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Military Records for Genealogy Research: WWI and Later Conflicts

A guide for navigating the military records useful for genealogy research.

Online Resources

The 369th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Harlem HellfightersRecords relating to military service after the Philippine Insurrection are held at the National Personnel Records Center of the National Archives (St. Louis). Although these records are generally beyond the scope of this research guide, a few details will be provided here. 

The most important thing to know about military records at this facility is that a 1973 fire destroyed the majority of personnel files for veterans serving in the following:

  • The Army between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960. The fire destroyed 80% of the records held for Veterans discharged from the Army during this time period. The fire didn't involve records for retirees and Reservists who were alive on July 12, 1973.
  • The Air Force between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964. The fire destroyed 75% of the records held for Veterans discharged from the Air Force during this time period with surnames beginning with “Hubbard” and running through the end of the alphabet. 

In addition, records of individuals who left service less than 62 years ago are not available to the general public (as of 2021, this means access is restricted for records 1959 and later).  They can be requested only the service member, or, if she or he is deceased, a spouse who hasn’t remarried, a parent, a child or a sibling.

For additional help researching ancestors in WWI and later conflicts, the following guides may be useful: