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A service record is a collection of either electronic or printed material which provides a documentary history of a person's activities and accomplishments while serving as a member of a given organization. Service records are most often associated with the military, but are commonly found in other groups, such as large corporations or for use by employees of a civilian government.
Australian armed forces
Service records for the Australian Army, are available at the National Archives of Australia website. The service records of the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force are also available.
World War I service records provide the dates when the person was "in the field", that is with his unit on active service, if and when they embarked for oversea service, and the names of the units in which the person served. The service record also documents other changes—promotions, transfers, time at base, the date and place of sickness or wounding, and the names of hospital or clearing station where the person was treated.
The records of Nazi Germany are extensive and the record keeping ability of the Nazi Party was generally considered to be extremely meticulous. Service records of Nazi organizations are maintained at the Berlin Document Center, in Berlin, Germany, with several microfiche copies of these records available at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland.
United States armed forces
Service records of the United States armed forces are considered vital documents both for historical reasons and also to help secure veteran benefits for discharged or retired service members. In addition, service records of the U.S. military provide a chronology of a service member's career and thus ensure accurate tracking of accomplishments, activities, and promotions.
Active duty U.S. military service records are maintained by the various branches of the U.S. armed forces. Retired and discharged service records are maintained at the Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
After 2005, most U.S. military service records are retained by the military branch since most such records are electronically stored.
Typical makeup of a United States military paper service record
- DD Form 214
- Master personnel folder (201 File, Service Record Book, AF Form 7, etc.)
- Officer Qualification Record (OQR) (if commissioned)
- Evaluations and fitness reports
- Awards and citations
- Disciplinary data and court martial records
- Dependent and emergency contact records
- Clothing allowance and leave records
- Letters and various correspondence
- Security clearance information
- Reserve points and reserve service history (if applicable)
- Discharge Data
- National Archives of Australia
- http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/army-boer.aspx Boer War records
- http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/army-wwi.aspx First World War records
- http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/army-between.aspx inter-World War records
- http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/army-wwii.aspx Second World War records
- http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/army-after.aspx Post–Second World War records