For the Record

Approximately 177,000 official military personnel files are now part of the public record with their transfer on Nov. 18 from the Air Force Personnel Center to the National Archives and Records Administration in St. Louis for permanent retention. USAF is the last service to make this move as part of an arrangement between the Defense Department and US archivist, under which personnel files become archival 62 years after an airman is discharged, retired, or died in service. Included in the batch now in St. Louis are the personnel files of such airpower pioneers as Gen. Jimmy Doolittle and Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell. “This is an especially historic day,” said Ron Hindman, National Personnel Records Center director. Prior to this transfer, access to these personnel files was limited to veterans, their primary next of kin, and federal agencies. (AFPC report by Daniel Elkins)