Thanks to the new and improved milConnect website, veterans can now download a copy of their DD 214 online in just a few simple steps.
Why get your form DD 214?
The DD 214 is a mission critical document for veterans to obtain because it’s the sole authority used by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to verify a veterans military service and character of discharge for VA benefits.
A veteran is not eligible for VA benefits until his/her character of service has been fully adjudicated and formally documented on the DD 214.
Your “character of service” will be documented in Block 24 of your final DD 214 form.
What is a DD 214?
The form DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, is issued to a service member when he/she separates or retires from active duty military service.
The DD 214 contains important information needed to verify military service for VA benefits, separation and retirement pay, employment and job training, and membership in various veterans’ service organizations.
Generally, a veteran’s DD 214 contains the following information:
- Name, rank, and grade
- Date and place of entry into active duty
- Home address at time of entry
- Date and place of release from active duty
- Home address after separation
- Last duty assignment
- Military job specialty and years of experience
- Military education
- Decorations, medals, badges, citations, and deployments
- Total creditable service
- Foreign service credited (if applicable)
- Type of separation
- Character of service (very important for VA benefits)
DD 214 Example
Here is a real example of a DD Form 214.
The actual copy is 4-6 pages with a total of 30 blocks.
Air Force Veterans Only: How to Send an OMPF Request to the Air Force by Fax or Email
If you are an Air Force veteran, family member, or advocate, when you try to request documents from your Air Force Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) using milConnect’s Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (DPRIS) page for Air Force record requests, you may encounter processing issues.
If this happens to you (it did for me), don’t submit duplicate OMPF requests via DPRIS.
Rather, follow the three steps below to send your request by fax or email.
- Download form SF180 from Archives.gov.
- Complete the form and sign/date.
- Fax or email the SF180 to:
- Fax to 210-565-3124, OR
- Email to [email protected]
If you need help, go ahead and call the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-525-0102.
The Air Force service repository team is working diligently to resolve this situation.
Please send all Air Force requests by fax or email until further notice.
DD 214 Online Request Process
Here’s the 8-step process (with screenshots) to get a copy of your DD 214 online.
Once you’ve submitted your DD 214 request, you’ll be able to view and download it electronically within 24-48 hours.
Step #1: Navigate to the VA.gov website for online military records requests HERE and then click the button that says “Go to milConnect.”
Step #2: Click “Sign In” at the top right-hand side of the page. If you’ve never registered before, click the new user “Start Here” link.
Step #3: Enter your DS Logon information and click “Login.” This is the same logon you use to access the VA.gov website.
Step #4: Once signed into milConnect, click “Correspondance/Documentation” and then “Defense Personnel Records Information (DPRIS).“
Step #5: Next, click the “Request My Personnel File” button.
Step #6: Review the First Name, Last Name, SSN, and ensure they’re correct by default. Then enter your email address in the two fields. Make sure to check the box for your branch of service. Finally, select the military service records you’re looking for in the Document Index section. Finally, click the “Create and Send Request” button.
Step #7: If you did it correctly, you’ll see an “OMPF Request Submitted” confirmation in green. You’ll also see your OMPF request as “Processing.” You’ll get an email in 24-48 hours with instructions to download the .pdf version of your DD214 online.
Step #8: In 4-10 business days of requesting your military personnel file online in DPRIS, you’ll get an email notification to log back into milConnect, click “Correspondence/Documentation,” and then “Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (DPRIS), and then “Request Personnel File.” Under the “Action” tab you can click the link to download a .pdf electronic copy of your DD 214 form.
*PRO TIP: Once you get an email from DPRIS telling you to log into MilConnect to download your military personnel file and DD 214, you have 10 calendar days to access your .pdf files. If you don’t download your files within 10 calendar days from email notification, or at least Extend Expiration Date in the system, YOU WILL LOSE THE FILES!
Here are six important notes regarding the status of your DD 214 request online once you login back into DPRIS:
- The OMPF request will have a status of “Processing” when it is received by DPRIS. The status will change to “Completed” when the response has been received from the service repository.
- Each OMPF request will be assigned a unique request ID.
- “Service” is your branch of military service.
- The date that the OMPF request was submitted to DPRIS.
- The date the OMPF request will expire and be auto-removed from the DPRIS System.
- “View Files” allows you to view your OMPF documents associated to your request.
- “Extended Expiration Date” allows you to update the expiration date of the OMPF record to prevent the record from being removed from the DPRIS System.
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About the Author
Founder & CEO
Brian Reese is VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, and founder of VA Claims Insider – “The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”
His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.
Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.
His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.
He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).