AR20140000059

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 21 August 2014

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20140000059

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 correction of his DD Form 214 (Armed Forces of the United States Report of Transfer or Discharge) to show award of the Purple Heart.

2. The applicant states:

a. on 12 December 1966, he incurred an injury to his wrist when his company engaged enemy forces and were under and returning fire while assigned to the 175th Assault Helicopter Company in Vinh Long, Vietnam, with duties as a crew chief/door gunner on an armed gunship.

b. he does not recall the reason for the gun exploding, but it could have been the result of an enemy round hitting it or a defective round. Either way, the machinegun he was firing at the time exploded and sent shrapnel into his right wrist area.

c. immediately following his injury he was evacuated, and upon his arrival at the base he was taken to the medical detachment. There, the shrapnel was removed from his wrist area and an x-ray was taken to ensure all of the fragments were removed. Following the removal, he returned to duty.

d. since his injury, the grip in his right hand has become weaker and he believes this weakness is responsible for an injury that occurred to his right ring finger when he was starting his lawn mower and lost his grip. As time passed be began experiencing tingling in his fingers after prolonged use of his right hand.
3. The applicant provides:

* a self-authored statement
* a radiographic (X-Ray) report
* his Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Statement of the Case

CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE:

1. Title10, U.S.Code, section1552(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’s record shows he was inducted into the Army of the United States on 14 July 1965.

3. His DAForm20 (Enlisted Qualification Record) shows in:

a. item 31 (Foreign Service), he served in Vietnam from 25 January 1966 to 27 April 1967;

b. item38 (Record of Assignments), he was assigned to:

(1) Company A, 502d Aviation Battalion, from 28 January to 22 September 1966; and

(2) 175th Aviation Company from 23 September 1966 to 23 April 1967.

c. item 38, no entry indicating he was in a patient status;

d. item 40 (Wounds), is blank; and

e. item 41 (Awards and Decorations), does not list award of the Purple Heart.

4. He submitted an illegible copy of a radiographic report, dated 12 December 1966.
5. On 27 April 1967, he was released from active duty. He had completed
1 year, 11 months, and 14 days of active service. His DD Form 214 shows he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device (1960), 2 Overseas Service Bars, and the Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters.

6. He submitted two pages of his VA Statement of the Case, dated 17 October 2013, wherein he highlighted:

* his service treatment record shows he has a four-inch scar over the dorsum of the right hand in October 1966
* based on examination findings, the examiner diagnosed wrist shrapnel and right wrist degenerative joint disease

7. Review of the Adjutant General’s Office Casualty Division’s Vietnam casualty listing does not show the applicant as a casualty.

8. Review of the Awards and Decorations Computer Assisted Retrieval System (ADCARS) maintained by the U.S.Army Human Resources Command Military Awards Branch, which is an index of general orders issued during the Vietnam era between 1965 and 1973, failed to reveal any orders for the PurpleHeart pertaining to the applicant.

9. There are no medical records in his official military personnel file that show he was wounded as a result of hostile action in Vietnam.

10. Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards) states the PurpleHeart is awarded for a wound sustained in action against an enemy or as a result of hostile action. Substantiating evidence must be provided to verify the wound was the result of hostile action, the wound must have required treatment by medical personnel, and the medical treatment must have been made a matter of official record. Examples of injuries or wounds which clearly do not justify award of the Purple Heart are as follows:

* Frostbite or trench foot injuries
* Heat stroke
* Food poisoning not caused by enemy agents
* Chemical, biological, or nuclear agents not released by the enemy
* Battle fatigue
* Disease not directly caused by enemy agents
* Accidents, to include explosive, aircraft, vehicular, and other accidental wounding not related to or caused by enemy action
* Self-inflicted wounds, except when in the heat of battle and not involving gross negligence
* Post-traumatic stress disorders
* Jump injuries not caused by enemy action

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

1. The applicant’s request for award of the PurpleHeart has been carefully considered and it was determined that there is insufficient evidence to support his request.

2. There is no corroborating evidence of record which shows he was injured or wounded as a result of enemy action, that the wound required medical treatment, and the treatment was made a matter of official record. The applicant’s name is not listed on the Vietnam casualty listing or in ADCARS. There is no evidence in his service personnel records that shows he was wounded or injured as a result of hostile action or treated for such wounds.

3. The X-Ray report the applicant provides is mostly illegible It is dated 12 December 1966; however, the VA noted that he had a four-inch scar on his right hand in October 1966, two months prior to the date he states he was wounded.

4. In view of the foregoing, there is an insufficient evidentiary basis for granting the applicant’s requested relief.

BOARD VOTE:
________ ________ ________ GRANT FULL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT PARTIAL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT FORMAL HEARING

____X____ ___X_____ ___X_____ DENY APPLICATION

BOARD DETERMINATION/RECOMMENDATION:
The evidence presented does not demonstrate the existence of a probable error or injustice. Therefore, the Board determined that the overall merits of this case

are insufficient as a basis for correction of the records of the individual concerned.

___________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) AR20140000059

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ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20140000059

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