1. Applicants Name:
a. Application Date: 15 January 2016
b. Date Received: 28 January 2016
c. Counsel: None
2. REQUEST, ISSUES, BOARD TYPE, AND DECISION: The applicant requests an upgrade of his general, under honorable conditions discharge to honorable. The applicant seeks relief contending, in effect, he would like an upgrade of his discharge for the purpose of being able to receive his GI Bill benefits for education. The applicant contends he is a combat veteran in the engineer Regiment who served in Afghanistan conducting route clearance. It was an extremely rough deployment, he admits that his actions were against rules and regulations of the US Army and unacceptable. He had a hard time dealing with post deployment stress and knows he let his team down and lost focus on the overall mission. He does not want his success to be hindered from just a small hiccup in his path. He has a daughter and he really wants to continue his journey benefiting and helping others as he did before his wrong doings. He contends he has cleaned his act up and have matured focusing on everything in front of him now.
Per the Board’s Medical Officer, based on the information available for review at the time, the applicant had no mitigating medical or behavioral health conditions for the offenses. The Active Duty electronic medical records were reviewed.
In a records review conducted at Arlington, VA on 8 August 2016, and by a 5-0 vote, the Board determined that the characterization of service was too harsh based on the applicants testimony, length and quality of his service, to include his combat service, circumstances surrounding his discharge, and his post service accomplishments. Accordingly, the Board voted to grant relief in the form of an upgrade of the characterization of service to honorable. The Board determined the reason for discharge was proper and equitable and voted not to change it.
(Board member names available upon request)
3. DISCHARGE DETAILS:
a. Reason/Authority/Codes/Characterization: Misconduct (Drug Abuse) / AR 635-200, Paragraph 14-12c(2) / JKK / RE-4 / General, Under Honorable Conditions
b. Date of Discharge: 23 January 2014
c. Separation Facts:
(1) Date of Notification of Intent to Separate: 12 December 2013
(2) Basis for Separation: The applicant was informed of the following reasons:
disobeyed a lawful order form SSG G.G., to not drive his motorcycle until he has completed the Riders Safety Course and had obtained a motorcycle endorsement on his drivers license; and,
using marijuana (between 4 October 2013 and 4 November 2013).
(3) Recommended Characterization: General, Under Honorable Conditions
(4) Legal Consultation Date: 30 December 2013
(5) Administrative Separation Board: NA
(6) Separation Decision Date/Characterization: 7 January 2014 / General, Under Honorable Conditions
4. SERVICE DETAILS:
a. Date/Period of Enlistment: 10 January 2011 / 4 years
b. Age at Enlistment/Education/GT Score: 19 / HS Graduate / 92
c. Highest Grade Achieved/MOS/Total Service: E-4 / 12N10, Horizontal Construction Equipment Operator / 3 years and 14 days
d. Prior Service/Characterizations: None
e. Overseas Service/Combat Service: SWA / Afghanistan (19 March 2012 21 November 2012)
f. Awards and Decorations: ARCOM, ACM-CS, NDSM, GWTSM, ASR, NATO Medal, CAB
g. Performance Ratings: N/A
h. Disciplinary Action(s)/Evidentiary Record: CG Article 15, dated 18 June 2013, for disobeying a lawful order for SSG B.G., a noncommissioned officer to not drive his motorcycle until he had completed the Riders Safety Course and obtain a motorcycle endorsement on his driver license on 19 May 2013. The punishment consisted of reduction to E-3 (suspended).
DA Form 2627-2 (Record of Supplementary Action Under Article 15, UCMJ), dated 12 August 2013, shows the suspension of punishment of reduction to E-3 imposed on 18 June 2013, was vacated based on the applicant failing to go at the time prescribed to his appointed place of duty on 25 July 2013.
Electronic copy of the DD Form 2624, dated 15 November 2013, reflects the applicant tested positive for THC during an Inspection Other (IO) urinalysis testing conducted on 4 November 2013.
Several DA Forms 4856s (Developmental Counseling), dated between 30 April 2013 and 20 November 2013 for motorcycle safety counseling/operating privately owned motorcycle without proper state endorsement and positive urinalysis.
i. Lost Time: None
j. Diagnosed PTSD/TBI/Behavioral Health: Report of Mental Status Evaluation, dated 26 November 2013, shows the applicant was diagnosed with an Axis I for an adjustment disorder. However, it was noted the applicant was mentally responsible; could distinguish right from wrong and possessed sufficient mental capacity to understand and participate intelligently as a respondent in any administrative proceedings. The applicant was psychiatrically cleared for any administrative action deemed appropriate by his command.
5. APPLICANT-PROVIDED EVIDENCE: Online application, dated 15 January 2016.
6. POST SERVICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: None submitted with the application.
7. REGULATORY CITATION(S): 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.
Paragraph 14-12c(2) terms abuse of illegal drugs as serious misconduct. It continues; however, by recognizing relevant facts may mitigate the nature of the offense. Therefore, a single drug abuse offense may be combined with one or more minor disciplinary infractions or incidents of other misconduct and processed for separation under paragraph 14-12a or 14-12b as appropriate.
Secretary of Defense Memorandum for Secretaries of the Military Departments (Subject: Supplemental Guidance to Military Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records Considering Discharge Upgrade Requests by Veterans Claiming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dated September 3, 2014), provided guidance to help ensure consistency across the military services in consideration of PTSD relevant to Service Members discharges.
Liberal consideration will be given in petitions for changes in characterization of service to service treatment record entries which document one of more symptoms which meet the diagnostic criteria of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or related conditions. Special consideration will be given to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determinations which document PTSD or PTSD-related conditions connected to military services. In cases where Service Records or any document from the period of service substantiated the existence of one or more symptoms of what is now recognized as PTSD or PTSD-related condition during the time of service, liberal consideration will be given to finding that PTSD existed at the time of service. Liberal consideration will also be given in cases where civilian providers confer diagnoses of PTSD or PTSD-related conditions, when case records contain narratives that support symptomatology at the time of service, or when any other evidence which may reasonably indicate that PTSD or a PTSD-related disorder existed at the time of discharge which might have mitigated the misconduct that caused the under other than honorable conditions characterization of service. This guidance in not applicable to cases involving pre-existing conditions which are determined not to have been incurred or aggravated while in military service.
Conditions documented in the record that can reasonably be determined to have existed at the time of discharge will be considered to have existed at the time of discharge. In cases in which PTSD or PTSD related conditions may be reasonably determined to have existed at the time of discharge, those conditions will be considered potential mitigating factors in the misconduct that caused the under other than honorable conditions characterization of service. Correction boards will exercise caution in weighing evidence of mitigation in cases in which serious misconduct precipitated a discharge with a characterization of service other than honorable conditions. Potentially mitigating evidence of the existence of undiagnosed combat related PTSD or PTSD-related conditions as a causative factor in the misconduct resulting in discharge will be carefully weighed against the severity of the misconduct. PTSD is not a likely cause of premeditated misconduct. Correction Boards will also exercise caution in weighing evidence of mitigation in all cases of misconduct by carefully considering the likely causal relationship of symptoms to the misconduct.
8. DISCUSSION OF FACT(S): The applicant requests an upgrade of his general (under honorable conditions discharge) to honorable. The applicants record of service, the documents and the issues submitted with the application were carefully reviewed.
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.
Furthermore, by violating the Army’s policy not to possess or use illegal drugs, the applicant compromised the trust and confidence placed in a Soldier. The applicant, as a Soldier, had the duty to support and abide by the Army’s drug policies. By abusing illegal drugs, the applicant knowingly risked a military career and diminished the quality of his service below that meriting an honorable discharge.
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.
The applicant seeks relief contending, he is a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and had an extremely rough deployment, he admits that his actions were against rules and regulations of the US Army and unacceptable. He had a hard time dealing with post deployment stress. The applicants contentions were noted; however, the record of evidence does not demonstrate that he sought assistance through his command or the numerous Army community services like the Chaplain, Army Community and Family Support Services, Community Counseling Center, and other medical resources available to all Soldiers prior to his incidents of misconduct. Likewise, he has provided no evidence that he should not be held responsible for his misconduct.
The applicant expressed his desire for an upgrade of his discharge for the purpose of being able to receive his GI Bill benefits for education. However, eligibility for veteran’s benefits to include educational benefits under the Post-9/11 or Montgomery GI Bill does not fall within the purview of the Army Discharge Review Board. Accordingly, the applicant should contact a local office of the Department of Veterans Affairs for further assistance.
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.
The discharge was consistent with the procedural and substantive requirements of the regulation, was within the discretion of the separation authority, and the applicant was provided full administrative due process.
9. DOCUMENTS/TESTIMONY PRESENTED DURING PERSONAL APPEARANCE: In addition to the evidence in the record, the Board carefully considered testimony presented by the applicant at the personal appearance hearing.
The applicant submitted no additional documents or contentions.
c. Witness(es)/Observer(s): None
10. BOARD DETERMINATION: In a personal appearance conducted at Arlington, VA on
8 August 2016, and by a 5-0 vote, the Board determined that the characterization of service was too harsh based on the applicants testimony, length and quality of his service, to include his combat service, circumstances surrounding his discharge, and his post service accomplishments. Accordingly, the Board voted to grant relief in the form of an upgrade of the characterization of service to honorable. The Board determined the reason for discharge was proper and equitable and voted not to change it.
11. BOARD ACTION DIRECTED:
a. Issue a New DD-214: Yes
b. Change Characterization to: Honorable
c. Change Reason to: No Change
d. Change SPD/RE Code to: No Change
e. Restore (Restoration of) Grade to: NA
COL, US ARMY
Army Discharge Review Board
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
BH Behavioral Health HD – Honorable Discharge OAD – Ordered to Active Duty SPD – Separation Program Designator
CG – Company Grade Article 15 IADT – Initial Active Duty Training OMPF – Official Military Personnel File TBI Traumatic Brain Injury
CID – Criminal Investigation Division MP Military Police PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder UNC – Uncharacterized Discharge
ELS Entry Level Status MST Military Sexual Trauma RE – Reentry UOTHC – Under Other Than Honorable Conditions
FG – Field Grade Article 15
ARMY DISCHARGE REVIEW BOARD CASE REPORT AND DIRECTIVE