NOTE: These questions and answers are adapted from the Army's Chief of Public Affairs site.
Q. How may I obtain a copy of my military personnel record?
A. You may request a copy of your military record by writing The National Personnel Records Center; Military Personnel Records; 9700 Page Avenue; St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. They answer only written requests. You can print and fill out Standard Form 180 -
Request Pertaining to Military Records. You will need to have Adobe's free Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to view or print the form. If you do not have this software already installed, you must first download it by clicking the "Get Acrobat" icon below. You may also need to set your printer to "shrink to fit" in order to get it to print on one page. UPDATE: You can now create a customized form for your records request.
Alternatively, you can call (301) 713-6905 to have one faxed to you, using the National Archives' Fax On Demand service. The Standard Form 180 is available as document number 2255. When filling out the form, please include at least the service member's complete name, social security number and/or serial number, and the requester's return address.
Q. How may I obtain a copy of my military medical record?
A. Medical records are maintained at one of 58 regional Veterans Administration (VA) centers around the country or at the national Veterans Administration Records Management Center in St. Louis. Call (800) 827-1000 for information on your regional VA Center. The national VA Records Management Office can be reached by calling (314) 263-2800.
Q. How may I obtain a set of my authorized medals and decorations?
A. If you are an Army Veteran or the next-of kin (un-remarried widow, eldest child , parent,eldest sibling, eldest grandchild) of an Army veteran, you may request a set of authorized medals and decorations by sending a written request along with a copy of the DD Form 214 or other discharge papers (if available) to the National Personnel Records Center, as explained in a brochure from the U.S. Army Veteran Medals Unit.
Q. How may I obtain historical information about the Army?
A. For historical information, such as a the history of an Army unit or a retired general's military biography, please contact the Center of Military History.
Q. How may I obtain historical operational information about a particular Army unit?
A. The National Archives has historical operational information on Army units. For military information preceeding the year 1941, please contact the National Archives One at (202) 501-5390. For military information from 1942 and later, please contact the National Archives Two at (301) 837-3510.
Q. How may I obtain a roster of personnel in my unit?
A. Print out the Standard Form 180 referenced above. Fill out as much information as possible on the first side, and mail it to address in box number 14 near the bottom of the second side. Include a check for $8.30. They will bill you if the charge exceeds that amount. Ask for a specific month and year, selecting the time when you think you'd be most likely to find the names you're looking for. From past experience, request just one monthly roster at a time. Asking for rosters from a range of months often generates a reply that the National Personnel Records Center doesn't have them. Requests for these same rosters individually by month, however, are often successful. To the best of my knowledge the rosters were compiled once a month, near the end of the month. During the month changes were often penciled in, and the Morning Report was used to keep track of the daily transfers, wounded and KIA changes. (Thanks to Kirk Ramsey for the answer to this often-asked question).