In honor of Veterans Day (Happy 11/11/11 to you, btw), the National Archives has released a three-minute video that takes you behind the scenes of a request for military records. View the video on the National Archives YouTube channel here: http://tinyurl.com/VetsStL

NARA’s press releases:

By far the most-requested documents in the holdings of the National Archives are the military personnel records of the nation’s veterans.  These documents are often needed by veterans or their families to obtain benefits, receive mortgages, to support job applications, or for family history.

This Veterans Day the National Archives is presenting a new 3:43 minute video short to the public explaining how veterans and other interested parties can obtain copies of these documents

In a brisk, visual narrative “Veterans Personnel Records at the National Archives, St. Louis” literally walks the viewer through the new National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri.  The huge facility – which opened in summer 2011 – has more than seven acres of storage, housing in perpetuity more than 56 million individual military personnel files.  The earliest records date from 1841.

Air Force veteran and NPRC archives technician Bruce Bronsema – using his own personnel file – demonstrates how veterans can request copies of their records with a simple on-line application (http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records).

The St. Louis facility receives four to five thousand requests each day for military personnel records, and according to NPRC director Scott Levins, responds to 90% of those requests within ten days. Beginning with Bronsema’s records request, the tour then heads to the storage areas: 15 separate record storage areas holding 2.3 million boxes on 29-foot high shelving units with two levels of steel catwalk.