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    Alternate Records Resources

    Alternate Sources of Military Service Data. When proof of military service is needed,NPRC (MPR) attempts to reconstruct certain basic service data from alternate sources.NPRC (MPR) has identified many of these sources, but each contains only limited military service information. They are utilized to piece together (reconstruct) basic service data.NA Form 13075, Questionnaire About Military Service

    Medical-Related Alternate Records

    In 1988, a collection of computer tapes containing ten million hospital/treatment facility admission records was transferred to NPRC (MPR). These records, originally created by the U.S. Army Surgeon General's Office (SGO), were discovered by the National Academy of Sciences and offered to the National Archives for use by NPRC (MPR). The source records existed in a computer code format and required extensive analysis to interpret the code into English. Between 1988-1990, NPRC (MPR) was able to salvage 7.8 million records of individual admissions for use as a major supplement to other smaller sources of medical information.

    Personnel-Related Alternate Sources

    A primary source of alternate data is a collection of 19 million final pay vouchers. These records provide name, service number, dates of service, and character of service. These are the most critical service data elements needed for the reconstruction process. With these and other organizational records (enlistment ledgers, service number indexes, etc.), NPRC (MPR) personnel can usually verify military service and provide a Certification of Military Service. This Certification can be used for any purpose for which the original discharge document was used, including the application for veterans benefits.

    The 1973 Fire at NPRC

    On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at NPRC (MPR) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files. The affected record collections are described below. No duplicate copies of the records that were destroyed in the fire were maintained, nor was a microfilm copy ever produced. There were no indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available. Nevertheless, NPRC (MPR) uses many alternate sources in its efforts to reconstruct basic service information to respond to requests.

    Branch

    Personnel and Period Affected

    Estimated Loss

    Army

     Personnel discharged November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960

    80%

    Air Force

    Personnel discharged, September 25, 1947, to January 1, 1964

    (with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)

    75%



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