The Transylvania Times -

DD-214 Needed For Military Burial Honors – Brevard NC


You served faithfully in the U.S. military and got an honorable discharge. You went back to civilian life and quickly forgot about all things military.

As time passed (20, 30, 40 years), you began to realize your own mortality and even grudgingly admitted to yourself you aren’t gonna be here forever. Through the process of selective memory retention, you may have begun to talk about how great it was to be in the U.S. military. You might even have started to entertain thoughts about joining the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars (they need your membership and help). You might even have made a comment like: “When they bury me (or I get cremated), I want military honors by the Transylvania County Honor Guard.”

Then one day, you’re gone, leaving this material life on earth for a greater reward. In your family’s grief, the funeral director asks them if they want “military honors.”

“Certainly,” they reply. “He/she always wanted that.”

The funeral director then says: “Very well, we’ll need a copy of the discharge form, the DD-214. Further, to receive military honors, the veteran had to have an honorable discharge.”

What happens then in some cases is: (1) the family doesn’t know what a DD Form 214 is or where yours might be located and (2) they don’t know what kind of discharge you received.

So, a quick refresher course about the DD Form 214 (“Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty”). It came into use on Jan. 1, 1950. Before then, each service issued its own form (WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD and the NAVCG 553). Regardless of the type form used, you received it when you were released from active duty. It contained the history of your military service to include your final rank, your military schools completed, your medals awarded and a host of other information. In other words, it was a capsule summary of what you did in the service.

You should have the original form (copy number one, and for later veterans, starting in the 1980s, also copy number four). When you got out and came back to Transylvania County (or wherever you went), you should have gone to the county Registrar of Deeds office and let them make and keep a copy of your DD Form 214. If you have not done so, I urge you to do so now; it’s never too late. The folks in the Registrar of Deeds office are very pleasant and helpful. Another choice is you may also put a copy on file with me here in the veterans’ service office.

If you have your DD Form 214 and your family knows where and what it is, read no further. For those of you who don’t have your DD Form 214, I can help you get one from the National Personnel Records Center. Come to my office and fill out the appropriate paperwork in less than 15 minutes. You send your request to the NPRC, and you’ll have a copy in less than 30 days.

I promise not to be judgmental as to why you don’t have your original DD Form 214. What’s important is to get a new one. My function is to help you do that. Contact me, Frank A. Pearsall, the Transylvania County Veterans Service Officer at 884-3276. My office is located in the Community Services Building, Room 237, on East Morgan Street in Brevard. Nearby buildings include the old county jail, the Baptist Church and the American Legion building. Call and if you do not get to talk to me directly, leave a message. I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible and we’ll set up an appointment for you to come into the office.


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