AR20150009701

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 12 May 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20150009701

BOARD VOTE:

_________ _______ ________ GRANT FULL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT PARTIAL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT FORMAL HEARING

__x_____ ___x____ ___x_____ DENY APPLICATION

2Enclosures
1. Board Determination/Recommendation
2. Evidence and Discussion

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 12 May 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20150009701

BOARD DETERMINATION/RECOMMENDATION:

1. The evidence presented does not demonstrate the existence of a probable error or injustice. Therefore, the Board determined the overall merits of this case are insufficient as a basis for correction of the records of the individual concerned.

2. The Board wants the applicant and all others concerned to know this action in no way diminishes the sacrifices made by him in service to our Nation. The applicant and all Americans should be justifiably proud of his service in arms.

_____________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.

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 12 May 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20150009701

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 military service records to show award of the Purple Heart.

2. The applicant states he served as a combat infantryman in Korea in the Pioneer and Ammunition Platoon, Headquarters Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Division, for 10 months and 8 days from July 1952 to May 1953.

a. The unit was positioned in an area known as the Main Line of Resistance and received constant enemy mortar and artillery fire. The unit built bunkers and trenches for protection against the constant shelling.

b. A mortar or artillery shell exploded next to the applicant and knocked him to the ground. Paralysis of his left arm occurred almost immediately afterwards. He was transported to an Army hospital in Seoul where he received treatment. He was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having psycho-neurosis.

c. As a result of the injury, he maintains a constant defensive posture that pressures the right side of his head. In addition, he seldom has a “clear head,” he is constantly on “defense” against certain types of people who appear to offer a threat to him, and he reacts to extraneous noises. He also experiences ringing in his ears.

d. A few years ago he began inquiring into his entitlement to the Purple Heart. A representative from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) informed him that the VA must render a decision regarding service connection and compensation for the Purple Heart. He states the representative also informed him that, at the time, doctors did not recognize traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

e. The applicant was not interested in going through the VA process; however, he consented to do so. He was required to divulge his long held, innermost secret that he had mental problems and that he had been seen by a psychiatrist while he was in the Army.

f. He has attempted to obtain his military medical records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in an effort to support his claim.

3. The applicant provides copies of:

* three self-authored statements (summarized above)
* DD Form 214 (Report of Separation from the Armed Forces of the United States)
* a supporting statement from his spouse
* extract from his book “Young Man in a Hurry”
* a letter to NARA
* VA Progress Notes

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 military service record is not available to the Board for review. A fire destroyed approximately 18million service members’ records at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973. It is believed that the applicant’s records were lost or destroyed in that fire. However, the applicant’s DD Form 214, available Korea-era rosters, and the evidence he provides are sufficient for the Board to conduct a fair and impartial review of this case.
3. The applicant’s DDForm214 shows he enlisted in the Regular Army (RA) on 7 March 1951 and he was honorably discharged on 6 March 1954. He had completed 3 years of net active service this period that included 10 months and
8 days of foreign service. It also shows in:

* item 3 (Grade – Rate – Rank and Date of Appointment): Sergeant (Temporary), 29 December 1953
* item 4 (Component and Branch or Class): RA, Infantry
* item 27 (Decorations, Medals, Badges, Commendations, Citations and Campaign Ribbons Awarded or Authorized)

* Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars
* United Nations Service Medal
* Army Good Conduct Medal
* Combat Infantryman Badge
* National Defense Service Medal

* item 28 (Most Significant Duty Assignment): Company D, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment
* item 29 (Wounds Received as a Result of Action with Enemy Forces): “None”

4. There are no orders or other evidence in the applicant’s available military service records that shows he was awarded the Purple Heart.

5. A review of the Korean Casualty File failed to reveal the applicant’s name.

6. A review of the Hospital Admission Cards database, Office of The Surgeon General, Department of the Army (1942-1945 and 1950-1954) for Years 1952 and 1953 failed to reveal the applicant’s name as a casualty.

7. National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), Military Personnel Records,
St. Louis, MO, letter, dated 18 April 2014, shows an archives technician confirmed that a search of unit records pertaining to the Pioneer and Ammunition Platoon, Headquarters Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Division, failed to locate any remarks pertaining to the applicant’s military service/duty status.

8. In support of his request the applicant provides the following documents.

a. A letter to NPRC, St. Louis, MO, dated 4 June 2014, in response to the NPRC letter, dated 18 April 2014. He provided additional information and requested another search of the unit’s medical records.
b. A statement in support of claim from the applicant’s spouse (unidentified, undated, and unsigned) that shows they have been married for over 58 years. It also shows the applicant sometimes displays shaking and trembling when he is sleeping. It further shows the applicant is a combat veteran who sustained a terrible mishap that resulted in the loss of use of his right arm through paralysis from bombardment of enemy fire while serving in combat in Korea.

c. An extract (six pages) from “Young Man in a Hurry! A personal historical experience of 65 years” authored by the applicant. The extract provides a summary of the applicant’s experience upon arrival at his unit in Korea and the defensive preparations taken by the unit’s personnel. The applicant states he is left handed. He also states that artillery or mortar shells exploded near him and the concussions resulted in his left arm being paralyzed; he was unable to lift his left arm from his side. He was transported to an Army hospital in Seoul, Korea. Since there were no broken bones or damaged tissue, he was treated by a psychiatrist. Three weeks later the psychiatrist told him, “I can’t find anything wrong with you except that you don’t like Korea, and you are pretending that you can’t raise your arm.” He also informed the applicant, “I’m sending you back to the States.” It shows in response to the psychiatrist’s comments, “I reached up, and completely surprising to me, my left arm goes up. I can raise my arm again! I can raise my arm!” A few days later the psychiatrist informed the applicant that he had had a “psychoneurosis disorder.” The applicant was returned to his unit.

d. VA Progress Notes, dated 15 April 2015, that show a brief account of the applicant’s experience (October 1952 timeframe) in Korea and a diagnosis of psycho-neurosis at that time. It shows he noted the onset of headaches (right-sided and right retro orbital) with no associated symptoms and tinnitus. It also shows he was diagnosed with TBI (mild) and post-traumatic headaches.

REFERENCES:

Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards) provides policy, criteria, and administrative instructions concerning military awards and decorations. The Purple Heart is awarded for a wound sustained while in action against an enemy or as a result of hostile action. Substantiating evidence must be provided to verify that 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.

DISCUSSION:

1. The applicant’s claim to the Purple Heart was carefully considered.

a. His available military service records do not show that he was wounded or injured in action as a result of a hostile act of the enemy.

b. There are no orders or any other evidence that shows he was awarded the Purple Heart.

c. The applicant’s name is not listed on the Korean Casualty Roster.

d. The “SGO Files” fail to show the applicant sustained a battle injury during the period of service under review.

e. A search of his unit’s records by the NPRC failed to reveal any evidence in support his claim.

2. The sincerity of the applicant’s comments is not in dispute. However, in order to qualify for award of the Purple Heart there must be substantiating evidence that the individual was wounded or injured while in action in the face of the armed enemy or as a result of a hostile act of such enemy. The evidence of record is insufficient to support the applicant’s claim to the Purple Heart.

//NOTHING FOLLOWS//
ABCMR Record of Proceedings AR20150000953

Enclosure 1

ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20150009701

2

ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Enclosure 1

ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20150009701

5

ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Enclosure 2