Those who have been discharged, separated or retired should keep multiple copies of the DD214--your discharge paperwork. It's the most important military document in your records. This is proof of your military status, whether you are retired, separated, discharged. It also displays the nature of your discharge, and what your status is with the National Guard or a Reserve Unit.
The lack of a DD-214 form can bring some of your VA processes to a halt, but fortunately you can get a replacement copy by writing to the National Personnel Records Center. Enclose a completed form SF-180 along with a letter stating the reason for your request, you name, rank, social security number. If you are a recently discharged military member who separated or retired at an overseas location, remember that your DD-214 form may be delayed overseas for up to a year before it becomes part of the National Record Center archives. If this is the case, you contact the orderly room, First Sergeant or Sergeant Major in charge of where you separated or retired and request a copy directly from your final base.