If you are a military service member who received a negative performance evaluation, a Letter of Reprimand, or any other adverse record in your personnel file, your chances of promotion are almost certainly ended and your career may be over as well. Often service members have little opportunity at the time to contest or fight an adverse performance evaluation or Letter of Reprimand. Often the negative record or reprimand results in adverse discharge from the military service. Many times, the negative record and resulting discharge from the military service was the result of injustice or a mistake. However, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have Boards for Correction of Records and Discharge Review Boards which review personnel records and discharges and can correct injustices or mistakes.
The Board for Correction of Military Records (“BCMR”) and the Discharge Review Board (“DRB”) for the military services are comprised of civilian board members. The BCMR and DRB are authorized to review petitions for relief filed by service members and veterans. If the BCMR or DRB determines that an injustice or mistake has occurred, each Board can make changes to military service record; including upgrading adverse discharges.
There are differences between the Discharge Review Board and the Board for Correction of Military Records. The Discharge Review Board is limited to reviewing discharges for up to 15 years except discharges awarded at a General Court-Martial (which are not reviewable). The Board for Corrections of Military Records for each service has the authority to change or remove any adverse document or entry in a military personnel file. There is no firm statute of limitations for filing a Petition for Relief with the BCMR, however, the petitioner must show good cause for the delay in filing if the contested record or discharge is more than 3 years old.
Both the Discharge Review Board and the Board for Correction of Military Records start with a “presumption of correctness” which requires these Boards to assume that the service record is accurate. The service member or veteran is required to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the record or discharge is the result of a mistake or a substantial injustice. Each military service’s Board for Correction of Military Records and Discharge Review Board provides a last review – by civilian board members — of your service record and each Board is empowered to correct injustices.
In over 25 years of practice on behalf of service members and veterans, we have had success petitioning the Boards for Correction of Military Records and Discharge Review Boards for relief. Your service record matters. If your chances for promotion have been undermined by an unfair reprimand or negative performance evaluation, you have the right to challenge these records. If you received an adverse discharge, you can correct the discharge characterization if it the result of a mistake or injustice. Contact us to discuss representing you before your services Board for Correction of Military Records or Discharge Review Board.