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 or nothing or a relatively fair amount of useful information - usually confined to the individual's military service. In recent years, as older, more conscientious employees retire, they've been replaced by an increasing number of totally unprofessional individuals whose principal (if not only) interest (or activity) seems to be confined almost solely to collecting a pay check. (one of the employees at the Casualty Branch consistently answers the phone, "Dead bodies!").
I dealt with TAPC for years. When they implemented this policy of charging up to $45 per file, I would secure a "waiver' with a phone call. I'm informed now they're no longer "granting" waivers and expanding the policy of charging for files. This almost always happens whenever they get a new "Freedom of Information Officer" and is nothing less than a ploy to discourage inquiries in order to "reduce" their "workload" (read: avoid doing what they're paid to do). It's also unlawful and unconstitutional but few individuals are going to devote time and/or resources to combat the problem. These agencies and activities are only too aware of this - which is a principal reason for the continuing increase in the imposition of so-called "search" or "service" fees.
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 performing research. YOUR SUBJECT NEED NOT HAVE BEEN A COMBAT CASUALTY.
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 ATTN: TAPC-PED-F Alexandria, VA22231-0482
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 L & R margins and type this in. Also, name and DOB and/or DOD is sufficient. A great many of the service numbers given at www.americanwardead.com or the ABMC website are incorrect so you might want to double check them or forego using them altogether. Army and air force service numbers are 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. If you're refused service or told you must agree to pay in order to receieve the file, e-mail me directly.