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Reconstruct military records destroyed in NPRC fire

In 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri, destroyed the records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Army and Air Force during certain periods of time. Find out if your records may have been destroyed in this fire, and how to reconstruct your records to support a VA disability compensation claim.

Were my records destroyed in the 1973 NPRC fire in St. Louis?

Your records may have been destroyed in the fire if you were discharged from either:

  • The Army between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960. The fire destroyed 80% of the records held for Veterans discharged from the Army during this time period. The fire didn't involve records for retirees and Reservists who were alive on July 12, 1973.
  • Or the Air Force between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964. The fire destroyed 75% of the records held for Veterans discharged from the Air Force during this time period with surnames beginning with “Hubbard” and running through the end of the alphabet.

Learn more about the 1973 NPRC fire

Reconstructing your records

How does VA reconstruct my records?

We submit a specific request to the NPRC for any additional service records they may have or can find for you.

With the information we provide, the NPRC searches for documents that may help to reconstruct your records. They may also reach out to other government agencies. For example, they may try to reconstruct portions of your service treatment records by reviewing unit records, morning reports, and hospital admission records from the surgeon general's office.

How can I get the records I need to support my VA disability compensation claim?

If you're filing a VA disability compensation claim, follow these steps to get the records you need.
File a disability claim

  1. Fill out the National Archives request for information form

    You'll need to fill out a Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data (NA Form 13055). We'll use this form as our request to the NPRC to reconstruct your records. 

    Please give us as much information as you can about your assignments during service, including any of these that apply to you:

    • Unit
    • Company
    • Battalion
    • Regiment
    • Squadron
    • Group
    • Wing 

    Download NA Form 13055 (PDF)

  2. Gather or request other records or documents

    We'll also look at other records or documents (called “supplemental records”) to help decide your claim. You can provide these records or ask us to help you find them. 

    Please send us any of these documents you may have:

    • Statements from service medical personnel
    • Certified “buddy” statements or affidavits from fellow service members who witnessed your injury or illness
    • Military accident and police reports
    • Examination reports related to employment or insurance
    • Letters or photographs from your time in the service
    • Prescription records
    • Photocopies of any service treatment records or medical reports from any private hospitals, clinics, or doctors who treated you during service or shortly after separation


  3. Submit your disability compensation claim, NA Form 13055, and any supporting documents 

    You can file your claim online, by mail, in person, or with the help of a trained professional. For claims involving the reconstruction of records, we encourage you to work with a professional, such as an accredited attorney, claims agent, or Veterans Service Officer (VSO).

    Make sure to include your NA Form 13055 and any supplemental records or other documents you may have with your claim.

    Get instructions for filing a disability claim
    Get help from a trained professional

    Download NA Form 13055 (PDF)