1. Applicants Name:
a. Application Date: 26 February 2016
b. Date Received: 4 March 2016
c. Counsel: Yes
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 performed outstandingly in his combat roles. Due to his medications and wounds, he did not think having a drink was a big deal. The applicant states that his unit chose to discharge him with a general discharge without awarding him a Purple Heart, which he earned from being blown up in Iraq and resulted in him being diagnosed with PTSD.
Per the Board’s Medical Officer, based on the information available for review at the time, the applicant had behavioral health and medical conditions which may have been mitigating for the misconduct that led to his separation from the Army. Because the combination of behavioral health condition, most prominent being PTSD and psychotic symptoms, can often be associated with Alcohol Abuse and risky and dangerous behaviors, there was likely a nexus between this applicant’s offenses (underage drinking, operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol and disrespect) and his medical/behavioral health conditions. The Active Duty electronic medical records revealed that the applicant had diagnoses of Depression, Panic Disorder, Adjustment Disorder, Alcohol Abuse, Anxiety, and ADHD. Seen by several VA hospitals since the time of discharge in West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tucson, VA and NY. He has been inpatient at least four times and diagnosed with several diagnoses to include Depressive Disorder, PTSD, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Polysubstance Dependence, TBI, Schizoaffective Disorder, bipolar type, Cannabis Use Disorder, Alcohol Abuse, and Delusional Disorder. Provider notes indicate he is disorganized, illogical, irritable and hyper-religious with psychotic thoughts to include thinking he was a CIA operative. Incarcerated June 2015 – January 2016 for second DUI after driving drunk with psychotic thoughts about Jesus. Applicant also has a significant drug history.
In a personal appearance hearing conducted at Arlington, VA on 22 August 2016, and by a
5-0 vote, the Board determined the discharge is now inequitable. The Board found the overall length and quality of the applicant’s service, to include his combat service, the circumstances surrounding his discharge (i.e. 100 percent VA diagnosis of PTSD and schizophrenia), and his testimony mitigated the discrediting entry in his service record. Accordingly, the Board voted to grant full relief in the form of an upgrade of the characterization of service to honorable, a change to the narrative reason for separation to Secretarial Authority, and change SPD code to JKK. This action entails a change to the reentry eligibility (RE) code to 1.
(Board member names available upon request)
3. DISCHARGE DETAILS:
a. Reason/Authority/Codes/Characterization: Pattern of Misconduct / AR 635-200 / Chapter 14-12b / JKA / RE-3 / General, Under Honorable Conditions
b. Date of Discharge: 14 January 2010
c. Separation Facts:
(1) Date of Notification of Intent to Separate: 20 November 2009
(2) Basis for Separation: The applicant was informed of the following reasons:
received an Article 15 for underage drinking and false official statement;
found guilty in Fairbanks, Alaska for a minor operating [a vehicle] after consuming alcohol; and,
counseled for disrespect upon noncommissioned officers.
(3) Recommended Characterization: General, Under Honorable Conditions
(4) Legal Consultation Date: Undated
(5) Administrative Separation Board: N/A
(6) Separation Decision Date/Characterization: 30 December 2009 / General, Under Honorable Conditions
4. SERVICE DETAILS:
a. Date/Period of Enlistment: 8 June 2007 / 5 years
b. Age at Enlistment/Education/GT Score: 17 / HS Graduate / 118
c. Highest Grade Achieved/MOS/Total Service: E-3 / 35M10, HUMINT Collector / 2 years, 9 months, and 11 days
d. Prior Service/Characterizations: USAR, 4 April 2007 – 7 June 2007 / NA
e. Overseas Service/Combat Service: Alaska, SWA / Iraq (15 October 2008 – 5 August 2009)
f. Awards and Decorations: ARCOM, NDSM, ICM-CS, GWTSM, ASR, OSR
g. Performance Ratings: N/A
h. Disciplinary Action(s)/Evidentiary Record:
CG Article 15, dated 2 September 2008, for making a false official statement (on or about
11 June 2008). The continuation sheet was not contained in the available record. The punishment consisted of a reduction to E-1 (suspended), forfeiture of $314.00 pay, extra duty and restriction for 14 days, and an oral reprimand.
Court Document, dated 5 September 2008, reflects the applicant pled guilty and was found guilty of the Minor Operating [a vehicle] After Consuming Alcohol offense.
Three DA Forms 4856 (Developmental Counseling), dated between 22 August 2009 and 29 October 2009, for failing to obey command policy letter, disrespectful behavior towards a Noncommissioned officer, making false official statements and for failure to obey a regulation (underage drinking).
DD Form 2807-1 (Report of Medical History), dated 27 October 2009, reflects the applicant was currently under treatment with Behavioral Health for anxiety and depression.
i. Lost Time: None
j. Diagnosed PTSD/TBI/Behavioral Health:
DA Form 3822 (Report of Mental Status Evaluation), dated 20 March 2009, reflects the applicant was cleared for administrative actions deemed appropriate by the command. The applicant could understand the difference between right and wrong and could participate in the proceedings. The applicant met the psychiatric criteria for expeditious separation in accordance with Chapter 5-17. The applicant was diagnosed with (Axis I) Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood; Alcohol Abuse.
The applicant provided copies of his medical records from the West Palm Beach, VAMC. A review of the records reflects that over time the applicant has been diagnosed with:
r/o Bipolar Disorder
Cannabis Abuse Unspecified
5. APPLICANT-PROVIDED EVIDENCE: DD Form 293, dated 26 February 2016, with all listed enclosures and copies of his West Palm Beach VAMC medical records.
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 14-12b addresses a pattern of misconduct consisting of either discreditable involvement with civilian or military authorities or discreditable conduct and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline including conduct violating the accepted standards of personal conduct found in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Army Regulations, the civilian law and time-honored customs and traditions of the Army.
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 issues and documents submitted with his application were carefully reviewed.
The record confirms that 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.
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 Department of Veterans Affairs has granted the applicant a service connected disability for PTSD. However, a careful review of the entire record reveals that this medical condition did not overcome the reason for discharge and characterization of service granted. The record shows that on 20 March 2009, the applicant underwent a mental status evaluation which indicates he was mentally responsible and was able to recognize right from wrong. It appears the applicants chain of command determined that although he was suffering from PTSD, he knew the difference between what was right and wrong as indicated by the mental status evaluation.
The applicant contends that he had outstanding service, which included a combat tour. The applicants service accomplishments and the quality of his service prior to the incidents that caused the initiation of discharge proceeding were carefully considered. The applicant is to be commended for his accomplishments.
The applicant contends that his unit chose to discharge him without awarding him a Purple Heart, which he earned in Iraq. In addition, the applicant was awarded the Army Achievement Medal (AAM); however, the applicants DD Form 214 does not reflect as such. The applicants requested change and the inclusion of the AAM on the DD Form 214 does not fall within the purview of this Board. The applicant may apply to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR), using a DD Form 149 regarding this matter. A DD Form 149 may also be obtained from a Veterans’ Service Organization.
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 the additional documents and testimony presented by the applicant at the personal appearance hearing.
a. The applicant submitted the following additional document:
Letter of Support 1 page
b. The applicant presented the following additional contentions:
Requests separation under AR 635-200, Chapter 5 and change to the narrative reason
c. Witness: Yes (Priest/family friend)
10. BOARD DETERMINATION: In a personal appearance hearing conducted at Arlington, VA on 22 August 2016, and by a 5-0 vote, the Board determined the discharge is now inequitable. The Board found the overall length and quality of the applicant’s service, to include his combat service, the circumstances surrounding his discharge (i.e. 100 percent VA diagnosis of PTSD and schizophrenia), and his testimony mitigated the discrediting entry in his service record. Accordingly, the Board voted to grant full relief in the form of an upgrade of the characterization of service to honorable, a change to the narrative reason for separation to Secretarial Authority, and change SPD code to JKK. This action entails a change to the reentry eligibility (RE) code to 1.
11. BOARD ACTION DIRECTED:
a. Issue a New DD-214: Yes
b. Change Characterization to: Honorable
c. Change Reason to: Secretarial Authority
d. Change SPD/RE Code to: JKK/RE-Code 1
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