AR20180001464

1. Applicant’s Name:

a. Application Date: 8 January 2018

b. Date Received: 16 January 2018

c. Counsel: None

2. REQUEST, ISSUES, BOARD TYPE, AND DECISION: The applicant requests an upgrade of his
under other than honorable conditions discharge to honorable. The applicant seeks relief
contending, in effect, at the time of his misconduct, he had not been evaluated for PTSD. Post
deployment he began seeing a doctor for PTSD symptoms. Currently, he has a 50 percent
service connected disability for PTSD, directly related to his deployment in Iraq.

Per the Board’s Medical Officer, based on the information available for review at the time
including the applicant’s case files, AHLTA and JLV. AHLTA indicates applicant had several
Behavioral Health (BH) contacts. In Jan 2009, he saw BH several times while deployed due to
problems with irritability and pending divorce. He was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder. In July
2009, he presented with increased depressive symptoms. In Oct 2009, he reported ongoing
marital problems and vague suicidal ideation. In Dec 2009, he reported increased irritability,
nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, anger symptoms since returning from deployment. He reported
he was close to a mortar explosion while in Iraq and was blown over with no loss of
consciousness. During this visit, he was diagnosed with Depression NOS and placed on
antidepressants. JLV indicates applicant is 50% SC for PTSD. Based on the available
documentation, the applicant has a Behavioral Health condition, PTSD, which mitigates some of
his offenses. As PTSD is associated with avoidant behaviors, there is a nexus between
applicant’s PTSD and the offenses of failing to report and being AWOL. As PTSD is associated
with problems with authority figures and oppositionality, there is a nexus between applicant’s
PTSD and his disrespectfulness in language and deportment towards an NCO and failing to obey
an order. PTSD is not mitigating for making a false official statement or communicating a threat.

In a records review conducted at Arlington, VA on 9 March 2018, and by a 3-2 vote, the Board
determined that the characterization of service was too harsh based on the applicant’s length
and quality of service, to include combat service, and prior period of honorable service and the
circumstances surrounding the discharge and AWOL (i.e. i-service PTSD/OBH symptoms and a
post-service diagnosis of PTSD with a 50% VA disability rating), and as a result it is inequitable.
Accordingly, the Board voted to grant relief in the form of an upgrade to the characterization of
service to General Under Honorable Conditions. The Board determined the narrative reason,
SPD code and RE code were proper and equitable and voted not to change them.

(Board member names available upon request)

3. DISCHARGE DETAILS:

a. Reason/Authority/Codes/Characterization: In Lieu of Trial by Court-Martial / AR 635-
200, Chapter 10 / KFS / RE-4 / Under Other Than Honorable Conditions

b. Date of Discharge: 13 April 2010

c. Separation Facts:

(1) DD Form 458 (Charge Sheet): NIF

(2) Legal Consultation Date: NIF

(3) Basis for Separation: Pursuant to the applicant’s request for discharge under the
provisions of AR 635-200, Chapter 10, in lieu of trial by court-martial.

(4) Recommended Characterization: NIF

(5) Separation Decision Date/Characterization: 7 April 2010 / Under Other Than
Honorable Conditions

4. SERVICE DETAILS:

a. Date / Period of Enlistment: 17 April 2008 / 3 years, 9 weeks

b. Age at Enlistment / Education / GT Score: 23 / GED / 95

c. Highest Grade Achieved / MOS / Total Service: E-4 / 88M10, Motor Transport
Operator / 5 years, 1 month, 8 days

d. Prior Service / Characterizations: ARNG, 14 February 2005 – 16 April 2008 / HD
IADT, 28 March 2006 – 15 July 2006 / HD
(Concurrent Service)
AD, 4 November 2006 – 17 August 2007 / HD
(Concurrent Service)

e. Overseas Service / Combat Service: SWA / Iraq (20 November 2006 – 14 July 2007)
(5 September 2008 – 18 August 2009)

f. Awards and Decorations: ICM-2CS, ARCOM, NDSM, GWOTSM, ASR, OSR-2,
AFRMM, CAB

g. Performance Ratings: NA

h. Disciplinary Action(s) / Evidentiary Record:

CG Article 15, dated 6 January 2010, for failing to go at the time prescribed to his appointed
place of duty on five occasions between 30 October 2009 and 14 December 2009; for
disrespectful language and deportment towards and NCO (30 October 2009); for failing to obey
a lawful order (21 November and 14 December 2009); for making a false official statement
(30 October 2009); and, for wrongfully communicating a threat towards an NCO (30 October
and 14 December 2009). The punishment consisted of a reduction to E-3; forfeiture of $433
pay; and, extra duty and restriction for 14 days.

Two Personnel Action forms, reflect the applicant’s duty status changed as follows:

From “Present for Duty (PDY)” to “Absent Without Leave (AWOL),” effective 19 February
2010; and,
From “AWOL” to “PDY,” effective 4 March 2010.

i. Lost Time / Mode of Return: 18 Days (AWOL, 19 February 2010 – 4 March 2010) / NIF
(Confinement, 5 March 2010 – 10 March 2010) / Released from Confinement

j. Diagnosed PTSD / TBI / Behavioral Health: The applicant provided a copy of his VA
disability rating decision, dated 29 March 2014, which reflects the applicant was rated 30
percent service connected disability for PTSD.

5. APPLICANT-PROVIDED EVIDENCE: DD Form 293 and VA Disability Rating Decision.

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 10 provides, in pertinent part, that a member who has
committed an offense or offenses for which the authorized punishment includes a punitive
discharge may submit a request for a discharge for the good of the Service in lieu of trial by
court-martial. The request may be submitted at any time after charges have been preferred and
must include the individual’s admission of guilt.

Army policy states that although an honorable or general (under honorable conditions)
discharge is authorized, a discharge under other than honorable conditions is normally
considered appropriate.

National Defense Authorization Act 2017 provided specific guidance to the Military Boards for
Correction of Military/Naval Records and Discharge Review Boards when considering discharge
upgrade requests by Veterans claiming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic
Brain Injury (TBI) in connection with combat or sexual assault or sexual harassment as a basis
for discharge review. Further, it provided that Boards will include, as a voting board member, a
physician trained in mental health disorders, a clinical psychologist, or a psychiatrist when the
discharge upgrade claim asserts a mental health condition, including PTSD; TBI; as a basis for
the discharge.

In August 2017, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
provided further clarifying guidance to the Military Discharge Review Boards and Boards for
Correction of Military/Naval Records when considering requests by Veterans for modification of
their discharge due to mental health conditions, including PTSD; TBI; sexual assault; or sexual
harassment. Liberal consideration will be given to Veterans petitioning for discharge relief when
the application for relief is based in whole or in part on matters relating to mental health
conditions, including PTSD; TBI; sexual assault; or sexual harassment. Special consideration
will be given to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determinations that document a mental
health condition, including PTSD; TBI; or sexual assault/harassment potentially contributed to
the circumstances resulting in a less than honorable discharge characterization. Special
consideration will also be given in cases where a civilian provider confers diagnoses of a mental
health condition, including PTSD; TBI; or sexual assault/harassment if the case records contain
narratives supporting symptomatology at the time of service or when any other evidence which
may reasonably indicate that a mental health condition, including PTSD; TBI; or sexual
assault/harassment existed at the time of discharge might have mitigated the misconduct that
caused a discharge of lesser characterization.

Conditions documented in the service 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 a mental health condition, including PTSD; TBI; or sexual assault/harassment 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 characterization of
service in question. All Boards will exercise caution in weighing evidence of mitigation in cases
in which serious misconduct precipitated a discharge with a less than Honorable
characterization of service. Potentially mitigating evidence of the existence of undiagnosed
combat related PTSD, PTSD-related conditions due to TBI or sexual assault/harassment as
causative factors 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. Caution
shall be exercised 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 under other than
honorable conditions discharge to honorable. The applicant’s available record of service, the
issues and documents submitted with his application were carefully reviewed.

The applicant’s record is void of the specific facts and circumstances concerning the events
which led to his discharge from the Army. However, the applicant’s record does contain a
properly constituted DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), which
was authenticated by the applicant’s signature.

The DD Form 214 indicates the applicant was discharged under the provisions of AR 635-200,
Chapter 10, by reason of In Lieu Of Trial By Court-Martial, with a characterization of service of
Under Other Than Honorable Conditions. Barring evidence to the contrary, it appears that all
requirements of law and regulation were met and the rights of the applicant would have been
protected throughout the separation process.

The applicant’s contentions about he had not yet been diagnosed with PTSD at the time of his
misconduct was carefully considered. However, there is insufficient evidence available in the
official record to make a determination upon the applicant’s quality of service. Moreover, there
is a presumption of regularity in the conduct of governmental affairs which is applied in all Army
discharge reviews unless there is substantial credible evidence to rebut the presumption. There
is no evidence in the record, nor has the applicant produced any evidence, to support a change
to the characterization of service granted. The applicant’s statements alone do not overcome
the presumption of government regularity and the application contains no documentation or
further evidence in support of this request for an upgrade of the discharge.

The applicant contends the VA has granted him 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 applicant’s
service record is void of a mental status evaluation. It appears the applicant’s chain of
command determined that he knew the difference between what was right and wrong.

If the applicant desires a personal appearance hearing, it will be his responsibility to meet the
burden of proof and provide the appropriate documents (i.e., the discharge packet) or other
evidence sufficient to explain the facts, circumstances, and reasons underlying the separation
action, for the Board’s consideration because they are not available in the official record.

Based on the available record, the discharge was consistent with the procedural and
substantive requirements of the regulation, was within the discretion of the separation authority
and that the applicant was provided full administrative due process.

9. BOARD DETERMINATION: In a records review conducted at Arlington, VA on 9 March 2018,
and by a 3-2 vote, the Board determined that the characterization of service was too harsh
based on the applicant’s length and quality of service, to include combat service, and prior
period of honorable service and the circumstances surrounding the discharge and AWOL (i.e. i-
service PTSD/OBH symptoms and a post-service diagnosis of PTSD with a 50% VA disability
rating), and as a result it is inequitable. Accordingly, the Board voted to grant relief in the form
of an upgrade to the characterization of service to General Under Honorable Conditions. The
Board determined the narrative reason, SPD code and RE code were proper and equitable and
voted not to change them.

10. BOARD ACTION DIRECTED:

a. Issue a New DD-214: Yes
b. Change Characterization to: General, Under Honorable Conditions
c. Change Reason to: No Change
d. Change Authority to: No Change
e. Change SPD/RE Code to: No Change
f. Restore (Restoration of) Grade to: No Change

AUTHENTICATING OFFICIAL:

Legend:
AWOL – Absent Without Leave GD – General Discharge NCO – Noncommissioned Officer 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 NOS – Not Otherwise Specified SPD – Separation Program Designator
CG – Company Grade Article 15 IADT – Initial Active Duty Training OAD – Ordered to Active Duty TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury
CID – Criminal Investigation Division MP – Military Police OMPF – Official Military Personnel File UNC – Uncharacterized Discharge
ELS – Entry Level Status MST – Military Sexual Trauma PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder UOTHC – Under Other Than Honorable Conditions
FG – Field Grade Article 15 NA – Not applicable RE – Reentry VA – Veterans Affairs
ARMY DISCHARGE REVIEW BOARD CASE REPORT AND DIRECTIVE
AR20180001464
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