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eVetRecs Gets a Thumbs Up

April 19, 2009 -- How often do you get to say that you are impressed
with the service from a department in the federal
government? I have to give a high five to eVetRecs, the
new program launched by the National Archives to get
records to veterans and next-of-kin of deceased veterans.
The press release for the program crossed my desk on
March 25. Veterans and next-of-kin of deceased veterans
can request military records online through eVetRecs.
When I read the release, I thought it was a great idea but
wondered about how it would make anything easier.
Government and easier are rarely synonymous. So I
figured I would give it a test drive.
That morning I clicked the button to "Request Military
Records." I filled out the blocks asking about name, date
of birth, address, branch, and all the pertinent data the
researchers would need. I wondered about my request as
the name on my DD 214 was different than the name I
currently sport on my uniform - would that confuse them
or cause them to kick it back?
But my e-mail request went through and I was asked to
print out a form, sign it and either fax it or mail it to them
within 20 days of this request. I signed, walked down the
hallway to the fax machine and zipped it off to St. Louis.
Later in the day I received an e-mail telling me that they
had received my fax. The e-mail stated, "We are pleased
to inform you that the majority of these types of requests
are serviced in ten business days or less. We service
approximately 20,000 requests each week and
continuously strive to successfully meet or surpass our
response time goal on these types of requests."
Skeptical? YES! I have heard horror stories over the
years about requests for DD214s that have taken more
than six months. How were they going to take care of my
request in 10 business days?
I am no longer a skeptic. On Friday, April 3, NINE days
- SEVEN business days- after my request, I opened my
mail box to find an envelope from the National Archives
with copies of my DD Form 214 plus a copy of my NGB
Form 22 from when I was discharged from the
Pennsylvania Army National Guard prior to joining the
New Jersey Air National Guard.
Other records are available for request other than
discharge documents.
So kudos go out to the National Archives and their new
program. While it is not for everyone - people requesting
records of veterans who are not related to them or who
are related but not next of kin must still file a Standard
Form 180 - it is a great way to request records with quick
results.
Visit http://vetrecs.archives.gov/ to request your
records.