How to Get Your Military Discharge Paperwork and Other Documents

Posted on 12 Jul, 2015


Obtaining a DD214 and other military paperwork is a fairly straight-forward process. In fact, there are several options – each with its advantages, or disadvantages.

DD214, Active Duty/Reserve records:

Depending on your service branch, dates of service, and other factors your records may be held in several places. The first place you should seek them; however, is the National Archives. The items you will find here will be all documents in your military personnel file(s) including: medical, dental, disciplinary, discharge, enlistment, promotions, medals, etc.

The exception to this is National Guardsmen – whose records are more typically stored at their respective states repositories. WA state information follows the video below.

National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records)
1 Archives Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63138-1002

Order it Online:


NG(B)-22, National Guard Service:

National Guardsmen/women receive another form of final discharge. Many of them have one or several DD214’s; however, it is not their final discharge – this takes the form of the NG/22.

Records for National Guard personnel are kept at their state Archives…

Washington State:

PO BOX 40238
OLYMPIA WA 98504-0238
(360) 586-1492

Traditional Reservists, those that served their entire contract without an activation, will not have received a DD214 except for the one they received at the completion of their initial military training (boot camp, basic training, job school). In the absence of a federal activation, the only discharge paperwork these troops will receive is a DD256 – Honorable Discharge Certificate. Unlike a DD214 or an NGB22, the DD256 does not elaborate on any aspect of military service. It is merely a statement of honorable service. Another key difference between the DD256 & the DD214/NGB22 is that it is only issued after the completion of the entire service contract. Whereas a DD214 and NGB22 are often issued while the military service member still has an ongoing obligation to the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) for a period of time.

Categories: Veterans Affairs