How to Verify Military Service

The question about how to verify military service comes up quite a bit. Although we have discussed this in previous posts, here is a guide to help walk you through the process.

There are two ways to verify military service, depending on whether the person is an active member of the military or a veteran. Given that the active military service verification is a quick and easy online service, your best bet is to start there.

Verifying Military Service of an Active Service Member

The Department of Defense Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) website provides information relating to active-duty status for military members.

The site is free to the public, provided that you have some basic information regarding the individual. In order to search the site, you must provide the individual’s Social Security number or the date of birth and last name of the service member. If you do not have the Social Security number, however, you will get a response that says that you can not rely on the response because you did not supply a SSN.

Once the request has been processed, the website will provide an SCRA certificate reporting the active-duty status for the individual. The report will give the active-duty start date, the active-duty end date and the service position.

The website will only provide information on active-duty military members or members who have left active duty within the past 367 days. All other requests must be submitted to the National Personnel Records Center.

Verifying Military Service of a Veteran

There are more than 70 million former military records for veterans stored at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The records are available to the public through the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.

The general public can access military personnel records by completing Standard Form 180. Some of the information that must be given includes the name of the veteran, the service number or Social Security number, the branch of service, the date(s) of service and the date of birth. It has been our experience that the dates of service are helpful but not necessary.

The completed form can be sent via mail or fax to the records center. Although more detailed information is available to next of kin and other authorized parties, only a limited amount of information can be released to the general public. Typically, the information released includes rank, dates of services and where the individual in question was stationed.

Response time varies, but it has been our experience that requests are typically returned within 10 business days.

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14 replies
  1. D. Briody
    D. Briody says:

    I am being contacted on Facebook by someone that claims to be active duty, has pictures, but when I google he does not come up, and with his rank he should. I wanted to find out if this was yet another scam, which I seem to get many from military or those who are claiming to be miiitary.
    Donovan Boozer, US Army

    • Chad
      Chad says:

      Did you happen by chance to go to Ft. Benning for Basic around Jan 90? I was in Basic with a guy named boozer and have never met anyone else with that name.

      Chad Royer

  2. Dave
    Dave says:

    Is there a way to verify military service if someone claims they have never served? For example, an applicant says he is not a veteran in order to not disclose a bad conduct discharge. Thank you

  3. Lourie
    Lourie says:

    I just learned by father is a veteran…he died a few years ago and I never knew. He has 3 social security numbers. Where do I start with that???

  4. Missy
    Missy says:

    I wish there was something easier to verify if someone was in the military. I know that people act like they been to the military. They might go so far as to lie about it in job interviews, relationships, and etc. How about to get free stuff and discounts? Walking around in military gear from army/navy surplus but never did any time in the military and they can get away with it, because there is no way to tell if they went into basic training or not. I understand some stuff needs to be confidential/classified information, but some form of limited look up would be nice for employers, and the general public.

    • Roger Ervine
      Roger Ervine says:

      I have to agree with you. I would suggest there are some things that cannot be faked like…where did you go to basic training? What was your rate/MOS? Where did you serve in the military etc? Anyone who was in the military should be able to tell you those few basic items without having to check. I would also ask to see their DD-214 Page 4 (this is the longer version that shows the actual discharge, i.e. honorable, dishonorable, Bad Conduct Discharge (Big Chicken Dinner), oh yeah there will be military slang too like BCD or Big Chicken Dinner, or if they were on a ship (Navy) not a (Boat) Coastie. Like the Carl Vinson would be the Chuckie V, Abraham Lincoln (Stinkin’ Lincoln) etc.

      It never really occurred to me that there are a lot of fakers out there but I guess they exist. They are relatively easy to spot with a few questions like when did you join the Navy? Where did you go to MEPS? Where did you go to A-School (maybe they did not) but the answer would be I went to the fleet undesignated or a “striker” as in they strike for a rate. Marines would me an MOS. Not sure on the Army or Air Force aka civilians in uniform. BTW anyone who was in any branch besides the Air Force probably secretly wishes they had joined the Air Force so we all give them grief but are actually jealous…chow lines with an omelette bar? WTF over!

  5. Mary
    Mary says:

    The Record Center in St. Louis had a huge fire years ago. Many records were permanently destroyed. This was before the days of personal computers. Records may not be recovered.

    • Brian Willingham
      Brian Willingham says:

      Thanks for the comment Mary. There was a fire that destroyed a number of records, but in my personal experience with the hundreds of requests that I have sent in, I have never had a problem.

  6. Roy Kaufmann
    Roy Kaufmann says:

    This article is correct and I offer one point of clarification: if you do not have the SSN for the person, the Dept. of Defense’s website will be of little use because any answer will come with a caveat that the results are not guarantied because only the SSN will result in a clear, trustworthy answer. In the event you do not have the SSN, an excellent, inexpensive resource to determine active military duty status verification is the SCRACVS (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service) at http://www.ServicemembersCivilReliefAct.com (also at http://www.SCRA.com). The SCRACVS will usually be able to supplement your information with the SSN so that the results serve as a good foundation for an affidavit. Better yet, the SCRACVS can also supply an affidavit that all courts accept.

  7. Daniel Slonim
    Daniel Slonim says:

    The information is slightly out of date. The Army, for example, is not replying to any requests for military verification. If you do not have the SSN, the DMDC will give you a response that says that you can’t rely on the response because you didn’t have the SSN. Only solution is the SCRACVS (www.servicememberscivilreliefact.com) which will find the SSN. They can supply an affidavit that all courts here (NJ) accept.

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