Press Release
November 8, 2011

Aiding The Nation’s Veterans This Veterans Day

National Archives Video Highlights Process of Obtaining Proof of Military Service

St Louis, MO…By far the most-requested documents in the holdings of the National Archives are the military personnel records of the nation’s veterans. These documents are often needed by veterans or their families to obtain benefits, receive mortgages, to support job applications, or for family history.

This Veterans Day the National Archives is presenting a new 3:43 minute video short to the public explaining how veterans and other interested parties can obtain copies of these documents. In a brisk, visual narrative “Veterans Personnel Records at the National Archives, St. Louis” literally walks the viewer through the new National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri. The huge facility – which opened in summer 2011 – has more than seven acres of storage, housing in perpetuity more than 56 million individual military personnel files. The earliest records date from 1841. View the video on the National Archives YouTube channel [].

Air Force veteran and NPRC archives technician Bruce Bronsema – using his own personnel file – demonstrates how veterans can request copies of their records with a simple online application []. The St. Louis facility receives four to five thousand requests each day for military personnel records, and according to NPRC director Scott Levins, responds to 90% of requests for DD Form 214 within ten days. Beginning with Bronsema’s records request, the tour then heads to the storage areas: 15 separate record storage areas holding 2.3 million boxes on 29-foot high shelving units with two levels of steel catwalk.

Background on “Inside the Vaults”

“Inside the Vaults” is part of the ongoing effort by the National Archives to make its collections, stories, and accomplishments more accessible to the public. “Inside the Vaults” gives voice to Archives staff and users, highlights new and exciting finds at the Archives, and reports on complicated and technical subjects in easily understandable presentations. Earlier topics include the conservation of the original Declaration of Independence and 1297 Magna Carta, the new Grace Tully collection of documents at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, the transfer to the National Archives of the Nuremberg Laws, the creation of Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, and the launch of a new National Archives user-friendly search engine. The film series is free to view and distribute on our YouTube channel [].

Created by a former broadcast network news producer, the "Inside the Vaults" video shorts series presents “behind the scenes” exclusives and offer surprising glimpses of the National Archives treasures. These videos are in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages the free distribution of them

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.

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