Access to WWII U.S.N. Service Records: How to Obtain a WWII Navy O.M.P.F. (Official Military Personnel File)

 

The WWII Navy O.M.P.F. or ‘WWII Navy official military personnel file’ is essential for researching veterans who served in the Navy during WWII.  In this post we will examine why the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. is useful for your research, what kinds of records you can expect to find in your veteran’s file, and how you can access your veteran’s WWII Navy O.M.P.F. service file. The WWII Navy O.M.P.F.’s were created during WWII as a way to document the military service of the individual WWII Navy veteran.  These WWII military personnel files include original paperwork detailing the WWII Navy veteran’s: duties, ships, assignments, ranks, awards, commendations, battle participation, and more. In addition to the military service records contained within the WWII Navy O.M.P.F., family records and beneficiary documents were also placed in the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. as a way to ensure that the veteran and their family would receive benefits to which they were entitled. The wide array of military and family records maintained within the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. make these WWII personnel files absolutely vital for both military and genealogical research. The WWII Navy O.M.P.F.’s  are stored at the National Archives and are available to the public 62 years after the date that the individual veteran was separated from the service. In this post we are going to take a look at how to obtain a WWII Navy O.M.P.F. from the National Archives.

 

Do I need the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. for my research? The ‘WWII O.M.P.F.’  is essentially the official name for the WWII military service records of individual veterans which are stored at the National Archives. I’ve already put together a very detailed post to examine the more common kinds of military service records which are maintained in the WWII  Navy O.M.P.F. : An overview of the Navy WWII military service record (O.M.P.F.). As the lead-researcher at Golden Arrow Military Research I have personally scanned thousands of WWII O.M.P.F.’s which are maintained at the National Archives. In my view, the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. is a must-have for anyone researching a WWII Navy veteran. Whether you are researching specific details about the WWII Navy veteran’s military service-or whether you are simply interested in uncovering details about your family history, you will need to make sure that you obtain the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. of your veteran.

 

Are WWII military service records available online? While you may be able to find some records on the internet pertaining to the military service of individual WWII Navy veterans, these online records can often be fragmentary and do not always provide the whole picture of the service history or family situation of the WWII Navy veteran. By contrast, the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. almost always provides researchers with an incredible amount of detail on the veteran’s service history and family life. The average WWII Navy O.M.P.F. is between 50 and 150 pages in length. So, as you can imagine- these military personnel files provide a wealth of documentation on the individual WWII Navy veteran. Let’s take a brief look at some of the unique service records that can be found inside a WWII Navy O.M.P.F. which you cannot find on the internet:

 

Period photographs of WWII Navy veterans. Most WWII Navy O.M.P.F.’s contain a period photograph of the WWII Navy veteran. Photo negatives were placed in the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. and can be developed into high quality digital images. These images can only be accessed in the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. or official military personnel file.

 

enlisted Navy veteran photo from O.M.P.F.

 

WWII Navy O.M.P.F. military service records. Numerous military service records detailing the military career of the individual sailor can also be found in the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. , allowing researchers to fully understand the duties, units, ships, awards, and battle participation of the individual WWII Navy veteran. The service records maintained within the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. are extremely detailed and can only be found inside the O.M.P.F. of the WWII Navy veteran which is housed at the National Archives.  Here is an example of a medal citation from a WWII Navy O.M.P.F. which provides us with fascinating details about the action undertaken by this Naval aviator.

 

DFC citation from WWII Navy O.M.P.F.

 

Note the level of detail on this service extract sheet from this WWII Navy O.M.P.F.  which actually states that this WWII Navy veteran was tasked with evacuating wounded men from the Normandy Beaches on D-Day. Such details can only be found in the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. and are simply not going to be available from online records like the Navy muster rolls.

 

 

Correspondence, beneficiary documents, and family records. In addition to the military service records maintained within the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. there are also records which can be useful for researching one’s family history. This includes documents pertaining to the veteran’s family, beneficiary documents and also correspondence between the Navy and the veteran’s family during the war. Records such as letters to- and from- a veteran’s family are simply not available on the internet and can only be found within the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. of your veteran.

 

Family letter correspondence from WWII Navy O.M.P.F.

 

This Navy officer actually provided his college transcripts to the Navy when he applied for officer candidacy. I include this as an example to demonstrate that there is simply no telling what kinds of civilian records will be included as part of the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. of your WWII Navy veteran.

 

WWII officer Navy college transcript from WWII O.M.P.F.

 

There are many, many other kinds of family records that can be found inside of the WWII O.M.P.F. of individual WWII veterans-including marriage, birth, and death records, benefits and pension payments, divorce documents, and even records showing things like your veteran’s civilian occupations, hobbies and sports participation. The only way to find out what is inside your WWII Navy veteran’s WWII O.M.P.F. is to request the file.

 

records from WWII Navy O.M.P.F. showing veteran hobbies

 

How to obtain a WWII Navy O.M.P.F. The WWII Navy O.M.P.F.’s are maintained at the National Archives and are available to the public 62 years after the date that the WWII Navy veteran was separated (discharged) from the Navy.  The fastest and most convenient way to access your WWII Navy veteran’s O.M.P.F. is to have a reputable research organization digitally scan your veteran’s O.M.P.F. at the National Archives. Golden Arrow Military Research has research specialists on site at the National Archives where they can physically scan the O.M.P.F. of individual Navy veterans, page by page so that you can view the photos, documents, and artifacts in the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. exactly as they appear in their original form. In most cases, when you use a private research company to access your veteran’s Navy O.M.P.F. you can have digital scans of the record on your computer within just days. By contrast, ordering the records directly from the National Archives  usually means weeks or even months of waiting for lower quality photocopies to arrive in the mail. If you are interested in accessing the WWII Navy O.M.P.F. service records of your individual WWII Navy veteran you can order their O.M.P.F. from Golden Arrow Research here: Access a WWII Navy O.M.P.F. 

Or you can send a request directly to Golden Arrow using our request form:

Your name:
Your email:
USN veteran's name:
Veteran's serial number and date of birth
Approximate dates of service

If you would prefer to access your record directly from the National Archives you can read more about this process on the National Archives website here: NARA website

Happy hunting!

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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