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Last period of service in armed forces

Codes and Frequencies

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VETLAST identifies the most recent period of service for individuals who served in the military forces of the United States (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard) in time of war or peace, but who were not in the Armed Forces at the time of the survey.

Individuals were asked if they had ever served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and when that period of service occurred. Information on whether an individual served on active duty is reported by VETSTAT. If an individual was currently a member of the Armed Forces, that information is reported by AFNOW.

An individual could serve during more than one wartime era, but information was coded only for the most recent period of service until 2005. This is the information reported by VETLAST, which is comparable over time. Beginning in August 2005, veterans could report up to four periods of service. VET1 is the first of these variables and is an alternative coding for VETLAST. It is similar to VETLAST, but differs in that it is harmonized with three additional variables that identify earlier periods of military service. These variables are VET2, VET3, and VET4.

VETLAST along with other information on military service and veteran status was drawn from the final CPS interview, conducted 2-5 months before the ATUS interview. Veteran status and military service were not updated at the time of the ATUS interview.


From 2003 through August 2005, periods of military service were identified as: Vietnam Era (August 1964-April 1975); Korean War (June 1950-January 1955); World War II (September 1940-July 1947); and Other Service (all other periods). New categories were introduced in August 2005. Category availability after August 2005 is as follows: November 1941 or earlier; World War II (December 1941-December 1946); Peacetime Period B (January 1947-June 1950); Korean War (July 1950-January 1955); Peacetime Period A (February 1955-July 1964); Vietnam Era (August 1964-April 1975); May 1975-July 1990; August 1990-August 2001; and September 2001 or later.


  • 2003-2005: CPS household members age 15+ who are not currently serving in the Armed Forces.
  • 2006-2018 2020 2021 2022: CPS household members age 17+ who are not currently serving in the Armed Forces but are veterans.


  • 2003-2022