Researching American Indians and Alaska Natives


Military Service Records

Discharge Papers, Official Military Personnel Files, and Pension Files

Military Service Records

Apache scouts drilling with rifles, Fort Wingate, New Mexico
National Archives Identifier 530918

From the earliest years of United States history, American Indians have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Ever since General George Washington noted the American Indians' skills as scouts and light troops during the Revolutionary War, they have participated in every major conflict, including both sides of the American Civil War. In unique services such as U.S. Army Indian Scouts and the U.S. Army and Marine Corps code talkers in both World Wars, American Indians have participated with distinction throughout America’s military history. The service and pension records of these men and women can be found at the National Archives.

Locating Service and Pension Records

For more information visit the National Archives Veterans Service Records. NOTE: Many of the older military records are digitized, indexed, and fully searchable on Ancestry.com and/or Fold3.com. Online access to both of these websites is free at all National Archives research facilities.

Photograph of Three Marine Corps Women Reservists, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, 10/16/1943
National Archives Identifier 535876

Locating Other Military Records Related to American Indians

The National Archives is also the home for military records detailing the general activities of the U.S. Armed Forces in both times of peace and war. Visit Research in Military Records for more information.

Prologue Articles about American Indians Service in the Military

A Note About Privacy Restrictions

Military documents that are less than 75 years old may contain personal information about individuals who are still living. These records are restricted under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemption (b)(6), and must be screened by National Archives staff before being released to researchers. Personal information may be redacted. Learn more about FOIA.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

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