How to Obtain a WWII Casualty Service Record (WWII I.D.P.F.)

 

If you are researching a veteran who became a casualty during WWII then you will need to ensure that you can access the WWII I.D.P.F. (Individual Deceased Personnel File) of your K.I.A. veteran. The WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record is an essential tool for researching K.I.A. veterans because it contains a wealth of  valuable information pertaining to the death and burial  of the individual K.I.A. veteran. The WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record is especially important when researching WWII Army veterans who became casualties during the war because almost 90 percent of WWII Army service records were lost in the 1973 fire. If you have contacted the National Archives in an attempt to obtain the WWII military service records of your WWII K.I.A. Army veteran and have been told that your WWII veteran’s service records were lost in the 1973 fire, your WWII veteran may still have additional records which can be used to reconstruct his service, including the WWII I.D.P.F. casualty file , medical records, morning reports, muster rolls, auxiliary paperwork such as payment records, and much more. The importance of the WWII I.D.P.F.  for researching individual veterans who became casualties during the war cannot be overstated. In this post we are going to detail the methods available for obtaining a WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record which should help to simplify the often confusing archival ordering process.

 

Why is the WWII I.D.P.F. important? The WWII I.D.P.F. is an excellent resource for understanding what happened to your WWII veteran when he became a casualty, as well as details about the burial and disposition of the veteran’s remains. The WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record contains records explaining the cause of death, condition of the remains, unit to which the veteran was assigned, and many other records which can help you to understand the military service of WWII veterans who became casualties during the WWII. The WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record can also serve as an alternate means of researching individuals who became casualties during WWII and whose records were lost in the 1973 fire.

 

Records showing burial info from WWII I.D.P.F. casualty

 

You will also find information on the burial of your WWII veteran who became a casualty during the war. Notice the detailed description regarding the burial of this K.I.A. WWII veteran.

 

burial records from WWII I.D.P.F. KIA casualty

 

In addition to the strictly military-related records which can be a bit technical, there are often family and beneficiary records maintained within the WWII I.D.P.F. which are valuable resources for both military and genealogical research. This includes  dependency records, paperwork on the next of kin and other family members, documents detailing the chain of custody of the WWII veteran’s remains, and letters to and from the WWII veteran’s family. The correspondence found inside many WWII I.D.P.F. casualty records  can add a human element to the research process and this is another reason why the WWII I.D.P.F. is a must-have for anyone researching a WWII veteran who became a casualty during the war. These letters can often lead to intriguing, unknown details about the deceased veteran’s WWII service and family life.

 

WWII KIA casualty letter from IDPF

 

WWII Letter from KIA Casualty IDPF page 2

 

How to obtain a WWII I.D.P.F. The WWII I.D.P.F. casualty records are now under the custody of the National Archives. In the past the WWII I.D.P.F.’s had to be ordered from the Army where they were stored at Fort Knox but this is no longer the case. This means that there is no longer a 1 year wait to access WWII I.D.P.F. and that these casualty records can be accessed within days rather than months of waiting. There are essentially two options for obtaining a WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record from the National Archives.

 

Option 1: Use a reputable, private research organization. The fastest and most convenient way to obtain your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. is to have a well-known research organization help you to access your veteran’s records ( I recommend Golden Arrow Research). This is the best option for a number of reasons:  First, you will be able to obtain digital scans of the original records within just a few days, which will allow you to view the records exactly as they appear in their original form. By contrast when you order a WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record directly from the government archives you will simply receive low-quality photocopies of the original records in the mail-after months of waiting.

Secondly, when you obtain your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. from a reputable research organization you will be able to cut out the often bureaucratic and confusing ordering process which one inevitably encounters when dealing with the government archives. There is no reason to go through the lengthy wait times and frustrating ordering process when you can simply have a research organization digitally scan your veteran’s file for you within a matter of days.

Lastly, You may actually save money when you obtain your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. from a reputable research organization.  The government archives will charge you .85 per page when you request your WWII veteran’s I.D.P.F. directly from them. So, if your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F.  is one of those which has a large volume of paperwork it can be quite expensive to request the photocopies from the government. By comparison, you can obtain digital scans of your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record  from a reputable research organization for a set price. Not only is this process much faster and more convenient- it also affordable.

If you decide to use a private research organization make sure that the organization you choose actually has research specialists who are physically on site at the archives. Many ‘experts’ on the internet have never even stepped foot inside the archives. Again, we highly recommend Golden Arrow Research to access your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. because they are on-site at the archives where they digitally scan the entire WWII I.D.P.F. page by page. Most WWII I.D.P.F.’s are either $50 or $75 depending on the size of the record. You can obtain your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record from Golden Arrow by submitting the form below:

 

WWII I.D.P.F. Request Form 

 

Your name:
Your email:
Veteran's name:
Branch of service:
Veteran's date of death:
Veteran's serial number:

 

Option 2: Obtain a WWII I.D.P.F. directly from the National Archives. The second option for obtaining a WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record is to access your WWII veteran’s record directly from the government archives. I recommend against this option since it is often frustrating and confusing to navigate the archives ordering process, and it can take months to receive the low quality photocopies in the mail. If your veteran has a large file it can actually be more expensive to obtain your WWII veteran’s I.D.P.F. casualty record from the government archives. For all of these reasons we recommend using a reputable research organization like the one listed above to obtain your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record. If you prefer to obtain your veteran’s WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record directly from the government archives, you can begin that process by exploring some of the options provided on the government archives website here:  National Archives Website.

If you are interested to learn more about the kinds of records that you will find within a WWII I.D.P.F. casualty record please check out the WWII I.D.P.F. post I have written which explores some of the more common types of records that can be found inside the WWII I.D.P.F  casualty files stored at the National Archives. Happy hunting on your research journey!

Author: Geoff

Geoff Gentilini is the lead researcher at Golden Arrow Research. He specializes in the research of military service records from all branches of the U.S. Military. For help obtaining military service records you can fill out a request form here: Research a Military Service Record

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