Veterans Day

Every day at the National Archives, we hear extraordinary stories from veterans and their families. Veterans Day presents us with a great opportunity to highlight an important collection within the National Archives: Official Military Personnel Folders, which document the actions of our nation’s military veterans. It fills us with great pride to be able to process, protect, and service records for veterans and their families.

Earlier this week I traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to honor both the veterans who comprise the workforce of our National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), as well as the staff who provide services to our veterans. NPRC holds more than 56 million military service records and responds to 4,000 – 5,000 requests each day. Most of these requests come directly from veterans and their families who need prompt access to military service records to support their pursuit of important benefits. Others need these records to pursue the verification and replacement of medals and awards or the preparation of family histories. Preserving these records and servicing these requests is important work performed by the National Archives, and our mission is to provide world class service to military veterans and their family members.

Here are just a few of the stories of the lives we’ve touched as our staff meet the needs of the men and women who have served their country:

John Joseph Scala is an 88-year-old Korean War veteran. With support from his niece and a local television producer, Mr. Scala contacted the NPRC for support in obtaining medals he earned while in service. Using records from NPRC’s holdings, our staff was able to verify the awards and order replacements to be issued by the Department of the Army. After receiving his medals, Mr. Scala sent us this image in which he proudly displayed his medals and thanked us for helping him receive them.

Photo of Mr. John Joseph Scala proudly displaying his service medals
Photo of Mr. John Joseph Scala proudly displaying his service medals

During my visit to NPRC, its workforce shared with me other expressions of gratitude recently received from veterans and their families:

Letter thanking staff for sending military service records

Email thanking National Archives employees for work

Postcard thanking National Archives staff for assistance with military service records

Letter thanking National Archives staff for assistance sending military service records to widow

As these thank you notes illustrate, supporting our nation’s veterans through access to military service records is a great responsibility as Archivist of the United States. On this Veterans Day I salute the 615 veterans who are members of the National Archives family along with all others who have served.