‘There’s no record of me doing anything’: Vet one of many struggling to get copy of important military doc

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — It is a Department of Defense document identified by two letters and three numbers that spells delay and denial if you need yours but cannot find it.

Don Fowler, 85, has vivid memories of his time in the Army Reserves during the Vietnam War era. But he is among many veterans across Florida and the country who do not have copies of their DD-214 discharge paperwork to prove they served.

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Fowler saved what he thought would be proof of his seven years in the Army, including pictures in uniform as a corpsman.

“My discharged letters, even my old selective service card,” Fowler said while pulling items out of an envelope. “My dog tags. Not enough.”

His paperwork includes a letter, thanking him for his time in the military.

“The certificate of discharge is presented to you in grateful appreciation of your faithful military service to the Nation,” the letters states.

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“Without a [DD-214],” Fowler said. “I don’t seem to exist.”

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