Tag: military service
In honor of Veterans Day, today’s post comes from Sarah Basilion, an intern in the National Archives History Office.
The National Archives is one of the best places to research U.S. military records.
As the official repository of military personnel records, the National Archives allows researchers to view documents and records related to the military both online and in person. Researchers can also look through general military records, view architectural and cartographic records, or conduct research on specific wars.
This, however, was not always the case.
Before there was a National Archives, the Department of War was the main repository of military and war records.
After the National Archives was created in 1934, it repeatedly attempted to obtain records held by the department, but by 1936 the department would only transfer small amounts of records.
The first Archivist of the United States, Robert D.W. Connor, was concerned. He knew that the military records held by the War Department were being kept in poor conditions that could irreparably damage the documents.
He also recognized the value such records could have when publicly available to researchers.
After negotiations with the War Department failed, Connor appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt … [ Read all ]
This blog post is condensed from the article “Burnt in Memory,” by Marta G. O’Neill and William Seibert, from the Spring 2013 issue of Prologue.
By the time it was daylight on July 12, 1973, at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, one thing was painfully clear: the loss of records to fire and water was staggering.
The fire had swept through the top floor of the building just after midnight. At its peak, 42 fire districts were fighting it. The fire burned uncontrolled for more than 22 hours.About 73 to 80 percent of the approximately 22 million individual Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) stored in the building were destroyed. The records lost were those of former members of the Army, the Army Air Force, and the Air Force who served between 1912 and 1963.
Up on the sixth floor, reinforced concrete columns had sheared off, causing the roof to collapse. Metal shelving and metal filing cabinets were bent and twisted by the fire’s heat. Bricks of ash remained where cubic foot boxes of records once sat. Aisles between shelving rows were filled with debris up to three feet deep, and several … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on July 10, 2013, under National Archives Near You, Unusual documents.
Tags: DD 214, fire, guest blogger, Marta O'Neill, military records, military service, nprc, St. Louis, veterans, veterans records, William Seibert