- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

My husband received DD256 when he was discharged from active duty in 1954. It is our understanding that the DD256 form is only for discharge from inactive reserves. He should have a DD214 from active duty according to our information. Could you please clarify? If he sends a copy his DD256 to the proper place, can he obtain the correct DD214?

Thank you,
Rosemary C.
Via the Internet

Dear Rosemary:

My sources tell me that a DD Form 256 is an honorable discharge certificate and counts as an authorized separation document. You didn’t state your intended use for the form. But if the form clearly states the dates of periods of active duty service, the document is valid for determining eligibility for veteran benefits. If you do need to request service documents, you can request them online at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/, or fax 314/801-9195, or write to: National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138.

You should request documents using a Standard Form 180 (which can be obtained from the website address above). If you write a letter you will need to include:

* The veteran’s complete name used while in service.

* Service number or social security number.

* Branch of service.

* Dates of service.

* Date and place of birth may also be helpful, especially if the service number is not known.

If the request pertains to a record that may have been involved in the 1973 fire, also include:

* Place of discharge.

* Last unit of assignment.

* Place of entry into the service, if known.

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