Ensure that all the records in your Veterans Affairs C-File are yours.

  3. Check that everything you have sent to the VA is included in your C-File.

  4. After viewing your VA claims folder (c-file) and correcting any mistakes you may find. Then request a hard copy of your claims folder (c-file).

Militrary Records Requests

To request your military records use this form Request for Military Records NARA SF 180

To request your C-File which is your claims folder at the regional veteran affairs office use VA Form 3288 Technically any release or waiver from that is signed by the claimant and that properly compiles with and cites the Privacy Act and FOIA is sufficient. However VA personnel are familiar with the VA Form 3288 so it will cause the least confusion. Read More

The 1973 Fire at NPRC

On 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.


Personnel and Period Affected

Estimated Loss


 Personnel discharged November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960  


Air Force

Personnel discharged, September 25, 1947, to January 1, 1964
(with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)             


No 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 available. Nevertheless, NPRC (MPR) uses many alternate sources in its efforts to reconstruct basic service information to respond to requests.

Alternate Records Resources

Alternate Sources of Military Service Data. When proof of military service is needed, NPRC (MPR) attempts to reconstruct certain basic service data from alternate sources. NPRC (MPR) has identified many of these sources, but each contains only limited military service information. They are utilized to piece together (reconstruct) basic service data.

NA Form 13075, Questionnaire About Military Service

NA Form 13055, Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data.

Medical-Related Alternate Records. In 1988, a collection of computer tapes containing ten million hospital/treatment facility admission records was transferred to NPRC (MPR). These records, originally created by the U.S. Army Surgeon General's Office (SGO), were discovered by the National Academy of Sciences and offered to the National Archives for use by NPRC (MPR). The source records existed in a computer code format and required extensive analysis to interpret the code into English. Between 1988-1990, NPRC (MPR) was able to salvage 7.8 million records of individual admissions for use as a major supplement to other smaller sources of medical information.

Personnel-Related Alternate Sources. A primary source of alternate data is a collection of 19 million final pay vouchers. These records provide name, service number, dates of service, and character of service. These are the most critical service data elements needed for the reconstruction process. With these and other organizational records (enlistment ledgers, service number indexes, etc.), NPRC (MPR) personnel can usually verify military service and provide a Certification of Military Service. This Certification can be used for any purpose for which the original discharge document was used, including the application for veterans benefits.