A DD-214 can be requested in a number of different ways. Perhaps the quickest and the easiest is the Archive's eVetRecs online military records request system. Through this system, located at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/, eligible individuals simply need to follow the on screen instructions.
The process is relatively simple and straightforward. There are however two items to bear in mind.
1. Deleted or Undeleted DD-214?
The first is your choice to request an undeleted or deleted DD-214. An undeleted version contains all of the information contained on the original DD-214 which was issued at discharge. In general, an undeleted version is usually required for VA benefit purposes. If however you were discharged before May 1, 1974 and you are using your DD-214 for non-VA purposes you may want to consider requesting a deleted version.
The reason for this is because the various military branches used Separation Program Numbers (SPN codes) on DD-214's. These numbers, or codes, provided information about the veteran such as unsuitability, unfitness, homosexuality, bedwetting and a whole host of damaging information. During the Vietnam era many codes were erroneously applied. To make matters worse many employers at the time had copies of the SPN codes and they would often deny veterans employment based on an erroneous SPN code
2. Signing the Application and Sending it by Mail or Fax
The second thing to bear in mind is that once you complete and submit the electronic application you must print off and sign the application and mail it or fax it to the Archives within 30 days. If your signature is not received within 30 days your request will automatically be deleted from the Archive's request system. Make sure to make an additional copy for your records as well.
If you do not have internet access you can also make a request by mail or by fax. Although it is not mandatory it is strongly suggested you make your request on a Standard Form (SF) 180. A SF 180 is available for download at http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf. If you are unable to obtain an electronic copy of a SF 180 you can request a copy be mailed to you by mailing your request to:National Personnel Records Center 9700 Page Avenue St. Louis, Missouri 63132
The form may also be available from Federal Information Centers, VA facilities and veterans service organizations.
There are two advantages to using the SF 180. The first is that informs you of what information is required. The second, and most important, is the SF 180 has a section that lists the fourteen different addresses one of which is where your request should be mailed. The easy to follow list takes the guess work out of trying to figure out who has the records you are seeking.
If you are told your DD214 was destroyed by fire (see related pages below) or lost you may want to check your local court house. Many veterans, especially Vietnam-era veterans, registered their DD-214's with their local court house. This provided safe keeping and allows the veteran to obtain certified copies from the court house. Just remember you must go to the court house where it was recorded. If it was recorded in county X county Y will not be able to access the document.