You can't find your discharge papers (otherwise known as your DD214), and the VA says it was burnt in a fire. Now what? Does that mean that you can't get any benefits that require your discharge papers?
On July 12, 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis destroyed records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Army and Air Force.
The fire destroyed 80 percent of the records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Army between November 1, 1912 and January 1, 1960. The fire destroyed 75 percent of the records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Air Force between September 25, 1947 and January 1, 1964 with surnames beginning with Hubbard and running through the end of the alphabet.
It is true that many records were destroyed, and therefore obtaining your original discharge DD214 may be impossible. However, this should never stop you from getting the benefits that you deserve. If the VA can not give you the actual discharge papers, you can obtain a letter from the VA which can be used in place of your discharge paperwork.
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