DISCHARGE REVIEW BOARDS
Our Experienced Military Law Attorneys Can Represent You
The discharge review boards were created in the wake of World War II. There was an influx of service members exiting the service with undesirable discharges. Their only recourse was the federal courts. The strain on the courts helped drive Congress to create Discharge Review Boards (DRB) under 10 U.S.C. 1553.
The DRB will not review discharges resulting from the sentence of a general court-martial. Those cases must be submitted to the Board for Correction of Military Records under 10 U.S.C. 1552. We use a similar process for preparing those cases.
Generally, the boards review the propriety and equity of an applicant's discharge. Propriety is basically a question as to whether or not the military followed the proper regulations in processing your discharge. If there are irregularities in your discharge, a legal consult is definitely advisable. The question of equity is simply a question of fairness. Your post-service conduct can play a role in examining whether your characterization of service was appropriate.
There is a 15-year statute of limitations because Congress wanted to give people an opportunity to make amends for anything they may have done in service. Docket Number ND97-01164. Sometimes the board members need to be reminded that we want people to have their military discharges upgraded where they have been good citizens.
Make sure you have a dedicated military law attorney representing you before the Discharge Review Board. Call Daniel Conway & Associates today at (757) 401-6365.
Ordering Records for a Military Discharge Review Board
One of the first steps we take in reviewing a case is to assist you in obtaining your military records. Once we have your records, we conduct a full review of your service records. We may also want examine your medical records if relevant. Our firm is unique to other military law firms because we handle a substantial number of medical cases. So we have a solid understanding of the medicine, psychology, and disability system.
- SF 180 (National Archives Homepage) (Online National Archives Records Request)
- Navy OMPF Records Request
- Army CID Records Request | Privacy Act Form
- NCIS Records Request | NCIS Privacy Act Form
- OSI Privacy Act Request | OSI Certification of Identity
Discharge Review Board Consideration of Propriety & Equity
Discharges are presumed proper unless there is an error of fact, law, procedure, or discretion that exists associated with the discharge at the time of issuance. (DoDI 1332.28 E.4.2.1). The firm is surgical in our search for errors of fact, law, procedure, or discretion.
Under DODI 1332.28 E4.3.3. Equity, a discharge is equitable unless relief is warranted based upon consideration of Applicant’s service record and other evidence submitted to the review board. Quality of service is evidenced by factors like Applicant’s service history, awards and decorations, disciplinary actions, level of responsibility, acts of merit, post-service conduct, and other mitigating factors. Among the many factors this board considers for the assessment of the quality of service is “outstanding post-service conduct that may provide a basis for a more thorough understanding of the performance of the applicant during the period of service that is the subject of the discharge review.” See DODI 1332.28, E22.214.171.124.10.
When we are looking at equitable factors and post-service conduct, the Department of Defense Instruction clearly spells out the factors that the boards consider. DoDI 1332.28 E.4.3.
The factors include:
- Service history, date of enlistment, period of enlistment, highest rank achieved, conduct or efficiency ratings
- Awards and decorations
- Letters of commendation OR reprimand
- Combat service and wounds received in action
- Promotions or demotions
- Level of responsibility
- Other acts of merit
- Length of service subject to review
- Prior military service and discharges
- Convictions by courts-martial
- Records of NJP
- Periods of unauthorized absence
- Discharges in lieu of court-martial
- Age, educational level, and aptitude scores
- Family and personal problems in extenuation and mitigation
- Arbitrary or capricious action by the commander
On 3 September 2014, the Secretary of Defense directed the Service Discharge Review Boards (DRBs) and Service Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NRs) to carefully consider revised PTSD criteria, detailed medical considerations, and mitigating factors when taking action on applications from former service members administratively discharged UOTHC and who have been diagnosed with PTSD by a competent mental health professional representing a civilian healthcare provider in order to determine if it would be appropriate to upgrade the characterization of applicant's service.
In PTSD and medical related cases, you can expect a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist to be on the board. Our experience is that there is usually a forensic psychiatrist on the board. It definitely helps to have an attorney on your side that can speak the language and discuss the issues that a doctor will be interested. This is especially true if there was a substance abuse issue related to your discharge.
In a PTSD case, the board will be asking the following questions:
- Is it reasonable to determine that PTSD or PTSD-related conditions existed at the time of discharge?
- Does the applicant's record contain documentation of the occurrence of a traumatic event during the period in service?
- Does the applicant's military record contain documentation of a diagnosis of PTSD or PTSD-related symptoms?
- Did the applicant provide documentation of a diagnosis of PTSD or PTSD-related symptoms rendered by a competent mental health professional representing a civilian healthcare provider?
- Was the applicant's condition determined to be incurred ruing or aggravated by military service?
- Do mitigating factors exist in the applicant's case?
- Did the applicant have a history of misconduct prior to the occurrence of the traumatic event?
- Was the applicant's misconduct premeditated?
- How serious was the misconduct?
Questions Sure To Be Asked at the DRB Personal Appearance
The Army Discharge Review Board will nearly always ask variations of the following questions:
- Why do you want your military discharge upgraded?
- How has your discharge affected you?
- Why should we upgrade your military discharge?
There are also other specific issues that certain members of the board may show an interest in. For instance, the Navy and Marine Corps Discharge Review Board often has very specific lines of questioning in cases where the service member waived his or her right to the board in exchange for an other than honorable discharge. It will certainly help for you to be ready for those questions.
Each of the boards for the different branches also conducts the hearings in slightly different ways that can influence how you may decide to present your case.
Daniel Conway & Associates is one of the most experienced firms in the country representing service members before the various military Discharge Review Boards. There is significant value in consulting with a military discharge attorney that practices before the discharge review boards frequently. We keep up with changes in the board and keep the current mindset of the board in mind when representing our clients.
Call (757) 401-6365 to meet with one of our military criminal defense attorneys if you are planning to appear before the Discharge Review Board.
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Daniel Conway Partner
For the better part of the last decade, Mr. Conway has become a nationally recognized resource on military justice. Daniel Conway is a former Marine staff sergeant and captain. He is a proud graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and University of New Hampshire School of Law. Mr. Conway is recently a former President of the New Hampshire Bar Association Military Law Section and a current member of the DC Bar. Mr. Conway has also written a book on Military Crimes and Defenses that is near publication with a major ...Read More
Gary Myers Partner
Gary Myers is a former JAG officer and one of the most experienced civilian military defense counsel in the country. He attended the University of Delaware where he received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering in 1965. Gary Myers served as president of his freshman, sophomore and junior classes and went on in his senior year to be president of the student body. Gary Myers then attended the Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, and graduated in 1968. Gary Myers paid his way through law school by ...Read More
Brian Pristera Attorney
A Richmond, Virginia native, Mr. Pristera graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After spending some time as a DuPont engineer, specifically working on Kevlar manufacturing and ballistics applications, Mr. Pristera attended law school at the University of New Hampshire. On July 4, 2010, Mr. Pristera was commissioned in the U.S. Army in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Mr. Pristera spent almost six years on active duty. He spent just over three of those years in criminal defense, ...Read More
Joseph Galli Attorney
Originally from Portland, Maine, Mr. Galli attended Elmira College in New York on a four-year Army ROTC Scholarship. At Elmira, he double majored in Business Administration and Public Affairs. Mr. Galli graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree and was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. Mr. Galli began his study of the law in 2009 at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. There, he focused on litigation and honed his advocacy skills as a member of the Advanced Trial ...Read More
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