Working Around the National Personnel Records Center Fire of 1973
Melissa Johnson October 26, 2015
Millions of personnel records for members of the U.S. armed forces who served during the twentieth century were destroyed as a result of the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in Overland, Missouri. These records had not been duplicated or microfilmed, so the loss was tremendous. Many genealogists researching men and women who participated in World War I and World War II assume that all records were destroyed and that no information is available; however, that is not necessarily the case.Only NGS members have access to full articles of NGS Monthly. Please log in or click here to learn more about joining the National Genealogical Society.
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I was able to secure my father’s WWII Army record… It was charred around the edges, but very little information was impacted by that. I consider myself very lucky that they were able to find it.
And if NPRC responds to a request that ALL the records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, repeat the request. It has taken sometimes 5-6 requests before it gets to someone willing to do the research
Unfortunately the loss of the military personnel records hit others too. I was on active duty in 1973, yet did not discover my records were “missing” until 1979 when the Army mailed microfiche copies of an individual’s official file. Those official records files were used by the Army at the time for selection to attend advanced school and promotions. No file, no advanced school or promotion.