Individual Deceased Personnel Files
The Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) is a record of the handling and ultimate disposition
of the remains of individuals who died in service. Depending on a number of factors, the IDPF can
contain little-to-nothing or a fair amount of useful information - usually confined to the individual's military service. If you have a friend or relative who died in service during World War II, the following is one of the little "shortcuts" I've developed and used over the past forty-some-odd years I've been doing military history research.
1. Take one 20-cent post card (I use the ones they sell at the post office) and address it to:
Total Army Personnel Command
Alexandria, VA 22231-0482
2. On the reverse (message field) write: "I would like a copy of the IDPF of (name & service number) who died (date of death) during WWII." (I set my left & right margins and type this in. It might help to include a date of birth, especially if your subject has a common name like Smith, Williams, etc. Also, if you got your subject's service number from the ABMC website < http://www.americanwardead.com/searchww.htmhttp://www.americanwardead.com/searchww.htm > you might want to double-check or forego using it altogether as many of those listed are incorrect. Army and air force service numbers are officially expressed in millions thusly: 0 000 000 or 00 000 000. Navy and marine corps service numbers are expressed 000-00-00 or 000 00 00).
3. Sign your name and drop it in the mail.
In a month or so, you'll receive a form letter acknowledging receipt of your request. You'll receive the file - if they can locate it - in two to six months, depending on their workload.