AR20180002494

1. Applicant’s Name:

a. Application Date: 9 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
general (under honorable conditions) discharge to honorable. The applicant seeks relief
contending, in effect, that a severe injustice was done to him by discharging him. He contends
that his discharge was the result of hitting his superior (First Sergeant) after he was spitting in his
face as he was screaming at him for not being able to pass the physical fitness test due to his
back condition that he is now service connected disable for and he had a profile for. This was a
usual routine for the First Sergeant who had never been in combat like the rest of the battalion.
He thought he could holler at anyone that he felt like. At the time he attacked the applicant he
was already in a lot of pain and did not feel that he deserved respect. He was already being
processed for a medical discharge, but due to this one incident, the First Sergeant was
recommending to give him a dishonorable discharge. He is service connected through the VA for
his back condition and PTSD for a total rating of 90 percent. He cannot work because of his
disabilities and is in receipt of disability benefits from social security also. He has recently filed a
claim through the VA for individual employability because he is unable to work due to the
diagnosis of PTSD and back condition. He is now trying to raise two children that he has sole
custody as a single parent and volunteer in his community where he organizes the annual parade
and assist his mother with her needs for daily living. His days of fighting are completely done and
he now focuses on family issues and helping others that need him. He is still able to do
handyman work on his home and take care of his animals on his mini farm.

Per the Board’s Medical Officer, a voting member, based on the information available for review
in the service record, AHLTA, and JLV, the applicant was diagnosed with PTSD. However, due
to the nature of the misconduct, PTSD is not a likely cause of premeditated misconduct.
Therefore, a nexus between the PTSD condition and the misconduct is not likely.

In a records review conducted at Arlington, VA on 23 March 2018, and by a 3-2 vote, the Board
denied the request upon finding the separation was both proper and equitable.

(Board member names available upon request)

3. DISCHARGE DETAILS:

a. Reason / Authority / Codes / Characterization: Physical Condition, Not a Disability /
AR 635-200 / Chapter 5-17 / JFV / RE-3 / General (Under Honorable Conditions)

b. Date of Discharge: 20 January 2005

c. Separation Facts:

(1) Date of Notification of Intent to Separate: 14 December 2004

(2) Basis for Separation: The applicant was informed of the following reasons: Being
diagnosed with an adjustment disorder with depressed mood and a personality disorder on
7 December 2004; and

Being absent without leave from the Army from 8 September 2004 until his return on 28
September 2004

(3) Recommended Characterization: General (Under Honorable Conditions)

(4) Legal Consultation Date: 16 December 2004

(5) Administrative Separation Board: NA

(6) Separation Decision Date / Characterization: NIF / General (Under Honorable
Conditions)

4. SERVICE DETAILS:

a. Date / Period of Enlistment: 1 April 2002 / 8 years

b. Age at Enlistment / Education / GT Score: 17 / GED / 97

c. Highest Grade Achieved / MOS / Total Service: E-3 / 63B10, Light Wheeled Vehicle
Mechanic / 2 years, 8 months, 29 days

d. Prior Service / Characterizations: None

e. Overseas Service / Combat Service: SWA / Iraq (3 February 2003 to 8 July 2003)

f. Awards and Decorations: NDSM, GWOTEM, GWOTSM, ASR

g. Performance Ratings: None

h. Disciplinary Action(s) / Evidentiary Record: FG, Article 15, dated 7 October 2004, for
being absent from his unit from 8 September 2004 until his return on 28 September 2004. The
punishment received was not noted on the document.

Counseling statement reference initiation of Chapter 5-17 action.

i. Lost Time / Mode of Return: AWOL 21 days (8 September 2004 to 28 September
2004) /

j. Diagnosed PTSD / TBI / Behavioral Health: Memorandum for Commander reference
“Mental Health Evaluation in the Case of the applicant,” dated 7 December makes reference to
the applicant having been diagnosed with Axis I for adjustment disorder with depressed mood
and alcohol abuse; and Axis II for personality disorder NOS with dependent features. The
applicant was deemed unsuitable for continue military service. He met criteria for administrative
separation IAW AR 635-200, Chapter 5-17 for adjustment disorder with depressed mood and
Chapter 5-13 personality disorder.

Rating Decision Letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that the applicant was
awarded 70 percent service connected disability for PTSD.

5. APPLICANT-PROVIDED EVIDENCE: DD Form 293; letter from Social Security; rating decision
letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs; and DD Form 214.

6. POST SERVICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: He is now trying to raise two children that he has sole
custody as a single parent and volunteer in his community where he organizes the annual
parade and assist his mother with her needs for daily living.

7. REGULATORY CITATION(S): Army Regulation (AR) 635-200 provides the basic authority for
the separation of enlisted personnel. Paragraph 5-17 specifically provides that a Soldier may be
separated for other physical or mental conditions not amounting to a disability, which interferes
with assignment to or performance of duty and requires that the diagnosis be so severe that the
Soldier’s ability to function in the military environment is significantly impaired.

AR 635-200, paragraph 5-1, states that a Soldier being separated under this paragraph will be
awarded a characterization of service of honorable, under honorable conditions, or an
uncharacterized description of service if in entry-level status.

A general, under honorable conditions discharge is normally inappropriate for individuals
separated under the provisions of Chapter 5-17 unless properly notified of the specific factors in
the service that warrant such characterization.

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

The evidence of record shows a mental status evaluation by competent medical authority
diagnosed the applicant with an adjustment disorder with depressed mood and personality
disorder. The unit commander informed the applicant as to the specific factors in the service
record that warranted a general, under honorable conditions discharge (i.e., being absent
without leave from the Army from 8-28 September 2004).

The applicant seeks relief contending, that a severe injustice was done to him by discharging
him. He contends that his discharge was the result of hitting his superior (First Sergeant) after
he was spitting in his face as he was screaming at him for not being able to pass the physical
fitness test due to his back condition that he is now service connected disable for and he had a
profile for. This was a usual routine for the First Sergeant who had never been in combat like
the rest of the battalion. He thought he could holler at anyone that he felt like. At the time he
attacked the applicant he was already in a lot of pain and did not feel the he deserved respect.
He was already being processed for a medical discharge, but due to this one incident, the First
Sergeant was recommending to give him a dishonorable discharge.

The applicant’s contentions were noted; however, evidence in the record shows the was not
discharged as a result of the First Sergeant’s action or because the applicant failed a physical
fitness test but because of mental status evaluation by competent medical authority diagnosed
the applicant with an adjustment disorder with depressed mood and personality disorder and his
being absent without leave from the Army from 8-28 September 2004

The applicant also contends he is service connected through the VA for his back condition and
PTSD for a total rating of 90 percent. He cannot work because of his disabilities and is in
receipt of disability benefits from social security also. He has recently filed a claim through the
VA for individual employability because he is unable to work due to the diagnosis of PTSD and
back condition. He is now trying to raise two children that he has sole custody as a single
parent and volunteer in his community where he organizes the annual parade and assist his
mother with her needs for daily living. His days of fighting are completely done and he now
focuses on family issues and helping others that need him. He is still able to do handyman work
on his home and take care of his animals on his mini farm.

Evidence in the record dated 7 December 2004 does makes reference to the applicant having
been diagnosed with Axis I for adjustment disorder with depressed mood and alcohol abuse;
and Axis II for personality disorder NOS with dependent features. The applicant was deemed
unsuitable for continue military service. He met criteria for administrative separation IAW AR
635-200, Chapter 5-17 for adjustment disorder with depressed mood and Chapter 5-13
personality disorder.

The applicant’s post-service accomplishments were noted and the applicant is to be
commended on his accomplishments.
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 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 23 March 2018,
and by a 3-2 vote, the Board denied the request upon finding the separation was both proper
and equitable.

10. BOARD ACTION DIRECTED:

a. Issue a new DD-214/Issue new Separation Order: No

b. Change Characterization to: No Change

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:

SECRETARIAL REVIEWING AUTHORITY (SRA):
While the Board recommended denial of your request; as the Secretarial Reviewing Authority, I
reviewed the findings, conclusions, and the board’s recommendation under the authority of
Title 10 United States Code Section 1553(b) and Department of Defense Instruction 1332.28
(Discharge Review Board (DRB) Procedures and Standards), enclosure E3.7.1.1.1. I find there
is sufficient evidence to grant relief and direct that your DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or
Discharge from Active Duty) be corrected by issuing you a new DD Form 214 showing the
characterization of service as Honorable.

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
AR20180002494
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