Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Military records (Army & Air Force) destroyed in 1973 by fire

Why is it so hard to track down the names of the soldiers who were at Camp Desert Rock?

Overland, Missouri: "On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at NPRC (MPR) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files. The affected record collections are described below.
Branch.......Personnel....................................Estimated Loss
Army.........Personnel discharged 11-1-1912, to 1-1-1960..80%
Air Force....Personnel discharged 9-25-1947 to 1-1-1964...75%
(with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)

No duplicate copies of the records that were destroyed in the fire were maintained, nor was a microfilm copy ever produced. There were no indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available. Nevertheless, NPRC (MPR) uses many alternate sources in its efforts to reconstruct basic service information to respond to requests."

Studies: The National Personnel Records Center Fire: A Study in Disaster by Walter W. Stender & Evan Walker, October 1974

" * Some U.S. Army Reserve personnel who received final discharge as late as 1964
* Various U.S. Navy, United States Coast Guard, and U.S. Marine Corps records which were out of file and were caught in the section of the building which experienced the most damage in the fire.

The 1973 fire destroyed the entire 6th floor of the National Personnel Records Center. Damage from the fire can still be seen today. In 1974, a massive reconstruction effort was begun to restore the service records which were destroyed in the 1973 fire. In most cases where a military record has been presumed destroyed, NPRC is able to reconstruct basic service information such as military date of entry, date of discharge, character of service, and final rank.

In recent years, some conspiracy theorists have accused the Federal Government of intentionally starting the 1973 National Archives Fire as a cover to destroy unwanted military files, erase certain records from the Second World War, or to reduce budget costs by destroying a floor of an under budgeted federal building. Certain Veteran Organizations have also stated that the 1973 Fire did not happen at all, and that the explanation of a fire destroying millions of military records is a lie conceived by the Federal Government to cut costs and avoid public requests for the older military files. The National Archives and Records Administration, however, continues to formally state that the 1973 National Archives Fire did, in fact, occur although the exact cause, to this day, remains unknown.

VA Shred's Evidence of Radiation Claimants 2003

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