We always aim to provide feedback on the discharge review boards after a personal appearance. The composition of the board changes regularly and success can sometimes be personality dependent on the membership of the board.
On 7 November, Mr. Pristera represented a former Army National Guard NCO in a request for a discharge upgrade. The NCO was mobilized for deployment to Kuwait. While there, sexual assault allegations were made against him by a female sergeant in his unit. As the case neared trial, he submitted a request for resignation in lieu of court-martial. The request was granted and he was separated with an other than honorable discharge.
Upon returning home, his civilian job with his state government was put in jeopardy because of the allegations, and the State Guard administratively separated him for the same misconduct.
The board was generally friendly and non-confrontational. The members consisted of Dr. (civ) S. (female), LTC K. COL B., COL H. (minority member), and COL L.
Dr. S. started off the questions with medical related questions. She seemed genuinely interested in highlighting helpful aspects of the applicant’s PTSD diagnosis. She asked detailed questions about his treatment progress and acknowledged that his attempt to suppress his condition and other medical problems was a common problem among infantry and special forces.
LTC K. was focused on the facts and allowing the applicant to speak. He did not ask many questions, but acknowledged that hearing from the applicant greatly helped them in making a decision.
COL B. seemed attentive but did not ask many questions at all. His primary concern was understanding exactly how much time the Applicant had spent in a deployed environment.
COL H. had a serious deportment at first but later smiled an joked with Applicant. He had a number of questions about the assault allegations. One of the allegations related to touching the female on the leg – one of the few acts that the Applicant admitted to doing in a friendly, non-sexual manner. COL H. questioned whether Applicant would have done the same gesture with a male Soldier. When Applicant stated that he would have, COL H. commented that “it is a different army.”
COL L., the president of the board, was likewise very calm, friendly, and fact oriented. He asked about the prior relationship between the Applicant and the alleged victim. Despite this being a chapter 10 case, the board did not press Applicant on why they should grant an upgrade when it was a voluntary request for separation. Mr. Pristera engaged in a form of direct examination with Applicant after the board finished their questions to give Applicant a chance to explain his though process in requesting the resignation. The board then allowed Mr. Pristera to offer a brief closing statement.