Three portraits of soldiers

WWII Research Services

Discover Your Veteran

As each day passes, we lose more WWII veterans. Lost along with them are heroic stories and memories, and many loved ones are left feeling hopeless that they will never discover their veteran’s WWII story. “He never spoke about the war,” one said. “She refused to tell us about her experience,” said another. The process of finding records and making sense of them can be overwhelming and daunting.

The Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy’s Historical Research Services offer a solution to discovering your veteran’s WWII story by locating and translating their Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) from the National Archives in St. Louis. The veteran’s OMPF is the key to understanding their military service, which may include information on their training, medical records, major battles, unit and action reports, promotions, awards, and more. Our Historical Research Services start by pulling your veteran’s OMPF from the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) in St. Louis. Any files retrieved then undergo a thorough review by the Museum’s Research Historian for verification.

If the Museum’s Research Historian determines the retrieved records have substantial information about the veteran’s service history, we can even write your loved one’s WWII story in an additional package such as a short booklet.

Click the link below to preview an example of one of these booklets.

Preview Book

Before submitting our online veteran request form, please review the File Package and the FAQ/terms and conditions below. *Some restrictions apply.

My Dad was the hero I never knew. I am forever grateful to the dedicated staff of the Museum for telling my Dad’s story—it will be passed on by me to my children and their children.

– Stanley R. Katz


FILE Package - $150 + tax (total: $164.18)

This package will include a copy of the veteran’s file from the National Archives and Records Administration in St. Louis. Our team will also search other databases to find additional records and sources pertaining to the veteran’s WWII service. Please note we cannot guarantee the potential file size or page number due to the 1973 National Archives fire, which destroyed 75-80 percent of all Army and Air Force records. Everyone starts out with the file package, but if Museum Historians determine the file has substantial information, we will reach out to you on additional package options and research.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the levels of pricing for your research services?

To begin the process of researching your WWII veteran, we will need to immediately determine if there are documents available to develop a thorough biography. This initial research requires a nonrefundable fee of $150 + tax ($164.18). For this fee, you will receive the file as we found it in the National Archives. If the veteran’s file has substantial information, we will then reach out to you on different research package options. 

Do your historians research veterans from conflicts other than World War II?

No, we’re currently only researching WWII veterans. However, if the WWII veteran we are researching served in another conflict and we’ve located documents in their file from those wars, we’ll include them in the biography.

Can you research individuals who worked on the Home Front or in a civilian capacity during World War II? 

Not at this time. We currently only research WWII veterans.

How can I pay for these services?

You can pay with a major credit card or personal check made payable to The National WWII Museum. We do not accept cash. If you send a check, please remember to add the 9.45% tax. 

How long does the complete process take from beginning to end? 

We are unsure of the time frame of when we would receive a veteran’s file due to limited access to public research and because the National Archives have limited the number of files we can pull at one given time. How the archives pull files and in which time frame is up to them, and we have no control over that process. However, we do estimate that it can take a couple of months to just receive the file. 

What are your research sources? 

The most important source we’ll use—and the one that determines if we can move forward with writing a veteran’s story—comes from the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) or Individual Deceased Personnel File, both of which are housed at the National Archives in St. Louis. We also use supplemental material from additional databases, state archives, military websites from each branch of the service, and any other material our professional historians discover. 

I heard files were destroyed at the National Archives in St. Louis. Can you tell me if my veteran’s file was destroyed? If it was, can you still research my veteran?

In 1973, a devastating fire destroyed numerous military and federal files at the National Archives. The majority of the files destroyed were Army and Air Force files. The National Archives has reconstructed some of the burned files, but unfortunately most of them are still destroyed. 

The Research Historian said there was enough information to write on my veteran. Can you use materials I have to help write my veteran’s story?

Absolutely! After we determine there is enough information in the OMPF to narrate your veteran’s story, you may provide any available materials that can be reviewed by our Research Historian to be used in the biography. We will work with you to transfer a copy of those items electronically so they can be incorporated into the story.