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      Icon Offtheair Alternative Sources of Service Records and Special situations


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      Section E. Alternative Sources of Service Records and Special Situations
      Overview
      In this Section This section contains the following topics:
      Topic Topic Name See Page
      26 Alternative Sources for Service Records in Fire-Related Cases 2-E-2
      27 Alternative Sources for STRs 2-E-5
      28 Surgeon General’s Office (SGO) Extracts 2-E-6
      29 Requesting Records from the SGO Extracts 2-E-10
      30 Sources for Dependents’ Medical Treatment Records 2-E-13
      31 Alternative Sources for Proof of Service and Character of Discharge Records 2-E-15
      32 Other Alternative Sources for Service Records 2-E-17
      33 Verifying Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Service in Connection with Claims Involving Herbicide Exposure 2-E-20
      34 Verifying Philippine Service 2-E-22
      35 Other Claims Requiring Verification 2-E-24

      26. Alternative Sources for Service Records in Fire-Related Cases
      Introduction This topic contains information on alternative sources for service records for fire-related cases, including
      • the records destroyed in the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) fire
      • the facts required in order to search for information in fire-related cases
      • the appropriate action on claims with a missing or incomplete NA Form 13055, Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data, and
      • sending development letters to the claimant to request information on alternative sources for service records.
      Change Date August 13, 2009

      a. Records Destroyed in the NPRC Fire On July 12, 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) (13) in St. Louis destroyed approximately
      • 80 percent of the stored records for Army veterans serving between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960, and
      • 75 percent of the stored records for Air Force personnel with the surnames Hubbard through Z, who were discharged between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964, and were neither retired nor in the Reserves.
      Note: Records of Army retirees who were alive on July 12, 1973, escaped the fire because they were stored at the U.S. Army Reserve Personnel Command (AR-PERSCOM) (11).
      Continued on next page

      26. Alternative Sources for Service Records in Fire-Related Cases, Continued

      b. Facts Required in Order to Search for Information in Fire-Related Cases The NPRC must rely on secondary evidence in fire-related cases. In these cases, the information provided by the regional office (RO) is vital to record reconstruction.
      Request the service records using the Personnel Information Exchange System (PIES) M01 request code and simultaneously notify the claimant of the need to complete NA Form 13055, Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data, if the service dates indicate a veteran’s records are potentially fire-related.
      In order to facilitate searches of auxiliary records, the veteran or claimant normally will need to complete NA Form 13055, so the regional office has sufficient information to submit a request with the PIES M05 request code.
      •Important: Occasionally, information required on NA Form 13055 is available in the claims folder. In these cases, do not delay submission of a PIES request in order to have the NA Form 13055 completed. Enter the appropriate information in the appropriate fields under the M05 request code.
      c. Appropriate Action on Claims With Missing or Incomplete NA Form 13055 •Use the table below to determine the appropriate action to take on claims with a missing or incomplete NA Form 13055.
      If ... Then ...
      • the Records Management Center (RMC) responds that the case is fire-related
      • the claimant fails to complete NA Form 13055, and
      • there is no indication that there is a legal bar to benefits • complete a memo of service record unavailability (see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.I.59)
      • refer the claim to the rating activity for a decision based on the evidence of record, and
      • include another NA Form 13055 with the notification letter, explaining that further searches for STRs cannot be made without a completed NA Form 13055
      Continued on next page

      26. Alternative Sources for Service Records in Fire-Related Cases, Continued

      c. Appropriate Action on Claims With Missing or Incomplete NA Form 13055 (continued)

      If ... Then ...
      • the claimant fails to furnish an NA Form 13055 within the prescribed time limit, and
      • the evidence of record indicates there is a legal bar to benefits or the claimant failed to furnish evidence needed to determine whether a legal bar exists • deny the claim for failure to prosecute
      • notify the claimant of the reason for the denial
      • enclose another NA Form 13055 and inform the claimant that a fully completed form is necessary for further search for STRs, and
      • furnish notice of procedural and appellate rights.
      • claimant furnishes an obviously incomplete or inadequate NA Form 13055, and
      • there is insufficient information to complete the fields under the PIES M05 request code • deny the claim without submitting the PIES request
      • fully advise the claimant of the reason for the denial, and
      • send the claimant another NA Form 13055 and inform the claimant that a fully completed form is necessary for further search for STRs.
      • the claimant furnishes a completed NA Form 13055, but
      • an inquiry with the M05 code still results in a negative reply, and
      • there is no indication of a legal bar to benefits • complete a memo of service record unavailability (see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.I.59), and
      • refer the claim to the rating activity for a decision based on the evidence of record
      d. Sending Development Letters to the Claimant to Request Information on Alternative Sources for Service Records When sending development letters to the claimant to request information on alternative sources for service records, the correspondence must avoid creating the impression that the claimant would have obtained favorable action on the claim had the records in existence at the NPRC not been destroyed by fire.
      •Reference: For more information on alternative sources for service treatment records (STRs), see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.E.27.


      27. Alternative Sources for STRs
      Introduction This topic contains information on alternative sources for STRs, including
      • the reasons alternative sources may be needed, and
      • alternative documents that might substitute for STRs.
      Change Date August 13, 2009
      a. Reasons Alternative Sources May Be Needed Alternative sources for STRs are needed for reasons including
      • the 1973 fire at the NPRC which destroyed much of the Army and Air Force STR collection, and
      • the limitations of STRs, since they might not contain information from private heath care providers that the veteran might have seen during service or soon after.
      Reference: For information on obtaining service records in fire-related cases, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.E.26.

      b. Alternative Documents that Might Substitute for STRs The following is a partial list of alternative documents that might substitute for STRs for the purpose of determining service connection for a disability or cause of death:
      • the VA military files
      • statements from service medical personnel
      • “buddy” certificates or affidavits
      • State or local accident and police reports
      • employment physical examination reports
      • medical evidence from civilian/private hospitals, clinics, and physicians where or by whom a veteran was treated, either during service or shortly after separation
      • letters written during service
      • photographs taken during service
      • pharmacy prescription records, and/or
      • insurance examinations reports.

      28. Surgeon General’s Office (SGO) Extracts
      Introduction This topic contains information on SGO extracts, including
      • the history of the SGO extracts
      • SGO extracts available to the NPRC
      • uses for information in the SGO extracts
      • SGO extracts of Army facility hospital admissions
      • information for other service branches available in the SGO extracts
      • identification of information available in the SGO extracts
      • hospitalization information available in the SGO extracts, and
      • discharge information available in the SGO extracts.
      Change Date August 13, 2009
      a. History of the SGO Extracts During 1988, the NPRC (address code 13) obtained magnetic tape records from the National Research Council (NRC), a private research organization, which represented extracts of approximately ten million military hospital admission records of the Surgeon General's Office (SGO).
      Through May 18, 1990, additional SGO records for the same periods were added to the original collection when files, initially considered indecipherable because of undocumented coding systems, were later translated from information gathered during the project.
      The NPRC completed the decoding effort as of May 18, 1990; however, during April 1992, the NPRC added some minor but additional code interpretations to the translation table.
      Notes:
      • The extract information has been interpreted from numerical data and is sometimes not known.
      • Approximately 2.1 million SGO records were not eligible for decoding because they lacked service number identifiers or were written in an indecipherable code.
      Continued on next page

      28. Surgeon General’s Office (SGO) Extracts, Continued

      b. SGO Extracts Available to the NPRC NPRC now possesses all SGO extracts that are available from the NRC.
      The SGO extracts
      • cover the years
       1942 to 1945, and
       1950 to 1954, and
      • are available for reference purposes.
      Reference: For more information on the control of and follow-up on record requests, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.I.

      c. Uses for the Information in the SGO Extracts SGO extracts
      • provide minimal information
      • are useful primarily in fire-related cases where more detailed STRs are unavailable, and
      • may contain information pertinent to a claim for service connection for a disability.
      Reference: For more information on alternative sources of records in fire-related cases, see M21-1MR. Part III, Subpart iii, 2.E.26.

      d. SGO Extracts of Army Facility Hospital Admissions The SGO extracts of military hospital admission records allegedly reflect 100 percent of the battle injuries treated primarily at Army facilities, as well as a sample of admissions for other reasons.
      The records cover active duty personnel who served in the Army and Army Air Corps during
      • World War II (WWII), from 1942 to 1945, and
      • the Korean Conflict, from 1950 to 1954.
      Continued on next page

      28. Surgeon General’s Office (SGO) Extracts, Continued

      e. Information for Other Service Branches Available in SGO Extracts There are no SGO records for services other than the Army and Army Air Corps during WWII.
      Approximately five percent of the SGO records contain information referring to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and military cadet personnel during the Korean Conflict (1950-1954).
      A small percentage of the SGO records refer to treatment at Navy, Air Force, and civilian facilities.

      f. Identification of Information Available in the SGO Extracts The extracts are identifiable only by service number since the name of the serviceperson was not made a part of the record.
      The identification information provided in the SGO extracts includes the
      • service number
      • rank
      • branch of service
      • age
      • race
      • years of service, and
      • station of admission.
      Note: Use this descriptive information to determine whether the SGO record actually pertains to the claimant.
      Continued on next page

      28. Surgeon General’s Office (SGO) Extracts, Continued

      g. Hospitalization Information Available in the SGO Extracts The hospitalization information available in the SGO extracts includes
      • up to three diagnoses for the covered hospitalization
      • the part of the body involved and the operative procedure, if needed, for each diagnosis
      • the total number of days hospitalized, and
      • the type of treatment facility.
      Important: For extracts from 1944 and 1945, information is available concerning the
      • type of case
      • circumstances leading to the hospitalization, and
      the line-of-duty determination.

      h. Discharge Information Available in the SGO Extracts Other information provided in the SGO extracts includes the disposition at discharge, such as
      • duty or death, and
      • the month and year of admission and discharge.


      29. Requesting Records from the SGO Extracts
      Introduction This topic contains information on requesting records from the SGO extracts, including
      • determining if a search of SGO extracts was conducted in connection with a previous request
      • when to submit a request if a veteran alleges treatment
      • when to submit a supplemental request to NPRC for SGO records
      • when a regional office (RO) will reopen a claim to obtain SGO records
      • action by an RO on SGO extract information, and
      • handling a “Not Found” entry.
      Change Date August 13, 2009
      a. Determining if a Search for SGO Extracts Was Conducted in Connection With a Previous Request If NPRC responded to a request for STRs
      • after May 18, 1990, assume that
       any existing SGO records were included in the response, and
       no SGO records exist if no SGO records were received in the response, or
      • prior to May 18, 1990, and the veteran’s service records were considered “fire-related,” submit a new PIES request using request code M06.
      Reference: For more information on submitting the SGO request, see the PIES User Guide.

      b. When to Submit a Request if a Veteran Alleges Treatment Submit a request for a search of the SGO extracts if
      • a veteran alleges treatment or hospitalization as early as 1940 or after 1946, and
      • there is a possibility that treatment began before 1942 or extended after 1946.
      Note: The NPRC will search for any SGO records under the service number provided, regardless of the treatment date claimed.
      Continued on next page

      29. Requesting Records from the SGO Extracts, Continued

      c. When to Submit a Supplemental Request to NPRC for SGO Records Submit a supplemental request to the NPRC for SGO records if
      • a favorable decision cannot be made on a pending claim based on the available evidence
      • the NPRC has not responded to a request for medical records since May 18, 1990, and
      • a service number is available for the claimant who alleges a military hospital admission during the periods 1942 through 1946 or 1950 through 1954.

      d. When an RO Will Reopen a Claim to Obtain SGO Records An RO will reopen the claim on its own initiative to obtain any SGO records for cases encountered during normal processing if
      • benefits were denied prior to May 18, 1990, and
      • the case is one for which SGO records may exist, such as for an Army veteran with service during the periods 1942 through 1945 or 1950 through 1954.

      e. Action by the RO on SGO Extract Information If the NPRC furnishes SGO records, the RO reviews the records and
      • initiates development or award action if there is possible entitlement to the benefit sought, or
      • takes the appropriate end product (EP) and advises the claimant of the continued denial if the review does not change the prior decision.
      Continued on next page

      29. Requesting Records from the SGO Extracts, Continued

      f. Handling a “Not Found” Entry Under the explanation column of an SGO extract, the entry “Not Found” indicates that information necessary to interpret the numerical data is not available.
      If the words “Not Found” in a category such as diagnosis are critical to a decision, and NPRC responded to a request for medical records before April 1992, send a PIES request to NPRC, using request code M06.
      Important: If the response does not provide the RO with additional, relevant information, resolve the claim based on the available evidence.
      Note: Although it is possible that additional information may be obtained that will enable the “Not Found” entry to be changed, updates on code interpretations are rarely made. If information is gained which may have an impact on service record development, the NPRC will contact VA.
      Reference: For more information on PIES requests, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.D.21.


      30. Sources for Dependents’ Medical Treatment Records
      Introduction This topic contains information on alternative sources for dependents’ records, including
      • locating dependents’ records
      • where dependent records are sent
      • requesting dependent records, and
      • the information required from the claimant.
      Change Date August 13, 2009
      a. Locating Dependents’ Records Medical treatment records created by service departments for treatment rendered to military dependents may be difficult to locate since the records for dependents
      • follow them from duty station to duty station, and
      • are retired within three years if the dependent doesn't receive treatment for three years, even though the parent or spouse may still be in service in the same duty station.
      Continued on next page

      30. Sources for Dependents’ Medical Treatment Records, Continued

      b. Where Dependent Records are Sent Dependent records are retired to the NPRC.
      Records for dependents of
      • any major military service treated at Army and Air Force facilities are sent to address code 75, while
      • Navy and Marine Corps service members treated at Navy or Marine Corps facilities are retired to address code 13.
      Reference: For more information on service department address codes, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.J.69 through 74.

      c. Requesting Dependent Records Request medical records referring to treatment of a veteran’s dependent through PIES, using request code C03 or C04.
      • Request code C03 is used to obtain inpatient treatment records for a veteran’s dependent
      • Request code C04 is used to obtain outpatient treatment records for a veteran’s dependent.
      Note: These records are commonly used when processing a claim for service connection for a pre-existing disability filed by a veteran who was once the dependent of a veteran.

      d. Information Required From the Claimant If treated as an
      • inpatient, the claimant must provide the year(s) of treatment and the full name of the last facility at which treated, and
      • outpatient, the claimant must provide the last year of treatment and the full name of the last facility at which treated.
      Note: Occasionally, NPRC may request additional information that must be supplied before further searches can be conducted.


      31. Alternative Sources for Proof of Service and Character of Discharge Records
      Introduction This topic contains information on alternative sources for proof of service and character of discharge records, including
      • reviewing BIRLS for verification of service information
      • determining the reliability of sources and weight of evidence, and
      • alternative means of verifying military service.

      Change Date August 13, 2009

      a. Reviewing BIRLS for Verification of Service Information Review the Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) thoroughly for verification of service information.
      The VID screen must be reviewed to determine the existence of a “VERIFIED” record that can provide adequate service verification.
      Reference: For more information on BIRLS screens, see the Share User Guide and updated information via the application help menu.

      b. Determining Reliability of Sources and Weight of Evidence The RO must determine which sources of alternative records are most reliable and the weight to be given to any evidence acquired.
      Continued on next page

      31. Alternative Sources for Proof of Service and Character of Discharge Records, Continued

      c. Alternative Means of Verifying Military Service For alternative sources of records or verification of military service
      • conduct follow-ups with veterans or beneficiaries, requesting another search of their personal effects for a copy of discharge documents or other evidence of military service
      • check with
       the Social Security Administration (SSA)
       State unemployment offices
       State historical commissions
       the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), if the veteran was employed by a Federal or State agency, or
       an employer, as a copy of the veteran’s discharge documents may have been furnished at time of employment
       the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), if the veteran was employed by the railroad
       County courthouses, and
       State Adjutants General offices, and/or
      • check rosters or registers listing veterans who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean conflict, which are published by several States and also contain complete service data for each veteran.
      Reference: For more information on the addresses of the State Adjutants General, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.K.79.


      32. Other Alternative Sources for Service Records
      Introduction This topic contains information on other alternative sources for service records, including
      • assisting claimants with alternative sources of records
      • alternative records from a prior claim
      • buddy statements as supporting evidence of combat
      • handling claims with missing records, and
      • obtaining military service academy records.

      Change Date August 13, 2009

      a. Assisting Claimants With Alternative Sources of Records When records required to resolve a claim cannot be secured from the service department addresses shown in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.J.69 through 74, assist the claimant in obtaining evidence from alternative sources.
      Reference: For information on requesting Merchant Marine service records, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.F.

      b. Alternative Records From a Prior VA Claim If there is any indication the veteran or the veteran’s beneficiary previously filed a claim for VA benefits, use
      • internal resources to the fullest extent to try to locate the veteran's records, including
       BIRLS
       Share, and
       Control of Veterans Records System (COVERS), and/or
      • other VA records, such as
       Philadelphia RO and Insurance Center (VAROIC) insurance index files
       the RO monthly microfilm pay tape
       Compensation and Pension Record Interchange (CAPRI), and
       Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VISTA) at the medical center having jurisdiction over the veteran’s place of residence.
      Continued on next page

      32. Other Alternative Sources for Service Records, Continued

      c. Buddy Statements as Supporting Evidence of Combat If a buddy statement has sufficient credibility, it may serve to establish the combat status of the claimant. This would be a basis to accept a veteran’s lay statement as evidence of injuries incurred in or aggravated by combat.
      There must be satisfactory evidence that the buddy served in the same unit at the same time as the claimant to establish the buddy statement’s credibility. Normally, verification of the buddy’s service through review of the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other evidence of service would be sufficient to establish the buddy statement’s credibility.
      Note: A buddy statement from a corroborated and credible source may be sufficient to establish combat status, but an uncorroborated statement would be insufficient to establish combat status. Failure to furnish verification of the buddy’s service diminishes the credibility of the statement.
      Reference: For more information on the authority to accept buddy statements, see 38 CFR 3.304(d).

      d. Handling Claims With Missing Records If there is any indication that a claim or records related to a claim are missing, VA is obligated to assist the claimant in trying to obtain replacement or alternative records. Notify the claimant of any attempts VA makes to obtain information to support the claim. The following table provides guidance for obtaining secondary information to supplement missing records or claims.
      If... Then...
      a claims folder exists, but the folder is missing print copies of any running award or pending issue screens and file the prints in a temporary claims folder.
      a VA employee has knowledge of the content of the missing records include a full description of the missing records on VA Form 119, Report of Contact, and file it in the claims folder.
      the claimant has a power of attorney or fiduciary solicit any information the representative may have about the claim.
      References: For more information on
      • locating missing claims folders, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.D
      • permitting the benefit of the doubt when records are missing, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 2.A.2, and
      • searching for claims folders when action mail is pending, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.B.9.
      Continued on next page

      32. Other Alternative Sources for Service Records, Continued

      e. Obtaining Military Service Academy Records If a veteran attended a military service academy, the related service and medical records may not have been included with service records or STRs received through routine requests. The military service academies permanently maintain their student records and those records may have to be requested directly from the respective service academy.
      Note: Do not confuse private military academies, such as the Citadel or Virginia Military Academy, with Federal military academies. Disabilities incurred as a result of attendance at a private academy would not be related to active military service.
      The following table lists points of contact to request records from military service academies.
      Service Academy Point of Contact
      Air Force Academy HQ’s USAFA/DFRR
      2354 Fairchild Dr
      Suite 6D 106
      USAF Academy, CO 80840-6210
      Naval Academy Office of the Registrar
      US Naval Academy
      589 McNair Rd
      Annapolis, MD 21402-5031
      United States Military Academy United States Military Academy
      Office of the Dean
      Attn: Graduate Records
      West Point, NY 10996-5000
      Coast Guard Academy Registrar’s Office
      15 Mohegan Ave
      New London, CT 06320-4195
      Important: Use a locally created letter, citing the inclusive dates of the veteran’s attendance at the academy, in addition to identifying information about the veteran. The letter should include a request all available records, including academic, counseling, military personnel and medical records. Otherwise the academy may only furnish academic records.


      33. Verifying Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Service in Connection With Claims Involving Herbicide Exposure
      Introduction This topic contains information on verifying Republic of Vietnam (RVN) service in connection with claims involving herbicide exposure, including
      • when to verify service in RVN
      • review personnel records for proof of service in RVN, and
      • verifying service on a ship offshore from RVN.

      Change Date August 13, 2009

      a. When to Verify Service in RVN It may be necessary to determine if a veteran had service in Vietnam in connection with claims based on exposure to herbicide agents.
      A veteran must have actually served in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) to qualify for the presumption of exposure to herbicides under 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6).
      Reference: For more information on verifying exposure to herbicides in locations other than RVN or along the DMZ in Korea, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 2.C.10.n.

      b. Review Personnel Records for Proof of Service in RVN To verify service in the RVN, review the veteran's DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, to determine if appropriate service, such as “Foreign Service: Republic of Vietnam,” is shown.
      If appropriate service is not documented, obtain and review the veteran's other personnel records (e.g., Department of the Army Form 20 or equivalent) under VAOPGCPREC 7-93.
      Important: The fact that a veteran has been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal does not prove that he/she was "in country” since service members who were stationed on ships offshore or who flew missions over the RVN, but never set foot in-country, were sometimes awarded the Vietnam Service Medal.
      Continued on next page

      33. Verifying Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Service in Connection With Claims Involving Herbicide Exposure, Continued

      c. Verifying Service on a Ship Offshore From RVN If a veteran claims service connection for a disability related to exposure to herbicide agents, and alleges service on a ship in the waters offshore of the RVN, submit a PIES request for verification of this fact, using request code O34. Once a response is received review the available records for evidence that the ship on which the veteran served was in the waters off the RVN and that the veteran’s service involved duty or visitation on land.
      If the veteran cannot produce the necessary evidence and the service department has been unable to provide verification that the veteran went ashore, request verification from the U.S. Army and Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) through the PIES/Defense Personnel Records Image Retrieval System (DPRIS) interface, using request code O43. The following information is required in order to submit a request:
      • name and number of the ship, such as USS Galveston (CLG 3), and
      • dates during which the ship was in the waters offshore of Vietnam.
      Note: Code O43 only generates a request for records pertaining to Navy veterans. Send hard-copy requests to JSRRC for other branches of service. The address is listed in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.K.76.t.
      Important: The Veterans Service Center Manager conference call of February, 2009, offered guidance that if there is evidence of a ship having docked in Vietnam, and evidence that the claimant was stationed aboard the ship at that time, the claimant’s statement that he or she went ashore from that ship may be accepted as evidence of presumptive exposure to herbicides.


      34. Verifying Philippine Service
      Introduction This topic contains information on verifying Philippine service, including
      • determining the exact type of service
      • verifying regular and Special Scout service, and
      • verifying Commonwealth Army of the Philippines and guerrilla service.

      Change Date August 13, 2009

      a. Determining Exact Type of Service In cases involving Philippine service, it is essential to determine the exact type of service performed to determine what benefits, if any, the claimant is entitled to receive.
      Many veterans with only Philippine service claim that they served in the United States Army. However, there are basically the following four types of Philippine service:
      • Regular Philippine Scouts and Insular Forces of the U.S. Navy
      • Special Philippine Scouts
      • Commonwealth Army of the Philippines inducted into the Armed Forces of the United States, and
      • guerrilla groups.
      Reference: For more information on each type of Philippine service, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart vi, 4.B.
      Continued on next page

      34. Verifying Philippine Service, Continued

      b. Verifying Regular and Special Scout Service NPRC verifies service and provides STRs for both Regular and Special Philippine Scouts.
      Scouts were
      • provided discharge certificates similar to those issued to members of regular components of the U.S. Armed Forces, and
      • assigned service numbers in the 10,000,000 to 10,999,999 or 30,000,000 to 30,999,999 range, which is indicative of an overseas enlistment.
      PIES Requests: Use
      • PIES request code S01 when requesting verification of service in the Philippine Scouts from NPRC, and
      • the Army branch of service tab.

      c. Verifying Commonwealth Army of the Philippines and Guerrilla Service NPRC verifies service and provides STRs for Commonwealth Army of the Philippines veterans and guerrillas.
      Neither of these groups was provided with reports of separation or discharges like those provided to veterans who served in regular components of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines assigned service numbers that normally contain six digits. Many guerrillas do not have a service number.
      Evidence used to support a claim is usually in the form of a statement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.
      PIES Request: Use
      • PIES request code O23 when requesting verification of guerrilla service or service in the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, and
      • the Army branch of service tab.


      35. Other Claims Requiring Verification
      Introduction This topic contains information on other claims requiring verification, including
      • verifying
       covert or classified service
       eligibility for death benefits
       insanity
       service of affiants
       information through morning reports, and
       other information, and
      • available morning reports.

      Change Date August 13, 2009

      a. Verifying Covert or Classified Service If a claimant alleges, at any point, that disability or death occurred on active duty during classified or covert operations, request the veteran’s personnel records (PIES request code 019) in addition to medical records.
      If the personnel and medical records considered together do not provide a reasonable basis for an award or denial of service connection
      • advise the claimant that VA has secured all available service records and invite the claimant to submit any additional evidence in his/her possession that might support the claim, and
      • suggest possible alternative sources for the claimant to substantiate his/her claim, such as
       statements from members of the unit
       contemporaneous letters home, and
       contemporaneous statements to a physician.
      If no additional evidence is forthcoming, adjudicate the claim based on the evidence of record.
      Important: VA does not have access to records that are still classified, even if they are relevant to a pending claim for disability or death benefits.
      Continued on next page

      35. Other Claims Requiring Verification, Continued

      b. Verifying Eligibility for Death Benefits If death occurs in service, and was not in the line of duty or was not due to willful misconduct, death benefits may be payable, provided the serviceperson completed at least two years of honorable active service, one day of which was wartime service, prior to death.
      Request verification of
      • two years of honorable service, using request code 099, if
       a claim for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is received, and
       it has been determined that death was not in the line of duty or was not the result of willful misconduct
      • any prior period of service, if not already of record, using PIES request code S01, to determine if qualifying service existed prior to the serviceperson’s final enlistment.
      Note: In the free-text section of the PIES request (request code 099 only), enter the statement: “Please verify two years honorable active service on enlistment prior to death.”
      Reference: For more information on willful misconduct determinations, see
      • M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart v, 1.D, and
      • 38 CFR 3.1(d).

      c. Verifying Insanity If insanity is an issue under M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart v, 1.E.20, take action to obtain any of the following records that may be pertinent:
      • all STRs, and
      • complete transcripts of any court-martial or board proceedings.
      Note: Use the PIES request code O99 and, in the free-text section, enter the statement, “The issue of insanity has been raised.”
      Continued on next page

      35. Other Claims Requiring Verification, Continued

      d. Verifying Service of Affiants If it is necessary to verify the evidence of an affiant who alleges personal knowledge of certain occurrences while in service with the veteran, submit the PIES request as follows:
      • on page one of the 3101 screen, enter the original veteran’s information
      • on page two of the 3101 screen, enter the affiant’s name and service information, and
      • using request code O99, enter the following statement in the free-text section: “Do the records of the department indicate that (name of affiant), (rank, organization and service number, if available), was present with his or her organization at or near (place) on or about (date)? Do the records of (name of hospital, vessel, dressing station, etc.) indicate that (name of veteran) (rank and organization) was receiving treatment for (disease or injury) on or about (date)?”

      e. Verifying Information Through Morning Reports If it is asserted that the veteran’s name was carried on the organization morning reports, but the service department does not have any information as to the disease or injury alleged, make a request for this specific information using PIES request code O20.
      On the request, show the approximate dates (limited to a maximum of three months) and the name of the organization, such as a company, battalion, detachment, or vessel, sufficient to enable NPRC to search
      • sick logs
      • sick and morning reports, and
      • organization, hospital, infirmary and other records.
      Note: If morning reports are obtained to support a claim for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the U.S. Army and Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) does not have to verify the information from the morning reports if the RO can corroborate the claimed stressor by a local review of those morning reports.
      Reference: For more information on when to request stressor corroboration through JSRRC, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.D.15.a.
      Continued on next page

      35. Other Claims Requiring Verification, Continued

      f. Verifying Other Information References: For more information on verification required in connection with claims for service connection for
      • disabilities related to ionizing radiation exposure, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.B and C.
      • asbestos-related diseases, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.H.29.
      • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.D.
      • acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.H.30, and
      • disabilities incurred as a prisoner of war (POW), see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.G.

      g. Available Morning Reports The table below lists the morning reports that are available at the NPRC.
      Branch Dates Exceptions
      Army November 1, 1912, through 1974 Some units discontinued morning reports in 1972, while others continued them until 1980.
      Air Force September, 1947, through June 30, 1966 None

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      Missing Vietnam Medical Records


      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      Clinical (Hospital Inpatient) Records - for former Active Duty Personnel

      REQUEST CLINICAL (HOSPITAL INPATIENT) RECORDSIf you ARE the veteran, next-of-kin*, or person of recordIf you are NOT the veteran, next-of-kin, or person of record
      *Next-of-kin is defined as the un-remarried widow or widower, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister of the deceased veteran
      What is a Clinical Record?

      Clinical (hospital inpatient) records are compiled when active duty members are actually hospitalized while in the service. An overnight stay or admission generally makes a patient an inpatient. Information concerning "outpatient" Health Records

      Clinical Records Holdings:

      Prior to 1960, clinical records of Army and Air Force personnel were filed with the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). Since 1960, the NPRC has maintained these records in bulk accessions retired annually by the creating hospital, rather than with the individual personnel file. Navy clinical records have always been retired and maintained in this manner. Therefore, clinical records, with the exception of Army and Air Force records received prior to 1960, are filed by the name of the hospital in which the service member was treated. As such, the NPRC needs the name of the hospital, month (if known) and year of treatment, as well as the veteran's name and Social Security or service number to locate these clinical records.

      Army and Air Force Hospitals retain their records for one calendar year and Navy Hospitals retain their records for two calendar years before retirement to the NPRC. Teaching hospitals that maintain Clinical Record Libraries may retain records up to 5 years before retirement.

      The 1973 Fire and Clinical Records:

      As the clinical records for Army and Air Force personnel, prior to 1960, were filed with the OMPFs at the NPRC, many of the documents recording inpatient care for Army and Air Force veterans from this period were destroyed in the 1973 Fire.

      However, hospitals with Clinical Record Libraries typically maintained records longer than hospitals without such libraries. Patients treated at military hospitals with such libraries (as early as 1951 for Air Force hospitals and 1957 for Army hospitals) may have clinical records that were not filed in the OMPF. Records for Army and Air Force hospitals that fall within that time frame may still be available, even if the service member's OMPF was destroyed in the NPRC 1973 fire. Click on Clinical Record Libraries for a list of these Army and Air Force facilities.

      There are also small, scattered collections of records from years earlier than those listed above, and some alternate medical records sources for the fire-related period as defined below.

      Medical Related Alternate Records:

      The NPRC has identified some medical-related alternate records that have proved useful in reconstructing information lost in the 1973 fire. Documents that provide information about diagnosis and prognosis, however, are limited and the sources are not comprehensive. Nevertheless, the NPRC does utilize approximately 7.8 million hospital admission abstracts to obtain supplementary information. Most of the records in this supplementary file pertain to active duty Army and Army Air Corps personnel in service from 1942 to 1945 and active duty Army personnel who served between 1950 and 1954, although a small percentage pertains to veterans of the other services. This source does not cover all admissions during the related timeframes and has limited medical information. However, in certain cases, it can provide sufficient proof to support a claim.
      General Information:

      As currently scheduled, all medical treatment records are temporary (non-permanent) records. However, any medical records of former active duty personnel filed with the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) are considered part of that record and are maintained with it.


      Peace be upon you


      Learn more:

      Yuku Veteran Benefits Network: Missing Vietnam Medical Records
      http://vets.yuku.com/topic/53801/Mis...edical-Records

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