Historically, VA, FFSC, RAO's, and other military affiliated
groups, have always encouraged separating and retiring personnel
to file their DD 214's with their county courthouse so that they would
always have access to a legitimate copy in case their original is ever
lost. We have always encouraged personnel in TAP class
to do this; however, here's a reason we might want to re-think
I had a retired Master Chief (Bud Racquer) come by my office this
morning with a scary story. His identification was stolen the beginning
of September. He received a call from a lady at American Express
because someone had established credit with them (in his name) and was
trying to cash a $9,000 check in his name in early September, made out
to a Muslim/Arabic-sounding name. The lady flagged the check because
apparently she had a different address on file for Bud Racquer than what
showed on the check. When she called him, he of course reported
Last night, Bud Racquer received a call from an investigator telling
him that they finally tracked down the fellow who stole his identification.
The guy is a lawyer and had a lap-top computer with several thousand
MILITARY names, SSN's and other information. Each military
person was a separatee or retiree and their common link was that
they had their DD 214's filed with a county clerk. Bud Racquer was
told that this lawyer had accessed the DD 214 information through
the public court computer system.
I called our Camden County courthouse this morning and asked about
their procedures for DD 214's. The clerk there told me that although
DD 214's were not put on their computers, they were public record.
In fact, with the exception of adoption papers, anything filed
through the courthouse was public record. A check with
the county clerk in Brunswick revealed the same information. In
fact, when asked directly if someone could obtain a certified copy
of a DD 214, the answer was "yes." The clerk did say that
they would verify the SSN (which of course you could look up on the public
This is really scary stuff, and it gets scarier. I called
PSD here and asked them what a retiree would need to replace a lost I.D.
card and asked specifically if a certified court-copy of a DD 214
would suffice. I was informed that they usually ask to see a picture
i.d. but would probably issue the i.d. card without it, so long
as the member had a certified copy of his DD 214! I told the I.D.
card section leader this story and warned him to be careful.
This was Bud's Racquer's main concern that it appears that it would be
easy for others to steal your identity and get a valid I.D. card to get
access to military bases.
I notified the RAO, Bob Hurley, the VA Representative, Sandra Charles,
and the TAMP Manager, Debbie Lucas. Bob called Dennis Mills, the
Retired Activities Program Director at BUPERs and gave him a heads-up
on the situation. Sandra is notifying her superiors at the VA.
Debbie has brought the matter to the attention of the TAMP Program Manager
Please help warn folks. Unfortunately, the down side to not
filing the DD 214 with the county court is the hassle it can take
to replace a lost DD 214. It can take months to get one replaced,
if at all. The bottom line is safeguarding this important document.
Have folks make copies and keep the original in a SAFE place (kid/animal/fire