The DD-214

DD-214 - DoD Separation Papers
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The DD-214

The DD-214 or your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty is a very important document to show that you have been discharged from Active Duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

What Is It?
The DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, generally referred to as a “DD 214”, is a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States (i.e. U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, and the U.S. Coast Guard). Wikipedia

Who Can Get One?
When you left active duty and left military service you were issued a DD-214. You were likely told to register it with the county clerk’s office to keep it in a safe place and never lose it. Well, you lost it and I can help you replace it. Prior to 2000, you were provided your DD-214 prior to you actually leaving the Military installation for the last time. Around the year 2000, the Military started to send you a copy in the mail several months after you were discharged.

**NOTE** I’m not a company that specializes in Military Records, I’m not for hire to help you find your records. I’m a former active duty Marine and this is just my experiences and research. I hope it helps you. Also, note that your DD-214 is free, you shouldn’t have to pay for it unless you are using a service that will work on your behalf to help you obtain it.

The DD-214 is known by many names, some are official and others are slang:

  • Certificate of Release
  • Discharge from Active Duty
  • Report of Separation
  • DD Form 214 / DD-214
  • Discharge Papers
  • Separation Documents
  • Military Discharge Record
  • Freedom Papers or Documents
  • Promotion to Mr. or Ms.
  • Authorization for Liberal Grooming Standards
  • Orders to First Civilian Division / 1stCivDiv
  • Walking papers

Who Can Request One?
The Privacy Act of 1974 limits access to a veteran’s DD214 so that only the service member or the service member’s legal guardian has the ability to obtain a copy and only these persons will have access to the information contained in that service member’s record.

The service member (either past or present) or the member’s legal guardian or next of kin may have access to copies of the member’s service record.

I have a separate blog post on how to request a copy of your DD-214 {{LINK}}

What’s On The DD-214?

Date and place of entry into active duty
Home address at the time of entry
Date and place of release from active duty
Pay Grade
Home address after separation
Last duty assignment and rank
Military job specialty
Military education
Decorations, medals, badges, citations, and campaign awards
Total creditable service
Foreign service credited
Separation information (type of separation, character of service, authority, and reason for separation, separation, and reenlistment eligibility codes)

Why Do I Need It?
Most federal, state, and local veterans’ benefits require proof of military service through an official discharge document such as a DD-214. I know you didn’t join the military to get free lunch at your favorite restaurant on Veterans Day, but some veterans like to take advantage of that. Seriously, there are hundreds of benefits offered to Veterans, such as VA Loans, employment, medical benefits, association membership, a veteran’s funeral benefit, school enrollment, and more.

How To Register It?
Most every County Clerk’s Office will allow you to register your DD-214 with them, usually at no charge. The process varies from County to County, but generally, there will be a form to fill out, and you provide them with ID and a copy of your DD-214. They will keep it on file for you. This way if you ever lose it, you can just go to your County Clerk and pick up a copy. Either visit your County Clerk’s office in person, give them a call or visit their website to see how your county handles this process.

How Do I Correct It?
If there is inaccurate information on your DD-214, please visit here – they have all the details you will need.

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