After a sailor or officer has been separated from the Navy for 62 years, the records are archived and become public record. Until the records are archived, they are maintained under the Federal Records Center program and not available to the public. To verify a Navy discharge status, you must submit a request. Veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214, Report of Separation. If you are not the veteran or next-of-kin, yor must submit Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.
To help identify the veteran's records, provide as much information as you can. You are asked to provide the veteran's complete name, service number, Social Security number, branch of service, dates of service, and date and place of birth. For records that may have been involved in the 1973 fire in the records center in St. Louis, also include the veteran's place of discharge, last unit of assignment and place of entry into the service.
Use the eVetRecs system if you are the Navy veteran or next-of-kin. The system is accessible through the NationalArchives website. Qualifying next of kin include a surviving spouse who is not remarried, a parent, child or sibling.
Answer the questions about the veteran's history to help identify him. The online request and SF-180 both request the same information.
Select the box indicating you want an "Undeleted Report of Separation." The undeleted DD 214 is a copy of the full separation document, including the discharge status, character of separation, authority for separation and reason for separation. A deleted report omits the sensitive information, including the status of discharge.
List the name and mailing address of where you want the records sent.
Print and sign the signature verification. Although you can complete the request online, a signature is required to confirm the information you provide is accurate. Keep a copy of the signature verification confirmation for your records. The confirmation lists the service request number you will need to check on the status of your request.
Mail the signature verification to the address listed for the National Personnel Records Center within 30 days of submitting your online request.
Standard Form 180
Download a Standard Form 180 to request records via mail or fax. If you are not the veteran or next-of-kin, you use this form. You can obtain the form from the National Archives, Department of Defense, Federal Information Centers, local Veterans Administration offices and veterans service organizations.
Complete the application by answering each question. If you do not have the information or cannot obtain it, write "NA,", meaning "not available."
Sign and date the request.
Mail the SF 180 to the address listed on the bottom of the form. Each branch has a different mailing address. There are multiple addresses for the Navy. The address is determined by the discharge date.
Submit proof of death if you are not the veteran. Acceptable documents include a copy of death certificate, letter from the funeral home or a published obituary.
If the request is urgent, make a note in the "Comments" section of eVetrecs or in the "Purpose" section of the SF-180. The goal is to complete urgent requests within two working days of receipt.