AR20130019437

BOARD DATE: 15 July 2014

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20130019437

THE BOARD CONSIDERED THE FOLLOWING EVIDENCE:

1. Application for correction of military records (with supporting documents provided, if any).

2. Military Personnel Records and advisory opinions (if any).

THE APPLICANT’S REQUEST, STATEMENT, AND EVIDENCE:

1. The applicant requests, in effect, correction of his DD Form 214 (Armed Forces of the United States Report of Transfer or Discharge) to show 36 awards of the Air Medal (AM), the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with Rifle and Pistol Bars, and campaign participation credit for the 1968 Tet Counteroffensive.

2. The applicant states he served as a Crew Chief while assigned to the 61st Assault Helicopter Company (AHC), 268th Combat Aviation Battalion (CAB), 1st Aviation Brigade in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) from “20 May” 1967 to
3 December 1968. He states he:

* accrued in excess of 100 flight hours during the 12 months he served in the RVN
* served during the 1968 Tet Counteroffensive
* qualified for the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with the M-16 Rifle and .38 Caliber Pistol

3. The applicant provides copies of his:

* DA Form 20 (Enlisted Qualification Record)
* DD Form 214
* DD Form 215 (Correction to DD Form 214)
* flight hours log and three letters in support

CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE:

1. Title 10, U.S. Code, section 1552(b), provides that applications for correction of military records must be filed within 3years after discovery of the alleged error or injustice. This provision of law also allows the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) to excuse an applicant’s failure to timely file within the 3-year statute of limitations if the ABCMR determines it would be in the interest of justice to do so. While it appears the applicant did not file within the time frame provided in the statute of limitations, the ABCMR has elected to conduct a substantive review of this case and, only to the extent relief, if any, is granted, has determined it is in the interest of justice to excuse the applicant’s failure to timely file. In all other respects, there are insufficient bases to waive the statute of limitations for timely filing.

2. The applicant enlisted in the Regular Army on 31 October 1966 for a period of 3years. He was awarded military occupational specialty 67N (UH-1 Helicopter Repairman). He was promoted to specialist five (SP5)/pay grade E-5 on
17 July 1968.

3. The applicant’s DAForm20 shows in:

a. item29 (Qualification in Arms):

* Marksman, M-14 Rifle
* Expert, .38 Caliber Pistol
* Expert, M-16 Rifle

b. item31 (Foreign Service), he served in Vietnam from 2 November 1967 through 15 December 1968;

c. item38 (Record of Assignments), he was assigned to the 61st Aviation Company from 21 November 1967 through 2 December 1968;

d. item41 (Awards and Decorations):

* National Defense Service Medal
* Aircraft Crewman Badge
* Vietnam Service Medal
* AM
* RVN Campaign Medal with Device (1960)
* 2 Overseas Service Bars
* RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation
* Army Good Conduct Medal (1st Award)
* Marksman Marksmanship Qualification Badge with M-14 Rifle Bar

4. Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Special Orders Number 188, dated 7 August 1967, awarded the applicant the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with (M-16A1) Rifle Bar.

5. A USARV Form 157-R (Recommendation for Decoration for Valor or Merit)
shows the applicant was recommended for award of the AM for the period
1 December to 25 December 1967.

6. Headquarters, 1st Aviation Brigade, General Orders Number 795, dated
16 February 1968, awarded the applicant the AM for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight in the RVN from 1 December to 25 December 1967.

7. Headquarters, 1st Aviation Brigade, General Orders Number 3363, dated
16 July 1969, awarded the applicant the AM (1st Oak Leaf Cluster) for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight in the RVN on
19 October 1968.

8. The applicant’s DD Form 214 shows he was honorably released from active duty on 30 October 1969.

a. He completed 3 years of active service this period that included 1 year,
1 month, and 14 days of foreign service.

b. Item 24 (Decorations, Medals, Badges, Commendations, Citations and Campaign Ribbons Awarded or Authorized), as corrected by a DD Form 215, dated 14 November 2008, shows the:

* Marksman Marksmanship Qualification Badge with M-14 Rifle Bar
* Vietnam Service Medal with 5 bronze service stars
* RVN Campaign Medal with Device (1960)
* RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation
* AM with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster
* Aircraft Crewman Badge
* 2 Overseas Service Bars
* Army Good Conduct Medal (1st Award)
* National Defense Service Medal

9. A review of the applicant’s military service records failed to reveal any flight records. The review also failed to reveal any additional recommendations for award of the AM or that he was awarded any additional awards of the AM.
10. A review of the Awards and Decorations Computer-Assisted Retrieval System, an index of general orders issued during the Vietnam-era between 1965 and 1973 maintained by the U.S.Army Human Resources Command, Awards and Decorations Branch, failed to reveal copies of any additional award orders pertaining to the applicant.

11. In support of his application the applicant provides the following documents:

a. Flight Hour Log (4 pages), covering the period December 1967 through November1968, prepared by the applicant on 10 September 2013, that shows, in pertinent part, the following:

Total Base Quotient or
Type of Mission Hours Divisor Total AM__

Combat Assault 484 25 19.4
Combat Support 829 50 16.6
Administration 122 100 1.2
Totals 1,435 N/A 36.2 or 36 Air Medals

b. Three letters of support submitted by:

(1) Major General Orlando E. G——-, U.S. Army (Retired), former commander of 268th CAB during the latter part of 1968 through early 1969. He describes the composition and mission of the brigade. He acknowledges, “[a]lthough I do not personally remember [the applicant], I can say with reasonable certainty that if he was a crew chief in the 61st AHC during the 1968-1969 timeframe, he would have logged a great number of both combat and combat support flight hours and deserves to get credit for them in the multiple awards of the AM which he earned and is entitled to.”

(2) Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Richard L. E———, U.S. Army (Retired), former operations officer of the applicant’s unit during the period of service under review. He states it was his responsibility to certify the flight hours for each crew member and to submit the documentation to higher headquarters for award of the AM. In November 1968, on the last day before he transferred back to the United States, a large number of the submissions were received that had been returned by the 268th CAB for resubmission on a new form. He transferred them to his replacement and emphasized the importance of resubmitting them in a timely manner. He states that, as far as he knows, the documentation was resubmitted and approved. He supports additional awards of the AM to the applicant.

(3) LTC David E.R——-, U.S. Army (Retired), former assistant platoon leader and service platoon commander of the applicant’s unit during the period of service under review. He offers a summary of the unit’s mission and states, “[the applicant] was one of our real workhorses and it was really disheartening to hear that he did not receive adequate recognition for the many hours he flew in the left rear seat (crew chief) position.” He adds, “[a]fter reviewing [the applicant’s] diary of flight time, I find it to be accurate and support action to correct his military record.”

12. Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards) provides policy, criteria, and administrative instructions concerning military awards and decorations.

a. The Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) is awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States for qualifying service in Vietnam after 3July 1965 through 28March 1973. A bronze service star will be awarded for wear on the VSM for participation in each credited campaign. One silver service star may be worn in lieu of 5 bronze service stars.

b. TableB-1 contains a list of Vietnam Conflict campaigns and it shows that during the applicant’s service in Vietnam, participation credit was awarded for the following campaigns:

* Vietnam Counteroffensive PhaseIII (1June 1967- 29January 1968)
* Tet Counteroffensive (30 January – 1 April 1968)
* Vietnam Counteroffensive PhaseIV (2 April – 30 June 1968)
* Vietnam Counteroffensive PhaseV (1July – 1 November 1968)
* Vietnam Counteroffensive PhaseVI (2 November 1968 – 22 February 1969)

c. The AM is awarded in time of war for heroism and for meritorious achievement or service while participating in aerial flight. This award is primarily intended for personnel on flying status. As with all personal decorations, formal recommendations, approval through the chain of command, and announcement in orders are required.

d. U.S. Army Vietnam (USARV) Regulation 672-1 (Decorations and Awards) provided guidelines for award of the AM for sustained operations l. It stated passenger personnel who did not participate in an air assault were not eligible for the award based upon sustained operations. It defined terms and provided guidelines for the award based upon the number and types of missions or hours. Twenty-five Category I missions (air assault and equally dangerous missions) and accrual of a minimum of 25 hours of flight time while engaged in Category I missions was the standard established for which sustained operations were deemed worthy of recognition by an award of the AM. However, the regulation was clear that these guidelines were considered only a departure point.

(1) Combat missions were divided into three categories. A category I mission was defined as a mission performed in an assault role in which a hostile force was engaged and was characterized by delivery of ordnance against the hostile force or delivery of friendly troops or supplies into the immediate combat operations area. A category II mission was characterized by support rendered a friendly force immediately before, during, or immediately following a combat operation. A category III mission was characterized by support of friendly forces not connected with an immediate combat operation, but which must have been accomplished at altitudes which made the aircraft at times vulnerable to small arms fire or under hazardous weather or terrain conditions.

(2) To be recommended for award of the AM, an individual must have completed a minimum of 25 category I missions, 50 category II missions, or 100 category III missions. Since various types of missions would have been completed in accumulating flight time toward award of an AM for sustained operations, different computations would have had to be made to combine category I, II, and III flight times and adjust it to a common denominator.

(3) Appendix IV required that recommendations for award of the AM for crewmembers or non-crewmembers on flying status would be submitted on USARV Form 157-R. The recommendation for award must also have stated that the individual “met the required number of missions and hours for award of the AM”; that “the individual has not caused, either directly or indirectly, an aircraft abort, late take-off, accident or incident”; and the “individual’s accomplishments and service throughout the period have reflected meritorious performance with no instance of non-professionalism, mediocrity, or failure to display an aggressive spirit.”

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

1. The applicant contends that his DD Form 214 should be corrected to show
36 awards of the AM, the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with Rifle and Pistol Bars, and campaign participation credit for the Tet Counteroffensive.

2. The information provided in the letters the applicant provides in support of his application offer insufficient evidence to support any additional awards of the AM.

a. The evidence of record shows the flight hour documentation the applicant provides was created by the applicant from a diary on 10 September 2013. This current document is insufficient as an evidentiary basis for any additional awards of the AM.

b. There is no evidence of record of any official flight records pertaining to the applicant.

c. General orders awarded the applicant the AM for meritorious achievement during the period 1 December 1967 to 25 December 1967. General orders also awarded him the AM (1st Oak Leaf Cluster) for meritorious achievement on
19 October 1968. Thus, it may be concluded that the applicant was recognized with the appropriate number of Air Medals during his overseas tour in the RVN from 1 December 1967 through (as late as) 19 October 1968.

d. The applicant departed the RVN on 3 December 1968.

e. There are no orders or other official documentary evidence that shows the applicant was recommended for or awarded any additional awards of the AM. Therefore, there is an insufficient evidentiary basis to support award of any additional awards of the AM to the applicant.

3. The applicant qualified for award of the VSM and he served in five campaigns during his service in Vietnam, including the Tet Counteroffensive conducted in early 1968. His DD Form 214 shows the VSM with five bronze service stars. Thus, he is not entitled to correction of his records in this instance. However, the applicant is advised that he may wear one silver service star on his already-awarded VSM in lieu of the five bronze service stars.

4. Special orders awarded the applicant the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with (M-16A1) Rifle Bar. In addition, records show he was authorized award of the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with (.38 Caliber) Pistol Bar. Thus, he is entitled to correction of his records to show the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with Rifle and Pistol Bars.

5. In view of the foregoing, it would be appropriate to correct the applicant’s records to show his awards and decorations, as recommended below.

BOARD VOTE:

________ ________ ________ GRANT FULL RELIEF

__X______ ___X_____ __X___ GRANT PARTIAL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT FORMAL HEARING

________ ________ ________ DENY APPLICATION

BOARD DETERMINATION/RECOMMENDATION:

1. The Board determined that the evidence presented was sufficient to warrant a recommendation for partial relief. As a result, the Board recommends that all Department of the Army records of the individual concerned be corrected by adding to item 24 of his DDForm214 the “Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge with (M-16A1) Rifle and (.38 Caliber) Pistol Bars.”

2. The Board further determined that the evidence presented is insufficient to warrant a portion of the requested relief. As a result, the Board recommends denial of so much of the application that pertains to additional awards of the Air Medal and named campaign participation credit.

_______ _X _______ ___
CHAIRPERSON

I certify that herein is recorded the true and complete record of the proceedings of the Army Board for Correction of Military Records in this case.

ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20130019437

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ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20130019437

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