The DD-214 can be seen as a golden ticket for a separated or retired military member. It validates the member’s service to the nation and can ensure that all due benefits are received. Although military members do not physically fill out the DD-214, they can ensure that it contains all the proper information. Incorrect information can rob a veteran or retiree of benefits.
How to Fill Out DD Form 214
Print out a copy of your military history report. This can be received through your current or last unit’s personnel section. Air Force members can use the “Virtual MPF” function through the Air Force Portal to do this.
Collect any military orders and travel vouchers related to those orders. List all of the places you were temporarily deployed to during your entire military service.
Find any certificates of training and records of graduation from all military classes and schools you attended. List those on a separate sheet of paper as well.
Gather all medals, decorations and awards you’ve received. Ensure you have all of the supporting, signed certificates.
Match all of the information you have gathered to your military history report. Note any decorations or awards you have that are not on the military report. If you do not have campaign-related ribbons or decorations you feel qualified for, note the military orders and vouchers that would support your request for the award.
Bring all of your information to your military out-processing agent, usually found in the personnel center of your current duty station. For the Air Force, it would be in the separations unit of the Military Personnel Flight, which falls under the Force Support Squadron.
Present all of your information to the processing agent as he asks for it. Bring up any discrepancies regarding awards and decorations. If you are entitled to additional awards or certifications and the processing agent is not able to list them on the DD-214 that day, ask when he can. It is easier to submit an error-free DD-214 than to correct one later.
Review the DD-214 once it is completed. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand, specifically any separation (SPD) codes. Those codes indicate your term of separation and what benefits you are entitled to, such as medical care or education.
Secure your DD-214 copies. Failure to do so could lead to identity theft and a loss of benefits.