So many records, so little time!

The Military Records Branch, an office of the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, currently holds 3.2 million military records of Massachusetts National Guardsman and Veterans. They are working on a project that has determined that thousands of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans from the Chicopee and Plymouth areas of Massachusetts are still eligible to file for their Massachusetts State Wartime bonuses.  (Massachusetts National Guard photo by Sgt. Alfred Tripolone, III)

Nestled in a building that was the home of the headquarters of the Massachusetts National Guard until 2012, is an office with 3.2 million military records mostly dated from 1940 – 2016, maintained by only three full-time personnel. 

These records could be a military service member’s DD 214 or military discharge, medical records that could help with a VA disability claim or assist a next of kin family member research a military loved one’s background. Anyone that has ever served in the military in Massachusetts, has a good chance that some or all of their records are maintained in this office, or will be at some point in the future.

This office is the Military Records Branch, an office of the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard. The three members of this office take pride in their job of protecting records of a Massachusetts Veteran or a Massachusetts National Guardsman that could be almost a hundred years old. Many of the older records submitted to their office are on microfiche, handwritten and not digitized, or not in the correct order or year. This team, with occasional much-welcomed part-time help if funds allow, ensures these things are filed, scanned and tracked appropriately.

“We all agree that we are helping people and that’s a very rewarding experience,” said retired Senior Master Sgt. Michael Perna, Military Records Branch Chief.

They received the Manuel Carballo Award in 2016 for being one of the most comprehensive records keeping facilities in the nation, which was presented to the office at the Massachusetts State House by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. 

Even the National Personnel Records Center-Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) in St Louis, Missouri, the national archive of records for military members, reaches out to them for support at times. 

A funeral home director, veterans service officer or service member themselves can request and often get a very quick turnaround by filling out a form and sending it to these dedicated people, who take the responsibility of honoring these requests very seriously.

Every year, more and more records are dropped off, emailed, hand-carried and mailed to this office. The office is currently working with 312 towns and 39 cities to digitize hard copies that are not already in the system and hold monthly training on how to read a DD 214 for other state agencies like the State Police and Registry of Motor Vehicles.

As if they have not already done enough, this office has been combing through files for the past year on service members that returned from overseas and never filed for the Massachusetts State Wartime bonuses. These Veterans of World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars, or their next of kin, are still eligible to receive the bonuses. The eligibility criteria and application forms can be obtained from the Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office, Veteran’s Bonus Division: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/veterans-bonus-division.

The Military Records Branch may be contacted by phone at (508) 422-1993, by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or FAX at (508) 422-1997. 

To obtain the form to request a record, go to: military-records-branch.html

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