How Can I Ensure My Own Military Records Are Up to Date?

Having an organized system for filing all the important information and documents pertaining to your military career is extremely important.  There are many reasons to stay organized and maintain your personal records.  For one, you will be able to compile packets for promotion/transfers, track down OERs, and have all of your medical and other important information at any time. No more searching endlessly for a misplaced piece of info or relying on iPERMS to maintain your records.  Here are some tips for How You Can Ensure Your Military Records are Always Up to Date.

1. Start by Deciding What Filing System Works Best for You: This can be dependent on the amount of space you physically have and how much information you have to file.  Perhaps a fire-safe cabinet is the best choice or maybe even a standard filing cabinet.  Whatever the case, decide on where you will be storing your documents.

Learn how to update your military records the right way

2. Gather Up All Your Paperwork: Pull together all your paperwork; print our your iPERM documents, grab that old folder you kept from MEPS, talk with your unit Readiness NCO to see what files they have, etc.  Wherever you have documents, try your best to gather them all up into one consolidated location so you can begin organizing them.

3. Sort Your Records Into Types: Now, there is no sense in reinventing the wheel here.  Personally, my military record filing system is a direct reflection on what you see on iPERMS.  No matter how you decide to do it, the most important goal here is to place like items with other like items.

4. Label Each File by the Category and Place into Your File: Self explanatory here… Use colors; maybe RED for Medical, GREEN for OERs, etc.  No matter what you decide, stay consistent and always put things back in their spot after using them!  Create new categories if you need to as well.

5. Make Notes on Any Items that You Are Missing: Look at your iPERMS and then your physical files.  What is missing?  What paper documents do you have that aren’t up on iPERMS and vice versa?  Taking the time to do this, after you have organized your documents of course, is very important.  Many times things are lost (by both the Army and by YOU) so always make sure to identify the deficiencies.

6. DO NOT BE LAZY ABOUT STAYING ORGANIZED! This is the tip to take away from this article above all else.  You have to stay proactive and ensure your records are up to date.  After you complete a school, copy all of those records and prepare to file them away before you send them up to be PERM’d or make copies after you complete an SRP. Do not rely on your Readiness NCO, the Army or your S1.  At the end of the day, nobody care more about you and your career than you!

Final Thoughts

Get organized, create a filing system that works for you, and stay proactive.  Keeping your records organized and up to date is a very important part of career management.

If you have any questions or any added tips, you can post them in the comment area below. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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8 thoughts on “How Can I Ensure My Own Military Records Are Up to Date?”

  1. You simply have to be proactive and check your records minimum once a quarter, or any time you get a new piece of paperwork. Keep a copy of everything and stay in touch with your S1/SIDPERS team until everything gets updated.

  2. Charles Elison

    For enlisted guys, the ARNG just started doing ERBs. Most S-1s should have access to update them at the BN level. It’s important that leaders get their enlisted Soldiers, especially NCOs becoming eligible for promotion to update their ERB. It can be quite the challenge getting your S-1 to do it over drill weekend, let alone getting full timers to do it off drill but an inaccurate ERB will be a show stopper for promotions under the new EPS system.

    1. This is good to know Charles. I never knew about the new ERBs.

      I guess NCOs should set up an appointment with their S1 outside of drill weekend to do this. I’m sure they could get it done in a few hours during the week.


  3. Thanks for posting! The importance of keeping these documents well organized can not be understated. Having quick and easy access to these files eliminates a ton of stress. There’s nothing worse than spending half an hour digging through papers. It helps to get a binder or file box to hold your military records and nothing else. Also, it might not hurt to scan them as PDFs and keep them in a folder on your desktop for easy digital access.

      1. Soldiers need to check their IPERMS file at least once a month. Match it up with all your documents on your 2-1 and in your “I Love Me Book.” If you find any shortcomings, address them immediately.

  4. Candace Ginestar

    This is such great advice. We are always told to have an ‘I love me’ binder, but how many people actually DO it? I’ve found that putting everything in document protectors in a 3 ring binder is the easiest thing to maintain for things like deployments and SRPs. The important thing is that we find something that works best for us, and keep up on it!

    1. You’re right about the “I Love Me Binder.” I’ve had one since I was commissioned. I believe it’s vital for anyone who is serious about their military career. We all know that records get lost and IPERMS isn’t always accurate. Ultimately, WE are responsible for our own careers. Part of that means managing your personnel files accurately.

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