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Title 38 U.S.C. section 101: Defining ‘Veteran’, How to request military records

Veteran Defined

The general definition of veteran, as established in Title 38 U.S.C. section 101 is found below.  See section 101 for the full definition.

  • A person who served on full time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, other than active duty for training, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • An individual who died while serving on active duty, or was disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while performing active duty for training or inactive duty training.
  • Certain members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Certain members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (formerly the Coast and Geodetic Survey) and the regular or reserve Corps of the Public Health Service.

Military Personnel Record Requests

Copies of discharge documents are required to verify eligibility for most benefits and services specific to military veterans.

Discharge documents are required for admission to Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Maryland’s Veteran Cemeteries Program, U.S. VA claims, and to receive many other services provided to veterans and their families.

Veterans who meet the following criteria can contact the MDVA Baltimore Service Program Office at 800-446-4926, ext. 6450 to inquire if a copy of discharge papers are on file:

  • World War II veterans, who were Maryland residents at the time of entry into the service
  • Veterans discharged from service after October 15, 1979 and who had a Maryland address at the time of discharge

Veterans and their next of kin can also request a copy of a service member’s DD-214, Certificate of Release, or Discharge from Active Duty, from the National Archives.

For information on how to request a copy of military personnel service record visit The National Archives website.

If access to the internet is unavailable, contact the National Archives at:

The National Archives & Records Administration

8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA
Fax: 301-837-0483
TDD lines for College Park, MD: 301-837-0482


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