Losing it all in the 1973 St. Louis fire

On July 12, 1973, a fire in St. Louis, Mo., at the National Personnel Records Center destroyed between 16 and 18 million military personnel files. My mother’s file was one of those.

The files covered the period from pre-World War I to 1963. There began decades of veterans struggling to prove military service in order to access their benefits.

When I sent away for my mother’s records, what I received back was a certificate,You must be logged in to view this content.

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