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RI Veterans: Did you know? 10 March 22 – John A. Cianci

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

How to obtain medical records for a Veteran who served in the military

Let’s start off with a question from one of our readers:

How do I obtain a copy of my medical records when I was in the U.S. Army in the sixties, for personal use (not related to filing a claim with the VA)? – Ken C from Burriville RI

Ken, since you served in U.S. Army and in the sixties, you would submit Military Records Requests: Standard Form SF-180 write a letter requesting the medical records:

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63138

However, if you were discharged after October 16, 1992, the Army began retiring most of its former members’ health records to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). An army veteran would submit a request to the:

  • Department of Veterans Affairs
    ATTN: Release of Information
    Claims Intake Center
    P.O. Box 4444
    Janesville, WI 53547-4444
  • Fax: 844-531-7818
    https://www.va.gov

And if the Army veteran was discharged, retired, or separated from any component on or after January 1, 2014, the army veteran should contact:

AMEDD Record Processing Center
3370 Nacogdoches Road, Suite 116
San Antonio, TX 78217

VETTIP – Since 2014, The AMEDD Record Processing Center is the address to write for all branches of service who were discharged, retired, or separated from any component.

However, just because a veteran’s records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, it is still possible to obtain records that document the service history of former military personnel with auxiliary records.

VETTIP – If you are a veteran or next of kin, and if you do not have an official document telling you the veteran’s records were destroyed in the 1973, submit a formal request for the records.

Why? If the veteran is living or deceased, having the records would entitle the veteran or widow/widower to thousands of dollars of benefits, to include retroactive benefits. Example would be a Blue Water Veteran who died of cancer before Public Law-23 (Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Act 2019). https://www.va.gov/Blue_Water_Navy_Factsheet.pdf

In the years since the fire, the NPRC has collected many series of records used for this purpose, but these records contain only limited military service information. However, utilized together, they can aid in reconstructing basic service data.

Some of these records have been part of the NPRC’s collection since before the 1973 Fire; others were brought in to help reconstruct basic service information. A primary source of alternate data is a collection of 19 million Final Pay Vouchers. These records provide name, service number and dates and character of service – the most critical service data elements needed for the reconstruction process.

Another primary source of data is a collection of 7.8 million records of individual hospital/treatment facility admissions created by the U.S. Army Surgeon General’s Office. These records are a major supplement for other, smaller sources of medical data. Using these and other auxiliary records series, various parts of an individual’s military service and medical history can be recovered.

Additionally, organizational records are available. The organizational records maintained at NPRC contain a variety of personnel-related information recorded by military units during the first half of the 20th Century. The data in these records give genealogists, researchers and other members of the public the opportunity to document further the service histories of former members of the armed forces. So too, these records provide invaluable insight into the administrative functions of the Military Services during this period. Most importantly, organizational records play a vital role in reconstructing service data from files lost in the 1973 Fire.

In order to determine where a medical record is located, the veteran or family member must determine:

  • Branch of service
  • Date the veteran was discharged or separated.

VETTIP – For veterans who served in multiple branches of service, it’s recommended you contact each of the branches of services for medical records.

On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files. The records affected:

According to the center’s website, https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/fire-1973 two branches of service were impacted: Army and Air Force. Moreover, the records affected:

BranchPersonnel and Period AffectedEstimated Loss
ArmyPersonnel discharged November 1, 1912 to January 1, 196080%
Air ForcePersonnel discharged September 25, 1947 to January 1, 1964
(with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)
75%

No duplicate copies of these records were maintained, nor were microfilm copies produced. Neither were any indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available.

Since COVID-19 restriction in March 2020 any request for military medical records have been few, and many veterans who submitted a request after March 2020 are still awaiting.

A few days ago, the  National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis announced normal operations beginning March 7, 2022.

The announcement is good news for many veterans and their families who have been waiting patiently for their records.

Information from the center’s website, https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/medical-records.html?fbclid=IwAR2amE_DwXIH3CeB5gJS_mQAXANr7Uue7U7-1YkMCCYlJrHE-JJhXfbfwgc#medical-claims, define the records maintained in the achieves:

  1. Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), held at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), are administrative records containing information about the subject’s military service history. Many OMPFs contain both personnel and former active-duty health records, but the service branches discontinued retiring the health record portion to the NPRC in the 1990s. 
  2. All of the military services retired the individual health record, along with the personnel record, to the NPRC upon a service member’s separation from service. The Army and the Air Force retired its health records with the Official Military Personnel File, while the Department of the Navy (including the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) retired these files separately to the NPRC until the 1980s.
  3. Health records cover the outpatient, dental and mental health treatment that former members received while in military service. Health records include induction and separation physical examinations, as well as routine medical care (doctor/dental visits, lab tests, etc.) when the patient was not admitted to a hospital.
  4. In comparison, clinical (hospital inpatient) records were generated when active-duty members were actually hospitalized while in the service. Typically, these records are NOT filed with the health records but are generally retired to the NPRC by the facility which created them (see clinical records for more information). Medical records from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are also not included.

In the 1990s, the military services discontinued the practice of filing health records with the personnel record portion at the NPRC. In 1992, the Army began retiring most of its former members’ health records to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Over the next six years, the other services followed suit. In 2014, the military services discontinued the practice of retiring the records to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

If you are looking to obtain a veteran’s medical, recommend you write to the appropriate keeper of the records ( see chart below) and attach a copy of the veteran’s DD214 or discharge papers. 

The request should be processed in less than 90 days, and if the medical records is an urgent need, contact your local congressional leader veteran liaison who can assist you in expediting the process.

VETTIP VFW is sponsoring an event at the Warwick Mall which could assist you in pre[parathion of a request for medical records for a veteran; bring DD214 and or discharge papers.

Now you know how to obtain a veteran’s medical record, to include records destroyed in the 1973 Fire.

RESOURCES

AARP offers a free career center for veterans, http://campaigns-aarp-org-stage.targetclose.com/veteran-job-center . The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage,  job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment. 

March 11-13, Friday thru Saturday 11am thru 8pm. VFW is hosting a veteran community outreach program at the Warwick Mall, Community Booth. For more information, call Tiger at 401-677-9374 .

EVENTS

March 19, 2022, 1pm – 5pm, Rhode Island veterans Home, Bristol RI, St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s Day Celebration for resident veterans at the Rhode Island Veterans Home Gally hosted by the Italian American War Veterans of the US, Inc and Auxiliary, Berard Desjarlais American Legion Post #88 and Auxiliary ,  War Veteran Car Cruise, and Veterans of Foreign War Post #237, Bristol RI.  

Volunteers are welcomed; looking for volunteers who can assist preparation of zeppoles and other Italian and Irish desserts on Friday( all food must be prepared in a state certified kitchen, which will be available the Friday before). Can’t volunteer and wish to make a donation for the Rhode Island Veterans Home “St Joseph and St Patrick Day” , please send check to ITAM ( Italian American War Veterans of Us, Inc , an IRS tax exempt organization), 18 Winchester Ave, N. Smithfield RI 02896.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact ITAM at (401) 677-9828 or email itamri4vets@gmail.com for more information on volunteering; looking for volunteer accordion player for Italian music and other traditional Italian and Irish ideas.

March 24, 2022, 1:00-5pm m, Rhode Island Veterans Home, Bristol, RI, women veterans and active-duty women are invited to the annual tea event which also will recognize Women’s Military History. All Military Active-Duty Women and Women Veterans are invited to the RI Veterans Home to honor and celebrate the annual tea. All services, all eras, all wars, please come and enjoy coffee, tea and refreshments. Recognize Women’s History Month by telling your stories or listen to stories of Women who served in the Military, Women who served their country in many ways, and legacy of achievements.

DISCOUNTS

Restaurants

Applebee’s – Military Discount … With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2028

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty . Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain.  Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID

Retailers

Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021

AT&T Wireless Discount – Active Duty, Reserves, National Guard, Spouses and Veterans get 25% off on mobile phone services. Just present identification or proof veteran status to any AT&T store

Bass Pro Shops –  Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount

“Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items.

Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, ID.me.

ID.me is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through ID.me

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! – We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at select locations listed below:

Tioque Ave, Coventry RI

Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI

Park Ave, Cranston RI

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get –

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21.

T-Mobile – T-Mobile offers up to half off military discount wireless plans. Save $25 per line on up to four lines with the Magenta Military signature plan, and $35 per line on up to four lines with the premium plan, Magenta Plus Military. The military programs are available to active-duty military, veterans, retirees, and reservists.

Verizon Fios – Veterans, active-duty military, retirees, and reservists can receive a discount on either new or existing Verizon Fios services (Internet, TV, Landline). Offer includes $10 off Fios Triple Play, $5 off Fios Double Play, or $5 off standalone internet.

Verizon Wireless – Active-Duty military and all Federal Government employees can get 15% discount on monthly plans $35 and above and 25% off accessories.

Xfinity Residential – If you are currently serving in the military or you are a veteran Xfinity offers a $100 Visa® Prepaid card and $25 Xfinity Coupon that can be used toward your next Xfinity On Demand rental or purchase or as a credit toward your bill.

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If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward , itamri4vets@gmail.com:  the business’s name , location, and military and veteran discount offered.

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If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, itamri4vets@gmail.com, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)

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To read all columns in this series go to: https://rinewstoday.com/john-a-cianci/

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.