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How to request Veteran Affairs (VA) Records C-File

We can not stress enough how important it is to

  1. View your claims folder at the regional office call 1-800-827-1000 and request an appointment to view your c-file (claims folder).
    1. Ensure that all the records in your C-File are yours.
    2. Check that everything you have sent to the VA is included in your C-File.
  2. After viewing your claims folder (c-file) and correcting any mistakes you may find. Then request a hard copy of your claims folder.

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.


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.
Branch Personnel and Period Affected Estimated Loss
Army Personnel discharged November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960 80%
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.