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The State Archives receives daily requests for discharge papers (DD214’s) from veterans and their family members. This record of service is an invaluable document for former military personnel as it can be used for proof of service when applying for a Veteran’s Administration Home Owners’ Loan or to receive medical benefits. The discharge is often requested by funeral directors and family members in order to receive veterans’ burial benefits, including headstones and a flag for the funeral service.
If you are requesting a DD214 (WWII through 1988) for emergency medical reasons or for the purpose of funeral arrangements for a Hoosier veteran, please contact the State Archives directly at 317-591-5222. Please note that unless a WWI discharge is needed for a surviving spouse these requests are not typically considered an emergency.
If yours is not an urgent request, please send an email or letter with the veteran’s name, birth date, and possible dates of service, or visit the Archives’ Reading Room. You will need the written permission of the veteran to receive copies of these records, with the exception of those who served during WWI or earlier. Veterans will need to bring or send a copy of a photo identification.
This page contains a list of DD214 collections in the possession of the State Archives. If you or your veteran was not discharged from service during these time periods, alternative resources include the County Recorder’s Office where the veteran lived, and the National Personnel Records Center in Saint Louis. (314-801-0800)
Though the Archives does not maintain copies of actual DD214’s for veterans of the first World War, service record cards are available on microfilm. These cards generally offer dates of service, areas of deployment, and awards and citations.
WW I draft registration cards are also available on microfilm in our Reading Room. The Gold Star Honor Roll and the Book of Merit databases are now searchable on the Indiana Digital Archives.
The original material was collected by the Indiana Historical Commission between 1919 and 1921. The sixty five bound volumes were eventually transferred to the Indiana State Archives. The database is now searchable on the Indiana Digital Archives. Patrons may inquire about the possibility of receiving copies of the records and photographs, however, due to the practice of binding loose documents used by the Historical Commission, digital reproductions may be required. Please contact Archives staff at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Book of Merit
The Book of Merit Awards and Citations Collections was created by the Indiana Historical Bureau in the late 1920’s as a means of gathering the necessary information to publish the Indiana Book of Merit, honoring the distinguished service of Hoosier Soldiers in World War One. The title was taken from an idea first suggested by George Washington on August 7, 1782 when he established the first American decoration and provided for inscribing a record of the awards in a “Book of Merit.” Records were compiled from numerous sources of the Armed Services, by examining service cards transmitted to the State Adjutant General and through extensive verification processes with allied nations for foreign awards. Included are records for eighteen women serving typically as nurses or with the Red Cross. The database is searchable on the Indiana Digital Archives. Patrons may request copies of the records and order duplicate photographs by contacting Archives staff members at email@example.com.
Discharge Certificates- If a veteran served and was discharged during World War II, he or she was eligible to apply for a bonus from the State of Indiana after the war. Part of the bonus application procedure required a copy of the veteran’s DD214, which was retained by the Indiana Adjutant General’s Office and eventually transferred to the State Archives. If an application for the State Bonus was not made after the war, the State Archives will not have a copy of the discharge.
U.S. Army and Navy Casualties, 1941-1945- An alphabetical card file of Indiana Army and Navy casualties is also available. The information includes rank, name, next of kin, date, and theater of military action. There is a separate index for Marion County residents.
Veterans who served on active duty in the country of Korea in the early 1950’s were eligible for a State Bonus. Copies of separation papers and the Indiana Bonus applications are available if the veteran applied. Please note that veteran's serving in other zones, most likely did not apply for the Korean War Bonus and therefore we would not have their records. Please check with the County Recorder's Office or the National Personnel Records Center in Saint Louis. (314-801-0800)
The Archives also has volumes, arranged by counties, for veterans, which include an address and serial number. One must know the county where the soldier lived.
Additional information is available for those who died in action in Korea.
A very limited number of DD214’s are available for those veterans who served in Vietnam, and who applied for a bonus through the state of Indiana after the war. The bonus was limited to those who served in the countries of North and South Vietnam. If the veteran served elsewhere, he or she most likely did not apply for the bonus. Please check with the County Recorder's Office or the National Personnel Records Center in Saint Louis. (314-801-0800)
If you specified that a copy of your DD214 should be sent to your home state of Indiana upon your discharge, it is possible that the State Archives will have a copy of your record. Please contact us to request a search. Discharge papers for 1988 are filed using the last two digits of the veteran's Social Security Number. All other collections are filed alphabetically, and a birth date will be used to narrow the choice if more than one veteran served using the same name.
For records of discharge after 1988, please contact the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs at 317-232-3910.
The Indiana State Archives houses information about those who served in the National Guard until 1940. Friends of the Archives volunteers recently completed a longterm project, which involved unfolding, flattening, and placing in acid free folders the enlistment papers and cards of soldiers who entered service between 1898-1940. The index to these records is now available on the Indiana Digital Archives.
The Indiana National Guard traces its roots back to 1801 in the early days of the Indiana Territory. For more information on those 19th century soldiers be sure to visit our Early Military and Civil War pages.