Is a military Service Number sensitive information?

+3 votes
117 views

I'm considering uploading a copies of DD214's in the future.  My dad's DD214 contains his social security number. I will most definitely redact the social security number for reasons including, but not limited to, how recent his death was, and actual reports of identity theft of deceased individuals.

I've noticed that my grandpa's DD214, as well as other older DD214's on this site, do not contain the social security number.  However, it does contain a "Service Number", and my dad's contains his "Selective Service Number".

I'm just wondering if anyone knows whether the service number is sensitive, like the social security number is.  I realize that military records eventually become publicly available, as well as social security numbers after a number of years.

Also, is there any other information on a DD214 that you think ought to be at least temporarily omitted?  It doesn't look like it, to me, but your answer might be helpful for anyone searching for it in the future.

Thank you.

in Genealogy Help by Taylor Starr G2G Rookie (240 points)

4 Answers

+3 votes
I have added several military records such as Selective Service, Service Enlistment, Draft, Pension and Discharge Records. I have not uploaded any DD214's to be included with profiles I manage. I might also add, as you have mentioned, the records I have attached are all public info and could be found by anyone, so I don't believe that is an issue. I will defer to those who know more about the DD214's, but I'm sure my father or other family members who served would not have been receptive to me posting them. There is some info on those that in my opinion should probably not be open to anyone.
by Michael Smith G2G6 Mach 3 (33.1k points)
+1 vote
It would depend on the privacy legislation of the jurisdiction that is involved.
by George Churchill G2G6 Mach 8 (84.6k points)
+2 votes
When I was in the U.S. Army (shortly after dinosaurs stopped walking the earth!), our service number was embossed on a metal "dog tag" we wore around our necks, and I'm not aware of it ever being considered particularly sensitive.  Many of us still have those dog tags as souvenirs.  There is an interesting article about the structure of the number here:

https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/how-to-decode-a-wwii-army-serial-number/

As the author notes, you might obtain some info from the number that is very useful in genealogy research, and I can't think of any reason why it would be sensitive now for a deceased person.  If the link above doesn't cover your situation, you may be able to find similar info for other services or other time frames by searching a bit.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (338k points)
+2 votes
I would personally consider service numbers of living persons as sensitive and use would also constitute a security violation.  In recent entries of my father in law and his father in law (both Great War veterans), I have included their service numbers.  They are a matter of public record so I are not any longer sensitive.  It should be noted that last Canadian Great War has been dead for a number of years and all related personel record have digital and available for anyone to conduct their research.  

I would suggest that this would be a topic under American guidelines.  What would the orders and regulation governing US military govern the use of service or regimental Numbers?  That should provide the guideline as what would be considered sensitive or not.

I hope this of value and helpful to you.
by Elgin Smith G2G4 (4.4k points)

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