How to Obtain a Military Arrest Record

The military arrest record of a member of the armed forces is a part of his or her military personnel file, which contains information on disciplinary actions. To access a service-person's record, you must have his or her personal information. In addition, if you are not considered the service-person's next-of-kin, you must also have his or her written authorization to access their record. Requesting military arrest records is a more complicated process than requesting civilian arrest records. The National Personnel Records Center, or NPRC, holds the personnel records for veterans. Records for those in active duty should be requested through their specific military branch: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy.


  1. 1
    Gather the necessary personal information for each individual, such as their complete legal name used during service, their social security number or service number, their branch, and the dates they were in service. If you are unsure of the service number, date and place of birth may suffice.
  2. 2
    Obtain written authorization from the service-person for the release of their information. Unless you are next-of-kin, you must have the service-person's permission, since military arrest records are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
    • The following are considered as next-of-kin: current spouse and immediate family (mother, father, daughter, son, sister, or brother).
    • The authorization must be in writing and must specify that the arrest records may be released to you. The authorization must also include the signature of the service-person, or if deceased, the service-person's next-of-kin.
  3. 3
    Fill out a Standard Form 180: Request Pertaining to Military Records, also known as a SF-180 form, for veterans' records. You can pick up a form from your local Veterans Administration office or request a form by mail.
    • Mail or fax in your form. Federal law states that all requests for military records must be submitted in writing, with a hand-written signature and date.
    • Pay any charges associated with your request. The NPRC will notify you as soon as possible regarding the amount of your payment. Service-persons or their next-of-kin are allowed to request copies of records for free, but members of the general public will be charged a nominal fee.
    • Wait up to 12 weeks for a response. The Military Personnel Records division of NPRC receives almost 5,000 requests per day. While most responses are given within 2 weeks, arrest records dating from 1973 and earlier may take much longer.
    • Find out the status of your request by contacting the NPRC Customer Service Center. It's best to wait at least 10 business days before checking with them. Email them at, or call them at 314-801-0800. Note that their telephone number is not toll-free number.
  4. 4
    Send a request by letter to the individual's military branch for active duty records. Make sure to include the necessary personal information and authorization, if required. Branch addresses are:
    • Air Force Personnel Center
  5. 5
    C St. West, Suite 19
  6. 6
    Randolph AFB, TX 78150
  7. 7
    Fax: 210-565-4021
    • U.S. Army Human Resources Command
  8. 8
    Spearhead Division Avenue
  9. 9
    Fort Knox, KY 40122
  10. 10
    Phone: 888-276-9472
    • U.S. Coast Guard Personnel Command
  11. 11
    Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
  12. 12
    Arlington, VA 22203-1804
  13. 13
    Phone: 866-634-0574
    • U.S. Marine Corps
  14. 14
    Personnel Management Support Branch
  15. 15
    Elliot Road
  16. 16
    Quantico, VA 22134-5030
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    Phone: 800-268-3710
    • Navy Personnel Command
  18. 18
    Integrity Drive
  19. 19
    Millington, TN 38055-3120
  20. 20
    Fax: 901-874-2851


  • If you need further assistance, consider hiring a freelance researcher who specializes in military records.
  • Always make sure the personal identifying information you submit is accurate. Incorrect details will result in delays.
  • Your request may be processed faster if you explain the reason for your request. Also, mention any emergency or deadline you are facing. Staff may try to accommodate you.
  • Don't waste money sending your request by express mail. Expressed applications are processed no faster than those sent by standard mail.


  • Beware of sites such as and Although their URLs sound official, these are not legitimate government sites.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard Form 180: Request Pertaining to Military Records

Article Info

Categories: Careers in the Military