AR20180003044

1. Applicant’s Name:

a. Application Date: 5 January 2018

b. Date Received: 19 January 2018

c. Counsel:

2. REQUEST, ISSUES, BOARD TYPE, AND DECISION: The applicant, through counsel, requests a
narrative reason change. The applicant seeks relief contending, in effect, the narrative reason for
separation and the separation code are both improper and inequitable because the applicant’s in
service misconduct was a result of his undiagnosed PTSD.

The narrative reason for separation and the separation code are both improper and inequitable
because the applicant’s misconduct was caused by the MST he suffered while in service. He had
previously suffered verbal harassment in his unit regarding his racial ethnicity and did not feel that
he could trust his supervisors to help him.

Since his honorable discharge from active duty, the applicant has had trouble in relationships,
keeping jobs, sleeping, and issues with anxiety. He sought treatment and was diagnosed with
PTSD as a result of MST. To treat his PTSD, he has received individual counseling sessions,
participated in PTSD clinics and sleep classes. As a result, the applicant no longer abuses
alcohol or uses it to cope with his PTSD symptoms as a result of MST. He no longer self-
medicates and has had only negative drugs tests conduct by the VA. On 10 May 2017, the
applicant was awarded a 70 percent service-connected combined disability rating for post-
traumatic stress disorder; unspecified anxiety disorder, and insomnia disorder from the
Department of Veteran’s Affairs, based on the MST he suffered while in service.

Per the Board’s Medical Officer, based on the information available for review at the time,
electronic military medical records are void of any medical or behavioral health diagnoses based
on SMs period of service. VA medical records indicated SM has a 70% service connected
rating for the diagnoses of an Adjustment Disorder and PTSD related to reported MST. Based
on available information, a change to secretarial authority would be supported.

In a records review conducted at Arlington, VA on 25 April 2018, and by a 5-0 vote, the Board
determined the narrative reason for the applicant’s separation is improper based on the
applicant’s length of service and the circumstances surrounding the discharge (i.e. post-service
diagnosis of PTSD due to MST). Therefore, the board directed the issue of a new DD Form 214
changing the separation authority to AR 635-200, Chapter 5-3, and the narrative reason for
separation to Secretarial Authority, with a corresponding separation code to JFF. The Board
determined the RE code was proper and equitable and voted not to change it.

(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 / Honorable

b. Date of Discharge: 22 April 2004

c. Separation Facts:

(1) Date of Notification of Intent to Separate: 24 February 2004

(2) Basis for Separation: The applicant was informed of the following reasons: On
11 December 2003, he was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder, with mixed Disturbance of Emotion
and Conduct by Major L. It was noted that he was previously diagnosed on 8 August 2002, while in
another unit.

(3) Recommended Characterization: Honorable

(4) Legal Consultation Date: 24 February 2004

(5) Administrative Separation Board: NA

(6) Separation Decision Date / Characterization: 10 March 2004 / Honorable

4. SERVICE DETAILS:

a. Date / Period of Enlistment: 8 March 2001 / 3 years

b. Age at Enlistment / Education / GT Score: 17 / HS Graduate / 107

c. Highest Grade Achieved / MOS / Total Service: E-4 / 63Y10, Track Vehicle Mechanic
/ 3 years, 1 month, 15 days

d. Prior Service / Characterizations: None

e. Overseas Service / Combat Service: None

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

g. Performance Ratings: NA

h. Disciplinary Action(s) / Evidentiary Record:

Memorandum, dated 11 December 2003, reflects the applicant was evaluated by a Psychiatrist
for a mental health evaluation. Through a thorough evaluation, the applicant was diagnosed
with an Adjustment Disorder, with mixed disturbance of emotion and conduct. The applicant
met the retention standards prescribed in Chapter 3, AR 40-501, and there was no psychiatric
disease or defect that warranted disposition through medical channels. Return to duty will
probably lead to repetition of such responses that were noted prior to the evaluation. The
condition and problems presented by the applicant were not in the opinion of the examiner,
amenable to hospitalization, treatment, transfer, disciplinary action, training, or reclassification to
another type of duty in the military. While intensive efforts may result in transient improvements
in behavior, such efforts are often short-lived in their efficacy and are unlikely to improve the
Soldier’s retention potential. It is unlikely that the efforts to rehabilitate or develop the applicant
into a satisfactory member of the military would be successful. The recommendation was that
the chain of command consider him for discharge under AR 635-200, Chapter 5-17.

Mental Health Risk Assessment (memo), dated 8 October 2003, reflects the applicant was
diagnosed with an Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct
(Axis I).

i. Lost Time / Mode of Return: None

j. Diagnosed PTSD / TBI / Behavioral Health:

The applicant provided a copy of his VA disability rating decision, dated 10 May 2017, which
reflects the applicant was rated 70 percent disability for PTSD, unspecified anxiety disorder, and
insomnia disorder.

Report of Mental Status Evaluation, dated 11 December 2003, 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. A
memorandum attached to the report, reflects the applicant was diagnosed with an Adjustment
Disorder, with mixed disturbance of emotion and conduct (Axis I).

5. APPLICANT-PROVIDED EVIDENCE: DD Form 293 with allied legal brief.

6. POST SERVICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: The applicant states, he no longer abuses alcohol or
uses it to cope with his PTSD symptoms as a result of MST.

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, general (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.

Army Regulation 635-5-1 (Separation Program Designator (SPD) Codes) provides the specific
authorities (regulatory or directive), reasons for separating Soldiers from active duty, and the
SPD codes to be entered on the DD Form 214. It identifies the SPD code of “JFV” as the
appropriate code to assign enlisted Soldiers who are discharged under the provisions of Army
Regulation 635-200, Chapter 5-17, Condition, Not a Disability.

8. DISCUSSION OF FACT(S): The applicant, through counsel, requests a narrative reason
change. The applicant’s record of service, the issues and documents submitted with his
application were carefully reviewed.

The evidence of record shows the applicant was evaluated by competent medical authority and
determined the applicant had an Adjustment Disorder, with mixed disturbance of emotion and
conduct (Axis I). The condition and problems presented by the applicant were not in the opinion
of the examiner, amenable to hospitalization, treatment, transfer, disciplinary action, training, or
reclassification to another type of duty in the military. It was unlikely that the efforts to
rehabilitate or develop the applicant into a satisfactory member of the military would be
successful.

The applicant contends the narrative reason for the discharge should be changed because
because he was diagnosed post-service by the VA with PTSD. However, the applicant was
separated under the provisions of Chapter 5, paragraph 5-17, AR 635-200 with a honorable
discharge. The narrative reason specified by Army Regulations, in effect at the time of the
discharge, was “Physical Condition, Not a Disability,” and the separation code is “JFV.” Army
Regulation 635-5, Separation Documents, governs preparation of the DD Form 214 and dictates
that entry of the narrative reason for separation, entered in block 28 and separation code,
entered in block 26 of the form, will be exactly as listed in tables 2-2 or 2-3 of AR 635-5-1,
Separation Program Designator (SPD) Codes. The regulation further stipulates that no
deviation is authorized. There is no provision for any other reason to be entered under this
regulation. However, current law and regulations now reflect a narrative the reason as
“Condition, Not a Disability.”

The applicant contends he had undiagnosed PTSD, which was a direct result of MST and that
this condition affected his behavior and resulted in the misconduct that led to his discharge.
However, 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 was
separated under the provisions of AR 635-200, chapter 5-17, for a physical condition, not a
disability and not as a result of misconduct. Further, the applicant provided no independent
corroborating evidence demonstrating that either the command’s actions at the time, were
erroneous or that the narrative reason for the discharge was in error.

The Army Discharge Review Board is authorized to consider post-service factors in the
recharacterization of a discharge. However, there is no law or regulation which provides an
unfavorable discharge may be upgraded based solely on the passage of time or good conduct
in civilian life subsequent to leaving the service. Outstanding post-service conduct, to the extent
such matters provide a basis for a more thorough understanding of the applicant’s performance
and conduct during the period of service under review, is considered during Board proceedings.
The Board reviews each discharge on a case-by-case basis to determine if post-service
accomplishments help demonstrate previous in-service misconduct was an aberration and not
indicative of the member’s overall character.

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 25 April 2018,
and by a 5-0 vote, the Board determined the narrative reason for the applicant’s separation is
improper based on the applicant’s length of service and the circumstances surrounding the
discharge (i.e. post-service diagnosis of PTSD due to MST). Therefore, the board directed the
issue of a new DD Form 214 changing the separation authority to AR 635-200, Chapter 5-3, and
the narrative reason for separation to Secretarial Authority, with a corresponding separation
code to JFF. The Board determined the RE code was proper and equitable and voted not to
change it.

10. BOARD ACTION DIRECTED:

a. Issue a New DD-214: Yes

b. Change Characterization to: No Change

c. Change Reason to: Secretarial Authority

d. Change Authority to: AR 635-200, Chapter 5-3

e. Change SPD / RE Code to: JFF / 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
AR20180003044
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