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The DD Form 214, Report of Separation, is filed in the Official Military Personnel File. Complete instructions for obtaining a copy of your DD 214 may be found here.
No, they are not duplicate records. This source of records contains approximately 7.8 million summaries for admissions to medical treatment facilities. They contain limited medical information which may be sufficient to support certain claims for veterans' benefits. Alternate sources used to reconstruct service and medical information lost in the 1973 fire at NPRC (MPR) contains a more detailed explanation of these records.
NPRC (MPR) does not issue service medals; that is a function of each military service department. Nevertheless, veterans may request issuance or replacement of their medals and awards. Family members may only request medals and awards of living veterans by obtaining their signed authorizations. For deceased veterans, requests will be accepted from next-of-kin (unremarried widow or widower, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran).
We recommend that you use Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. Instructions for obtaining a copy are available through: http://www.archives.gov/research_room/vetrecs. Instructions are also available for submitting a request in letter format, if desired.
Generally, military service records prior to the 20th Century are in the National Archives Building, Washington, D.C. More information is available on NARA's research room page. You may also wish to contact the National Archives Inquire mailbox

We receive records of former military members only after they have been separated (discharged, released, retired, etc.) from the military service. Therefore, we are unable to provide locator service on members still serving on active duty. Each military service has an office which deals with the world-wide location of active service personnel. These offices are listed below:

Air Force : 210.652.5775
Army: 703.325.3732
Navy: 901.874.3388
Marine Corps: 703.784.3942
Coast Guard: 202.267.2229

NOTE: The offices listed above MAY NOT be useful when trying to locate reserve or National Guard personnel. There is NO locator service for discharged personnel for any service of which we are aware

Our primary mission is to research requests from veterans or their authorized representatives who are seeking service information that will assist them in obtaining benefits, employment, reenlistment, hospitalization, loans, pensions, and burials. NPRC (MPR) is neither staffed nor budgeted to respond to requests that require extensive research. In addition, the Department of Defense Privacy Program, 32 CFR 310.41(d), considers the release of rosters (lists) or compilations of names and home addresses, or single address of current or former service members, to be a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, and is prohibited. Also, addresses found in the records of discharged personnel may not remain valid for more than a few months. We understand that some individuals have had success locating former members of the Armed Forces by placing advertisements in publications of various veterans organizations such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which have special columns for reunion purposes.
This center will, upon request, provide copies of DD 214's and other separation documents, as appropriate, to authorized requesters. Complete instructions for obtaining a copy of your DD 214 may be found under Official Military Personnel File including Active Duty Health Record, Services for veterans, next-of-kin, or the veteran's representative at the NARA web site. These umentdocs may be used to apply for the Certificate. However, this center does not have the application form available, nor will we be able to supply the Certificate itself. For more information concerning the application process visit the Cold War Recognition Certificate web page.

Medals awarded while in active service will be issued by the appropriate service if requested by veterans or, if deceased, their next of kin.Requests for medals from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard should be sent to the U.S. Navy Liaison Office, National Personnel Records Center, Room 3475, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.

Requests for medals from the Army should be sent to U.S. Army Reserve Personnel Center, ATTN: ARPC-VSE, 9700 Pave Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.Requests for medals from the Air Force should be sent to the National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records), 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. The veteran's full name should be printed or typed, so that it can be read clearly. The request must contain the signature of the veteran or the signature of the next of kin, if the veteran is deceased. Include the veteran's branch of service, service number or Social Security number and dates of service, or at least the approximate years. If available, include a copy of the discharge or separation document, DD-214. If possible, send the request on Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. These forms are generally available from VA offices or veterans organizations. More information is available at http://www.archives.gov/facilities