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Lost to History

To fulfill a promise he made to his son, Jim Butler needed to know how he died. But when he asked how 24-year-old Jake Butler was killed, the Army couldn’t produce a report from the field describing what happened. More »

Field records from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, needed to document combat injuries, disability claims and the simple history of both wars, were never kept, were destroyed or simply cannot be found, a ProPublica-Seattle Times investigation has found.
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Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort

Army Secretary John McHugh confirms to members of Congress that commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan failed to keep required field records: “Steps are being taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Congressmen to Hagel: Where Are the Missing War Records?

Unsatisfied with answers so far, leaders of the House veterans’ panel ask defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to explain why Army units can’t find field records from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans’ Advocate to Congress: Reconstruct Missing War Records

A House subcommittee on veterans' affairs hears from veterans groups after a ProPublica-Seattle Times investigation revealing that dozens of Army units failed to keep sufficient records of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. House Subcommittee Sets Hearing on Missing War Records

The session follows a ProPublica-Seattle Times investigation revealing that dozens of military units deployed in the war on terror have destroyed or failed to keep field reports of their activities.

How Did Scores of Military Units Lose Combat Records in the War on Terror? A Q&A With Peter Sleeth

A Reddit discussion with investigative reporter Peter Sleeth on the problem of missing combat records and the impact on veterans’ benefits and historians.

Ask Peter Sleeth Anything about Missing Iraq, Afghanistan Field Records (Reddit Chat)

Over the last decade, the U.S. military has destroyed or failed to keep millions of field records from Iraq and Afghanistan. Join reporter Peter Sleeth for a discussion on the missing documents.

A Son Lost in Iraq, but Where Is the Casualty Report?

To fulfill a promise he made to his son, Jim Butler needed to know how he died. But when he asked how 24-year-old Jake Butler was killed, the Army couldn’t produce a report from the field describing what happened.

How This Story Came About

Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

Field records from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, needed to document combat injuries, disability claims and the simple history of both wars, were never kept, were destroyed or simply cannot be found, a ProPublica-Seattle Times investigation has found.

Are You A Veteran Who Can’t Obtain Your Military Records?

Help ProPublica investigate missing field records from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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