One of the most important and frequently requested documents by veterans, or members of their family, is a copy of the veteran’s discharge paper(s).
DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty was issued to those who served on active duty after January 1, 1950. Prior to that date, several similar forms were used by the military services, to include WD AGO 53, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD and others.
Veterans are encouraged to have their discharge papers recorded in the Register of Deeds office in their local county courthouse. By having it recorded, a copy is always readily available in case the original is lost due to fire, flood, etc.
SDCL 34-25-54 states that South Dakota counties may not charge for certified copies of birth, death, marriage, adoption, divorce, guardianship or conservatorship papers when such records are required in support of a claim against any agency of the federal or state government by, or on behalf of , a servicemember or veteran, or the spouse, surviving spouse or dependents of a servicemember or veteran.
There are a number of resources available to assist with obtaining copies of the discharge paper(s). The South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (SDDVA) maintains records on a number of our state’s veterans through the veteran’s bonus and other programs. Additionally, many veterans recorded their discharge papers(s) at the Register of Deeds Office in their local county courthouse following their release from active duty.
If these records are not on file with SDDVA or the Register of Deeds office, our network of County and Tribal Veteran Service Officers can assist you with requesting a certified copy from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.
In addition, we assist veterans to:
- Obtain a set of duplicate military awards
- Acquire copies of their service records and service treatment records
- Submit discharge document upgrades and
- Request updates to their DD-214’s, such as the receipt of a campaign medal after discharge.
Veterans interested in permanently recording their DD 214 for future use should visit their local Veteran Service Officer
. In future instances, visit your Veteran Service Officer
and request a copy of your service discharge, and/or apply for federal, state, and local benefits.