IN THE CASE OF: Mr.
BOARD DATE: 4 February 2015
CASE NUMBER: AR20140001758
Board Determination and Directed Action
After carefully examining the applicant’s record of service during the period of enlistment under review, and considering the Discussion and Recommendation which follows, the Board determined the discharge was both proper and equitable and voted to deny relief.
I certify that herein is recorded the true and complete record of the proceedings of the Department of the Army Discharge Review Board in this case.
THE APPLICANTS REQUEST AND STATEMENT:
1. The applicant requests an upgrade of his discharge from general, under honorable conditions to honorable and a change to his narrative reason for discharge.
2. The applicant states, in effect, that his misconduct was the result of not receiving support of members of his chain of command. He contends he was a model Soldier throughout his career. He held an E-5 position in Korea as an E-2; in 2008 he was given the title of section chief (E-6 position) as a SPC; he was also selected for excellence in 2008 and to go to Toby Hannah Army Depot, in Scranton PA. He was the first Soldier in the Army selected to test the new AFATDS software. As a result of wife leaving him and taking their five year old he turned to alcohol as depression set in. He realized he needed mental help but was denied by his first sergeant and when he was able to seek help the Fort Bragg Mental Health Office was overwhelmed and had a six month waiting period just to be seen for an evaluation. He was denied the ability to go to a traffic court appearance by the first sergeant because of training which result in him spending two weeks in a civilian jail waiting to see a judge. He contends he was suffering from being severely depressed, not getting any sleep, suffering from paranoid, anxiety, PTSD, and rage and couldn’t get any help to literally save his life. He became suicidal, but had to maintain his appearance of strength and moral for his Soldiers. Eventually he got to the point where he felt he had to leave and try and seek help on his own; he went AWOL, a decision he regrets, but believes it probably saved his life. He contends that after his deployment and in a matter of six months he went from a model NCO and career Soldier to a depressed and hollow shell of a man. He was defeated mentally and physically at Fort Bragg, but was free to an extent while he was AWOL. Eventually he met some really good people, and received a lot of help and support. The depression got a little better, and he started sleeping more frequently. The thoughts of suicide were all but gone, but the damage was done. He eventually called one of his old Soldiers who picked him up. He believes he was still a valuable asset and he clearly demonstrated that he was still competent to perform his duties. The appeals were denied unfortunately. He understands the multitude of reasons why going AWOL was wrong, but he needed help for serious issues that his unit, and the Army, failed to provide. He never failed his Soldiers in their times of need, and he felt betrayed by his command. At the time his choices seemed very clear. Suicide or go AWOL and attempt to get his mind right and try and find peace with his demons. He felt that his career demonstrated that he was far from a problem Soldier and that he served his country with honor, dedication, and integrity, despite one isolated incident of incredible bad-judgment.
DISCHARGE UNDER REVIEW INFORMATION:
a. Application Receipt Date: 24 January 2014
b. Discharge received: General, Under Honorable Conditions
c. Date of Discharge: 30 April 2013
d. Reason/Authority/SPD/RE Code: Misconduct (Serious Offense), AR 635-200, Chapter 14, paragraph 14-12c, JKQ, RE-3
e. Unit of assignment: B Btry, 3rd Bn, 321st FA Rgt, Fort Bragg, NC
f. Current Enlistment Date/Term: 22 July 2008, 6 years
g. Current Enlistment Service: 3 years, 5 months, 22 days
h. Total Service: 5 years, 7 month, 01 days (see summary of service)
i. Time Lost: 476 days
j. Previous Discharges: RA-060613-080721/HD
k. Highest Grade Achieved: E-5
l. Military Occupational Specialty: 13D10, Field Artillery Automation
m. GT Score: 109
n. Education: GED
o. Overseas Service: Southwest Asia, Korea
p. Combat Service: Afghanistan (100102-110101)
q. Decorations/Awards: ARCOM, AAM-2, AGCM, ACM-w/CS, NDSM, GWOTSM, KDSM, NPDR, ASR, OSR-2, NATO MDL, CAB
r. Administrative Separation Board: No
s. Performance Ratings: Yes
t. Counseling Statements: None
u. Prior Board Review: No
SUMMARY OF SERVICE:
The applicant enlisted in the Regular Army on 13 September 2006, for a period of 3 years and 19 weeks. On 22 July 2008, he reenlisted for a period of 6 years. He was 21 years old at the time of reenlistment and had a high school equivalency (GED). His record indicates he served in Afghanistan and Korea; achieved the rank of SGT/E-5; and earned several awards to include an ARCOM, two AAMs, and the AGCM. He was serving at Fort Bragg, NC when separation action was initiated. The applicant’s DD Form 214 shows his date entered AD this period as (060930), however, his enlistment contract indicates the date should be (060613).
SEPARATION FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES:
1. The evidence contained in the applicants service record indicates on 27 March 2013, the unit commander notified the applicant of initiation of separation action under the provisions of Chapter 14, paragraph 14-12c, AR 635-200, by reason of misconduct (serious offense) for going AWOL between (111019 and 130206) and failing to obey a lawful order (110326).
2. Based on the above misconduct, the unit commander recommended a general, under honorable conditions discharge and advised the applicant of his rights.
3. On 2 April 2013, the applicant waived his right to consult with legal counsel, was advised of the impact of the discharge action, and did not submit a statement on his own behalf. The unit commander subsequently recommended separation from the Army and waiver of further rehabilitative efforts. The intermediate commander reviewed the proposed action and recommended approval with a general, under honorable conditions discharge.
4. On 12 April 2013, the separation authority waived further rehabilitation and directed the applicants discharge with a characterization of service of general, under honorable conditions.
5. The applicant was discharged from the Army on 30 April 2013, with a characterization of service of general, under honorable conditions under the provisions of Chapter 14, paragraph 14-12c, AR 635-200, for misconduct (serious offense), with a Separation Program Designator code (SPD) of JKQ and an RE code of 3.
6. The applicants record of service indicates 476 days of time lost for going AWOL from 19 October 2011 until his return on 5 February 2013.
EVIDENCE OBTAINED FROM THE APPLICANT’S RECORD:
1. Article 15, imposed on 12 May 2011, for disobeying a lawful order by consuming alcohol (110326). The punishment consisted of forfeiture of $571.00 pay, extra duty and restriction for 14 days, and a written reprimand (CG).
2. Article 15, imposed on 27 March 2013, for going AWOL (111019-130206). The punishment consisted of reduction to E-4, forfeiture of $1,201.00 pay per month for two months ($1,201.00 suspended), and extra duty and restriction for 45 days (FG).
3. A Company Grade Officer Memorandum of Reprimand dated 12 May 2011, for being dropped from the Basic Airborne School because of his alcohol related incident.
4. Two negative counseling statements dated 29 March 2011 and 1 April 2011, for being intoxicated while at Airborne School and failure to obey a lawful order.
EVIDENCE SUBMITTED BY THE APPLICANT:
The applicant provided an online application, dated 16 January 2014.
None was provided with the application.
1. Army Regulation 635-200 sets forth the basic authority for the separation of enlisted personnel. Chapter 14 establishes policy and prescribes procedures for separating members for misconduct. Specific categories include minor disciplinary infractions, a pattern of misconduct, and commission of a serious offense, to include abuse of illegal drugs, convictions by civil authorities and desertion or being absent without leave. Action will be taken to separate a member for misconduct when it is clearly established that rehabilitation is impractical or unlikely to succeed. Army policy states that an under other than honorable conditions discharge is normally considered appropriate; however, a general, under honorable conditions or an honorable discharge may be granted.
2. Army Regulation 635-200, paragraph 3-7a, provides that an honorable discharge is a separation with honor and entitles the recipient to benefits provided by law. The honorable characterization is appropriate when the quality of the members service generally has met the standards of acceptable conduct and performance of duty for Army personnel, or is otherwise so meritorious that any other characterization would be clearly inappropriate. Whenever there is doubt, it is to be resolved in favor of the individual.
3. Army Regulation 635-200, paragraph 3-7b, provides that a general discharge is a separation from the Army under honorable conditions. When authorized, it is issued to a Soldier whose military record is satisfactory but not sufficiently meritorious to warrant an honorable discharge. A characterization of under honorable conditions may be issued only when the reason for the Soldiers separation specifically allows such characterization.
4. Army Regulation 635-5-1 (Separation Program Designator (SPD) Codes) provides the specific authorities (regulatory or directive), reasons for separating Soldiers from active duty, and the SPD codes to be entered on the DD Form 214. It identifies the SPD code of “JKQ” as the appropriate code to assign enlisted Soldiers who are discharged under the provisions of Army Regulation 635-200, Chapter 14, misconduct (serious offense).
5. The SPD Code/RE Code Cross Reference Table shows that a Soldier assigned an SPD Code of “JKQ” will be assigned an RE Code of 3.
DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATION:
1. The applicants request for an upgrade of the characterization of his discharge and a change to his narrative reason for discharge was carefully considered. However, after examining the applicants record of service, the documents and the issues submitted with the application, there are insufficient mitigating factors to merit an upgrade of the applicant’s discharge or a change to his narrative reason for discharge.
2. The record confirms the applicants discharge was appropriate because the quality of his service was not consistent with the Army’s standards for acceptable personal conduct and performance of duty by military personnel. It brought discredit on the Army, and was prejudicial to good order and discipline. By the misconduct, the applicant diminished the quality his service below that meriting a fully honorable discharge. The applicants record of service was marred by two Article’s 15 for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a memorandum of reprimand, and two negative counseling statements.
3. The applicant also requested a change in his narrative reason for discharge However, Army Regulation 635-5-1 (Separation Program Designator (SPD) Codes) provides the specific authorities (regulatory or directive), reasons for separating Soldiers from active duty, and the SPD codes to be entered on the DD Form 214. It identifies the SPD code of “JKQ” as the appropriate code to assign enlisted Soldiers who are discharged under the provisions of Army Regulation 635-200, Chapter 14, paragraph 14-12c, for misconduct (serious offense). The regulation further stipulates that no deviation is authorized.
4. The applicant provided no independent corroborating evidence demonstrating that either the command’s action was erroneous or that the applicants service mitigated the misconduct or poor duty performance.
5. The applicant contends his discharge was the result of him not receiving the needed medical help from members of his chain of command. However, there is a presumption of regularity in the conduct of governmental affairs that shall be applied in any review unless there is substantial credible evidence to rebut the presumption. The applicant bears the burden of overcoming this presumption through the presentation of substantial and credible evidence to support this issue. There is no evidence in the record, nor has the applicant produced any evidence to support the contention that his discharge was the result of him not receiving the needed medical help from members of his chain of command. The applicants statements alone does not overcome the governments presumption of regularity and no additional corroborating and supporting documentation or further evidence has been provided with the request for an upgrade of the discharge.
6. The service record contains no evidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis or any other medical issues and the applicant did not submit any evidence to support the contention that the discharge was the result of any medical condition.
7. Furthermore, the applicant contends that he was having family issues that affected his behavior and ultimately caused him to be discharged. However, he had many legitimate avenues through which to obtain assistance or relief and there is no evidence in the record that he ever sought such assistance before committing the misconduct which led to the separation action under review.
8. The record does not contain any indication or evidence of arbitrary or capricious actions by the command and all requirements of law and regulation were met and the rights of the applicant were fully protected throughout the separation process. The character of the applicants discharge is commensurate with his overall service record.
9. Therefore, the reason for discharge and the characterization of service being both proper and equitable, the analyst recommends the Board deny relief.
SUMMARY OF ARMY DISCHARGE REVIEW BOARD HEARING:
Type of Hearing: Records Review Date: 4 February 2015 Location: Washington, DC
Did the Applicant Testify, NA
Character Change: 2 No Change: 3
Reason Change: 0 No Change: 5
(Board member names available upon request)
Board Action Directed:
Issue a new DD Form 214: No
Change Characterization to: No Change
Change Reason to: No Change
Change Authority for Separation: NA
Change RE Code to: NA
Grade Restoration to: NA
AMHRR – Army Military Human Resource Record FG – Field Grade IADT Initial Active Duty Training RE – Reentry
AWOL – Absent Without Leave GD – General Discharge NA – Not applicable SCM- Summary Court Martial
BCD – Bad Conduct Discharge HS – High School NIF – Not in File SPCM – Special Court Martial
CG – Company Grade Article 15 HD – Honorable Discharge OAD – Ordered to Active Duty UNC – Uncharacterized Discharge
CID – Criminal investigation Department MP Military Police OMPF – Official Military Personnel File UOTHC – Under Other Than Honorable Conditions
ADRB Case Report and Directive (cont) AR20140001758
Page 6 of 7 pages
ARMY DISCHARGE REVIEW BOARD (ADRB)
CASE REPORT AND DIRECTIVE