A dishonorable discharge is given when a naval service member is discharged as a result of a punishment rendered by court martial. Discharged service members are given a specific form, "DD-214," which lists their discharge date and type. There are four versions of this form, and the service member is given copy one, which has the least information about the reason for discharge. Employers who want to confirm the type of discharge can ask the service member for a copy of his DD-214 form. However, if that is not enough information, an employer can request version four of the DD-214 from the National Archives, which gives the most complete information.
Go to the National Archives website and download form SF-180, which is the general form for requesting military records (see Resources).
Fill the form out completely. This will require personal information about the service member, including his Social Security number, place of birth, date of birth, and dates he entered and left the service. Ideally, you will also be able to provide his service number, though this is not required.
Check the box for "DD form 214 or equivalent" under Section II and fill in the date of the DD-214 that the service member provided to you. Do not check the "Deleted Copy" box in that same section and question.
Fill out your purpose at the end of Section II, and then fill out your contact information completely in Section III.
Locate the mailing address for the department you need by looking at the chart on page 3 of SF-180. For living naval veterans, there are three possible addresses for you to use, depending on the date they left the service.
Print form SF-180, sign it and mail it to the address you found in the previous step.
- Although the National Archives states that most of these requests are processed within 10 days of receiving them, there are always exceptions. Some documents that were damaged in a fire, for example, can take up to six months to locate and process. Be prepared for a wait.
- The military is not required to give you access to the more complete discharge record and may deny your request.
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