From the (Biloxi, Miss.) SunHerald of June 8, 2005:
Archives to open sealed military documentsFor more see the Records Center website.
OVERLAND, Mo. - When Elvis Presley entered the Army, a fretful public launched a letter-writing campaign.
"Will you please, please be so sweet and kind as to ask Ike to bring Elvis Presley back to us from the Army? We need him in our entertainment world," pleaded one 1958 letter from a Sacramento, Calif., couple to then-first lady Mamie Eisenhower.
The anxious missive is among documents included in the 1.2 million military personnel files the National Archives will open to the public Saturday for the first time.
Among the documents are records related to famous politicians, military leaders - and at least one rock 'n' roll star. The bulk, however, relate to former enlisted personnel in the Navy from 1885 to 1939, or in the Marines from 1906 to 1939.
Bryan McGraw, the [National Personnel Records Center]'s assistant director for archival programs, said there are about 56 million records relating to inactive military personnel at the center. They usually are available only to the veteran, next of kin, the agency that created the record, or by approved special request.
The Defense Department and the National Archives Records Administration agreed in 1999 to work to release some documents because of interest from the public and researchers.
"I think those records will help the average American trying to explore genealogy, a family past," said Michael Pavkovic, the diplomacy and military studies director at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu.
[Read the whole story]