AR20180001747

1. Applicant’s Name:

a. Application Date: 19 December 2017

b. Date Received: 12 February 2018

c. Counsel: None

2. REQUEST, ISSUES, BOARD TYPE, AND DECISION: The applicant requests an upgrade of his
bad conduct discharge to general (under honorable conditions). The applicant seeks relief
contending, in effect, at the time of his court-martial, he was not diagnosed with PTSD. The
psychologist that he had spoken to only wanted to know if he knew the difference between right
and wrong. At that time, he was severely depressed and he continues to suffer from depression
and fights to live a normal life.

He believed that he was being unfairly mistreated. He states, he could not get the support of his
unit commander or his first sergeant, even though he had told them of his issues. He did sign up
for an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) class, which he believes was held against him because he had
told them that he did not believe that he was ready to re-deploy and go back into combat. He had
asked to be moved to a new unit, in order to finish his time and try a new start. He was then told
that because he was in the Army AA program that he could not be transferred because of his
dependency. He tried to do the right thing for himself and for the Army, but he was repeatedly
denied.

Since his discharge, he has been diagnosed with PTSD by the VA. He requests that the Board
consider his diagnosis when reviewing the decision of his court-martial. He was unaware that he
was suffering from PTSD, but he believes that it explains his actions. He believes his discharge is
a stain and he desires to erase it because it is very shameful to him and he never intended for his
military career to end in this fashion. Since this has been a part of his life, he has been on a path
to make everything in his life right. An upgrade to his discharge, is one of his final issues that
he would like to have resolved.

Per the Board’s Medical Officer, based on the information available for review at the time, case
files, AHLTA and JLV were reviewed. AHLTA notes indicate applicant was diagnosed with
Alcohol Dependence, Cannabis Dependence and Cocaine Abuse. These diagnoses were made
after he returned from his AWOL. JLV indicates applicant is 70% service connected for PTSD.
Based on the available information, the applicant has a mitigating BH disorder-PTSD. As PTSD
is associated with avoidance behaviors, there is a nexus between his PTSD and the offense of
being Absent Without Leave (AWOL).

In a records review conducted at Arlington, VA on 4 April 2018, and by a 5-0 vote, the Board
determined that clemency is warranted based on the applicant’s length and quality of service, to
include combat service, a prior period of honorable service, the circumstances surrounding the
AWOL (i.e. in-service and post-service diagnosis of PTSD). Accordingly, the Board voted to
grant relief by upgrading the applicant’s characterization of service to general under honorable
conditions. A change in the reason for discharge is not authorized under Federal statute.

(Board member names available upon request)

3. DISCHARGE DETAILS:

a. Reason/Authority/Codes/Characterization: Court-Martial, Other / AR 635-200,
Chapter 3 / JJD / RE-4 / Bad Conduct

b. Date of Discharge: 12 September 2008

c. Separation Facts:

(1) Pursuant to Special Court-Martial Empowered to Adjudge a Bad-Conduct
Discharge: As announced by Special Court-Martial Order Number 56, dated 8 November
2007, on 19 April 2007, the applicant was found guilty of violating Article 86, UCMJ, for
absenting himself with intent to remain away permanently from his unit in desertion, on 21 July
2006 to 26 February 2007. The applicant plead guilty to the charge.

(2) Adjudged Sentence: Reduction to E-1; to be confined for two months, and to be
discharged from the service with a Bad Conduct discharge.

(3) Date/Sentence Approved: 8 November 2007 / only so much of the sentence, a
reduction E-1, confinement for two months, and a bad conduct discharge was approved and,
except for that part of the sentence extending to a bad conduct discharge, would be executed.

(4) Appellate Reviews: The record of trial was forwarded to The Judge Advocate
General of The Army for review by the Court of Military Review. The United States Army Court
of Criminal Appeals affirmed the approved findings of guilty and the sentence.

(5) Date Sentence of BCD Ordered Executed: 3 April 2008

4. SERVICE DETAILS:

a. Date / Period of Enlistment: 4 December 2005 / 6 years

b. Age at Enlistment / Education / GT Score: 22 / HS Graduate / NIF

c. Highest Grade Achieved / MOS / Total Service: E-4 / 19D10, Calvary Scout / 6 years,
1 month, 5 days

d. Prior Service / Characterizations: RA, 14 November 2001 – 3 December 2005 / HD

e. Overseas Service / Combat Service: SWA / Iraq (4 January 2005 – 20 December
2005)

f. Awards and Decorations: ARCOM, NDSM, GWOTSM, ICM-CS, ASR, OSR / The
applicant provided a copy of his AAM certificate, however, the award is not reflected on his DD
Form 214.

g. Performance Ratings: NA

h. Disciplinary Action(s) / Evidentiary Record:

Special Court-Martial Order as described in previous paragraph 3c.

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

From “Present for Duty (PDY)” to “Absent Without Leave (AWOL),” effective 21 July 2006;
From “AWOL” to “Dropped From Rolls (DFR),” effective 21 August 2006;
From “PDY” to “Confined by Military Authorities (CMA)” effective 19 April 2007; and,
From “CMA” to “PDY,” effective 8 June 2007.

i. Lost Time / Mode of Return: 268 days (AWOL, 21 July 2006 – 25 February 2007) /
Surrendered to Military Authorities / (CMA, 19 April 2007 – 7 June 2007) / Released from
Confinement

j. Diagnosed PTSD / TBI / Behavioral Health: The applicant provided a copy of his VA
summary of benefits, dated 6 October 2017, which reflects the applicant was rated at 70 percent
service-connected disability. However, the summary did not reflect the disability for which he
received the rating.

5. APPLICANT-PROVIDED EVIDENCE: Online application; VA Summary of Benefits; VA Form 21-
0781; copies of his awards certificates; online new article; and, three character statements.

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 3, Section IV establishes policy and procedures for
separating members with a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge; and provides that a Soldier
will be given a bad conduct discharge pursuant only to an approved sentence of a general or
special court-martial; and that the appellate review must be completed and the affirmed
sentence ordered duly executed.

Because relevant and material facts stated in a court-martial specification are presumed by the
ADRB to be established facts, issues relating to the applicant’s innocence of charges for which
he was found guilty cannot form a basis for relief.

With respect to a discharge adjudged by a special court-martial, the action of the ADRB is
restricted to upgrades based on clemency. Clemency is an act of leniency that reduces the
severity of the punishment.

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 bad conduct discharge to
a general (under honorable conditions) discharge. The applicant’s record of service, the issues
and documents submitted with his application were carefully reviewed.

The service record indicates the applicant was adjudged guilty by a court-martial and the
sentence was approved by the convening authority. Court-martial convictions stand as
adjudged or modified by appeal through the judicial process.

The Board is empowered to change the discharge only if clemency is determined to be
appropriate. Clemency is an act of mercy, or instance of leniency, to moderate the severity of
the punishment imposed.

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.

The third party statements provided with the application speak highly of the applicant’s
performance. They all recognize his good performance while serving in the Army; however, the
persons providing the character reference statements were not in a position to fully understand
or appreciate the expectations of the applicant’s chain of command. As such, none of these
statements provide any evidence sufficiently compelling to overcome the presumption of
government regularity.

The applicant contends that he was treated unfairly by members of his chain of command;
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. Likewise, he has provided no
evidence that he should not be held responsible for his misconduct. Accordingly, this argument
is not sufficient to support his request for an upgrade of his discharge.
Further, 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
applicant’s discharge is commensurate with his overall service record.

The applicant contends that he had good service which included a combat tour. The applicant’s
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 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. BOARD DETERMINATION: In a records review conducted at Arlington, VA on 4 April 2018, and
by a 5-0 vote, the Board determined that clemency is warranted based on the applicant’s length
and quality of service, to include combat service, a prior period of honorable service, the
circumstances surrounding the AWOL (i.e. in-service and post-service diagnosis of PTSD).
Accordingly, the Board voted to grant relief by upgrading the applicant’s characterization of
service to general under honorable conditions. A change in the reason for discharge is not
authorized under Federal statute.

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 Code to: No Change

f. Change RE Code 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
AR20180001747
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