National Personnel Records Center

From Academic Kids

The National Personnel Records Center is an agency of the National Archives and Records Administration and is divided into two large Federal Records Centers located in St. Louis, Missouri. The current director of the National Personnel Records Center, as of June 2004, is retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain, Ronald Hindman. The Military Personnel Records Center is located on Page Avenue, in Overland, Missouri, while the Civilian Personnel Records Center is located on Winnebago Street in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.

Military Personnel Records Center

Military Personnel Records Center
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Military Personnel Records Center

The Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC-MPR)[1] (http://vetrecs.archives.gov) is the repository of over fifty six million military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. NPRC (MPR) also stores over thirty nine million auxiliary military records to include casualty indexes, unit reports, some military pay records, and the medical treatment records of retirees from all services, as well as records for dependents and other persons treated at naval medical facilities.

Most of the records on file at the National Personnel Records Center are considered property of the United States military and record requests are normally only honored from veterans, next-of-kin of deceased veterans, and certain agencies of the Federal Government. The general public may request records information under the Freedom of Information Act, but not copies of entire records or personal information regarding former military service members.

Requests for information to the Military Personnel Records Center number approximately 4000 letters per day. In the fall of 2004, an Internet hoax stated that the Military Personnel Records Center was destroying paper copies of all records in lieu of computer scanning. National Archives officials stressed that all records are permanently archived, meaning that they will never be destroyed and always maintained as historical documents. Despite this statement, the number of requests to NPRC-MPR raised considerably causing a significant backlog in record copy responses. As of 2005, internet notices and public announcements stemmed requests resulting from the “record destruction” rumor and the Military Personnel Records Center is back to a standard response time of approximately ten days for simple requests and as long as three to six months months for complex requests requiring extensive research.

In 2004, the custody of Marine Corps and Navy records (discharged or retired prior to 1939) was transferred from the Department of the Navy to the National Archives. The records in question were reclassified as public access and open to unlimited access by the general public. The earliest Navy records on file at NPRC date from 1885 with Marine Corps records dating from 1905. Army records date from 1917, Coast Guard records from 1898, and Air Force records from 1947. Older military records, from the Spanish-American War, Civil War, and earlier periods, are maintained at the main National Archives building in Washington, D.C..

Subsequent to 1995, the Department of the Navy began retaining personnel records of Navy and Marine Corps personnel and ceased retiring these records to NPRC. Such records are now kept on file in Millington, Tennessee (for the Navy) and in Quantico, Virginia (for the Marine Corps). Also, between 1992 and 1998, the Department of Veterans Affairs began receiving military health records upon a service member's discharge, release, death in service, or retirement from the military. As of 2000, all military health records are now retired to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The headquarters of the U.S. Army Human Resource Command is currently located on the same lot as the Military Personnel Records Center in Overland. The two buildings are physically connected by large access hallways. The General Services Administration also maintains a third, much smaller building, which is connected to the National Personnel Records Center and serves as a cafeteria and recreation facility.

Civilian Personnel Records Center

Civilian Personnel Records Center
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Civilian Personnel Records Center

The Civilian Personnel Records Center (NPRC-CPR) houses the Official Personnel Folders (OPF) and Employee Medical Folders (EMF) of separated Federal civilian employees. CPR also houses personnel documents that date back to the mid-nineteenth century, although the bulk of the collection covers the period from 1900 to present. The medical records of military family members treated at Army, Air Force and Coast Guard medical facilities are also stored here.

The 1973 National Archives Fire

The 1973 National Archives Fire devastated the entire sixth floor of the Military Personnel Records Center and effectively destroyed over 18 million military service records. Since that time, major reconstruction efforts have restored and rebuilt millions of military service records using alternate records obtained from other state and federal agencies.

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