The Good-The Bad-and-The Ugly About Free DD214′s

First the good news. In general, copies of DD214′s are available free of charge from either the military service branch or the St. Louis National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). Depending on the branch of the military you were in, and the year you were discharged, government processing times are anywhere from a minimum of 4 weeks to 6-9 months or more. If you have absolutely no deadline, and can wait up to several months, then by all means take advantage of the free, government service, which is, after all, made possible by the taxes we all pay to fund the government.

On the other hand, if you can’t wait up to 6 months, or if you absolutely have to have your DD214′s as soon as possible, we would advise you to consider our Expedited Service. We can order your records in-person and provide both emailed and certified, paper copies of your DD214′s usually within a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. See our Turnaround Times Page above for specific estimates.

Finally, the bad, and sometimes downright ugly side of the free process.  Keep in mind that only one request can be “in the system” at a time. This means that once you order through the government channels you cannot change your mind, and then hire an expeditor to access the record for you the fast way. Once the military personnel file has been pulled from the shelves, it is essentially “offline” and unavailable to anyone else, no matter how urgently it is needed. If you think you may NEED that record quickly, the time to hire an expeditor is now. We get contacted every day by folks who have ordered from the government weeks or months ago, and now need that DD214 to close on a loan, apply for a job etc. Sadly, since they have already ordered, we can’t help them, and neither can anyone else. They are stuck in a bureaucratic black hole, unable to get their DD214′s in time, and unable to do anything to expedite things. Again, if you think you may need your record sooner than several months, the time to hire an expeditor is now.

To connect to the National Personnel Records Center please follow this link:

To utilize our expedited service, please use the Online Order Form. Thank you.

Jason at Aardvark Research

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    I just got home this past weekend after being out for a week and in my mailbox was your envelope! Susan I can't thank you enough... more


    "I just got home this past weekend after being out for a week and in my mailbox was your envelope! I was very excited to see it and open it. The DD214/discharge certificate was exactly what I had spent countless hours trying to find on my own but had been unsuccessful. Susan I cannot thank you enough for tracking down my father’s military service records. Having been told by the VA that any records pertaining to his years of service “were destroyed in a fire” was very discouraging. I appreciate your knowing how to navigate the system and succeed where I could not.”
    Elizabeth, Illinois

    Elizabeth, Illinois

    My husband and I would just like to say "thank you" again for being so understanding and refunding our payment without even being asked. more


    My husband and I would just like to say "thank you" again for being so understanding, and for refunding our payment without even being asked. We were in a bind and could not locate my husband's DD-214 due to a recent move, and even after we paid for a duplicate through your company, you did not hesitate for a second about returning our payment after being told we had found everything. There are not many companies that would do that, and we truly appreciate it, especially in these hard economic times. So, thank you thank you thank you, you are the best!
    Sharon and Michael O'Neil

    Sharon and Michael O'Neil

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