Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 26. Office of County Clerk

Records Of Discharge From Military Service

7-4-2614. Records of discharge from military service. (1) It is the duty of the county clerk of any county of this state to record, without charge and in a book kept for that purpose, the document of discharge of an honorably discharged person who served with the United States forces upon that person's request. It is not the clerk's duty to file the document.

(2) A record of a military discharge is confidential information as defined in 2-6-1002 and is protected from disclosure, except as provided in this section. A military discharge document may be disclosed only to:

(a) the service member for whom the document was recorded;

(b) if the service member is deceased, the next of kin of the service member or a mortuary, as defined in 10-2-111, for the purposes of securing the burial benefits to which the service member is entitled;

(c) a veterans' service officer or a veterans' service organization, as defined in 10-2-111;

(d) the veterans' affairs division of the Montana department of military affairs;

(e) any person with written authorization from the service member or from the next of kin of the service member, if the service member is deceased; or

(f) a person who presents a written request for a military discharge document with a discharge date that is 62 years or more prior to the date on which the request is made and that is a public record under 5 U.S.C. 552a and implementing federal regulations. However, if the military discharge document contains a social security number, that number must be redacted before the document is released.

(3) If an original discharge document was inadvertently filed and the county clerk still retains the document in its original form, upon the written request of the service member or of the service member's next of kin if the service member is deceased, the clerk shall return the filed document to the service member or to the service member's next of kin if the service member is deceased.

(4) For purposes of this section:

(a) "file" means to store in original form; and

(b) "record" means to make and keep a copy from which a certified original copy can be reproduced.

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 211, L. 1921; re-en. Sec. 5654, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 5654, R.C.M. 1935; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 54, L. 1943; Sec. 77-801, R.C.M. 1947; amd. and redes. 16-2927 by Sec. 3, Ch. 94, L. 1974; R.C.M. 1947, 16-2927; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 116, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 165, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 34, Ch. 348, L. 2015; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 311, L. 2021.