According to Title 18, US Code, Part I, Chapter 33, Section 701, Official Badges, Identification Cards, Other Insignia, the photocopying of military identification is illegal and violations of this law are punishable by fine or imprisonment.
The pertinent part of Section 701 says that any reproduction, replication, manufacturing, or imitation of any government identification or insignia will be punished by a monetary fine, imprisonment up to six months or both.
As noted in the security bulletin recently distributed throughout the Air Force, many military members, family members and Department of Defense employees are unaware of this law. Many commercial establishments ask for photocopies of military identification as proof that an individual is entitled to a discount or other benefit. However, this request is a violation of 18 USC 33 § 701. Commercial establishments may request to see a military ID, but cannot photocopy it for their records.
“This is important for anyone with a military ID to know,” said Greg Call, base operational security manager. “Commercial companies will ask for it, but under no circumstances should you let them photocopy your ID.”
Call said businesses like cell phone companies, hotels or car companies may ask to photocopy a service member’s ID for their records when issuing a discount; however, this is explicitly against a code that takes precedence over any business practice.
“If a place insists on photocopying your ID you should contact their corporate offices,” said Call. “Never let anyone copy your card because you don’t know what they’ll do with the information on it.”
Furthermore, Call said all service member should protect their ID at all times and inventory their wallet to ensure they’re not carrying anything that, if lost, could cause them undue consternation or difficulty.
There are several alternative options for providing a commercial entity proof of service:
State driver’s license or other photo ID.
Written statement of verification of military service from member’s chain of command (no form letter provided; just a signed letter confirming member’s current military status).
Proof of Service letter-found in vMPF under Self-Service actions/Personal Data- confirms service dates.
Statement of Service from local personnel office-signed letter confirming military status.
Note: If using a letter of service verification, ensure member’s Social Security number is not included.
Compiled by 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs.